International Time Capsule Society to digitally preserve thousands of records

Time capsules are an important part of Oglethorpe’s history — from the Oglethorpe Day decennial time capsule to the Crypt of Civilization that will remain sealed until the year 8113. For years, Oglethorpe University has been a safeguard for history.

However, it is estimated that 80 percent of time capsules will be lost in time due to thievery, secrecy or just poor planning. Three decades ago, that fact motivated Oglethorpe alum Paul Hudson ’72 and three other time capsule experts to found the International Time Capsule Society, an organization dedicated to the study and preservation of time capsules—and at the time, headquartered on campus.

Since its creation in 1990, the ITCS has received thousands of time capsule registrations from all over the world. It has been the mission of the ITCS to create a global catalogue of time capsules so that important historical information can be successfully passed down to future generations.

Eli Arnold

Library Director Eli Arnold ’06

Recently, Oglethorpe partnered on behalf of ITCS with the NotForgotten Digital Preservation Trust┬áto manage ITCS and its records. Oglethorpe Library Director and Archivist Eli Arnold ’06 has been overseeing a large-scale transfer of the thousands of physical and digital records currently held in the ITCS directory to NotForgotten, which maintains its own global time capsule registry.

The project includes a process of scanning, transcribing and mapping all time capsule registration documents. At the completion of this project, the records submitted to the ITCS during over three decades will be consolidated with NotForgotten’s extensive library of time capsules, and carefully maintained for centuries to come by the Trust.

“We are very excited to finally be able to digitize the thousands of time capsule registration records received by the International Time Capsule Society over the past 30 years,” says Arnold. “I believe the knowledge gained in processing the applications will offer a wealth of information on the way we remember collectively and what and how we determine what should be remembered.”

The consolidated registry, called the International Time Capsule Registry, is a public resource that anyone can visit to explore the massive collection of time capsules from around the world.

Through this partnership, and the efforts of many dedicated volunteers, the pieces of history collected during the International Time Capsule Society’s 30-year tenure will be better preserved by the NotForgotten project’s resources, ensuring that the time capsules won’t be lost to time.

Visit the ITSC website for more information on submitting your own time capsule.

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