Special Collections & Archives Blog

In the 'Digital Projects' Category...

One State, Many Faiths: The Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection Project

Thursday, June 5, 2014 2:11 pm

programannualses1015woma_0017

Image from the Religion in North Carolina digital collection https://archive.org/details/ncreligion

ZSR Special Collections & Archives is pleased to report that the Religion in North Carolina Digital Collection project has received LSTA funding  for its third year. Wake Forest’s ZSR Library has partnered with Duke Divinity School and the North Carolina Collection at UNC-Chapel Hill for this project, which seeks to provide digital access to primary source materials from all religious groups in North Carolina.

Federal funding from the Institute of Museum and Library Services has enabled the three partner institutions to collect and digitize nearly 800,000 pages during the first two years of the grant project. A large percentage of this material is drawn from the collections at Duke, Wake Forest, and UNC, but the digital collection also includes substantial contributions from over 200 other libraries and archives throughout North Carolina.

The collection includes a wide array of publications, from sermons and meeting minutes to camp hymnals and cookbooks. Religious bodies with long histories in North Carolina are well represented in the collection. But the project staff has also made it a priority to solicit materials from many underrepresented religious groups. The result is a wide-ranging collection that will serve as an important resource for anyone with an interest in the cultural history of the state.

In this third and final year the project’s emphasis will shift to education and outreach initiatives. Duke Divinity School Ph.D. candidate Ken Woo has been hired as the project’s doctoral fellow for research and education. Ken will be making contact with schools, religious institutions, and community groups throughout the state to give presentations and solicit feedback on the project’s digital resources. Here at ZSR, the Special Collections and Archives department has hired WFU Divinity School student Monique Swaby in a grant-funded summer position. Monique is working to identify potentially interested groups at Wake Forest and throughout the regional community. Monique will also begin the process of developing educational applications for the Religion in NC digital collections, using the primary sources to create narratives that will connect students and researchers to the state’s diverse and fascinating religious heritage. Check this blog later in the summer for Monique’s updates!

For more information about the Religion in NC project, please contact Special Collections & Archives. We welcome questions and input, especially from individuals or groups who would like to take part in our outreach initiatives.

Alexander’s feast; or, The power of musick (1750)

Wednesday, March 19, 2014 5:39 pm

The following is a joint post by Megan Mulder (Special Collections Librarian) and Chelcie Rowell (Digital Initiatives Librarian).

History of Alexander’s Feast

The 18th century edition of Handel’s Alexander’s Feast has one of the most interesting provenances of any book in Z. Smith Reynolds Library’s Special Collections department.

Title page of Alexander's feast

Title page of Alexander’s Feast with Felix Mendelssohn’s signature.

The work is based on an ode in commemoration of St. Cecilia’s day by English poet John Dryden (1631-1700). Dryden’s “Alexander’s Feast” tells a story from the life of Alexander the Great, in which the conqueror and his soldiers enjoy a drunken feast in celebration of their victory over the king of Persia. The bard Timotheus provides entertainment, and his poetic and musical skill inspire Alexander and his men to a frenzy of revenge against the conquered city of Persepolis. Dryden’s poem is more cautionary than celebratory, as the “power of music” is used for morally questionable ends.

Nonetheless, Dryden’s poem was a great critical success when it was first published in 1697, and it was apparently still popular enough nearly 40 years later for George Frideric Handel (1685- 1759) to choose it as the inspiration for a new musical work. Handel’s Alexander’s Feast was well received at its 1736 London premiere and was performed many more times during the 18th century. Published versions of Handel’s score began to appear shortly after its first performance.

Wake Forest’s copy of Alexander’s Feast was likely published around 1750. Its first recorded owner was William Hawes (1785–1846) an English musician who eventually became master of choristers at St. Paul’s Cathedral.

At some point the book made its way to a Stuttgart bookseller and was purchased by the famous German composer Felix Mendelssohn (1809–1847). Mendelssohn signed the front endpaper and the title page, and he also annotated many pages of the score. The notes may well have been for a performance at the Aachen music festival in 1846, which featured an appearance by the famous singer Jenny Lind.

After Mendelssohn’s death in 1847, the book’s provenance again becomes murky. But it was, at any rate, purchased from a rare books dealer in 1958 for the Wake Forest University library. For the past 50 years the volume has been part of the Rare Books Collection at Z. Smith Reynolds Library. It is an interesting object for students of music history. But in the absence of a large collection of related materials at Wake Forest, it has not been well known to Mendelssohn scholars. So Special Collections librarians were pleased to learn of an opportunity to contribute to a project at the Sächsische Akademie der Wissenschaften in Leipzig. This project, which began in 1959, is working to publish the complete works of Mendelssohn.

Digitization of Alexander’s Feast

In order for ZSR’s Alexander’s Feast to be included in the Leipzig Mendelssohn project, we needed to digitize the entire book. We wanted to do this in such a way that users of the digital surrogate would experience the materiality of the book—the physical organization and details—in addition to being able to read the text.

Capturing digital images of each page of Alexander’s Feast presented a familiar challenge for the Digitization Lab at ZSR. We wanted to make sure that we created a faithful digital representation of the physical object. To this end, we cropped the images of the front cover and back cover such that all four edges are visible. Additionally, we cropped the images of interior pages such that the gutter is visible on the right side for images of verso (left) pages, while the gutter is visible on the left side for images of recto (right) pages. Our goal is to provide viewers as much context about the physical object as possible within the constraints of the hardware and software that we use for digitization.

Recto and verso pages of Alexander's Feast

Recto and verso pages of Alexander’s Feast with annotations by Felix Mendelssohn.

A best practice for the digitization of special collections materials is to create both a preservation copy and an access copy. In the case of Alexander’s Feast, we created a high-resolution TIFF file of each page of the volume, including the front cover, the marbled endpapers, and the back cover. The advantage of preservation copies is that they’re flexible; they allow different kinds of access copies to be generated as the needs of viewers, as well as the constraints of the systems that present these materials to viewers, both evolve.

The access copy of Alexander’s Feast, available in our Digital Collections, is a single PDF that incorporates all of the pages of the bound musical score.

Future Uses of Alexander’s Feast

Wake Forest’s copy of Alexander’s Feast has been cataloged and available to researchers for decades, and Special Collections has provided digital files and photocopies of relevant pages to remote researchers on request. But its inclusion in the Mendelssohn project will situate the material within the context of Mendelssohn’s career and may bring the item to the attention of international researchers. If this occurs, we will be able to provide remote researchers with high-quality digital images of the book’s pages.

In addition to broadening accessibility, digitizing special collections may enable new paths of inquiry, especially in the digital humanities community. Digitizing sheet music presents tantalizing opportunities. For instance, imagine an interface that displays a moving bar indicating the place in time on the sheet music alongside an audio or video recording of a performance.

Do you have an idea for a digital humanities project that could build upon digitized music scores? Contact us!

The Old Gold and Black Now Keyword Searchable

Tuesday, February 11, 2014 2:33 pm

The following is a guest post by Corrine Luthy, a graduate intern with Wake Forest University’s Special Collections & Archives.

Searchable PDFs of some issues of Wake Forest University’s student newspaper, the Old Gold and Black, are now available!

Beginning in January, issues of the Old Gold and Black are being converted into a keyword searchable PDF format and uploaded to replace existing copies, which were not keyword searchable. What this means for users of the collection is that as new copies steadily replace old copies in the digital collection throughout this semester, they will be able to search more and more of the Old Gold and Black by keyword.

The progress of this project can be followed using the keyword searchability progress chart accessible from the Old Gold and Black collection page. The chart, pictured below, shows which issues are currently keyword searchable. As of today, issues from 1916 (when publication began) through 1931 are discoverable through a keyword search.

Keyword searchability progress chart of Old Gold & Black digital collection as of February 11, 2014

Keyword searchability progress chart of Old Gold & Black digital collection as of February 11, 2014

Perhaps you are looking for information about basketball teams throughout Wake Forest’s history, or mentions of his or her grandfather who was a student at WFU, or advertisements for Hudson-Belk Stores.  The following provides a simple outline of how to search the collection by keyword.

Searching the Old Gold and Black digital collection

Search for a term using the “Search This Collection” box on the Old Gold and Black collection page. Below is a general search for “basketball.”

Collection search box for Old Gold & Black Digital Collection

Collection search box for Old Gold & Black Digital Collection

The search returns issues of the Old Gold and Black containing the keyword for which you searched. Depending on the research mission, and because keyword searchable issues are being added by date, you may want to sort the results by issue date in ascending order.

Search results for Old Gold & Black digital collection

Search results for Old Gold & Black digital collection

From the search results page, select an item to view in more detail.

From the search results page, select an item to view in more detail

From the search results page, select an item to view in more detail

Searching within a particular issue of the Old Gold and Black

We selected the December 4, 1925 issue to view. From the item page, click the “Download” button to view an issue within your web browser or download to your PC.

From the item page, click the "Download" button to view an issue within your web browser or to download it to your PC

From the item page, click the “Download” button to view an issue within your web browser or to download it to your PC

To search for a term within that issue, press the Ctrl + F keys to open the search box of your web browser (in the top right corner of the screen).  Below, a search of the December 4, 1925 edition for “basketball” returned five results, which are highlighted within the document.  You can navigate to each instance of the word “basketball” using the up and down arrow buttons on the search box.

Keyword search within an issue of the Old Gold & Black

Keyword search within an issue of the Old Gold & Black

As always, if you have any questions about accessing this digital collection, you may contact Special Collections & University Archives.

Introducing Graduate Intern Corrine Luthy

Thursday, January 16, 2014 8:30 am

The following is a guest post by Corrine Luthy, a graduate intern with Wake Forest University’s Special Collections & Archives.

Corrine Luthy

Hi! I’m Corrine Luthy, an intern in the Special Collections and Archives department here at ZSR for the Spring 2014 semester. I am a graduate student in my second semester at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro in the Library and Information Studies program. Although there are no concentrations within the program, I have a strong interest in archives.

I have been working in ZSR’s Special Collections and Archives department since October, becoming acquainted with the equipment and the staff and gearing up for some projects I will be working on this spring. I feel fortunate to have been given the opportunity to gain this hands-on experience while earning academic credit for my work. With the guidance of Tanya Zanish-Belcher (Director of Special Collections and Archives) and Chelcie Rowell (Digital Initiatives Librarian), we identified specific projects that I will lead, and we developed learning objectives that I will complete. I am excited that at the conclusion of my internship, having led these projects and completed these learning objectives will help me to build a strong portfolio.

I earned a bachelor’s degree in English from East Carolina University. Of course, my love for the written word and information access drew me to library school. But my interest in archives comes most immediately from my work as an editor and staff writer for a small community newspaper in northeastern North Carolina before returning to graduate school. There, I witnessed the real need for a usable and organized information organization system on a regular basis. The newspaper served not only as a historical record for the community, but for ourselves as well. Working at a print publication, I also became more aware of the contrast (and sometimes tension) between print and digital formats, some of the effects of the shift from one to the other, and the need for digital preservation. These are trends that I will be fortunate enough to explore more during my time at ZSR.

The projects that I have begun working on under Chelcie’s supervision hold a special interest for me. This semester I will be working with PDF files of digitized issues of Wake Forest’s student newspaper, the Old Gold and Black, making them keyword searchable for users of the library’s digital collection. I will also be working to create a digital exhibit with materials from the Secrest Artists Series.

I’m hoping to contribute to the digital community of Wake Forest by helping the library create and improve collections that capture the spirit of the university and make its digital materials more accessible and usable. I will be documenting my progress, thoughts, and learning as a ZSR intern and MLS student on my personal blog and portfolio website, Shelf Life. Anyone interested is invited to follow along. I hope to see you around ZSR!

Digitized Reel to Reels Now Available Online!

Wednesday, August 7, 2013 9:31 am

The collection's logo

Special Collections and Archives is very excited to announce the completion of another digital project The University Archives Audio Recordings Reel to Reel Collection. You may remember some previous posts where we mentioned working on this collection. The new online digital collection is just a small selection of the larger reel to reel holdings within the University Archives. The finding aid for the collection shows to wide range of reel to reels that have yet to be digitized. Many thanks to our students for creating metadata. A very special thank you to Barry Davis for getting this into DSpace, and for being awesome in general!

Wake Forest Commencement Programs are online!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 4:53 pm

The Special Collections and Archives department is happy to announce that the Wake Forest Commencement Programs are now digitized and available online! We took our programs to UNC-Chapel Hill to be scanned as part of the Digital NC project. These are some of the most requested items in our collection and are a great help in finding graduates’ names, who spoke at commencement, what dates commencement was on, and how many people graduated in a certain year. People can now search these programs to see what the originals look like and find the information they need. While not a complete collection, we have a bulk of the programs from the early years until present. We are excited to have this group of materials available online now to further help researchers with their inquiries.

Catalogues and Bulletins of Wake Forest are now online

Tuesday, April 10, 2012 12:22 pm

 

We are happy to announce that the Wake Forest Catalogues and Bulletins are online! Thanks to the North Carolina Digital Heritage Center for doing the scanning and to Vicki Johnson for organizing and transporting the bulletins. Varying titles and binding made this project no easy feat, but the benefits far outweigh any challenges this project may have presented. As of now, you can access the titles through the Special Collections and Archives page by clicking on the Howler Yearbooks under Popular Resources.

Biblical Recorder microfilm now online and searchable!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011 5:35 pm

The Wake Forest University Special Collections and Archives department is pleased to announce that the Biblical Recorder microfilm is now online and searchable! Thanks to a grant from the Institute of Museum and Library Services under the provisions of the federal Library Services and Technology Act (LSTA) as administered by theState Library of North Carolina, a division of the Department of Cultural Resources, our microfilmed issues of the Biblical Recorder from 1834-1970 weredigitized, made searchable, and put online. This resource is one of our most highly used collections, and we are proud that it is now more accessible.

The Biblical Recorder is the official journal of the North Carolina Baptist Convention. Thomas Meredith, and early pastor who was instrumental in the formation of the state convention, founded the newspaper under the name of the Baptist Interpreter. The name was soon changed to the Biblical Recorder and Journal of Passing Events, and ultimately shortened to theBiblical Recorder. Readers can trace trends in social, cultural and religious views from 1833 until now, and gain a better understanding of how Baptist practices and attitudes have changed over the years.

The Biblical Recorder staff and Board of Directors in Raleigh were supportive of this effort from the beginning, and featured an article in their recent issue that will inform all current readers of the new resource as well.

We have already had a lot of positive comments and feedback from researchers who have used the online resource, as well as inquiries as to how the project took shape and what the process was from beginning to end. We are excited to have this available online, and eventually hope to have the funding to complete the remaining film from 1971-present. Please explore the site.

Max and Gertrude Hoffmann Music Manuscript Collection now online

Friday, October 28, 2011 1:44 pm

This post is also available on the Library Gazette.

The Max and Gertrude Hoffmann Music Manuscript Collection is finally complete and available for use. With 170 titles represented in various levels of completion, we anticipate this collection to be a delight to musicians, composers, and anyone interested in vaudeville orchestration. These music manuscripts are only a portion of the larger Max and Gertrude Hoffmann papers (MS608) that includes posters, scrapbooks, photographs, and correspondence.This was a very large processing and digitization project and we are thrilled to announce the completion.

 

Findable finding aids!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 3:32 pm

Finding aids for collections from the Department of Special Collections & Archives are now fully search- and browse-able through a new interface!

Check out zsr.wfu.edu/findingaids to see features including:

  • A look and feel like the ZSR website
  • Fully searchable contents, including container lists
  • Browse by keyword and title
  • Collection summary at the top of each finding aid
  • Linked finding aid sections
  • Linked keyword index
  • Expand/collapse container lists
  • Complete box and folder information

Kevin Gilbertson pushed the limits of the traditional finding aid by incorporating his sense of design and prioritizing user needs, creating a new interface for the finding aids on Dspace with XMLUI (the rest of our collections currently use JSPUI). Kevin’s creativity and willingness to understand the priorities of archival description helped him use XML to develop a finding aid interface that is one of a kind.

We invite you to experiment with the search, browse, and container list features. The search box is also featured on the Special Collections & Archives homepage. We are so proud to create greater access to the outstanding archival resources of ZSR!


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