Samford University: Serving a growing supporter community

Securing long-term support for its cultural heritage collections is central to the mission of Samford University Library and a catalyst for its migration to AM Quartex.

Keeping pace with growing ambitions

Serving faculty, students and alumni, Samford University Library’s collections are also used by researchers of Alabama history, especially those interested in the state’s Baptist heritage and community.

Around the time of the first COVID lockdown, it became clear that the library’s existing digital collections platform, CONTENTdm, was no longer able to meet the team’s ambitions for expanding its digital resources.

We asked ourselves if this was the right system to help us achieve our goals. Around this time, we were introduced to Quartex, having learnt about it through other institutions with Baptist archival materials. It immediately presented a more robust and flexible solution; all the team were excited by its functionality and interface.

Kim Herndon, Dean of Samford University Library

Playing to strengths to achieve success

Keen to create an impactful digital collections site, the library employed the professional services of Quartex’s Customer Experience team for the migration, design and build, while focusing their own resources on image selection and preparing materials for ingest.

Automated transcription was used extensively, particularly for audio files.

Our previous process was cumbersome, involving an external studio. Now that our oral histories can be transcribed in Quartex, the impact in terms of efficiency is huge and it’s an enjoyable experience.

Burns Kennedy, User Services Archivist

With a clear understanding of the library’s objectives and organisational presence, the Quartex team developed a visually dynamic portal with multiple pathways to discover archival content, from featured collections to controlled vocabularies and digital exhibits.

Partnering with Quartex to do the site build was a big stress reliever. Communication was great and with the design in place I can confidently develop the site further with help from videos and tutorials in Quartex’s Community Platform.

Burns Kennedy

Shining a spotlight on the library’s collections

Launched in December 2022, the new digital archive includes the full run of the Samford Crimson – the university’s student-run newspaper – as well as the library’s growing oral histories collection. Materials are also accessible from the state repository, AlabamaMosaic, with links back to the Quartex site.

We’re so far beyond what I expected when we first started. The Quartex team showed us many options and examples from other institutions, helping us to build an even greater site than we first imagined. They really helped us to think outside the box.

Jennifer Taylor, Chair of Special Collection and University Archives

The launch of the new site has ignited fresh interest in the library’s special collections, including a digitised copy of the ‘Letter from Birmingham Jail’ written by Martin Luther King Jr. in 1963.

Feedback from our research community and library colleagues has been exciting and we hope that relaunching our collections will pique the interest of alumni, donors and new supporters who can help us make more content accessible.

Kim Herndon

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