New year, new processing update

Craggy Pinnacle Tunnel, Blue Ridge Parkway, circa late 1950s-early 1960s
I may have been remiss lately in keeping you updated on our behind-the-scenes progress on the processing of the Hugh Morton collection. The fact is that I’ve been on the job for over a year now, and some days I feel like nothing’s gotten done! So much is going on at once, and no task ever feels “completed” (at least not yet).

But on other, calmer and saner days, I can begin to see things coming together — a glint of light at the end of the tunnel, you might say.

So, in bare bones format, here’s where we are at the beginning of 2009:

  1. Negatives and transparencies: I have begun the third and “final” (grain of salt added) pass through these, with the goal of opening them for research use once this pass is completed. They’re organized into series (and sub-, sub-sub-, and sometimes sub-sub-sub series) and described (at varying levels) in an Excel spreadsheet, from which I will extract the metadata to create a finding aid and a digital collection in CONTENTdm (like the McCauley Collection I mentioned previously).
  2. Slides: these are Amber’s territory at the moment. She has plowed her way through the 35mm slides from the 1960s and 1970s (sorting, describing, and re-housing), leaving the 1950s (already partially plowed), 1980s, 1990s, and 2000s to be completed. However, like a slide ninja, Amber is moving faster and more efficiently as she continues to hone her methods.
  3. Prints: languishing a bit at the moment, still awaiting their third pass.
  4. Motion picture film: also languishing, but not for long — a new School of Information and Library Science (SILS) student will be joining our team soon to tackle the processing, preservation, and description of the films. I’ll introduce her when the time comes.
  5. Scanning: David’s domain, still continuing full steam ahead. We’ve been digitizing a somewhat haphazard assortment thus far (responding to various priorities), but are now ready to focus our efforts on the aforementioned CONTENTdm digital collection, which will feature a selection of “highlights” from the Morton photos.
    (David will probably be jealous that I called Amber a slide ninja, so let’s go ahead and proclaim him a scanning ninja).
  6. Photo Identification: an ongoing, constant, mammoth, and never-ending task. All I can say is, we’re doing the best we can. I don’t think this job will ever be truly finished; there will always be more detail to add, more faces to match with names, more people with knowledge and stories to share. Right now, we’re just trying to provide access to the collection as quickly as possible. Then, let the sharing begin!