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!
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!
As we all get used to this “new normal” of working-from-home: trying to find a balance between working remotely, juggling ever-present domestic demands…or just trying to keep the cat from walking across the keyboard while we respond to emails. Many parents are finding yet another hat they are forced to wear, that of teacher. In the midst of everything else going on this additional demand can be especially challenging.
We here at UofSC’s Digital Collections in conjunction with the South Carolina Digital Library (SCDL) are here to help. We can offer some additional resources that will help keep your home-bound student engaged — at least long enough for you to get through that next Zoom meeting! Digital Collections’ website and the SCDL’s website offer thousands of primary source materials that compliment many K-12 lesson plans. These primary sources, like photographs, newspaper articles, letters, audio clips, moving images all have a unique way of bringing course content to life. These resources offer a welcome supplement to traditional textbooks.
In fact, it is possible that there is so much content in these collections across the state that it might be daunting to find just the right materials. To make the search easier, the University of South Carolina, in collaboration with professional educators, created the S.C. Digital Academy. This website offers easy to find, standards-based lesson plans that link directly to digitized materials on the web that will support many K-12 lessons.
The S.C. Digital Academy is easily searchable by grade level and Standards-Based topics. The Document Based Questions were originally designed for professional educators, but for newly ordained Parent/Teachers, they provide direct access to useful materials. We hope you will find these resources helpful and that your “students” will find them engaging and even entertaining.
What do the South of the Border’s Sombrero Tower and the massive antenna array that used to sit atop the World Trade Center in NYC, have in common? Weird question, yes…but in fact they were both constructed by Kline Iron & Steel Company right here in Columbia, South Carolina. These are just two of the very diverse projects created by Kline over it’s 80 year history.
Kline Iron & Steel Company (1923-2003) earned a reputation for supplying high quality steel products as well as being a company that fostered great loyalty and respect between employees and owners. Many who worked at Kline likened it to being part of a family, which contributed to its unusually low turn-over rate of employees. The fascinating story of the development of this long-time, iconic Columbia company is brought to life through the Kline Iron & Steel Company History and Recollections featuring over thirty oral history interviews compiled by UofSC’s Department of Oral History.
This collection is just one part of an exciting project we have been working on here at Digital Collections. We have been migrating various oral history collections into our Cdigital collections repository (hosted by OCLC’s CONTENTdm) from the Department of Oral History. They have a robust offering of oral histories that provide first-hand accounts and insights on life in South Carolina. Most of these interviews are available as both audio recordings and interview transcripts. Additionally, the Department of Oral History has created wonderfully rich online exhibits for many of these collections that feature photographs, print materials, manuscripts, timelines and more. Of course, we link directly to those exhibits from our landing pages.
By adding these oral histories to our digital collections repository they become discoverable along with the many other digital collections that are represented there. So, a user’s search will potentially return photographs, print materials, maps, and manuscripts along with oral histories all from a single database. Also, these collections will eventually be harvested into the South Carolina Digital Library and will be discoverable statewide along with items originating at over 60 institutions across South Carolina.
We are excited to be making the Kline Iron & Steel Company oral histories and the many other oral history collections more broadly available. We believe patrons will find them interesting and rich resources for South Carolina History. Go to the Dept. of Oral History to check out the many collections they already have available online and keep an eye on Digital Collections’ database as we continue to add those collections as well.
The creation of a digital collection always demands some amount of collaboration. Content matter experts, scanning technicians, metadata librarians, web developers…all working together to bring a project to fruition. The size of the team varies from collection to collection but it is always a collaborative effort.
This 31-volume abstract of voter registrations was originally created by order of the commander of the Second Military District who had ultimate responsibility for the registration of voters and the conduct of elections. The volumes record the name and race of each registered voter arranged by county and registration precinct. It is a fascinating and historically valuable snapshot of elections in South Carolina in the years just after the Civil War. The process of bringing these documents into the digital world has demanded the efforts of an unusual number of dedicated souls.
All of this cross-institutional collaboration is aided by established relationships developed over time as partner members of the South Carolina Digital Library. The SCDL is a statewide search portal that aggregates digital collections from over 60 institutions bringing together over 300,000 digital items. The UofSC Digital Collections department is the scanning hub helping to coordinate collections being created in the Midlands and hosts collections for smaller institutions that do not have the means to do that.
Abby Munro was a teacher from Rhode Island who came to Mount Pleasant, South Carolina to help Cornelia Hancock in teaching Black freed men and women at the Laing School. At the Laing School, students received an education and were given an opportunity to learn a trade. (Laing Middle School of Science and Technology; Fludd; Town of Mount Pleasant Historical Commission). In the 1870s, Munro took over for duties from Hancock and became the principal of the school. She expanded on the original work of Hancock, when in 1882 she opened a Children’s Home for Destitute Children, one of the first orphanages for African Americans in South Carolina (Fludd; Mount Pleasant Historical Commission). Though older than the Jenkins’ Orphanage, the Destitute Children’s Home was smaller and served the local population of Mount Pleasant. (Fordham, 2009).
This collection consists of a range of items related to Abby Munro’s work at the Home of Destitute Children and the Laing School in Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, like legal documents signed by parents giving custody of children to Abby Munro. Additionally, documents in the collection frequently outline that a child will be cared for while receiving an education. A second medium found in this collection is photographs, most of which are of the Laing School. These photographs allow for a glimpse into education at the Laing Normal and Industrial School. One photograph shows students learning to cobble shoes. Another photograph shows young girls learning to sew.
Arthur Macbeth, an African American photographer based in Charleston, South Carolina, took many of these photographs of the Laing School. After studying with German, French, and American photographers, Macbeth opened his own studio in Charleston in 1886 (Bowser, 1999). A few of Macbeth photographs were used some of the in Laing School publications that reported on progress of the school and home. Both the Laing school and Children’s Home relied heavily on donations and these publications used to show how the donations were being used, plus how the donations were making a difference.