University Libraries sponsors virtual Homecoming events

Published: October 1, 2020 Author: Kate Mason

People love to share memories with each other, which is why for over a century OHIO alumni have returned to Athens for Homecoming celebrations like the Saturday morning parade, the afternoon football game, and in recent years, the Libraries’ annual Homecoming display, which is filled with archival materials spanning back to the 19th century.

But this year, the display is going virtual with the premiere of “Mapping Memories: OHIO Bobcats Share Their Stories and A Somewhat Brief and Very Random History of Student Expression on OHIO’s Campus, 1812-2018beginning Oct. 5 on the University Libraries’ YouTube Channel.

“With all the protests that have been going on in the country lately, we thought the presentation would be timely,” said Bill Kimok, University archivist and records manager, who is highlighting the digital archives in a video detailing OHIO’s history of student expression.

Kimok explained, “The University still encourages free expression on campus, but believes there are ways to do this so it does not hinder what else we are trying to get accomplished.”

Additionally on Oct. 8 at 7 p.m., the Libraries is hosting a live Q&A with Erin Wilson, digital imaging specialist & lab manager and creator of the Mapping Memories’ interactive map, and Kimok, creator of the student expression video, along with a quick preview of their recorded presentations. The event is free—but be sure to register to receive an online “invitation to attend.”

Since the pandemic began, University Libraries’ archivists and librarians have been working on ways to virtually capture the spirit of Homecoming—and Mapping Memories is that vehicle.  Using the interactive map, alumni and students can “pin” their favorite OHIO memories, share stories—or respond to other Bobcat memories.

“One of my favorite things to do at [the traditional] Homecoming display is to watch and observe what people do.  Often, people will talk with anyone around them … about events they recognize because of an item or two that they had seen in the display,” explained Kimok. “So, stories get shared [here].”

“Mapping Memories” is a safe and fun way to share new online stories during the week-long 2020 Virtual Homecoming (#OHIOHC2020).

“It was created using ArcGIS mapping software, which is a good demonstration [of how to use] digital tools to showcase and increase the discoverability of the Libraries’ collections,” said Wilson. “Especially, at a time when in-person events are not a safe option.”

According to Wilson, the software, accessed via the web, is used widely throughout the world for geographical projects. So, connecting digital archival materials to their locations of origin seemed a logical leap.

In these days when visiting the Mahn Center for Archives and Special Collections for research or classroom projects is not an option because of COVID-19, “viewing yearbooks, student newspapers, published magazines, handbooks and scrapbooks—all are still within the click of a mouse,” said Kimok.

We have all this stuff in the Archives [to share],”said Kimok. “How cool is that?”

For more information contact Jen Harvey, library event coordinator, Erin Wilson or Bill Kimok.