Monday, April 22, 2013

Carolina Baptist News and the Problem of Margins

Here is one more quick item spotlight. We digitized this material a few months back but I had forgotten to share it on the blog until now. The item in question is a serial in four volumes called Carolina Baptist News. This serial was particularly memorable because it used colorful paper and images and had many neat ads and foldout pages bound in with the newsletters. One of the project members remarked on the homegrown quality of serial. It is mind-boggling to think of how quickly publication layouts and conventions have changed thanks to computers. Above is volume one of four (go check out all four on the Internet Archive!). Here is a link to the March/April 2013 Carolina Baptist News. You can find several recent back issues on their site if you are interested.

You might notice that the margins on this serial are a bit wonky in places. To digitize materials, we need around a 1/4 inch space in the margins so that everything comes out clearly. However, sometimes that is a struggle with certain materials for a variety of reasons. We do our best to solve these problems, but if nothing can be done we tend to err on side of digitization regardless. Although some text can be lost, we want to share as much information as possible. Generally, even if a little bit is missing, items can still be read. More than anything our aim is for access. Anyway, that's just one of the possible snags in selecting and preparing items for digitization. The creators had no way of knowing how their products would be used in the future so they did not care how close their text was to the margins. Ideas like that can get you wondering how a few generations down the road people might be manipulating our documents in an entirely different fashion. But that's an endless what-if game.

Friday, April 12, 2013

The Religion in NC Collection in Motion!

Project team heading to Wake Forest University to pick up the next batch of materials to be digitized.

Shaneé Murrain and Phu Nguyen push book trucks full of materials to be loaded onto a moving van. These materials will be transported back to their home in Wake Forest's Special Collections & Archives at Z. Smith Reynolds Library after having been digitized in the Duke Divinity School Library. The digitized books are now available on the Internet Archive site for the Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection.

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Our mountain work

I'd like to spotlight a serial, Our mountain work, from the UNC branch that went live on the Internet Archive recently. There are twelve volumes available. The first volume dates around the 1910s but the bulk of the serial, volumes two through twelve, cover the mid-1940s to the late 1980s.

As I prepared this serial I found myself admittedly distracted by the content. My part with the NC Religion project asks me to pull and examine items for any conservation issues that might delay digitization. According to my job description, I'm more concerned (or should be) with the physical context of the item rather than the intellectual content. But sometimes when neat material comes along, I can't help but let my eyes wander...

Our mountain work was published by the Home Missions Committee of Asheville Presbytery. The serial focuses on the Mountain Orphanage, which is known today as the Black Mountain Home for Children, Youth & Families. The Black Mountain Home site provides a historical background of the institution. Just to borrow some of their information - Reverend R.P. Smith founded the orphanage in 1904 with a four-room cottage filled with six children. Rev. Smith was orphaned at 12 himself. Asheville Presbytery provided funds for Rev. Smith's initiative and the home expanded quickly. The publication, Our mountain work, was headed by the Asheville Presbytery and detailed many of the happenings of the orphanage such as children's birthdays, graduations, charitable solicitations among other news related to the Asheville Presbytery. For instance, here are a few shots of an article requesting book and magazine donations for the orphanage's library:

For anyone with an interest in Asheville, Presbyterianism, orphanages, children, education and outreach, Our mountain work would be a great serial to consult. Or, if you're just plain curious then click on over to the publication on Internet Archive. And skim through these other neat serials while you're at it!