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AUC Woodruff Library Launches Website to Aid Disaster Response Organizations Statewide

ATLANTA, Georgia, December 3, 2020 – The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library received a LYRASIS Catalyst Fund grant in 2019 to create a publicly-editable directory of Georgia’s Natural, Cultural and Historical Organizations (NCHs) to enable quick retrieval of critical location and contact information needed to expedite disaster response. The project was entitled “Using Linked Open Data for Georgia’s Natural, Cultural and Historic Organizations’ Disaster Response” (GaNCH). The mobile-friendly website  resulting from the project has officially launched! Georgia now has a tool for quickly identifying NCH sites in areas impacted by disasters that is adaptable for reuse by other states.

“This project elevates the importance of Georgia’s cultural heritage caretakers and is a national model for emergency management during disasters,” says CEO Loretta Parham, AUC Woodruff Library.

The website reflects the work of fourteen organizations statewide that collaborated for one year, compiling, updating and uploading over 1,900 entries to wikidata, the linked open data database from the wikimedia Foundation. Entries include directory contact information and geographic information system (GIS) coordinates that are displayed on maps on the project website (https://ganch.auctr.edu/), allowing emergency responders to quickly search for NCHs by region and county in the event of a disaster. The website’s easy-to-use interface enables institutions to retrieve data by county or Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency (GEMA) region.

According to Venessa Sims, Director of Emergency Management, Georgia Department of Agriculture, “This innovative tool can be used to inform situational awareness, facilitate timely flyovers after an incident, and provide targeted and direct response and recovery efforts. NCH institutions provide a critical legacy to the state and enhance economic development; the data that has been gathered by the GaNCH team will have a lasting legacy on awareness of NCH institutions in the state and better inform local and state emergency management efforts.”

Georgia has extensive and diverse natural, cultural and historic sites that preserve and document the unique history and culture of the state, including libraries, museums, archives, historical societies, historic sites, state parks, and performing arts organizations. These NCH organizations’ sites are critical to cultural tourism. An up-to-date and comprehensive inventory of existing NCH sites is essential to preventing loss of important NCH resources and limiting the financial impact of a disaster.

Project partners:

Georgia Association of Museums and Galleries
Georgia Council for the Arts
Georgia Department of Natural Resources, Historic Preservation Division
Georgia Emergency Management and Homeland Security Agency
Georgia Historical Records Advisory Council
Georgia Public Library Service
Georgia’s Virtual Library
Heritage Emergency Response Alliance
Performing Arts Readiness
Savannah Heritage Emergency Response
Society of Georgia Archivists

About the Library

The Atlanta University Center Robert W. Woodruff Library partners with the nation’s largest consortium of historically black colleges and universities: Clark Atlanta University, the Interdenominational Theological Center, Morehouse College and Spelman College to provide information management, instruction and access to a variety of global information resources acquired and organized in support of teaching and learning, scholarship, and cultural preservation of the Atlanta University Center.

The Library’s Archives Research Center is noted for its extensive holdings of materials on the African American experience. A state-of-the-art learning facility, the Library has evolved into a model repository of information resources and is a frontrunner in innovative delivery of digital resources. The AUC Woodruff Library is the winner of the 2016 Excellence in Academic Libraries Award in the university category from the Association of Collegiate and Research Libraries (ACRL). Library CEO Loretta Parham was named the ACRL 2017 Academic/Research Librarian of the Year. These top honors recognize academic libraries and librarians for delivering exemplary services and resources in support of their institutional missions. For more information, www.auctr.edu.


LYRASIS , a technology and services membership 501(c)(3) non-profit supporting enduring access to our shared academic, scientific and cultural heritage through leadership in open technologies, content services, digital solutions and collaboration with archives, libraries, museums and knowledge communities worldwide. With 1,700+ institutions supporting LYRASIS’s 10 Community Supported Programs and another 200 institutions that use its hosting and migration services, members enjoy the economies of scale and the shared benefit coming from the effect of networks.

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