Summit Memory has officially marked 10 years of sharing Summit County’s history, digitally. Since the beginning, Summit Memory has served as a an online collaboration to make available historic photographs, documents, newspapers, artifacts, audiovisual resources and more from our many contributors.
"It’s going to provide unprecedented access to the collections of historical and cultural institutions"
The project began with a gift from the estate of Robert W. Little, a World War II veteran, historian and librarian who retired after nearly 30 years with the Library. As a local history enthusiast and collector, Little desired to see his estate support local history. With funds from the Robert W. Little Foundation, the Library was able to embark on an ambitious project – to not only digitize and share its own local history collections, but to invite other history organizations throughout the county to join in as well. The initial gift supported the project for its first three years.
At the time of Summit Memory’s launch, Judy James, now retired Special Collections Division manager, stated, “It’s going to provide unprecedented access to the collections of historical and cultural institutions […] It’s our gift to the community. If you have all this cool stuff and nobody knows you have it, it doesn’t exist.” Under the direction of project manager Joanne O’Dell, who was instrumental in the planning and implementation of the website, Summit Memory had six partners and 4,500 digital items online within its first year.
The Library has continued to administer Summit Memory in the years since, offering access to the software that powers the site and informational resources and expertise to our contributors at no cost to them. A decade later, Summit Memory has grown to include 20 contributors, over 60 collections and more than 25,000 digital items. The software has also grown and changed, allowing for a better user experience and more community interaction through comments, tags and built-in sharing features. In 2018, Summit Memory will become more mobile friendly, as well as bringing new contributors and collections on board.
Special thanks to all of Summit Memory’s contributors for helping make Summit County's history accessible to our communities and beyond. Thank you also to Summit Memory's many visitors. Your interest and millions of clicks over the last decade prove that Summit Memory is a valuable, unique resource for Summit County history.