Lina Belar at Mn Digital Library Annual Meeting

The 5th annual meeting of the Minnesota Digital Library was held June 11 at the College of St. Benedict and one of the featured speakers was Lina Belar of the History Museum of East Otter Tail County. Other speakers included Irene VanBavel of the Minnesota Historical Society and Eric Hillemann of Carleton College.

Members of the Minnesota Digital Library Coalition are library and museum professionals who work with cultural heritage organizations to digitize the state’s unique resources and collections. Together, coalition participants are creating the Minnesota Digital Libray to support education, scholarship, and personal enrichment through Internet access to these collections. It is significant to note the presence of Perham’s History Museum at the Minnesota Ditigal Library meeting which includes members from the Minnesota Historical Society, the University of Minnesota, and Minitex Library Information Network. Since opening in 1998, the History Museum of East Otter Tail County has had the goal of making local historical resources easily available to everyone, no matter where they were located. In 2001, the website was up and running and since then thousands of people from all over the world have traveled to Perham, digitally speaking. The full-text search engines, designed and developed by Inetium of Chanhassen and RC Visions of Perham, have made it possible to search the East Otter Tail History Books, the Perham Register of Perham’s Births and Deaths from 1882-1899, over 1600 historical photographs as well as an index to the Enterprise-Bulletin newspapers and the New York Mills newspapers. The History Museum has also digitized a book for the Minnesota Finnish American Historical Society, The History of the Finns in Minnesota.Perham is noted for its entrepreneurial spirit and the History Museum is no exception. One of the first of the small local history museums and libraries to digitize its resources and make them available on the web, the History Museum’s success has paved the way for others to follow. Now underway are plans for an exciting new concept which will help to provide the resources that small communities need to create searchable text documents such as diaries, town histories, and all the other wonderful resources that are part of local history.


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