May 11, 2021

Syracuse University Receives Grants to Digitize Oakwood Cemetery, Latinx Community Records

A pair of state grants will enable Syracuse University professors and staff to digitize valuable records pertaining to Oakwood Cemetery and Syracuse’s Latino community.

The grants, awarded by the Central New York Libraries Resource Council, will support two projects: converting decades-old death and burial records for Oakwood Cemetery into a searchable database and expanding digital access to cultural artifacts in the La Casita Cultural Center’s archives.

The Oakwood Cemetery project, which received $5,000 in grant funding, will convert handwritten notes in books from the cemetery into a digital format. The project will consist of two phases, according to Meg Craig, an adjunct professor of magazine, news and digital journalism and one of the project’s leads.

The first phase, which involves scanning the pages into virtual documents, will be the responsibility of the resource council and will only take a few months. The second and more time-consuming phase will require student interns to translate the records on the scanned pages into a searchable database. The grant will cover their wages.

“(These records) have sort of just been mouldering in the storage room for who knows how long, probably since they were written,” Craig said. “These books are kind of literally falling apart. They’re extremely old, going back 150 years or more. It’s still data — just data the way it used to be, which is written into a physical book.”

You can read more in an article by Chris Hippensteel published in The Daily Orange at: