The joint Upper Midwest Digital Collections Conference (#UMDCC20) and the Minnesota Digital Library Annual Meeting (#mndiglib2020) was held virtually November 5-6, 2020. Our two conferences share the same goals of providing an opportunity to connect with colleagues, share projects, and learn from each other, with the added benefit of cross-pollination between two different groups with many affinities.
Note: Registration is required for this event and is now closed.
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Friday, November 6 • 2:00pm - 2:45pm
The Fortepan Archival Concept: Collective Memory and Community Engagement through Vernacular Photographic Archiving

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Fortepan Iowa (fortepan.us) is a nonprofit public digital photo archive established in 2015 at the University of Northern Iowa that features curated, high resolution photos taken by ordinary Iowans over the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. The archive is the first of its kind in the U.S., and the first sister site to the well-known Fortepan archive in Hungary (fortepan.hu), which is now considered a cultural institution with over 100,000 photographs. The Fortepan Concept, founded on the idea of openness, chronological display, and a mission to preserve and share region-based vernacular photography, is a disruption to the typical photo archive paradigm in both display, accessibility, and community engagement, and offers the archiving community an open source alternative to Omeka and ContentDM. We are at the beginning stages of planning a Fortepan archive for indigenous people across the U.S., as well as Fortepan archives in other states like Minnesota and Ohio.

Our panel will discuss the Fortepan Concept and highlight many of our initiatives and experiences with community building through the archive. These include Fortepan’s crowd-sourced tagging and public forum capabilities; our public lecture series initiative to interpret the archive; a proliferation of public library scanning hubs; public library photo exhibitions; billboard-sized public wheat paste art (taking the archival photos to the streets); creative digital projects; and a new initiative, “Mainstreet 360º,” where we’ll work with community members and K-12 schools to geo-reference historical photos of mainstreets and display them on a decade-to-decade, 360º street view display through Fortepan Iowa’s digital interface. Our overall mission is to use our archive of family snapshots to create dynamic intergenerational conversations within our local communities about culture, history, and identity.


Trisha Etringer

Co-Chair/Operations Manager of Great Plains Action Society, Ho-Chunk/Ojibwe/Pima/Meskwaki
avatar for Bettina Fabos

Bettina Fabos

Professor of Interactive Digital Studies, University of Northern Iowa
Bettina Fabos is a Professor of Interactive Digital Studies at the University of Northern Iowa. Both a scholar and producer of digital culture, her written and creative work revolve around digital culture, digital photo archiving, digital visualization, and the Creative Commons. She... Read More →

Isaac Campbell

Graduate student in Communication and Media, University of Northern Iowa
avatar for Jaycie Vos

Jaycie Vos

Special Collections Coordinator and University Archivist, University of Northern Iowa
Jaycie Vos is the Special Collections Coordinator and University Archivist at UNI. There, she oversees several institutional oral history projects. Vos previously worked at the Southern Oral History Program at UNC-Chapel Hill.

Kay Hannahan

Documentary Film Producer, Fortepan Minnesota

Friday November 6, 2020 2:00pm - 2:45pm CST
Orchid Room