From the Archives: Creating a digital collection

Two weeks ago, I started my new part-time job at Northeastern's Archives & Special Collections (where I interned this past academic year). The project I've been asked to complete is the creation of a digital collection that gives researchers virtual access to a series of scrapbooks put together at the turn of the twentieth century by Marjorie Bouve, a Boston University alumna and founder of Northeastern's Bouve School of Physical Education. This involves scanning each page of the scrapbooks and then cropping each TIF image file so that we have both a full-page image and individual images of each photograph of item on the page. Thus, I spent seven hours Tuesday doing this:

Once all of the images have been created, we have to enter all of the "metadata" (library-speak for "information about information") into our database and customize the interface Northeastern uses to show their digital collections, an open source software program called Greenstone. Hanna worked tirelessly on the last Northeastern project, the Freedom House Photographs, which you can view online to get a feel for what the end product may look like.

Since this is a scrapbook collection, and we are hoping to emulate the feeling of looking at individual scrapbook pages to a limited extent (sans fancy software like the British Library uses for their prize collections) we're looking to do something similar to what Simmons College did with the scrapbooks of one of their own alumni, Ruth Mitchell Wunderly, also a fun collection to flip through.

Next time I do some scanning on Northeastern's spiffy book scanner, I'll take my digital camera and get some shots of the contraption in action -- it's pretty awesome, despite the fact it reminds me of the radial x-ray machine they use at my dentist's office.

1 comment:

  1. That sounds like a cool project!

    Photo collections are so great. It's awesome to think of all the interesting images that are out there, carefully scanned and stored.

    And, we hope, thoroughly protected with a plan to avoid format obsolescence.