Texas Digital Library Conference System, TCDL 2012

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The Sissy Farenthold Papers Digitization Project: Creating an Online Exhibit Through Cross-Departmental Collaboration
Gina Bastone

Building: AT&T Executive Education and Conference Center
Room: Amphitheatre 204
Date: 2012-05-24 11:15 AM – 11:35 AM
Last modified: 2012-04-25


Frances T. “Sissy” Farenthold is a well-known, important figure in Texas politics and the national women’s movement. She also spent much of the last four decades working on global human rights issues. The Bernard and Audre Rapoport Center for Human Rights and Justice partnered with the Dolph Briscoe Center for American History to identify, organize, and digitize Farenthold’s papers relating to human rights. The Rapoport Center has created an online exhibit focusing on Farenthold’s human rights work, placing it in the context of her life as a lawyer, legislator, activist, and important mentor to numerous women. It is aimed at human rights and women’s rights researchers and historians, as well as a more general audience that is interested in Farenthold and the issues she is so passionate about.

The Rapoport Center has completed a website featuring a selection of scanned documents from Farenthold’s papers, as well as video interviews with Farenthold and Genevieve Vaughan, her collaborator on a number of projects. The scanned documents and interviews focus on Farenthold’s work with the anti-nuclear peace movement of the 1980s, particularly her efforts with women’s groups for nuclear disarmament and for women’s human rights. The website includes contextual and historical background information about Farenthold, the organizations with which she worked, and the larger historical events of the time (such as significant peace movement protests and the Reagan-Gorbachev Summits). You can view the website here: http://www.utexas.edu/law/centers/humanrights/farenthold/

In order to bring this project to life, multiple departments across the University of Texas have played a role, making it a truly collaborative effort. The project initially started as a capstone project for a Master’s student in the School of Information. Faculty and staff from the School of Information and the Center Women and Gender Studies gave the student consultation and advisement. Support staff from the Rapoport Center, the Briscoe Center, and the School of Law had a hand in making the website, through help with back-end site design, photo and document scanning, and video editing. Several undergraduate interns worked on every step of the project, from an initial inventory of the papers to the final proofreading of the website copy.

Our presentation will focus on the history of our project and a short demo of the site. We will also share some lessons we learned from the process. Here are a few of those lessons:
• Know what you are capable of and what you cannot do
• Do not be afraid t ask for help
• Be sensitive to others’ workloads but also be assertive
• Be open to change – every draft and iteration can be improved
• When working in a non-profit setting (such as in archives and the human rights sector), utilize free resources as much as possible


online exhibits; digitization

Full Text: Slideshow