Librarian at SCC Plans to Archive the Ebbtide


Layne Thomas-Gehlhausen, Guest Contributor

Caitlan Maxwell is a librarian at Shoreline Community College. She’s been in her position for almost a year now, and has set a major goal: digitalize every edition of The Ebbtide.
Old paper editions are bound in volumes kept in the third-floor storage at the Ray W. Howard Library. These physical volumes of The Ebbtide date from Oct. 14, 1965 through 1999. Maxwell and others working at the library are in the process of moving the volumes down to the second floor. The Ebbtibe also has a complete collection of its old editions in their newsroom.
“Part of my position in the library as Digital and Electronic Collections Librarian includes working on digital collections,” said Maxwell in an email. “When I saw The Ebbtide volumes in our storage and learned how valuable The Ebbtide is to SCC history and community—I reached out to The Ebbtide office to see how we could collaborate to digitize the newspaper and provide access to it online.”
Maxwell has a master’s degree in history and archives and records management from Western Washington University. For three years, she worked as a digital projects archivist at the Montana Historical Society. Eventually, she decided to get a graduate degree in library science and become a librarian.
The biggest challenge for the project, it seems, is financial. They will need to hire people to upload the pages, as well as find solutions that can provide storage for long-term preservation and access to The Ebbtide online.
“I’m learning a ton about digital preservation and access to software options, as well as grant writing,” Maxwell said. “We need to write grants to be able to potentially afford subscriptions to the software that will allow us to have a digital repository that is user friendly and supports our digital projects needs.”
It could take several years to scan the entire inventory and set them up online, depending on how many people they get to work on the project. Maxwell said there are options to outsource to a company that specializes in digital archives preservation, and that if they can hire enough people, the time span can be shortened to less than a year.
Maxwell says that she and Jim Davis, faculty adviser for The Ebbtide, are hopeful about getting funding so that they can finish digitizing the journal’s full run.
“I hope to see The Ebbtide archives being actively used in student research projects and Ebbtide articles,” said Maxwell.
One student, Leuel Bekele, is working for the Multicultural Center and found articles in The Ebbtide archives that were useful for research on the history of ethnic studies and multicultural studies at SCC.
“I’d really like to preserve and provide access to more student projects and voices at SCC. A lot of major publishers and textbooks aren’t very representative or inclusive of diverse perspectives,” Maxwell said over email. “Centering, preserving and providing access (with individual permission) to student voices is one way to create scholarship and research that is inclusive and validating. I think it’s crucial for students to see themselves represented in digital collections and in the research they are doing.”