Newly digitised El Paso heritage collections showcased in AM Quartex archive

Researchers of US/Mexico border heritage can now consult newly digitised materials from signature archival collections held by El Paso Public Library.

Maps spanning the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries, and the McGaw and Stockwell photograph collections, are among the first materials to be showcased in the library’s new digital archive, which has been made possible by Humanities Texas Relief Grant funding awarded by Humanities Texas and the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH).

Aimed at supporting cultural and non-profit organisations impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, the funding has enabled El Paso Public Library’s Border Heritage Center to launch a large scale digitisation project and acquire a digital collections platform to showcase digitised content.

Our patrons have been eager for us to provide digital access to our collections for some time. Accessibility issues have been magnified with the pandemic and our library’s extensive renovation, with most of our collections having been in storage for the past two years and likely to remain so for the foreseeable future. We’re excited to launch our newly digitised collections using AM Quartex and provide remote, 24/7 access to these fascinating materials.

Claudia Ramirez, Library Archivist, El Paso Public Library

Influencing the choice of collections digitised for the launch was the aim of demonstrating the breadth of materials held at the library.

Everyone knows our signature collections, such as the Aultman Photograph Collection, but now we hope to bring more of our lesser known collections to the forefront, such as architectural drawings and the Rusk-Edwards Collection, which provides a snapshot into the history of the Republic of Texas. We look forward to introducing our patrons to the wealth of historical material that’s available for their research into our unique border community.

Danny Gonzalez, Public Services Librarian, El Paso Public Library

AM Quartex, the digital collections platform from primary source publisher AM, caught the library team’s attention as a flexible and cloud-based system, accessible anywhere and at any time.

We had a very small footprint of digital material in our previous system, and were restricted in where, when and how we could update it. With Quartex, we have flexibility and control of both the system and our content, and how we configure and design our site. We can also more effectively showcase the role of Border Heritage and enable our patrons to find out more about our work and archival collections.

Claudia Ramirez, Library Archivist, El Paso Public Library

The legacy of the pandemic continues to impact cultural heritage organisations across the world, making funding streams such as the Humanities Texas Relief Grant crucial in helping institutions to evolve and deliver services in new ways. We are delighted to support El Paso Public Library in building this new digital collections site and look forward to seeing further materials being made available for the first time as its digitisation programme develops.

Martin Drewe, Head of Customer Experience, AM

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