Korean Quarterly, IHRC Work to Preserve Digital Information

The Spectrum Trust Foundation of St. Paul, Minn., has awarded Korean Quarterly and Immigration History Research Center a $2,500 grant to support their work to initiate a digital newspaper archive preserving an important Korean-American ethnic publication.

Korean Quarterly (KQ) and Immigration History Research Center (IHRC) received The Spectrum Trust-Asian Pacific Endowment Grant as part of developing a public-private partnership to assist ethnic publishers in meeting demand for online information, funding ongoing operations, and ensuring long-term access to ethnic publications. The IHRC is a migration studies research center at the University of Minnesota with internationally-known archives related to U.S. immigration from 1880 to the present.

"IHRC is joining with Korean Quarterly because KQ is a historically significant publication documenting Korean-American experience," said Haven Hawley, program director of the IHRC and supervisor of the Center's archives.

Ethnic publishers are likely to be hit especially hard by expectations for free online access even as print subscriptions are dropping, said Dr. Hawley. "Without publishers like KQ to document immigrant and multi-cultural identities, we will lose voices that are important to telling the many stories of American identity."

Korean Quarterly was founded in 1997 and has received more than 24 awards for journalistic excellence, including first place in Commentary in the 2009 New America Media Awards. Writers and editors have covered important current and historical issues, many of which were not covered in the mainstream press. When the largest group of Korean adoptees reached their adulthood along with the largest group of second generation in the late 1990s, KQ documented the renaissance of leadership, the arts, literature, and professional accomplishments that resulted.

KQ web master Andrea Lee began a project two years ago to create an archive of selected articles in a searchable format. With technical and archival expertise from IHRC, the publishers will be able to create a searchable, online archive, preserved and migrated to new platforms so that new advances in digital technology can be accommodated.

Project meetings will begin in October 2009, with phases scheduled during the next year for soliciting community support and advertising, planning technical design, conversion and indexing of files, and testing the digital archive for release in June 2010.

The Spectrum Trust-Asian Pacific Endowment Grant will help defray costs of labor by the KQ staff to plan the archive, index materials, and to engage potential sponsors and advertisers for the project. The grant provides only a fraction of the project's cost, however. Most of the work will be conducted through volunteer or in-kind services, and the publisher and research center are applying for additional funding.

For more information on the project, contact Martha Vickery at 651-771-8164 or koreanquarterly@gmail.com.