This Week in NDSA: Digital Preservation in our Communities

This Week in NDSA, Research Chairperson Roxanne Brazell talks about the Historical Society of Palm Desert and how we can get involved with digital preservation in our communities!

Are you looking for ways to enhance to your archiving and preservation skills? Historical societies and museums are a great way to develop digital archiving skills and build your resume. I recently connected with my historical society and found “they have collections available that five people could work on digitizing full-time for the next five years” as explained by the Resident Digital Archivist. Historical societies are reliant on volunteers, and are looking for the talents we possess to help them digitize and archive their collections.

In my community, the Historical Society of Palm Desert (HSPD) Museum located in southern California is home to several exhibits including aerial maps, the valley’s water district, famous places and people, and even a fire equipment exhibit. Maps adorn the quaint walls of the museum as welcomed visitors enter and are greeted by a docent.

Historical Society of Palm Desert

Outside shot of the Historical Society of Palm Desert

The HSPD currently provides one-on-one assistance to individuals seeking documents and photographs of events and people for education and research purposes from the City of Palm Desert and some of its surrounding cities. Many of the images are digitized onsite as individuals request a document or photograph due to the limited volunteer staff the HSPD has on hand. The museum has an Archivist on staff that catalogs the collections. The volunteer Digital Archivist usually digitizes photographs of the HSPD’s events as time permits once a week . The HSPD generally uses Photoshop Elements 13 for minor edits and for its user-friendliness in embedding metadata in the images. The organization is also looking at Past Perfect, since it’s the cataloging industry standard and they can potentially host some of their exhibits online. Currently, the HSPD is not hosting any of its collections on the Internet.

Like most organizations, they are concerned about copyright and privacy issues that come with hosting images on the Internet. The HSPD is just beginning to consider these issues. I am excited to join the organization and take part in their ongoing activities. You can find out more about this organization at:


To learn about volunteer opportunities  in historical societies and museums in your community check out:


Roxanne Brazell

Research Officer



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