Some forty miles south of Lexington you’ll find the town of Berea, Kentucky– population 13,561 as of the 2010 census.  The census also tells us that the city is just a little over 9 square miles—it’s not a large place.

Those familiar with the area might tell you about the Berea Spoonbread Festival– held in mid-September each year.  Or about the historic buildings and restaurants, and the art festivals held in Berea.

But Berea is best known as the home to Berea College, a private liberal arts institute.  Berea College was founded some 35 years before the city itself adopted the name for itself, too, after being formally incorporated by the Kentucky state assembly in 1890.

Berea College is unique:  it was the South’s first co-educational and interracial college.  And Berea has a ‘no tuition’ promise—students who are admitted must show great academic promise and have limited resources to attend college.  So the tuition itself is free—and all students work to help pay for other costs. 

Geographically, Berea is on the border of the Cumberland Plateau, abutting the Kentucky portion of the Appalachian Mountain range.  And, as part of the Appalachian Mountain Region, Berea has collected extensive materials that document traditional music and culture from the area—banjo, fiddle, spoken word, old radio programs, oral history, and Appalachian personalities.

Many of these archives are simply not documented anywhere else.  They are singularly unique.

Prior to 2000, the primary aim was preservation of these materials in their native formats, plus providing copies to fight degradation of the source material.  As the collection continued to grow, however, digital copies were made.  But the collection kept growing and growing, from a 500-GB server, to a 1,000-GB (1 terabyte) of capacity, and then all the way up to a 10-TB capacity server.

In 2015, Berea made the decision to move a cloud-based preservation system.  This decision offered several benefits:

  • Storing on the cloud would allow universal access for students, scholars, and historians

  • Cloud storage was more economical than increasing server capacity

  • The collection was continuing to grow, so offsite cloud storage offered the opportunity to do this seamlessly


Berea wanted to make sure the interface to access the archives was user-friendly, and that the preservation system integrated easily with the existing IT structure.  And the migration had to be perfectly planned in order to lose nothing in the process.  Berea hired specialists to assist in the data migration and system set-up, but were able to accomplish much of the process in-house.

Fast forward to 2016, and the Berea collection now exceeds 100 TB, and is available to anyone at  It’s been accessed by scholars around the world–  quite an achievement and triumph of technology that was leverage by a small liberal arts school in Kentucky with an enrollment of 1,600.

Records and information management professionals can appreciate how Berea adopted technology to solve their records and information management program.  Berea ensured awareness and accessibility of a treasure trove of information, collected over dozens of years, and made it universally accessible yet preserved for all time.

Direct access to information is demanded today.  Your management team is likely technologically savvy, and want a system that gives them the information they need, when they need it—fast.   

5i Solutions Inc. salutes the efforts of Berea College.  And 5i can offer you the same kinds of technology to help your business meet and exceed your goals.

  • Document management solutions that provide instant access to all data, or any piece of data
  • Document imaging and processing systems that can extract data from any source.
  • 5i can even show you how to turn handwriting from a pen directly into digital ‘smart data.’
  • And all your valuable archives secured yet accessible from anywhere, anytime in the 5i “Cloud Vault.”

5i Solutions.  One single, secure point of intake, access, and storage.  One singular solution.

5i Solutions, Inc.

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