Although this is a cataloging grant, the project involves “processing” both the Schaefer and Apperson collections. In the archival world, the term “processing” refers to arranging all of the items in the collection to both reflect the original order of the collection’s creator and to facilitate future research. This stage also includes noting any items within the collection which may require conservation or special housing.
Once the collection is processed we are using cutting edge archival description software ArchivesSpace describe and catalog. This stage involves entering into ArchivesSpace the box and folder information of the collection’s arrangement as well as assigning terms from controlled vocabularies.
Once the information about the collection has been entered into ArchivesSpace we are able to export a finding aid out of ArchivesSpace for the use of researchers. We are also adding small scope and contents notes within the collections in order to expand our finding aids into research guides to assist researchers in locating their needs within the large collections.
Throughout this project we are selecting at least 500 items from the collections for digitization and entry into large-scale digital catalogs. These selected items range over all types of materials in the collections including photographs, maps, and manuscripts. The chosen items are selected in order to best illuminate the collections for researchers utilizing digital humanities. Each item is chosen to highlight engaging, compelling, and thought-provoking aspects of the collections.
We are creating a scholarly website filled with digital exhibits on research topics from the project’s collections. In two stages we are employing embedded undergraduate researchers from Union College to research within the collections and compile historical scholarship for this website.
One of our goals in this project is connecting primary source materials to K-12 students. We are accomplishing this in many ways, including connecting all of our digitized objects to New York State schools and teachers with a specialized K-12 controlled vocabulary.
One of our major goals in this project is outreach. We accomplish this in many ways including professional outreach to Union College faculty and staff; presentations on aspects of the project at national archival and library conferences; public outreach via social media and blogs as well as symposium and exhibits.