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.


  1. I also love the variety of hand-compiled newsletters, cookbooks, etc. Even with tight margins and challenges to OCR, it's great to see them available and promoted online.

    1. I find that I often get a little too absorbed in the cookbooks for my own good while I'm going through the monthly set of items. They are just so fascinating. And the serials appear monolithic and intimidating, but once I start looking inside they have such great material. I agree, it's wonderful to see them online and getting use!