Monday, October 3, 2011

Libraries are the new Newspapers

I've long seen a connection between libraries and newspapers, both are collectors and distributors of locally important information. So, I was intrigued when I read on Library Journal's site that IMLS had awarded Florida's Orange County Library System a $50,000 National Leadership Grant to develop an open obituaries database.

Obituaries have long been an incredibly popular service of local newspapers but as newspapers reduce their size, or vanish altogether, some of the important information they collected and provided is no longer being gathered.

I am a bit curious, however, about their procedure for gathering obituary information. The project "envisions family and friends of the deceased submitting detailed obituaries, including videos, photographs, or other memorabilia." This kind of self-selected offering of information has the potential to create to a very off-kilter database. I'll be curious if they seek out other sources of info as well.

I hope this project succeeds in finding new ways to gather and present obituary information, and provokes new ways for libraries to enhance their role in collecting, preserving, and presenting locally important information.

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