2015 Funded Projects

The following eighteen projects were selected from among one hundred sixty-seven proposals submitted in 2015.

This is the first group of projects supported by the Digitizing Hidden Special Collections and Archives awards program. Like its predecessor program, Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives (2008-2014), Digitizing Hidden Collections funds projects in which locally executed protocols contribute to a national good, using methods that are cost efficient and subject to wider adoption. It supports the creation of digital representations of unique content of high scholarly significance that will be discoverable and usable as elements of a coherent national collection.


“All Day Singing”: Preserving and Providing Access to Original Early Twentieth Century Field Recordings in the Frank Clyde Brown Collection ($74,595)

Institution:
Duke University Libraries

Project Summary:
Folklorist, professor of English, and Duke University administrator Frank Clyde Brown collected folk songs and ballads throughout North Carolina in the 1920s and 1930s. Housed at Duke University’s David M. Rubenstein Rare Book & Manuscript Library, the collection of 1,367 songs on 136 wax cylinders and instantaneous discs is an important primary document of American folk song in the early 20th century. Many of the songs are published in volumes two through five of The Frank C. Brown Collection of North Carolina Folklore, a posthumous and comprehensive collection of Brown’s folklore research, published between 1952 and 1964. However, the original recordings, fragile and difficult to play back, have never been widely accessible. “All Day Singing” will digitize the original field recordings using the Northeast Document Conservation Center’s IRENE 2D and 3D imaging system, describe the content of the recordings based on Brown’s field notes, and make the recordings available online.


Bibliotheca Philadelphiensis: Toward A Comprehensive Online Library of Medieval and Early Modern Manuscripts in PACSCL Libraries in Eastern Pennsylvania and Delaware ($499,086)

Institutions:
Lehigh University, Linderman Library; Free Library of Philadelphia; University of Pennsylvania Libraries; Bryn Mawr College; College of Physicians of Philadelphia; Haverford College; Library Company of Philadelphia; Rosenbach Museum and Library; Swarthmore College; Temple University; University of Delaware; Chemical Heritage Foundation; Franklin & Marshall College; Villanova University; Philadelphia Museum of Art

Project Summary:
This project, hosted at Lehigh University Library and the University of Pennsylvania Libraries and involving fifteen members of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL), will provide online access to high-resolution images, with metadata, of 159,512 pages of medieval manuscripts from more than 400 codices plus leaves. These images will be released to the public domain for free use by scholars and the general public and, added to existing digitized resources, will make the overwhelming majority of the region’s medieval manuscripts — one of the largest concentrations in the United States — available worldwide, in their entirety and easily downloadable. By providing unfettered, unmediated consolidated access to such a comprehensive corpus of images and metadata, the project will shape a new understanding of libraries’ and archives’ role in sharing our historical and cultural heritage. Additional member libraries will also contribute previously-digitized manuscripts to the project.


Biodiversity Heritage Library Field Notes Project ($491,713)

Institutions:
Smithsonian Institution; Missouri Botanical Garden, Peter H. Raven Library; American Museum of Natural History; Yale Peabody Museum; Harvard University, Herbaria Botany Libraries; Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology, Ernst Mayr Library; University of California, Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology; New York Botanical Garden, LuEsther T. Mertz Library; The Field Museum; Internet Archive

Project Summary:
The Smithsonian, Internet Archive, Missouri Botanical Garden Raven Library, American Museum of Natural History, Yale Peabody Museum, Harvard University Herbaria Botany Libraries, Harvard Museum of Comparative Zoology Mayr Library, University of California Berkeley Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, New York Botanical Garden Mertz Library, and Field Museum seek to increase accessibility to original scientific documentation through the digitization of entire collections of archival field notes.

Currently, field notes from related persons and expeditions are scattered across institutions, inaccessible to any but the determined researcher. By enabling the complete, online collocation of collections, the Project will significantly improve research opportunities for scholars with interests as diverse as climate change, evolution, history of science, and women and minorities in science.

The Project will coordinate work to digitize field notes, assign metadata, and publish the field notes online through the Biodiversity Heritage Library and Internet Archive, with an emphasis on quality, quantity, and closely related content.


Digitizing British Manuscripts at UCLA’s Clark Library, 1601 – 1800 ($194,225)

Institution:
University of California, Los Angeles

Project Summary:
The 18-month project encompasses the digitization of 300 bound manuscripts produced in Great Britain between 1601 and 1800 and held by the William Andrews Clark Memorial Library, administered by UCLA’s Center for 17th- & 18th-Century Studies. The collection complements holdings of other research libraries and specifically enriches the digital resources available to scholars of British cultural, political, and social history. The manuscripts comprise commonplace books, sermons, inventories, poems, plays, recipe books, accounts, and music. The facsimiles will be stored and hosted by the UCLA Digital Library; metadata will be harvested by Calisphere and Digital Public Library of America for enhanced discovery. Existing cataloging records in UCLA’s online catalog as well as WorldCat will be updated to provide direct access to individual facsimiles through electronic links. The Center/Clark will host a symposium with scholars and librarians to discuss enhancements such as searchable transcriptions and collaborations with existing projects such as EMMO.


Digitizing Over Fifty Years of Jukebox Music News: Cash Box, 1942-1996 ($60,214)

Institution:
College of William & Mary, Earl Gregg Swem Library

Project Summary:
Swem Library will digitize, perform optical character recognition (OCR), and make freely available online for research the issues of Cash Box, a weekly magazine published from 1942 through 1996 for the music and coin-operated machine industries in the United States and elsewhere. Cash Box is an important and internationally significant resource for the study of music history and popular culture. Acquired directly from the publisher along with the copyright, Swem Library’s set of issues is by far the most complete in existence. Although WorldCat indicates that sixty libraries worldwide have copies of Cash Box, most of them have limited runs. This project will digitize 190,000 pages and make them available online through both the William & Mary Digital Archive and the Internet Archive. OCR will allow for keyword searching by individual issue or across issues.


“I thought there was nothing so glorious as war…”: Creating Online Access to the World War I Materials at The Museum of Flight ($58,200)

Institution:
The Museum of Flight

Project Summary:
The Museum of Flight will conduct an 18-month project to create an online repository of digitized photographs, manuscripts, and ephemera from our holdings related to World War I. The collections include approximately 2,500 photos, 25 aircraft and engine manuals, 23 pieces of sheet music, 53 stereo cards, and 6 cubic feet of manuscripts and ephemera. As the United States approaches the 100 year anniversary of our entry into World War I, this project will make significant scholarly resources on the history of aviation during the war widely available and will help deepen our understanding and appreciation of the people who built and flew aircraft during this time period.


New England’s Hidden Histories: Providing Public Access to the Manuscripts of New England’s First Churches, Incubators of American Democracy ($210,000)

Institutions:
American Congregational Association, Phillips Library, Connecticut Conference of the United Church of Christ, New England Historic and Genealogical Society

Project Summary:
New England’s Hidden Histories is a program of the Congregational Library & Archives (CLA) designed to provide free public access to colonial and early American church records. These documents, an unparalleled source of information about ordinary people and the practices they developed to organize, govern, and give meaning to their daily lives, are used by researchers across a range of disciplines — from genealogy and history to epidemiology and orthography. Since 2005 the CLA has been locating and retrieving these documents from church attics and basements, digitizing them, and making them available on our website. We seek to build our existing digital collection with records newly gathered and owned by the Library as well as with records in the holdings of three of our many institutional partners, the New England Historic Genealogical Society in Boston, the Phillips Library in Salem and the Archive of the Connecticut Conference of the UCC.


PBS NewsHour Digitization Project ($500,000)

Institutions:
WGBH Educational Foundation, Library of Congress, Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association (WETA)

Project Summary:
This 30-month project is a collaboration between WGBH, Greater Washington Educational Telecommunications Association (WETA), WETA’s wholly-owned subsidiary NewsHour Productions LLC, and the Library of Congress for the American Archive of Public Broadcasting (AAPB). The project will digitize, preserve and allow public access via the AAPB website to PBS NewsHour’s predecessor programs that are currently on obsolete video formats of 2”, 1”, 3/4” and Beta. The project will digitize nightly programs from 1975 until December 2007 that chronicle American and world history, providing scholars access to original source material, including interviews with presidents and other world leaders and reports on major issues and events. More than 9,000 existing transcripts for the entire 40 years of programs (1975 – present) will be made available. As part of the AAPB, scholars will be able to compare and study the differences between national news and local news from public media stations across the country.


Photographic Collections of the Erie Canal ($59,100)

Institutions:
Erie Canal Museum, Canal Society of New York State

Project Summary:
The Erie Canal Museum in collaboration with the Canal Society of New York State will digitize images from their collections of historic photographic glass and film negatives. Corresponding metadata for each image will be provided. All will be placed online following the model established under a 2014 Hidden Collections project that was also a collaboration of these two groups. The effort will complete the digitization of these most inaccessible formats and create a unique and comprehensive visual archive on the history of New York State’s Erie Canal. The Erie Canal Museum’s holdings consist of approximately 200 glass negatives from several individual collections dating to the 1890s, largely 4″ by 5″. The Canal Society’s contribution comes from its yet-to-be digitized 5,200 medium-format film negatives by Albert Gayer (1897-1976) of Schenectady, NY, a noted transportation historian and photographer.


Revealing our melting past: Toward a digital library of historic glacier photography ($148,586)

Institution:
University of Colorado

Project Summary:
The climate is changing rapidly. The answer to the question of how rapidly, however, depends directly on how long relevant data can be analyzed. Archival data, then, which predates the satellite era, is essential to the study of climate change over time. The National Snow and Ice Data Center (NSIDC) is responsible for managing, archiving, and disseminating cryospheric and polar data. Today, these data are digital. However, hidden within the NSIDC is a collection of historical archival materials that record the earth’s glaciated regions prior to modern data gathering methods, and this archive has no dedicated archivist. We seek to digitize the entirety of the archive’s print glacier photograph collection in order to enable new scientific discoveries related to climate change, and to help tell the story of a warming planet to the public and policy makers. This project will be a rapid prototype for potential future collaborations.


Revealing Visual Culture: Digitizing Modern Illustrated Periodical Tear Sheets in the Walt Reed Illustration Archive ($250,000)

Institution:
Washington University in St. Louis

Project Summary:
The Revealing Visual Culture project will create digital images and supporting metadata for 150,000 modern periodical illustration tear sheets contained in the Walt Reed Illustration Archive at Washington University Libraries. The tear sheets – from over 200 illustrated periodical publications dating from the 1860s to the 1990s – represent the largest known collection in the world. Featuring illustrations from magazine covers, fiction stories, advertisements, news and information articles, and visual essays, the tear sheets offer a rich resource for scholarly investigation in multiple fields. During the two-year project, an outside vendor will create digital files and initial metadata, and Washington University Libraries staff will supervise student assistants to enhance the metadata and perform quality control. The resulting image database will be searchable by illustrators, publication titles, subject matter, date and content. We will provide complete public access to high-resolution images and metadata through Artstor’s Shared Shelf Commons.


Sharing “Gabo” with the World: Building the Gabriel Garcia Marquez Online Archive from His Papers at the Harry Ransom Center ($126,730)

Institution:
The Harry Ransom Center at The University of Texas at Austin

Project Summary:
The Harry Ransom Center proposes an eighteen-month project to digitize major segments of the papers of Gabriel Garcia Marquez (1927-2014), considered one of the most significant authors of the twentieth century and affectionately known as “Gabo” throughout Latin America. His family has given permission to share a huge trove of materials online, including manuscripts for novels, a memoir, screenplays, and non-fiction writings; notebooks; scrapbooks; photographs; and related ephemera. The Center plans to: digitize at least 24,000 pages and make them available as an online digital archive; enable FancyBox viewing of the images from within the finding aid; and implement Mirador Image Viewer to allow scholars to compare drafts of evolving literary works side-by-side. The project will allow unprecedented access to the creative mind of a major contemporary author – through papers never before made available to the public – to a worldwide audience for the benefit of scholars, educators, and students everywhere.


The Digital Archive of Native American Petitions in Massachusetts ($275,795)

Institutions:
Harvard University, Yale University

Project Summary:
A project to digitize approximately 4,500 petitions from and about Native American peoples throughout the Northeast that are held at the Massachusetts Archives of the Commonwealth in Boston. At least one-third of these petitions are authored by Native people themselves and many more are co-authored. Others express the views of non-Native peoples about issues affecting American Indian life. Because Massachusetts was an important trading and diplomatic space, the petitions come from the Great Lakes, contemporary Canada, Maine, and the Connecticut and Hudson River Valleys. The petitions, already having been initially processed, will be thoroughly catalogued with metadata information, and will then be digitized and rehoused with conservation measures. The digital repository will be created at Harvard’s Dataverse and replicated at Yale. This free, publicly accessible resource will enrich Native American studies, American history, anthropology and other humanistic pursuits.


The Edison Collection of American Sheet Music, 1800-1870 ($243,682)

Institution:
University of Michigan

Project Summary:
The University of Michigan Library will catalog and digitize nearly 36,000 pieces of music from the Edison Sheet Music Collection. At the end of this two-year project, catalog records and full-text scans will be discoverable through our local online catalog and through the HathiTrust Digital Library, Digital Public Library of America, and Sheet Music Consortium. This collection is one of the largest of its type, and, with approximately seventy-five percent of its editions not yet represented in the major repositories of sheet music, once made accessible will reveal a significant portion of the repertory that is not yet known. This material was published in the United States between 1800 and 1870 and reveals much about the development of popular music as both a business and an artistic genre; it also provides insight into music-making in nineteenth-century America and reflects the public tastes and social issues of the day.


The Road from Hell is Paved with Little Rocks: Digitizing the History of Segregation and Integration of Arkansas’s Educational System ($106,908)

Institutions:
University of Arkansas at Little Rock, Center for Arkansas History and Culture; Central Arkansas Library System Butler Center for Arkansas Studies (CALS); Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site (CHSC)

Project Summary:
This 18-month project brings together the University of Arkansas at Little Rock Center for Arkansas History and Culture, Central Arkansas Library System Butler Center for Arkansas Studies, and Little Rock Central High School National Historic Site to digitize a range of materials documenting African American education during segregation and the path to integration. Digitization of collections from the three institutions, which include manuscripts, oral histories, photographs, and audiovisual recordings, will be outsourced, while metadata adaptation and creation will be done in-house. In addition to a blog documenting the project, staff will create a virtual exhibit to provide an overview of and historical context for the digitized material. Digitizing this unique group of archival collections will provide scholars of civil rights, race, education, and the law the opportunity to study the evolution of education in Arkansas through the lens of religion, the judicial system, and contemporary students and educators.


UMN Libraries/Umbra African American Digital Collection (UMN AADC): Digitizing African American Archival Materials Across University of Minnesota Collections ($224,450)

Institution:
University of Minnesota

Project Summary:
This two-year project amasses an African American digital collection from every collecting/research area at UMN Archives and Special Collections (ASC). In every collection included in this request, we have already identified materials at the folder/box/collection level that document African American history and culture. Once digitized, 500,000 objects from more than 70 collections across all 12 UMN collecting units will be accessible through local and national discovery platforms. Further, by working across collecting units, we will pilot a methodology for cross-institutional digitization efforts that surface African American materials. This work also supports Umbra: Search African American History (Umbrasearch.org), created by UMN Libraries’ Givens Collection of African American Literature. Umbra is a freely available search tool that brings together digitized materials from US libraries and archives. Umbra recognizes that documentation of Black life is often found in the shadows – or the umbra – of many collections, not just those identified as “African American.”


Voices of the Revolution: Digitizing 30,000 French Pamphlets from the Newberry Library ($219,999)

Institution:
Newberry Library

Project Summary:
Through Voices of the Revolution, researchers will gain access to full-text searchable digital files (an estimated 510,000 pages of text) for 30,000 French Revolution pamphlets. These pamphlets represent an unparalleled corpus of material and support numerous fields of literary and historical study including legal, social, and cultural history, and the history of printing and publication. Voices of the Revolution is a model, cost-effective, rare materials digitization project that combines off-site digitization for a majority of pamphlets with in-house digitization for items too fragile to be removed from the Newberry. Metadata will be derived from existing MARC records for the pamphlets. In order to reach as many potential users as possible, digital files and associated metadata will be available through multiple portals: Internet Archive, WorldCat, local online catalogs, Digital Public Library of America, and HathiTrust. Downloadable data sets of all files and metadata will also be provided for digital humanities scholarship.


YWCA of the USA Digitization and Access Project ($250,000)

Institution:
Smith College

Project Summary:
The Young Women’s Christian Association of the USA (YWCA) Digitization and Access Project will digitize and make available online 379 reels of microfilmed YWCA records, the primary YWCA serials, and YWCA photographs currently held as part of the YWCA of the U.S.A. Records at Smith College Special Collections. The project consists of three phases over two years 2016-2018: (1) digitization of the content, (2) building robust metadata, and (3) public release, promotion, and access. The records addressed by this project span from 1869-1970 and are fully processed, but locked in physical form and therefore not accessible to the widest possible audience. This popular and rich content represents transnational history, as well as the intersections of race, gender, geography, immigration, socio-cultural politics, and U.S. national policy. An organization that advanced equality and the highest principles of democracy, the YWCA records should likewise be broadly available to the public.