Texas Tech University Begins Digitizing Collection of Vietnam Refugee Documents

Posted on January 27, 2012 by


From The Daily Toreadoer

The Texas Tech Vietnam Center and Archive received a grant to begin the three-year long process of digitizing their collection of documents of war refugees in Vietnam during World War II.

They received the grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission, said Mary Saffell, assistant director of the Vietnam Center and Archive.

The collection contains more than 13,000 documents from Vietnamese citizens who applied to leave Vietnam during and after World War II, she said.

“They were applying to something called the Orderly Departure Program,” Saffell said, “and that was a United Nation High Commission for Refugees program that was set up to help people safely and legally leave the country of Vietnam after the fall of South Vietnam.”

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Student workers will scan in each document one at a time by hand, which will then be added to an online archive that can be accessed anywhere in the world with an Internet connection.

Not only will the digital archives be useful to researchers, Saffell said, but to Vietnamese-Americans looking to connect with their culture’s past.

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