Opening up the Archives: Bethany Lutheran College

Opening up the Archives: Bethany Lutheran College


New partner: Bethany Lutheran College

PALS is excited to now be working with Bethany Lutheran College (Mankato, MN) on their online digital repository.  We provide hosting, support, and training for the Islandora digital asset management (DAM) system.  Bethany Lutheran College looked at several DAM options, and “Islandora rose to the top with the most potential for versatility and ease of use.”

Embrace the DAM work 

PALS provides the Islandora service so that institutions will have a viable, flexible DAM solution that can meet their unique needs.  It allows them to preserve, manage, and share their unique assets.  The ability to promote content effectively online is particularly important.  Doing so allows institutions to showcase their material to the right people, which can result in advocates for the DAM solution, and eventual partnerships that can lead to funding.  We have seen that embracing the DAM work and starting DAM initiatives are a way that libraries and archives can take a leadership role and show their value to Administrators, students, and others.

First collection: Panoramic photographs of student body and faculty

Bethany Lutheran College is keeping that in mind as they start their project.  One of their first collections they are loading – “ingesting” – are a set of panoramic photographs from 1929 – 1962 that show the entire student body and faculty.   This collection provides an invaluable resource and glimpse at Bethany’s past that will become available to the general public.

“One of the target audiences is alumni.  The Bethany community has a strong connection with former students, faculty, and staff, and we think this digital resource will help bring back the “good ol’ days” in an inspiring way.” – Alyssa Inniger, Bethany Lutheran College

This collection also shows what a DAM solution can be used for, and it is Bethany’s hope that this will lead to further support for the DAM initiative.

Next projects

The next project for Bethany Lutheran College will be their yearbook, the Fidelis.  Alyssa Inniger, Bethany Lutheran College Archivist, thinks that this collection should also connect with their campus and show what the project is capable of.  “A yearbook is a powerful piece of history.  Islandora allows someone to search a name and find wherever it has been printed.  There are several families who have students attend Bethany each generation since the school first opened.  This will help them easily trace their recent histories.”

Their third main priority will be to work on digitizing choir recordings, originally on vinyl, and making them available as they are able to.  This would be a unique collection among the PALS sites and will really help show Islandora’s viability as an option.

Further development of Islandora

In addition to looking at Islandora to meet their needs, Bethany Lutheran College is excited to help “see how we can, with the help of PALS, develop the open source software to its fullest potential.”  Their help, along with contributions of our other six sites, should continue to help push Islandora forward.  PALS plans on submitting anything that comes from their partnerships back to the Islandora international community.

Alyssa Inniger thinks that “Islandora will provide a comfortable yet powerful interface for us.”  PALS looks forward to continuing to work on this project with Bethany Lutheran College.

Growing excitement

Erling T. Teigen, College Archivist, is also excited for this project:

“For several years, I have been researching and writing the history of our school. This year marks the 90th year of our church’s ownership of the college, and we will celebrate those 90 years. This project allows us to make available for our alumni and friends to witness in word and picture some of the events of these years. To open up our archives in that way is exciting, and we look forward to discussion that may grow out of that.”

Please contact PALS here if you are interested in learning more about Islandora or these projects.