The American Foundation for the Blind has been undertaking a large project to digitize the Helen Keller archive, and is currently seeking an additional $25,000 in donations to further this effort. Thanks to a challenge by the National Endowment for the Humanities, the $25,000 in donations would be matched, meaning that dollars received in this campaign would be doubled. The collection includes images, letters, drawings, and other items from her estate which have been donated to the AFB. It is promised that the collection will also be made accessible to the blind, an effort not often seen in digitization efforts. Donations, which are being accepted for this grant through September 30, can be made on this page. The full donation letter is below.
It’s not often that we get to be heroes in real life, but you can be one today by helping us to preserve the Helen Keller Archives. Today is your day to #BeAMiracleWorker !
THE CHALLENGE: The National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) gave us a $275,000 grant to digitize a large portion of the Helen Keller Archive—over 80,000 items. Now they have offered us a matching grant of up to $25,000, to digitize even more of the collection! But we only have until September 30 to raise the money. We’ve accepted the challenge, but now we need your help.
Every dollar you
will be matched by the NEH—so your $10 donation becomes a $20 gift, your $20 becomes $40, $50 becomes $100…you get the idea! And don’t forget to follow the campaign’s progress on Facebook:
WHAT IS DIGITIZATION?
All correspondence, speeches, photographs, press clippings, artifacts, architectural drawings, and audio-video materials will be captured using specialized photographic equipment. The result will be high-qualityimages of every item in the collection—the equivalent of over 153,000 digital files—all of which will be made accessible via the Internet.
CREATE ACCESS: Much of this amazing collection has never been seen by the general public or made accessible to researchers due to its fragility and staff constraints. Digitization will change this.
Very importantly, this archive will be fully accessible to those who are blind and visually impaired as well as sighted audiences. This is pioneering work!
PRESERVE THE PHYSICAL COLLECTION: Beyond the natural deterioration of physical materials over time, many irreplaceable items are repeatedly photocopied and handled, causing long-term damage to the collection. Digitization will help to preserve the physical collection and ensure that the content is never lost.
LEARN ABOUT THE PAST TO CREATE A BETTER FUTURE:
Helen Keller’s involvement in the key cultural, social, and political events of the 19th and 20th centuries is unparalleled. She was both a product of her environment and a driving force upon it. Few archival collections have the potential to teach us as much about our past in order to better shape our collective future.Source: AFB
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.