Salt Institute for Documentary Studies at MECA launches extensive digital collection of Maine stories

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Salt Story Archive the result of partnership between renowned documentary studies institute and innovative digital history company

Salt Story Archive

Our archives hold the nonfiction stories of thousands of Maine and New England people and families -- stories of survival, endurance, love, faith, discovery, perseverance and so much more

Photos of a wild blueberry harvest

A radio piece about “the boogie man of Ocean Point”

A written account of the closing of Dexter Shoe factory

These are just a few of the extraordinary Maine stories that are now available to anyone with access to the Internet, thanks to a collaboration between the Salt Institute for Documentary Studies at MECA and HistoryIT, a Portland-based technology company that creates state-of-the-art digital historical collections.

The Salt Story Archive, a digital collection that contains works by more than 1,000 Salt students – many of whom have gone on to successful careers at places like NPR and National Geographic – launched today.

“A 40-year-long dream to showcase our student work has been achieved,” said Donna Galluzzo, Salt’s executive director. “We are so grateful and so proud to be able to share this phenomenal achievement.”

When Salt was looking for a partner to complete the digitization of its vast collection -- 16,000 images, 495 radio stories, 849 writing projects, 251 short documentary video projects, more than 500 articles in 56 publications, and 3 books -- they found in their backyard the national leader in digital history. HistoryIT helps clients maximize the impact of their collections by making them more shareable and more searchable. Their clients range from the Historical Society of Washington, D.C. to the Baseball Hall of Fame.

“It was an enormous pleasure to work with Salt, in part because its content is so familiar to us,” said HistoryIT CEO Dr. Kristen Gwinn-Becker, a Maine native. “As a digital innovator I am particularly proud of the Salt Story Archive because it exemplifies what is most important about public historical resources: that they must be made digital and available in a way that provides meaningful access to them, and that they are engaging and discoverable by diverse audiences.”

The Salt Story Archive is the result of a year dedicated to the digitization and creation of comprehensively searchable materials, which is available via HistoryIT’s Digital Platform Environment. The project required a team of historians, digital technicians, metadata specialists, and content experts to create a well-designed and intuitive site that invites the public to explore stories from New England’s recent past.

“Our archives hold the nonfiction stories of thousands of Maine and New England people and families -- stories of survival, endurance, love, faith, discovery, perseverance and so much more,” Galluzzo said. “The public sharing of these stories had to be managed to the highest artistic and ethical standards that have made Salt’s reputation and legacy what it is today. HistoryIT not only met but also far exceeded our expectations in creating a digital story archive that our alumni and fellow Mainers and New Englanders can be incredibly proud of.”

The Salt Story Archive is available at http://www.saltstoryarchive.com

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Kristen Gwinn-Becker
HistoryIT
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