Digital Pioneers is a project to document a period of time (c.1994 – 2005) and a type of project (i.e. one that transformed analog cultural materials into digital form) that explored the possibilities of digitizing material that was commonly held by libraries, museums, archives, and historical societies in the words of the people who were an integral part of it all. The site debuted in March 2010 as a companion to the eleventh IMLS WebWise conference held in Denver, Colorado–sponsored in part by the Penrose Library. Digital Pioneers subjects include Penrose’s own Dean and Director, Nancy Allen, one of the founders of what was then known as the Colorado Digitization Project (CDP), the first multi-institutional collaborative digitization program in the nation.
The original set of six Digital Pioneers interviews were gathered as part of a class project at the University of Denver’s Library and Information Science Program. Eleven students from the class were responsible for filming these interviews, editing them for sound and visual quality as well as creating clips on selected topics and adding the title and credit information. The students were: Michael Bayne, Joe Brown, Jorge Romero, Heather Hershey, Kale Kevan, Emily Seminoff, Mary Thompson, Megan Todd, Shannon Walker and Andrea Wilhelm, with faculty support from Denise Anthony, Shimelis Assefa, and Mary Stansbury of the LIS program.
More interviews are being recorded and added to the archive all the time. As Digital Pioneers grows it will become a repository of primary sources that shed light on the history of cultural heritage digitization. Digital Pioneers is overseen by Greg Colati, Digital Initiatives Coordinator at Penrose Library, and is sponsored in part by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.