Thursday, December 20, 2012

Using the NC Religion Collection Part 2: Viewing

Now for Part 2 of Using the NC Religion Collection! This time I'm going to discuss viewing the actual materials themselves, so this post should be a little more fun since we will peek inside one of the collection's items. NB: Click on the photos. They get bigger.

*Before we move on though, one neat little detail I didn't mention in part 1 is that any time the thumbnail of an item appears on the Internet Archive, it shuffles through all of the pages rather than presenting a static scan of the front cover. Think of it as a mini preview.*

After you have selected a material that interests you, then you will click on the item title and be directed to its individual entry. Let's pick something neat, like this cookbook, Kitchen kapers. The entry for any item should resemble the screenshot below:

Kitchen kapers main screen

All of the customary data (author, subject, publisher, call number, etc.) is listed to the center of the page along with more technical information on the scanning process lower down. To the top-left is a box with choices on how to view the book. Items are available to be read online, as a PDF, an EPUB, a Daisy, a DjVu, through Kindle, or plain old Full Text (you don't get any of the pictures here though). There are also help and bookmark links. The more straightforward option, of course, is to read the document online without downloading anything, so we'll pick that one.

So after selecting the read online version, a new page should pull up that looks something like this:

Kitchen kapers two-page view

Let's talk about page view options first. In total, there are three ways to view an item. To the lower right-hand corner of the page, those icons appear on the bottom gray navigation bar. The first icon is the one-page view. Which looks exactly like what it sounds like:

Kitchen kapers one-page view

The second icon directs you back to the two-page view that loads on default. I prefer this view personally because it simulates turning through the pages of a hard-copy book.

However, should you either have an idea of what you're seeking out and want to scan through quickly or if you need to get a bigger picture of the item, then you can select thumbnail view, the third icon, to see several pages at once:

Kitchen kapers thumbnail view

Just to the right of the thumbnail view icon are two magnifying glass icons, one with a plus sign and one with a minus sign. You can click on these to zoom in or zoom out on any of the three view options. Click until you reach the desired magnification or distance. This capability can really come in handy for pages that might be a bit more difficult to read, such as the item below (in one-page view) that contains cursive handwriting:

Zoomed in

Then, to the right of the zoom in/zoom out buttons are a left arrow and a right arrow. You can use these icons to proceed through the book or return back to earlier pages. These arrows operate most effectively in the two-page view and there's even a cool page turning effect! Actually, you can click on the sides of the pages to turn them yourself too. With the one page view, the arrows scroll through the single pages. So you can pick to 'flip' through with the arrows or resort to the scroll bar. Same with the thumbnail view. Yet with the thumbnails, you definitely need to use the scroll bar as the arrows will 'flip' through each page before scrolling down on the screen.

Another way to maneuver through the item, is the black line that appears directly beneath the digitized copy. If you hover your mouse near the black square with the hand icon, it will display your current page status. Additionally, you can approximate a page location, click on the line and the be taken there instantly. This functions for all three of the views.

If the navigation bars get in the way of the text, you can click on the downward facing triangle above the left/right arrow icons and they will be hidden temporarily. When you need the navigation bars again, click on the now grayed out, upward facing arrow and they will return.

Navigation bars hidden

 Now let's venture to the top bar. Here's a refresher picture:

Refresher screenshot: top bar

At the very left corner is a title link that will lead you back to the item's main page. To the right is a search box (we'll get back to that in a minute), a play/pause button, which will flip through the pages for you, an i icon that has item information and reading formats, a share icon that will allow you to share the item through social media and, finally, a speaker icon that will read the item to you (we'll get to that one too!).

The search box is good for basic keyword queries. For instance, I like marshmallows, so maybe I want to track down all the recipes that feature marshmallows in this cookbook. Once I submit my search, my screen will look like this:

Search capability

In this example, I've already opened up to one of the pages containing recipes with marshmallows. Mmm, check out that Frozen Fruit Salad recipe! Marshmallows and mayonnaise. As you can see, the search term is highlighted in the text and at the bottom navigation bar there are little locational thumbtacks that indicate where else the search term pops up within the whole item. If you hold your mouse over the tack, then a snippet preview will show up. By clicking on the tack, you will jump automatically to the page that includes the search term.

The last thing I want to discuss is the read aloud capability. The computer will highlight segments of text and read it aloud, chunk by chunk. Occasionally, the breaks between sections are unnatural and the voice is a tad robotic, but the sound is clear. As a warning, I will note that the read aloud works best for standard text. It seems to stumble over format quirks like handwritten pages or diagrams/illustrations. To exit the read aloud selection, either click on the icon again or turn the page.

Read aloud
Thanks for sticking with me on this doozy of a post. Best of luck with any future searches!

All images from Kitchen kapers (1952).

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Using the NC Religion Collection Part 1: Searching

Here are a few ways to get oriented with the NC Religion collection on the Internet Archive. NB: Click on the photos. They get bigger.

NC Religion collection

Above is a partial screenshot of the NC Religion collection main page. In the top center is an About statement that explains the project with a link to Browse by Subject/Keywords. Nearby is an option to look at All items (most recently added first). Which method you select depends on what you're searching for in the first place.

The Browse option will take you to page that looks like this below:

Browse option

You can then skim through the listing of terms and select whatever appeals to your research. Once you select a term, it will direct you to a filtered listing that looks like so:

Search Results screen

Sifting through the All Items option takes you directly to the same type of listing as that screenshot above, but without the filters. On the very right-hand side of the page is a search bar where results can be narrowed by selecting specific collections, creators and file formats. Results can also be sorted according to relevance, average rating and download count. But the default is by date. At this point, the Browse and All Items have the same capabilities. However, by choosing a term through Browse, the results are more defined upfront.

All Items option

In the top right corner of the page above is a link to run an advanced search. The advanced search form incorporates the entire Internet Archive, so you would need to know distinguishing details to conduct a search that would retrieve NC Religion-related materials. This is probably not the best strategy for searching within the NC Religion collection unless you are on the hunt for an explicit set of items.

Returning to the NC Religion main page, the remaining top half of the screen features a Spotlight Item and FAQ on the Internet Archive (left side) and Most Downloaded Items Last Week (right side). The lower portion of the page looks like this:

Lower half of NC Religion collection
In the center is an area for Related Collections, Recently Reviewed Items and This Just In, linked titles of newly added materials. To the right is a listing of the Most Downloaded Items.

But the very middle of the page offers another possible search route. Sub-collections divide and organize the collection in an easily accessible way. The sub-collections for NC Religion include:
Just by looking at them, the types of materials that fall under a given sub-collection are readily transparent and should appear jargon-free. Due to the parameters of the project, each item is assigned to one sub-collection. Although some items might fit under two or even more sub-collections, we have tried to select the most appropriate overall category.

After clicking on a sub-collection of your choice, let's say Sermons of North Carolina, you are directed to a page that looks an awful lot like the NC Religion collection main page. Basically, each sub-collection has its own main page that resembles the home page with a few minor differences. From the Sermons sub-collection page, you can take a similar search approach by deciding to Browse Collection, to Browse by Subject/Keyword or to pull up All Items. With Sermons as well as Meetings, Proceedings and Conference Reports, you have the additional opportunity to skim the holdings by title.

Sermons of North Carolina sub-collection
Essentially, the sub-collection-directed search method is almost identical to a general NC Religion collection search method. The major difference is that sub-collections allow you to narrow your results by considering only a certain variety of materials rather than the NC Religion collection at large. Sub-collection searches are helpful if you have a distinct desire, question or material in mind. If your approach is more indefinite, then a basic collection search would aid in serendipitous finding before constricting topics.

And that's a brief overview of search possibilities with the NC Religion collection on the Internet Archive. Whew! Next up, I'll talk about viewing an item.

Friday, December 14, 2012

Religious Education

Catholic Education in North Carolina
As a former Catholic school girl, I delighted in coming across this title on religious education in North Carolina. I won't lie, one of my favorite parts of prepping the items for digitization is looking at the old photos. Published in 1958, Catholic education in North Carolina provides a snapshot of Catholic schools through the perspective of religious  educators at the time. Rev. Vincent S. Waters, then Bishop of Raleigh, mentions in his introduction:

"As we believe, the most important item about a school is its curriculum and therefore, we have introduced to you first this important subject. You will find following this introduction a separate list of these all important Christian Social Principles." (vii-viii)

After an explanation of Christian Social Principles, the book launches into a discussion on the core of Catholic education:

"The answer is, those which deal primarily with man's basic relationships.

Religion                           Social Studies                                 Science
(Relationship to God)     (Relationship to Fellowman)          (Relationship to Nature)

Looking back to our social teachings, it is evident that the three subjects above compromise the core of Christian education.
All Subjects
(Relationship to Self)
Physical fitness
Economic competency
Social virtue
Cultural development
Moral and spiritual perfection
The complete picture above can produce the integrated personality that only Catholic education can produce." (x)

Rev. Vincent S. Waters, D.D.

The contributors to this work are occupied with the concept of part-to-whole and a conscious formation of personal unity through education in order to perfect a harmonious, holistic self. There are seven pages extracted from a previous teaching guide that explain how a person can interact in a Christlike way at home, school, the parish, the community, work and recreation!

Some of my favorites:

  • "School life is a vocation not a mere preparation for life." (xi)

  • "The American democratic way of life is in accord with Christian teaching." (xiii)
  • "Order is a necessary means to Christian social living." (xiv)

  • "The Seventh Commandment binds the worker and the employer." (xiv)

  • "Proper evaluation of the gift of speech." (xv)
  • "Recreation is a means of self-fulfillment rather than an escape." (xvi)
  • "Regard for modesty as a requisite for charms." (xvi)

Asheville Catholic High School - Asheville
For anyone interested in religious education, this item is a goldmine of information. It combines both educational theory with practical facts on schools across North Carolina. The book profiles many schools all the way from elementary to collegiate level. Additionally, there are several black and white photos included of the school buildings, classrooms and students and teachers. The final section of the book shows some authentic examples of Catholic school curricula as well as enrollment statistics from 1941-42 to 1957-58.

If you're interested in religious education in particular, check out a few related materials: History of Catawba College (1927)A long range program for campus development : proposed Fayetteville Methodist College, Fayetteville, North Carolina (1957) and A history of Sunday school work in the North Carolina Conference, Methodist Episcopal Church, South (1925).

There is also a neat serial on a theological seminary slated for possible digitization in the near future. I hope we are able to get it live on the Internet Archive soon. The serial spans from the 1950s to the 1980s, so it is interesting to see how it evolves in content and structure. Although skimming through thick sets of bound serials can be daunting, I enjoyed observing the changes in course offerings and professors, how the information was arranged, which details were added and which were taken away over time and so on.

Check regularly for new materials added each month!

Saint Benedict's School - Belmont

All images from Catholic education in North Carolina (1958).

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Just like the real thing

Before I started as a student worker with the NC Religion project through the UNC-CH division, I knew the basics about the Internet Archive, but I hadn't spent much time browsing through its vast holdings. Now that materials are live on the site, I have renewed awe for the project.

There's something satisfying about seeing a finished product, like a deep sigh of completion. My job usually involves detail work prepping the titles for digitization, so I am concerned with the physicality of the texts. Generally, I focus on getting my hands on the correct item and double-checking topics such as page count, possible conservation woes, potential difficulties with digitization, etc. So it's easy to lose the forest to the trees.

Once a month, I drop things off to Wilson Library's Digital Production Center and I ogle at the Scribe machines (they are so, so neat), but that's about as close as I get to cutting-edge technology. And, at heart, I tend to be a misty-eyed Luddite in a brawl between the analog versus the digital. With archival materials there are many ambiguous issues to hammer out. Are we trying to convey the information or the thing itself? Which is more valuable if it comes down to it, informational content or physical context? Well, luckily, this project is able to document and preserve both aspects.

Flipping through the pages of the pamphlet pictured above, one of the first items to be digitized back in September, I am amazed at the rich, texturized quality of the images. They look like you can reach out and touch them. Take a peek! Thanks to hard work and planning, this digitization endeavor is freeing up volume after volume of religious information to the public.