Meet the 2024 TDL Awards Recipients

We at Texas Digital Library are continually inspired by the amazing work going on within our member libraries and other organizations throughout Texas and the region – work that furthers TDL’s mission of ensuring long term, equitable access to digital content of value to research, instruction, cultural heritage, and institutional memory. We are honored to play a part in facilitating some of that work, and the TDL Awards are an opportunity for us to recognize the labor, creativity, and expertise of the library and archives workers in our community.

Every year through the TDL Awards, we honor individuals and groups that have made outstanding contributions to the advancement of digital libraries in various areas, including:

  • Excellence
  • Individual Impact
  • Outreach
  • Scholarly Communication Impact
  • Student Excellence
  • Trailblazer
  • Service to the TDL consortium

Below are the words of the nominations for each awardee, anonymized and edited for context and length.

Excellence Award

Bethany Scott and Emily Vinson, The Gulf Coast LGBT Radio and Television Digitization Project

The TDL Excellence Award honors a specific project that demonstrates overall excellence in one or more areas of digital curation or digital library practice.

The winners of the 2024 Excellence Award are Bethany Scott and Emily Vinson for their work on The Gulf Coast LGBT Radio and Television Digitization Project.

The Gulf Coast LGBT Radio and Television Grant Project stands out as a commendable example of excellence in the field of digital curation and scholarship. This project, focused on digitizing and preserving archival radio and television programs documenting Houston’s LGBTQ history, showcases a commitment to preserving local cultural heritage and promoting accessibility. The project digitized 3,500 unique items that represent thousands of hours of recordings from the 1970s through the 2000s, including programs like After Hours, Lesbian & Gay Voices, Wilde ‘n’ Stein, and TV Montrose. 

During this multi-year effort, the project has made significant strides in ensuring that the voices and experiences of Houston’s LGBTQ community are not lost to history. A key aspect of the project is its emphasis on inclusivity and accessibility. By providing transcripts or closed captions for all recordings and making them available online, the project ensures increased accessibility for users to engage with this valuable cultural resource. This commitment to accessibility underscores the project’s dedication to serving diverse audiences and promoting a more inclusive understanding of LGBTQ history.

Moreover, the project’s collaborative approach through post-custodial partnerships highlights the importance of collective stewardship in preserving cultural heritage. By leveraging the expertise and resources of multiple institutions, the project fosters a sense of shared responsibility for safeguarding LGBTQ history for future generations. 

Additional steps for this project includes collaborating with a Houston artist to create an online exhibit to contextualize and highlight the collections further.

By honoring the rich legacy of LGBTQ radio and television programming in Houston, this project not only preserves history but also empowers future generations to learn, grow, and advocate for a more inclusive society. 

You can explore the collections on the University of Houston Libraries’ AV collections repository.

Individual Impact Award

Cindy Boeke, Southern Methodist University

The Individual Impact Award celebrates an individual who has made significant contributions and improvements to the field, demonstrated through leadership in digital initiatives and / or the development of students and early-career professionals.

The winner of the 2024 Individual Impact Award is Cindy Boeke, Assistant Director of the Norwick Center for Digital Solutions at Southern Methodist University.

From her nominator: “I can think of no one more deserving of this award than Cindy.  She has been the leading force in building the SMU Libraries Digital Collections”. When Cindy began her work at SMU in 2008, the Library had virtually no digital assets. Today, thanks in large part to her efforts, the library has over 90,000 digital objects and those items have seen 7.5 million page views!

Five years ago, Cindy began her work in supporting the development of the Voices of SMU Oral History Project, a collaborative research project between SMU undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, librarians, and alumni to document the histories of SMU’s underrepresented alumni. These oral history interviews document Texas history, including the desegregation of higher education, the experiences of African American, Latinx, and AAPI university students, and student activism in Texas. Cindy is single-handedly responsible for developing the comprehensive workflow—whether students conduct interviews in SMU’s state-of-the-art studio, in the field, or during the earliest days of the pandemic, via Zoom. She ensures that Voices of SMU’s efforts adhere to the best practices for oral history, metadata, and digital collections. 

Cindy is a tireless advocate for digital scholarship, giving papers and talks to diverse audiences; and staying in constant touch with Library staff, always looking for new materials to digitize and make available online. She has written 17 successful grant proposals and participated in numerous fundraising initiatives that have garnered over $450K towards digitizing and presenting items from the SMU special collections. Cindy’s enthusiasm for the work and the team she works with is contagious. She has been a generous mentor to over fifty graduate and undergraduate students who have passed through the team during their time at SMU. She fosters their development as both humans and researchers, instilling in them characteristics that bode them well in studies and careers.

Outreach Award

Margaret C. McKee, The Menil Collection

The TDL Outreach Award honors an individual or team that demonstrates a creative, innovative, and successful approach to increasing accessibility of digital information, promoting engagement among new users, or increasing public awareness of an organization’s digital collections.

The winner of the 2024 Outreach Award is Margaret McKee, Director of Research Resources at the Menil Collection.

Over the past year, Margaret led efforts to publicize and promote the free online, copyright education sessions offered by Open Copyright Education Advisory Network (OCEAN). OCEAN wanted to try to reach as many cultural heritage workers as possible with their free workshops about complex copyright matters that affect digital libraries and the communities they serve. Margaret’s passion for outreach and expanding and supporting new and community-based practitioners led her to research local, regional, and national cultural heritage practitioners and systematically and persistently reach out to notify them of these free, virtual copyright courses. Many, if not most, people who work in cultural heritage have questions about copyright, yet very few have the opportunity for expensive or time-consuming continuing education courses. Margaret’s outreach efforts resulted in a substantial number of registrations for the online courses as well as increased participation from community-based museum and heritage professionals from under-resourced institutions. 

Margaret’s quiet, substantive commitment to equitable access to top-notch copyright education is reflected in OCEAN’s impressive numbers (averaging almost 250 attendees per workshop!). From her nominator: “Margaret’s effort and drive are a key part of [OCEAN’s] overall growth and success – she does the work without being personality-driven. This is a rare form of leadership.”

Margaret currently serves on the advisory board of the Open Copyright Education Advisory Network (OCEAN) and recently completed her term as Public Relations and Communications Officer on the executive board of the Visual Resources Association (VRA).

Scholarly Communication Impact Award

Shelley Barba, Texas Tech University

The Scholarly Communication Impact Award honors an individual or group that has demonstrated leadership in or advancement of scholarly communication.

The winner of the 2024 Scholarly Communications Award is Shelley Barba, Digital Scholarship Librarian at Texas Tech University. 

Shelley has over 15 years of experience working with digital libraries and online collections. As the Digital Scholarship Librarian, she leads the curation of theses and dissertations at Texas Tech University including university policy and procedure development and outreach to student authors on the “hidden-curriculum” of modern research. She has for many years, participated in the TTU Graduate Writing Center’s Thesis and Dissertation Boot Camp events, where she covers not only the process and expectations for ETD submissions, but also related topics of copyright, author’s rights, and how those issues can impact future scholarship for students.

In addition, she works with Ian Barba, Research, Instruction, & Outreach Librarian at TTU, to lead LaTeX for Beginners workshops which are aimed a graduate student audience. Unlike tools like Word and Google Docs, LaTeX isn’t nearly as intuitive, so many students need help to get from a point of never having used LaTeX to being able to comfortably create, edit and format documents. LaTeX support was a blind spot at TTU before these workshops started.

In addition to her support for TTU students and faculty, Shelley coordinates the publication of the International Conference on Environmental Systems conference proceedings annually. She has also served on several TDL related groups including the Awards Committee, Taskforce on Creating State-wide Curriculum for DSpace Training, and the TCDL Conference Planning Committee (including being a chair of conference planning committee).

Student Excellence Award

Noah G. Garcia, University of North Texas

The Student Excellence Award honors an individual student who has demonstrated overall excellence and significant contributions to digital library practice.

The winner of the 2024 Student Excellence Award is Noah G. Garcia, Graduate Student Assistant at the University of North Texas Digital Projects Lab (DigiLab). 

Noah is an M.F.A. Candidate in Studio Art and is concurrently pursuing a Graduate Certificate in Archival Management at UNT. Noah seeks to combine his past interdisciplinary experiences and future M.F.A. in a career focused on museum or library archives while continuing to produce and exhibit art. 

Noah has been working at UNT Libraries DigiLab since September and has made a huge impact in the production and digitizing of unique collections.

The lab received a Rescuing Texas History Digitization Grant from the Badge of Pride Organization for a collection containing over 200 individual pins and buttons. Noah had the idea to design magnetic 3-D models to hold the buttons in a consistent and safe manner to improve the scanning workflow. The models allowed him to work quickly and accurately with the Phase One system’s camera. Without Noah’s out of the box thinking, DigiLab would have spent a significant amount of time per item to get the pins and buttons to lay flat on the bed and to get accurate focus considering the various depths of the items.

One of the pins from the digitization project. Available at:

Trailblazer Award

Sidney Lu, Loïc Duggal and Hoang Nguyen

The Trailblazer Award honors the work of an individual or group who has used limited resources in innovative ways to create, maintain, or support digital collections. TDL strongly encourages applications from libraries, archives, and cultural heritage institutions that may not have full-time staff dedicated to digital projects but that have found creative and innovative ways to develop a digital presence.

The winners of the 2024 Trailblazer Award are Sidney Lu, Loïc Duggal and Hoang Nguyen for their work on the History of the Japanese Farmers in Texas digital exhibition.

This exhibition is the product of a year of research and teamwork, and was designed by two undergraduate students, Loïc Duggal and Hoang Nguyen, under the guidance of Dr. Sidney Lu, Annette and Hugh Gragg Associate Professor of Transnational Asian Studies at Rice University.

This digital exhibition presents the amazing yet less-known stories of the earliest Japanese immigrants in Texas. They came to Texas as immigrant farmers at the beginning of the twentieth century to pursue personal success on the one hand and to escape the rampant racism against Asian immigrants on the U.S. West Coast on the other. By starting farms along the Gulf of Mexico and cultivating rice, vegetables, and fruits, they contributed to agricultural development in Texas as well as fought racial prejudice in the state. Viewers can find biographies of various Japanese farming families in Texas and stories of their endeavors in the state and beyond.

The three-person team worked closely with the local Japanese American community in Houston, especially the Japanese American Citizens League’s Houston Chapter, to collect sources, pictures, and stories. For nearly a year, the team met every two weeks to discuss the structure, design, as well as stories each individual or family presented in the exhibition. The team drafted and carefully revised each story presented in the project and also made connections among them.

This exhibition challenges the conventional, West Coast-centered, narrative in Asian American History and brings the stories of Asian Americans in Texas to the center. It illustrates the hardship and perseverance of early Japanese immigrants in Texas and highlights their contributions to the state. It gives voice to the largely forgotten early Japanese American immigrants in Texas and recognizes the great contributions they made to the economic growth and cultural development of the state.

Funded by the Fondren Fellows Program at Rice, the team curated this exhibition to celebrate the Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month in May 2023 at Rice University. It is now a permanent digital exhibition on the website of Houston Asian American Archive.

TDL Service Award

TDL GIS Interest Group

The TDL Service Award is given at the discretion of TDL staff to recognize a member of our community who goes above and beyond in service to the TDL consortium.

This year’s TDL Service Award recognizes the TDL GIS Interest Group

  • Cynthia Henry, Texas Tech University — currently the chair of the IG
  • Alex Marden, UT Austin — currently the vice chair of the IG
  • Michael Shensky, UT Austin
  • Joshua Been, Baylor University
  • Whitney Russell, UT Arlington
  • Tom Rohrig, Texas Tech University
  • Kate McNally Carter, University of Houston
  • Jenifer Flaxbart, UT Austin
  • Sylvia Jones, Southern Methodist University
  • Kristina Claunch, Sam Houston State University
  • Katherine Strickland, UT Austin

The TDL GIS Interest Group gathers both experts and newcomers to the field of Geographic Information Systems (or GIS), seeking to support a Community of Practice around GIS and serve as a source of expertise for all consortium members.. Founded in 2020 by Michael Shensky (UT-Austin), the group has since developed into a model of community-led service, providing valuable opportunities for learning, networking, and development of shared resources among GIS experts and GIS-interested folks within the TDL membership and beyond.

This group early on saw a need within the library community and Texas, and have organized themselves with a little support from TDL around meeting this need. Among other things, the group has developed multiple learning opportunities for experts and newbies alike, including webinars and online learning sprints. It has also surveyed the GIS landscape within Texas higher ed through an online survey. And so many other things. Their meetings and events are fun and welcoming, even to novices like me, and they’ve done a fantastic job increasing the level of knowledge and awareness within the TDL membership (and outside of it too!).

TDL Awards Recipients were honored in opening plenary session of TCDL 2024. For more information about the TDL Awards and to read about past years’ winners, visit

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