Black Hills Knowledge Netowork

About BHKN

Tuesday, 26 April 2016 00:00

Our Team and Project Partners

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The Black Hills Knowledge Network is a full time collaboration between our team and community partners. Our full time staff and summer interns work with public libraries, towns, and reservations in the Black Hills region to post local news, history, and resources. Our thirteen partner libraries and communities include: City of Box Elder, Custer Public Library, Deadwood Public Library, Edgemont Public Library, Phoebe Apperson Hearst Library (Lead), Oglala Lakota College Library (Kyle), Piedmont Valley Library, Rapid City Public Library, Grace Balloch Memorial Library (Spearfish), Sturgis Public Library, City of Summerset, Wall Public Library, and the Whitewood Public Library. To learn more about our partners, scroll down.

Our Team

Jared McEntaffer web

Jared McEntaffer, Ph.D.

Project Director & Regional Economist

 Contact Jared by email or at 605-716-0058

Dr. Jared McEntaffer is project director and regional economist with the Black Hills Knowledge Network/South Dakota Dashboard. He came to the project in 2017 from the Pennsylvania State University where he taught several economics courses. A South Dakota native, Jared received his PhD in economics from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln in 2015 where he co-authored several labor market and workforce studies while working with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln Bureau of Business Research. His research fields include program evaluation, economic forecasting, human capital formation, economics of education, and regional labor force development. 


Callie Tysdal

Project Coordinator and Data Specialist

Contact Callie by email or at 605-716-0058

Callie Tysdal is a regional geographer and evaluation specialist with a bachelor’s degree in Geography and Art History from Macalester College and graduate certificate in program monitoring and evaluation from American University. Callie became a data miner for the South Dakota Dashboard and project coordinator of the Black Hills Knowledge Network in 2014. Callie currently spends her working hours aggregating, visualizing, and disseminating data both for public consumption and for contracted evaluation work. 


Our Content Contributors


Screen Shot 2018 12 18 at 11.49.56 AM  Sunny Gaughen

  Content Editor

  Sunny Gaughen is a South Dakota and Black Hills native who is glad to continue contributing to BHKN. She began working with the Black Hills Knowledge Network and South Dakota Dashboard projects as a summer intern in 2015 and 2016 and continues to contribute news content, editing, and communications consulting. Sunny graduated from Vassar College in Poughkeepsie, New York, in May of 2018 with Bachelor's Degrees in Political Science and Russian Studies. She currently calls Rapid City home. 


jake mortenson

Jake Mortenson, Ph.D.

Consulting Economist | Website:

Jacob Mortenson, a native of Fort Pierre, SD, is a consulting economist for BHKN. Jacob recently earned his PhD in economics from Georgetown University in Washington, DC. His research has appeared in academic journals, as part of the Federal Reserve Board's working paper series, and has been featured by the Wall Street Journal. In addition to academics, Jacob has worked for a non-partisan agency in the U.S. Congress forecasting federal income tax revenue. He currently resides in Sioux Falls, SD, and stays busy spending time with his family, doing contract work in economics for several entities, and occasionally slapping leather on his family's Hayes, SD cattle ranch.


Donnie Kieffert

Donnie Keifert

Historical Services Volunteer

Donnie Keifert was born and raised in Spearfish, SD and primarily focuses on the history of the Black Hills area. He graduated from Black Hills State University with a bachelor’s degree in history as well as a certificate in historical site interpretation. His work background includes multiple historic sites and museums including the Sanford Lab-Homestake Visitor Center, Mount Rusmore National Memorial and is currently part of the education team at the Journey Museum & Learning Center. 


Scott Hall

Scott Hall

Content Focus: Scott is a contributing member of the Rapid City Public Library and Black Hills Knowledge Network community partnership. He is a responsible for content pertaining to Rapid City government and for maintaining most of the government resource pages on the BHKN.

Biography: Scott graduated with a bachelor’s in Theatre Arts and a minor in English from California Polytechnic State University, then obtained his Masters in Library Science from Clarion University in 2016. He has worked professionally in libraries for over 12 years and is currently working as a library associate and nonfiction selector at the Rapid City Public Library. He joined the RCPL/BHKN team in May 2012, then took on the government section and team lead role in fall 2012. Scott has called Rapid City home for over 25 years.



Sam Slocum

Content Focus: Sam serves as Rapid City Public Library liaison and coordinator for the Black Hills Knowledge Network.

Biography: Sam earned a bachelor’s degree from BHSU in History and Library Media and went on to earn a Masters in Library Science from Clarion University. She has a professional background in museums, academic, and public libraries. Sam is the Partners and Digital & Special Collections Librarian at RCPL. She was born and raised in Rapid City and joined the BHKN team in 2011.



Cheyenne McGriff

Content Focus: Cheyenne is our Wall liaison, courtesy of the Wall Economic Development Corporation. She posts content on current economic and community issues in the Wall area. She also helps maintain our Wall permanent pages.

Biography: Cheyenne grew up on a ranch near Wall and graduated from Wall High School in 2012. She received her B.A. in Communication Arts from Chadron State College in May 2015. Cheyenne was hired as the first Economic Development Director for the City of Wall in September 2015. Her role as the Wall Economic Development Director is to build upon community strengths and encourage community collaboration to address Wall’s housing needs, work toward community development, retain and expand current businesses and attract new businesses and community members to the Wall area. Cheyenne loves living in Wall and enjoys spending time exploring the Badlands and Black Hills.


Our Partners

The Black Hills Knowledge Network reflects the work and investment of a growing range of partners in the region. The John S. & James L. Knight Foundation, the Bush Foundation, and the John T. Vucurevich Foundation have provided major funding for this project. Other partner funding organizations include: Black Hills VisionFriends of the Rapid City Public LibraryRapid City Public Library FoundationRegional Health, the South Dakota Community Foundation, and the South Dakota Humanities Council. Generous partner content providers include: Black Hills CorporationBlack Hills PioneerChiesman Center for DemocracyKOTA / My TownNative Sun NewsRapid City Journal, Lee Enterprises, the Rural Life and Census Data Center atSouth Dakota State University, and Vantage Point Historical Services, Inc.

Black Hills Knowledge Network community data is powered by Minnesota Compass, a social indicators project led by Wilder Research. Additional state and local level data is provided by the SDSU Rural Life and Census Data Center. These data partners, plus our sister project North Dakota Compass, form a tri-state cohort dedicated to bringing you the best community information. 

Interested in being a sponsor? Contact us and donate today!

The Black Hills Knowledge Network is generously supported by our Board of Directors. Members include Eric John Abrahamson (Chair), Benjamin Snow (Vice Chair), Letitia Lister, Barbara Garcia, Cortney Slaight, Matt Hasvold, Regina Jahr, James McShane, Benjamin Snow, Ronald Amodeo, and Kyle White.


Wednesday, 02 July 2014 19:54


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The sources and information collected by the Black Hills Knowledge Network reflect a wide variety of points of view and perspectives. Our primary goal is to locate and make accessible, credible and authoritative information that is useful and interesting to the people of the Black Hills region. As with all library materials, opinions represented by linked sources do not necessarily reflect the perspectives of the Black Hills Knowledge Network’s participating libraries, partners or sponsors.

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 19:53

Rights and Permission

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All of the images featured on our website are either public use photos taken with permission, or photographs commissioned by the Black Hills Knowledge Network. Please feel free to use any of our images. Photos commissioned by the Black Hills Knowledge Network are available at a higher resolution, and can be purchased for commercial use. If you are interested in any of our photographs, please e-mail [email protected]

All of the community indicator graphs are also available for use, free of charge. In the top right hand corner, there will be a downward arrow in a gray box. Click on this, and it will give you an option to download the image in four different formats. We simply ask that you credit the Black Hills Knowledge Network as your resource.

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00


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There are currently no openings at the Black Hills Knowledge Network. 

Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

History of BHKN

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The Black Hills Knowledge Network owes its beginning to the Black Hills Area Community Foundation, the Rapid City Public Library, and Eric Abrahamson, Director of the Black Hills Knowledge Network. The Black Hills Knowledge Network was launched as a beta site in 2009. In 2011, with leadership from the  Black Hills Area Community Foundation and funding from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and local funders, BHKN expanded to include a consortium of public libraries on a new digital platform. In 2012, with support from the Bush Foundation, a robust community indicators element was added. The project now connects numerous public libraries, communities, content providers, and funders who all have a vision for a community information source that is accessible, useable, dynamic, and helps our local leaders make educated decisions.  


Wednesday, 02 July 2014 00:00

Frequently Asked Questions

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Below is a list of frequently-asked questions to help you navigate the Black Hills Knowledge Network and find the information you are looking for. If you do not see an answer to your question below, please feel free to email [email protected] or call (605) 716-0058.

What does the Black Hills Knowledge Network do?

The Black Hills Knowledge Network is an online community information service that connects people to local information and ideas within the Black Hills region. We work with librarians and community organizations to aggregate and organize local news, resources, data and historical archives from a variety of sources to engage and educate citizens and community leaders regarding the value of local information for decision-making, with the goal of enhancing the quality of life in our communities. Learn more about the Black Hills Knowledge Network here.

How do I find information about my town?

Listed on the Black Hills Knowledge Network homepage are links to profiles for Butte, Custer, Fall River, Lawrence, Meade, Oglala Lakota, and Pennington Counties, as well as the Pine Ridge Indian Reservation and the Black Hills Region as a whole. These profiles include drop-down menus listing major towns. For each county and town we cover Civic Life & History, Demographics & Population, Education & Training, Government & Citizenship, Health & Wellness, and Work & Economy. Data regarding specific towns and South Dakota as a whole can be found on the South Dakota Dashboard.

How do I find South Dakota data?

All of our statewide data is hosted on our sister site, the South Dakota Dashboard. The South Dakota Dashboard provides data from federal and state sources related to towns, cities, metropolitan and micropolitan areas, counties, and the state. We include indicators on demographics, economics, health, housing, workforce and incomes, which are further broken down into dozens of categories such as race, age, gender, and education. We provide user-friendly access to over 400 charts, maps, and data-sets.

Where do I find recent local news stories?

Find local Black Hills news stories in our news feed, search by specific tags, or explore our digital archives. Launched in 2016, users are now able to interact with staff from the Rapid City Public Library during business hours for live feedback. Read more about this here.

Where can I find information on a specific news topic?

We use a digital archiving system called Diigo for just this purpose. This archive is intended to help organize various online sources to allow users to do in-depth research on a particular topic. Many of our posts include a link at the bottom of the text that will take you to a subject file in Diigo, or you can access a list of topics here.

How can I get more information on a topic on the Black Hills Knowledge Network site?

Contact our staff at 605-716-0058, at [email protected] or Ask a Local Librarian!

How do I find local historical photos and documents?

We use Biblioboard to house several thousand digital historical photos and documents. You can access the Black Hills Knowledge Network Digital Archives here.  Find more information on other regional and national anthologies, visit our External Archives page.

I heard you have historical records related to community issues. How do I access your Issue Hub pages?

For local information including historical documents, government rules and regulations, and local contact information, click on "Issue Hub" at the top of the main menu. Our issue hub pages are made and curated by local librarians and our staff in order to provide updated information on a variety of local topics and issues.

We also host a variety of curated primary document anthologies on Biblioboard, many of which include compiled histories and pamphlets on the area. Learn more here.

Can I hire you for grant-writing trainings or local data consulting?

Yes! The BHKN Team is available for demonstrations on how to find historical documents, images, and other research queries. Contact our staff at 605-716-0058 or at [email protected] for more information or to set up a demonstration.

Through the South Dakota Dashboard, our team offers consulting services using South Dakota-specific data sets and networks to provide clients with reliable, up-to-date, and easy-to-use resources and reports. These services include writing research reports, creating infographics, developing live and embeddable digital charts for websites, as well as providing presentations and data training for nonprofits, government agencies, researchers, and community organizations. Learn more about these services here.

How can I get involved?

Visit our Get Involved page to find community resources, information on volunteering, and a database of regional elected officials. We also partner with Helpline 211 to connect volunteers to the organizations and nonprofits that need them. Looking for more community information? Visit our Issue Hub page for background information on local hot topic issues. We're always looking to add more information, so contact us if you need information on a topic you can't find. 

Or, become a donor! Click here for more information.

How do I sign up for the weekly newsletter?

Click on the “Newsletter” link in the upper right hand corner of this page and enter your email address. Our newsletter highlights trending topics on the Black Hills Knowledge Network, as well as upcoming projects and new information resources. You will also have the option to sign up for the South Dakota Dashboard newsletter, a monthly mailing that covers the state’s top data stories. 

525 University Loop, Suite 202
Rapid City, SD 57701
(605) 716-0058   [email protected]