Historically significant collections documenting the history of Samford University and religious life in Alabama are among those featured in Harwell Goodwin Davis Library’s new digital archive, the Samford University Digital Collections.
Alongside collections containing hundreds of photographs of Alabama churches and religious life, the digital archive also includes the William E. Hull Sermons Collection, which is comprised of over 500 sermons, notes and presentations by Hull, a world-renowned theologian and former provost, university professor and research professor at Samford University.
Jennifer Taylor, chair of Samford’s Special Collection & University Archives, said, “Serving the university’s faculty, students and alumni, genealogists and researchers of Baptist and Alabama history, the Samford University Digital Collections will make these materials more accessible and easy to use for people across the world.”
The new digital archive, which provides free access to users around the world, launched this month using the AM Quartex digital collections platform and also documents the history of campus life at Samford University, including the full run of the Samford Crimson (the university’s student-run newspaper, first published in 1915) and a growing collection of oral histories featuring faculty, alumni and voices from Alabama’s religious community.
The project is the result of over two years of planning, after a review in 2020 concluded that the library’s existing digital asset management platform was no longer capable of delivering the team’s vision for its digital collections.
Kim Herndon, dean of the Samford University Library, said, “We are very excited to present such a dynamic, user friendly and well-designed website for users to research Samford University and the religious history of Alabama. Having learned about Quartex through other institutions with Baptist archival materials, it immediately seemed a more robust and flexible solution; features such as digital exhibits give us more scope for how we present our collections and efficient workflows are already streamlining the way we work.”
The ability to generate transcriptions in-platform for all digitized assets heavily influenced the library’s decision to adopt Quartex.
“All of our oral history collections have been transcribed in-platform and the impact in terms of efficiency is huge. It’s also an important point of accessibility; having the time-coded transcript on screen alongside the asset is incredible,” said Burns Kennedy, user services archivist at the Samford Library.
Martin Drewe, Head of Customer Experience at AM, said, “With the launch of this new digital collections website, Samford University’s holdings of material relating to Baptist life in Alabama are now more easily accessible than ever before. The library team is already working to make new collections available, including more oral histories and church records that are in desperate need of preservation and digitization. We look forward to supporting them in making these important materials more accessible.”
New materials will continue to be added to the new digital collection. Learn more at: digitalcollections.samford.edu