Digital Library, Language Learning, & Multimedia Services Center
Video Podcast in Honor of Samuel B. Freedman: 1915-2006
The Samuel B. and Marian K. Freedman Digital Library, Language Learning, and Multimedia Services Center owes its existence to the generosity of two Case alumni. Samuel Freedman graduated from Adelbert College in 1937 with a bachelor’s degree in economics; Marian Freedman graduated the same year from Flora Stone Mather College with a bachelor’s degree in English.
Research libraries, indeed scholars worldwide – past and present, owe a great debt of gratitude to Sam Freedman. As one reads about the Micro Photo, Inc, Research Publications, Inc, and Primary Source Microfilm publications, it is evident that the Freedman’s gift to Case Western Reserve University of a state-of-the-art digital library, language learning and multimedia center perpetuates the values of the Freedman micro-publishing companies that is:
Entrepreneurial use of technology
Employment of strategic partnerships
Democratic approach to access
Preservation of scholarly resources
Fifty years ago microfilm was, in terms of access and preservation, the most significant technological development to affect the scholarly community since the invention of the printing press. Repeatedly we discovered statements by scholars and librarians expressing gratitude for the Freedman microfilming projects.
For example, in an introduction to the “League of Nations Documents and Publications", 1919-1946, one reads: “Very special thanks are due to Mr. Samuel Freedman, then president and now Chairman of the Board of Research Publications who gave unstintingly of his time and other no less important resources throughout the entire filming and bibliographical enterprise. The reason that the League Documents had remained un-filmed for so long was the knowledge that anyone who wanted to film them would be faced with the enormous expense of subsidizing their calendaring. It is a tribute to Mr. Freedman’s concern for scholarly standards that he was willing to accept this responsibility.” This is but one of many testimonials to Sam Freedman.
Research libraries today are a combination of the past (print collections and analog media) and the present (new digital information technologies) with microfilm serving as a transition, a precursor to early computer-based information systems. Like micro-publishing, Sam and Marian Freedman’s gift of the Freedman Center acts as a bridge and a catalyst to transform the Library into a dynamic resource where the production of digital materials extends access to unique local collections and supports innovative approaches to learning, teaching, and research.
The essence of the Freedman Center – its theme “from inspiration to presentation,” is at the heart of Kelvin Smith Library’s mission “to educate the university community in the effective use of information resources.” The Freedman Center is the only location on campus where new and emerging technologies may be combined with traditional information formats such as print, microfilm, and audio recordings, in a user-focused space. Transforming materials from analog to digital formats and an ability to manage the process is critical to success in today’s world. This aspect of the Freedman Center aligns the library and its partners with the transformational learning mission of the University.
If one analogy between the Freedman microfilming projects and the Freedman Center is an entrepreneurial approach to technology, a second similarity is collaboration and strategic partnerships. I am reminded of the opening paragraphs of a wonderful article by Sam Freedman about the indexing and microfilming (really the rescue and preservation of the Archives in Parral, Mexico) that have subsequently been referred to by one scholar as “one of the most complete and valuable collections of documentary material on the history of northern New Spain,” It reads, “there were four of us that night …at the Camino Real Motel in Parral, Mexico who pledged ourselves to the project of indexing and microfilming, ….. Without knowing it we were pledging ourselves, with a handshake, to undertake a job that would have many complications….”
The collaboration between the Kelvin Smith Library, the College of Arts and Sciences, and the Instructional Technologies and Academic Computing unit (ITAC) began in a similarly informal manner with an eclectic group. We consider Sam and Marian Freedman partners, -- until recently my contact with the Freedman’s has been through letters or phone calls and until several months ago I felt it only appropriate to address Sam as Mr. Freedman. Sometime this spring he said to me, “Joanne if we are going to be partners, you better call me Sam.”
The outcome of our partnership is a state-of-the art facility where the library, the College of Arts & Sciences and ITAC share resources (equipment, expertise, space), learn from each other, and offer a unique learning environment for the campus. Our approach to access is democratic. In the Freedman Center all members of the university community no matter what their affiliation or status may use the latest technology, acquire experience creating and manipulating digital content and gain the competitive advantage they need in the workplace.
We also thank Marian and Sam Freedman for their foresight in designating a portion of their gift as the Samuel B and Marian K Freedman Creative Technology Endowment Fund, an endowment that we will make the focus of future fund-raising efforts. The Freedman Creative Technology Endowment assures the means to keep Freedman Center technology cutting-edge into the future.
Joanne Eustis, PhD
Posted by Aaron Shaffer on May 4, 2006 03:34 PM
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