Drew Adan, UAH Archivist, with a sample of the materials which will be digitized as part of the UAH Recordings at Risk grant supported by CLIR.

The University of Alabama in Huntsville’s (UAH) M. Louis Salmon Library Archives and Special Collections has been awarded a Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Recordings as Risk Grant. UAH was the only Alabama institution selected to receive the award in the fifth grant cycle, and one of 20 selected nationwide. The $18,775 grant project will digitize, make accessible, and preserve 186 film reels, nine audio reels, and 53 audiocassettes relating to the Apollo program and various support operations.

"This grant is very timely, as it allows us to digitize and make accessible on the world-wide-web some of our older audiovisual materials as we celebrate the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11," said Reagan Grimsley, Head of Special Collections and Archives at the UAH M. Louis Salmon Library. Some of the items to be digitized include oral history interviews conducted with individuals who worked on the Apollo program and home movies, which depict various Apollo, related events.

Drew Adan, archivist and primary investigator for the grant, spoke to the fragility and impermanence of older media formats. "These materials are at high risk of loss from media obsolescence and physical degradation. The Recordings at Risk grant enables us to migrate the information they contain from an outdated and unstable analog format to digital files we can preserve and share with researchers."

UAH Special Collections and Archives collects, organizes, preserves, and makes accessible materials of enduring value that support the research strengths of the university. In addition, Special Collections and Archives houses materials that document the history of the university with focus on the following areas: the history of aerospace, flight, and space, science fiction literature, local and regional politics, oral histories, and the history and culture of Alabama’s Tennessee River Valley.

The Council on Library and Information Resources is an independent, nonprofit organization that forges strategies to enhance research, teaching, and learning environments in collaboration with libraries, cultural institutions, and communities of higher learning. This is the fifth group of projects supported by the Recordings at Risk awards program, a national regranting program administered by CLIR to support the preservation of rare and unique audio and audiovisual content of high scholarly value. Generously funded by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the program will award a total of $4.7 million between January 2017 and April 2021.

The M. Louis Salmon Library Special Collections and Archives is open to the public Monday—Friday 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. For more information visit the archives website at https://libguides.uah.edu/archives.


Drew Adan