Information Update - Fall 2009

From Our Archives to You, Digitally

     The Weinberg Memorial Library's Special Collections and University Archives have long held fascinating books, manuscripts, and photographs. Because of their historic value and uniqueness, these materials could not leave the Archives reading room and so were only accessible to researchers who were able to come to campus during regular business hours.
 
     In order to make our archival resources more accessible, the Weinberg Memorial Library has begun a digitization program, with a goal of making digital collections of historic materials publicly available on the internet. Our first project, the University of Scranton Digital Yearbook Collection, was completed in January of 2009 and can now be browsed and searched at http://www.scranton.edu/yearbooks.
 
     Having finished our work on the yearbooks, the Digital Services department now has several other digitization projects in the works. Library staff members have scanned over 2,000 photographs from the University archives and are currently compiling these images into a fully searchable database. We will soon be publishing the digital version of the Abe L. Plotkin Collection, which contains letters and photographs describing the University alumnus's experiences in Germany in the aftermath of World War II. Another work in progress is a digital collection of University Masters and Honors theses (see also "Electronic Masters and Honors Theses,"in this newsletter).
 
     The Weinberg Memorial Library has also started digitizing some of the more unusual books in our collection. The University of Scranton is one of 29 participants in the Mass Digitization Collaborative coordinated by Lyrasis, a regional network of libraries, archives, and museums. The Collaborative works with Internet Archive, a non-profit organization, to digitize books, making them not only publicly available but also full-text searchable. As part of this Collaborative, the Weinberg Memorial Library has digitized six local history books, 48 volumes of annual anthracite mining reports by the Pennsylvania Department of Mines, and a complete set of the University's undergraduate course catalogs. All of these books are available now on Internet Archive at www.archive.org/details/university_scranton, and two of them (Prominent Men of Scranton and Vicinity and History of Luzerne, Lackawanna, and Wyoming Counties, Pa.) have been downloaded over 900 times.
 
     Updates on these projects and all of the Library's latest activities can be found on the Library's blog at http://wmlinfospot.wordpress.com.
Kristen Yarmey-Tylutki
 


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