My first digitization project was a collection of photographs from President Truman’s first inauguration. I scanned pictures of Truman’s family, Vice President Alben Barkley, the inaugural ball and parade, and the inauguration ceremony. Archivists must wear gloves when handling the photographs to prevent damaging them. After scanning, I began the process of entering the description of the photographs and putting them on the Harry S. Truman Library’s website. For each photograph, I wrote a brief title and recorded its size, color, and photographer. I also described each photograph’s content and identified any significant people, which sometimes required research. Once the descriptions were complete, the photographs were uploaded to the website.
I’ve also digitized hundreds of pages of documents in addition to these photographs, including State Department memos to President Truman regarding the Korean War and several of Harry Truman’s notebooks from his military training in World War I. Handling President Truman’s personal belongings has been one of the most exciting parts of my internship. I’ve also gained an appreciation for the art that goes into properly scanning frail and awkward documents.
Here are a few pages from one of Truman’s notebooks:
By Kelly Hangauer
Hello friends. I realize that I never explained the extensive planning process I went through for the John B. Gage Omeka site. Before I created an account, I caught wind that I was supposed to draw out a map of how I wanted to organize the materials of my “exhibit.” Because Omeka is geared towards archivists, librarians, and historians, the idea of an exhibit is an important one, as the site encourages people to approach it as they would a room with walls. This method of visualization helps create a concrete system of organization. After compiling a list of audio files, potential photographs, and commentary, I drew out this diagram of how I envisioned the site looking:
I have continued to stay pretty true to my original conception, but like I mentioned in my last post, I have severely cut down on the amount of audio I will feature. Taking the time to envision the site before I started uploading a bunch of files has really helped me to stay focused. It can be a little daunting when one is suddenly immersed in twenty, thirty, forty items that all require their unique bibliographic and metadata information. These pictures, although rough, were important to lessening the amount of stress I experienced while creating my beautiful exhibit. More to come soon!
By Autumn R. Neal
In one of my last posts I mentioned that the Edgar Snow Project is a map based exhibit and that each stop on the map has either a photo, document, or book excerpt. Like the text that I mentioned before, one of our assignments last semester was to find 12-15 exhibit items each for our sections. These could be letters, photos, journal entries, newspaper articles, or anything interesting that would add to the narrative. For this we went to the Missouri State Historical Society Research Center-Kansas City where the Edgar Snow Papers were held up until this summer (they are now at the LaBudde Special Collections). I spent quite a few hours there reading through boxes and boxes of letters and looking at a million photos. I had been interested in archival work before we started the project and this experience made me want to do it even more.
Going through the boxes of letters and photos was tedious but there are a lot of interesting things in there. Humor in the 20s and 30s was on a whole other level than it is now. Obviously there were also serious topics discussed so it was also an educating experience. It also made me very grateful that I have a surplus of patience and can read cursive. The letters in this photo are pretty clear but there were some that were difficult to read.
I didn’t really look at this part of the assignment as work though because I had such a good time doing it. I feel like these letters should be published as a book. Aside from the obvious political importance of Snow’s work, his writing would be interesting for anyone who likes to travel and wonders what it would have been like in the 20s.
The Kansas City Public Library welcomes talented graduate students to apply for digital history internships at the library for the Summer 2014 semester. Interns will earn course credits and gain hands-on experience with the library’s digital history projects, especially the Civil War on the Western Border project. Opportunities exist for students to work in the following areas:
- Creating K-12 lesson plans and curricular materials based on the site (Honorariums exist for lesson plan creation);
- Content development;
- Designing or creating an RFP for a mobile history app;
- Creating online versions of our local history exhibits; or
- Metadata, digitization, and curation through the library’s content management system.
Interested graduate students should follow the instruction on the How to Apply page.