Upon meeting Marianna Murray, Office Coordinator, Department of Theatre, one realizes the vast contribution she has made to the department. The Department of Theatre has been a degree granting program since 1972, and Marianna has been safeguarding and archiving the department’s history for 20 of those years. Rhia Rae, Digital Archivist, met with Marianna, who had been looking for a home for the growing collection, and formed a plan to have University Archives house the collection. Along with Marianna and Rhia, Ivan Lopez, Instructor, Head of Audience Engagement and FIU Alum, Jill Krefft, Institutional Repository Coordinator, and Katharine Labuda, University Archivist Librarian, have been working to archive and create a digital record of the department’s long history.
In June 2017, students from the Department of Theatre and Digital Collections Center began to scan and process production programs, postcards, and photographs. Katharine processed the physical items and made them available for research. Rhia supervised and coordinated the digitization of the items and processed and provided metadata for the records. Ivan worked to provide content to showcase every aspect of the theatre’s history and explore aspects of social media, such as crowdsourcing to get alumni involved in creating metadata. Jill utilized the unique structures in Digital Commons to create collections that are organized by season and production, grouping photographs, playbills, posters, videos and even student newspaper articles all related to the production. In addition, she created a timeline at the top of the collection allowing users to browse the shows and provides direct links to all materials for that production. Thinking beyond the traditional University institutional repository uses the team created unique digital access to these scholarly, creative, archival materials that have not been traditionally seen in a Digital Commons repository.
"We are very grateful to the University Archives at the Green Library for their work on this project," says Ivan. "Digitizing our archive ensures that the over 40 years of FIU Theatre history will be preserved and made available to our students, alumni, and the public at large." Click here to view the Department of Theatre’s collection spanning the over 40 year history of the department.