This project and all the metadata that goes along with it would not have been possible without the assistance of the wonderful people with the Mark Catesby Centre. As I am not a naturalist, I have relied on their expertise to make this digital collection as usable as it is wonderful. I know that anyone who looks at these works will be able to learn something new about Mark Catesby and the natural world around us.
I have so enjoyed working on this project and learned a lot about the region I live in! While out exploring around the Southeast, I have stumbled upon some of the same things Catesby saw almost 300 years ago. Well, we all do every day, because squirrels… But some of my discoveries have been exciting for me and I spotted them either miles into the woods or on my patio.
Explore the collection! And as you explore your neighborhood, South Carolina, and the Southeast, see what you can find from Catesby’s Natural History!
389 pages of the civil rights collection Records of South Carolina Council on Human Relations (SCCHR) are now accessible and searchable here on Digital Collections. The SCCHR was a local organization devoted to promoting civil rights and bettering the lives of African Americans in South Carolina and the rest of the South. In these select administrative papers, dated before the Civil Rights Movement during Post-War America, the SCCHR is yet to be formed, and members are still part of the larger Southern Regional Council (SRC) as a state division. As the South Carolina Division of the SRC, the organization’s goals were to foster civil rights by identifying the needs of the underrepresented and marginalized groups in South Carolina and find ways to address these needs through spreading awareness, programs, and other means (South Carolina, 2021). These extensive documents provide insight into how the organization grew and changed and the organization’s inner workings of organizing committees, promoting and performing outreach, and solidifying the foundational ideas what would eventually become the SCCHR.
These 389 pages amass only 8 folders of this collection, which consists of 1,700 folders and spans 1934-1976, so there is certainly more to come. At this time, there is no landing page for the collection, so this link (same as the link above) will take you to a results page with the searchable documents. Another way to search for this collection is to type in the organization name into the search bar in the Digital Collections homepage. To search within the collection, you can enter your search terms into the search bar above the list of items. You can also search for specific items by selecting linked terms within each item record.
As mentioned in previous blogs about the Zeutchel and James Clyburn, Digital Collections is working with materials from the South Carolina Council on Human Relations (SCCHR), a prominent civil rights organization in the South. In 2020, we received a Digitizing Hidden Collections Grant through the Council on Library and Information Resources. Since January we have been working through the metadata. Our team has met several times to create metadata guidelines specific to the SCCHR Collection.
This project’s metadata is entered in a hierarchical structure, meaning overarching information is entered for the folder to summarize the entirety of its contents followed by more specific metadata at the item level with more specific information. The folder description broadly examines the larger themes of all items in a physical folder while the item descriptions are specific to the individual speeches, correspondence, documents, etc. The three following images show the various stages of metadata completion. Image one depicts the first stage of data entry in Microsoft Excel. The peach-colored row contains folder level metadata while the following rows contain item level metadata, with the fill color alternating for every other item. Some fields (columns) have the same information throughout the spreadsheet, but several are blank as not all data is needed for individual items.
To edit and upload the metadata for a collection we utilize ContentDM, a content management system. This system allows us to review, edit, and upload the materials. In image two, you can see the folder level title highlighted at the top of the box to the left. The text expanded under that is the item level data. In the box to the right, the metadata assistant can make final edits. Image three shows the same folder information online from the user end. These two images show the difference between what we see compared to the user’s view.
The SCCHR saw a great deal of change over the years and did an excellent job of saving related documents. This means that we really have to stay on our toes to keep up with this metadata, but the end result is incredibly rewarding. At the end of May, we were able to upload our first batch of metadata which is now accessible online. We are excited to share these updates and hope you enjoy taking a look at our recent work. Stay tuned for more updates of our journey with this grant project!
YouTube and Facebook ads. Texting supporters to remind them of their polling location. Presidential campaigns have changed significantly over the years, but catchy slogans and memorable logos have always been part of campaigning. A selection of campaign buttons makes up a new digital collection from South Carolina Political Collections (SCPC) in conjunction with the exhibit “In the Arena: Presidential Campaigns and Conventions” showcasing presidential campaign materials from 1940 to 1984.
SCPC’s holdings include a large number of objects such as buttons, pins, pens, medals and other “ephemera” relating to politics. The digital collection draws on these materials. Some of the materials are duplicated from our collections, like a Hollings for President bumper sticker. Some of the material has been collected or donated by SCPC staff or members of the public. This is especially true of our more recent campaign buttons.
While our collection of presidential ephemera is greatest for the past few election cycles, SCPC chose to digitize those from 1940 to 1984 to highlight some of the older and rarer materials we have. For example, while Barack Obama or George W. Bush buttons might still be common these days, few people can say they have seen a Wendell Willkie button or a guidebook to the 1961 Inauguration.
What’s the first campaign you remember? For me, it was the Bush-Gore campaign – I was in second grade; for my dad it was the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon campaign; and for my grandfather it was probably the 1940 Roosevelt-Willkie campaign. Check out the digital collection and let us know which is your favorite piece of campaign memorabilia!
One of Digital Collections’ state-of-the-art scanners, that you may remember, is the planetary scanner known as the Zeutschel (or more affectionately “the Z”). We’ve used it to scan all sorts of oversized materials like the Piranesi Volumes and even a quilt. Now, we’re using it to scan a whole bunch all at once.
With the Council on Library and Information Resources (CLIR) Digitizing Hidden Collections Grant, Digital Collections is working with the South Caroliniana Library to digitize the South Carolina Council on Human Relations Papers. This project stretches about 35 linear feet which is about the same number of boxes. The Z makes it possible for use to scan through this massive project 8 folders at a time. You can see in the diagram how we fit all 8 folders onto the scanner. To explain how this works, the program (Omnipage) we use with the scanner allows us to split the bed into 8 virtual beds attached to one scan head that creates and sorts the files separately.
Please click on ‘download this file’ in the above media player to play the video.
The work that the program does significantly decreases the work that we manually do with the smaller flatbed scanners at our desks. Streamlined file naming, almost no image post-processing – like straightening and cropping, and perfectly sorted, high-quality TIFFS (the archival best practice for preservation) and JPEGS (the ones we use for our repository), all done automatically. And it all happens relatively quickly! Though not as quickly as the time-lapse presents it – I am not super-human, unfortunately.
My name is Anthony Sax and I spent the spring 2021 semester interning with the Digital Collections Department of the University of South Carolina Libraries. I am an MLIS student at the U of SC about half way through my graduate program. Working with digital collections and archival work is a relatively new experience for me. I got my undergraduate degree from Iowa State University in Supply Chain Management. I then spent a few years working in marketing and digital technology positions before deciding that I wanted to shift my career path and go back to school for my MLIS.
My internship in Digital Collections also had a relatively unique structure. My internship was to work on creating metadata for the Giuseppe Garibaldi Collection. The work had already been started by a previous intern so my job was to complete the second half of the collection. In addition I live in Iowa so I did the work and coordinated with my supervisor remotely. The ongoing pandemic has unfortunately given everybody a chance to practice working remotely so the experience of working on this internship went pretty smoothly and I was very grateful to get a chance to work on a project like this despite not living in South Carolina.
The Giuseppe Garibaldi Collection is a very interesting collection of documents concerning Giuseppe Garibaldi an Italian general and patriot who lived in the 19th century. Garibaldi was a widely renowned general who played a key role in the Italian unification and the beginnings of the subsequent Kingdom of Italy. The documents in the collection consisted of a variety of types includes letters, photographs, drawings, postcards, and maps. The letters comprised the first half of the collection and the metadata for them had been completed before I started on the project. My half of the collection included photographs, drawings, postcards, and maps. The vast majority of the documents in the collection that had writing on them were not in English so I had to translate them so that I could get an understanding of what the document was. In addition to getting some great experience digging through a collection, understanding the materials, and creating metadata for them I also got to tackling running the created metadata through OpenRefine and CONTENTdm in order to upload the material into the digital collections system.
Going through the collection I found a number of items that I thought were very interesting. The ones that stood out to me the most however were the collection of maps in the collection that traced the movements that Garibaldi made in various military and exploratory engagements.
March 13, 2020 we all went home to work remotely, due to COVID-19. As of April 5, 2021 we’re all back on campus. Some of us never stopped working from home, and several of us returned to part-time in-office operations. Throughout the difficult changes and adaptations, no Digital Collections services were interrupted. While this has been difficult on our staff, we have persevered and we’re beginning to return to more regular operations.
This past Tuesday we gave a tour to University of South Carolina president Bob Caslen. We’re proud of our work here in Digital Collections; digitizing primary sources for access and education is the foundation of all we do. We got to share this enthusiasm with Caslen and we’re looking forward to a better, safer year in 2021. Stay well!
As we enter into the 3rd year of the Historic Southern Naturalists Project, Josh Schutzenhofer (UofSC Digital Collections) and Linda Smith (McKissick Museum, UofSC) take a look at some of the different specimens and artifacts that have been digitized and catalogued during this one project.
The Historic Southern Naturalists project encompasses many institutions across campus and even the state. The collections are as varied as the contributors and working in the UofSC Digital Collections I am one of the first to see the project contributions as they come together. How exciting?!
We are now entering our final year of this multi-year project and I can tell you…I have seen some pretty interesting items and so, I thought I would share a few of the varied objects I have come across over the last two years…
Where do we start on this journey? Let’s look at the science first…plants, shells, minerals…there are some specimens that are outrageously beautiful and some that are dull and honestly ugly. (shhhh! We won’t identify the ugly ones!)
Take a look at these plant specimens:
Check out this beauty of a mineral:
And the shells…
How about an early preview of a meteorite which hasn’t been uploaded yet?
While sharing the scientific images and data associated with them are extremely interesting and important work, connecting these objects with correspondence, manuscripts, post cards, etc…is also important.
Correspondence like this one:
“My dear sir
I have not been unmindful of you since I came up to Aiken, & have several times been on the point of writing, but my time has been almost wholy engulfed in preparing my 3rd Fasc[icle].
With respect to the Phaenograms in your list of desiderata, I fear I can do but little towards supplying your wants. I have not collected, but very sparingly for several years, in this department _ and a large majority of those you indicate, I know I have not. Neither of the Kalmias, nor Saxifraga erosa, mentioned in your last, have I got. Some of the ferns I have in my herbarium, but no duplicates. The Listeras and Cranichis, I have collected, but of this last I furnished you whilst in St. Johns.
My duplicates are all packed away in a box, which it would take me several days to over-haul and examine. and if the search for them would be rewarded with success, I would cheerfully undertake the task to oblige you, but knowing there are not more than two or three things which could be found_ I must postpone it until you call for them in propria persona – I wish I had a stronger inducement to offer.
I might do something for you among the Crypts. if I knew your wants in their orders.”
Manuscripts like this one:
Finally, historically speaking, documenting the objects associated with the naturalists gives another perspective to these historical naturalists.
Like Thomas Cooper’s watch fob given to him by Thomas Jefferson or these scientific slides.
Above: Four glass slides stored in a specially designed plastic storage container.
Below: A slide of wood lily (Lilium philadelphicum) during cell division by meiosis in the archesporial stage. Prepared by A. C. Moore when he was at the University of Chicago (as evidenced by the labels on the slides). This slide documents the first known reference to the term ‘meiosis’ in history!!
Wow! Such a varied assortment of institutions, objects, and information is collected in this one project. But stay tuned…we have one more year of exciting images to share!
“Digital Preservation Is People” – Trevor Owens, The Theory and Craft of Digital Preservation, 2018
UofSC Libraries has made much progress from last year’s blog post. A few areas of celebration stand out on World Digital Preservation Day. First, the Digital Preservation Team has a final draft of the Libraries’ new Digital Preservation Framework to preserve selected digital, born digital, and digital-only materials for future generations. The team came together in summer 2019 for a brainstorming meeting and from there, a smaller group began work on policies and procedures for the Framework. With guidance and support from administration, we have begun to act on theseprocedures, thanks to thisgreat team of people:
Second is the work that has gone into setting up Archivematica and AWS services by Lance Dupre, Digital Repository Librarian, and Matt Darby, Systems Administrator. They set up Archivematica, connected it to AWS, and trained us to move digital collections to Deep Archive. Our Research Data Librarian, Stacy Winchester, is actively moving 15 years’ worth of digital collections, creating metadata, processing, and moving the files. Kate Boyd is beginning this method with about four years of digitized microfilmed newspapers.
Finally, the digital preservation work that Moving Image Research Collections (MIRC) staff do to preserve the unique and difficult to manage film collections must also be noted. Unlike photographs and manuscripts, film needs to be digitized to remain accessible at all. There is currently not a solid set of digital preservation standards for motion picture film. Nevertheless, Greg Wilsbacher, curator for the United States Marine Corps Film Repository and Amy Meaney, curator for local TV news, including WIS, care about preserving these materials and are constantly learning and finding new ways to ensure their viability for years to come. Even though the digital access files they create for films do not retain enough resolution to effectively ‘preserve’ the film, Greg and Amy labor day-in and day-out to move these large access files into the Deep Archive.
Greg and Matt worked together to develop a set of scripts for automatically processing up to 20 Marine Corp films at a time. As films are manually digitized during the day, the scripts transcode or create a streaming access copy and a pro-res mezzanine copy while also checking for errors and uploading to Deep Archive at night. Although this sounds like backup, they are adding fixity checks and other details along the way as well. The process is not perfect because the file created is more for access than preservation but saving that access file still allows for future researchers to learn from the content. Greg can bag, check, and push to the cloud 40 to 50 films a week using these automated protocols. 400 terabytes or over 3,000 films of Marine Corps data have been transferred to AWS.
In 2018, Amy won a CLIR Recordings at Risk grant to digitize and preserve 16mm film outtakes from WIS-TV, shot between 1966 and the early 1970s. 208 rolls totaling approximately 169,000 feet of film were transferred. This selection was prioritized because the films from this period often contain magnetic soundtracks, many of them beginning to deteriorate. Today, while the digitized files are safely deposited in Deep Archive, she continues to make these materials available online for researchers, manually adding them to the repository.
In writing the Digital Preservation Framework, we initially focused on digital collections and born digital materials. However, Heather Heckman, our AD for Technology, and former Head of MIRC, pointed out that analog materials are gradually degrading; in some cases, therefore the scanned item becomes the only copy of the content. This is a particular problem for magnetic media, including the soundtracks on the WIS film. As a result, we created another category, digital-only, to signify those materials where there was analog, but now there is only digital. People like Greg and Amy are managing to move the file to digital just in time. It may not be perfect, but in the spirit of the POWRR group, it is what we can do now.
Let us take this day to celebrate the people responsible for keeping vast amounts of unique and varied materials accessible for researchers in the future.
Of all the varied collections available in our CONTENTdm database, no collection, in my opinion, is as universally engaging, entertaining and historically valuable as the films from Moving Image Research Collections’ Fox Movietone News. At over 7,000 items (and growing), it is also the largest single collection our the Digital Collections repository. The majority of the collection consists of Movietone newsreel outtakes and unused content from the 1910s-1940s covering a vast array of topics.
The University of South Carolina’s Moving Image Research Collections is one of the biggest academic film archives in the country. It is part of the University Libraries’ special collections and features tens of thousands of films. This vast and ever-growing archive includes news film from local television stations, home movies, films from the United States Marine Corps, a collection of Chinese films and more. But the collection that started it all was the donation in 1980 of the Fox Movietone newsreel materials.
In the days before television, newsreels were shown in theaters before feature films. These short-subject films included stories on national and global politics, historic events, arts, fashion and entertaining human-interest stories. Newsreels covered topics as wide ranging as the meeting between Franklin Roosevelt and Winston Churchill in Casablanca, (partial video embedded; full video: https://digital.tcl.sc.edu/digital/collection/MVTN/id/6797/rec/28) the sculpting of Mount Rushmore (https://digital.tcl.sc.edu/digital/collection/MVTN/id/4491/rec/1), and the hairstyle fashions of 1928(https://digital.tcl.sc.edu/digital/collection/MVTN/id/2638/rec/10).
The migration of the Fox Movietone collection is part of a larger effort to make the Moving Image Research Collections’ holdings more discoverable and widely accessible online by transferring their collections to our CONTENTdm repository. I encourage you to explore the Fox Movietone News collection; try the search box below. You can watch some complete newsreels from World War II by clicking here. Also, check out the many other online collections available from MIRC by clicking here.
While intended to be humorous, the above picture isn’t entirely untrue. As an introvert now working from home, several aspects of my work method have changed. Since my job has taken an interesting turn, for this blog I thought I would update you all on what life is like away from the office and the new project I’ve undertaken!
I am very introverted and have always been a homebody, so I’ve handled the office to home transition well! While I miss my in-office co-workers, my mom and pets have proven to be wonderful temporary substitutes. As I get older, I continue to better understand the importance of family time, so I am thankfully not stuck at home, but am safe at home with those I love! I’ve enjoyed starting my mornings slow, setting my own work hours (in the afternoon as I am a night owl), and finding simple daily pleasures like enjoying the sunshine outside while working on metadata (oh, and not having to find parking in downtown Columbia). This time at home has challenged me to find creative ways to stay focused and energized but has also taught me a lot about my work ethic and allowed me to enjoy my job in a new way.
When we transitioned from office to home, I only had one folder scanned in advance from the M. Hayes Mizell collection. However, not having access to my digitization workstation and accompanying equipment in order to complete my regular work has freed up my schedule to allow for the completion of a full metadata assessment for the Mizell collection. As metadata work kept me quite busy in the office, reviewing content already uploaded to our CONTENTdm repository was not an immediate priority. Now that I have time, I am carefully reviewing every object that has been uploaded, looking through the metadata for any errors in order to correct those and better the online information. To help keep track of my progress, I have created a spreadsheet (pictured above) where I make note of what needs editing, what is correct or already edited, and what objects will need transcripts added. I have reviewed approximately 540 out of 583 object level items so far.
Once I complete the assessment I will start editing and uploading transcripts for approximately 470 objects. I usually do this in CONTENTdm, but since these objects are already uploaded, I will be using a program called OmniPage to create the text. The program scans the item, generates a transcript, and then selects the words it does not recognize for the editor to review. Once I am content with the full transcript, I simply have to copy and paste it into CONTENTdm. Unfortunately, this is a slower process, but as we are in the midst of a pandemic, I have all the time in the world.
Coronavirus hasn’t gotten my spirits down! Even with the changes to my work environment, I’m enjoying the metadata assessment and staying busy! Hopefully soon I’ll be writing these blog updates from my desk in the office at Digital Collections. But until then, stay safe, stay happy, and please enjoy some images of my ‘helpful’ new coworkers!
Well Quarantine Vibes ™ have some of us traveling only via the internet and we are finding some pretty cool things available. Some of my favorite sites to explore are projects like the National Park Foundation’s Virtual Tours and the National Museum of Natural History’s Find me in the Butterfly Pavilion. Those are maybe slightly more exciting than bird watching from my window (but having a window has been really nice since it has proven rare in my career history). I may have gotten very excited about spotting a tufted titmouse and have an ongoing issue with a cardinal that likes to sing loudly right outside my window at 4:30AM. (Can you tell I may be missing my co-workers?)
While looking for things to do, remember that Digital Collections has been adding materials online for the past 15 years and it is very cool stuff! It encompasses all sorts of topics, from postcards to civil rights, to geography, woman’s history, politics and war. There is definitely something for everyone. I especially enjoy illustrations and natural history, so I went and searched for an interesting collection relating to that. The Ethelind Pope Brown Collection of South Carolina Natural History is one of the earliest works, outside of Mark Catesby’s Natural History, that illustrated South Carolina’s Natural History. While the artist is unknown, it is believed to be John Laurens (you can read more about this on the collection’s page). Many of the same species can be seen in both collections and comparing their interpretations has been a fun outlet for me. I’ve included two very similar birds below, one by Mark Catesby and the other from the Ethelind Pope Brown Collection.
Whether it is online or outside, make sure you get a dose of nature and let us know what you find!