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April 2009, Volume 1, Issue 4

Worlds Connect @ Your Library

Featured E-Resources of the Month

Clock is Ticking

Have you submitted your completed Public Library Annual Report?

South Dakota Public Libraries Data Digest

Statewide library statistics and facts, as of 2008

In Focus

Rapid City Flood of 1972

Rapid City Flood Project

by Stacia McGourty

Rapid City Public Library wanted to create something great for their community, in doing so they released the first of their “Ordinary People, Extraordinary Stories” series. If you weren’t aware, in June of 1972 Rapid City suffered through one of the deadliest floods in the United States. More than 200 people died in just a few hours. The 1972 Flood Project is an archive of memories using Web 2.0 technologies. People are able to view interviews with flood survivors, upload family photos to Flickr, and add their own memories of that time to the Flood Project’s wiki page. The 1972 Flood Project is just one example of a dynamic local history project.

Before starting this project, staff went through technology competency and Web 2.0 training. Some staff also went through specialized training on video editing, however some of the video editing had to be outsourced.

Rapid City was fortunate that much of the equipment and software used had already been purchased by the library for other projects. Purchasing the needed hardware and software for a project like this can be costly. Rapid City Public Library used a JVC Hard Disk Camcorder to shoot the interviews and edited with Adobe Premier Elements. Video footage gets uploaded to a streaming server, which is city owned. Footage is accessed through the library Web site. Some of the collection content is divided between the wiki and the library Web site. The Web page was created with Adobe Dreamweaver; the photo manipulation was done with Adobe Photoshop.

The project itself was created using a variety of staff and a few volunteers. Many of the volunteers proved invaluable when it came to conducting interviews and editing films. However at this stage, the project is being sustained by library staff. Work is still being done to add interviews, and digitize documents in the Rob DeWall collection. The library is working to make the project more self-sustaining through the use if its wiki. Rapid City Public Library would also like to expand the information available through several social networking sites.

Project publicity was handled through promotions in the library newsletter, digital displays about the project, and in joint publicity with the Journey Museum. Promoting the project had the added bonus of finding people willing to share their photographs and memories of the flood. Community reaction continues to be overwhelmingly positive; last month there were over 900 visits to the Flood Web page and wiki. Not all of the interest is local, if you check the memories you’ll find people sharing from as far away as Maryland. Take a look at:

If you would like more information about the Rapid City Flood Project you can contact Sean Minkel at

Rapid City, history, digital services

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