Series 1: North Carolina Places

In my new year’s processing update, I mentioned that I had begun the final pass through the Morton negatives, transparencies, and prints, with the goal of opening them for research use once I was finished. That process is nearing completion for what will be the first series, North Carolina Places, and it’s pretty exciting!
I now have everything in Series 1 re-housed in archival enclosures (see below), labeled, and described in a spreadsheet, and I’m beginning the process of turning my spreadsheet into an EAD-encoded finding aid. Compare these lovely boxes with the ungainly piles I was facing at the beginning of this project, and you’ll begin to understand my glee.

We’ve also been scanning and preparing metadata for a couple hundred images from this series (including those in this post), which we will make available online once we have the front end designed and the search/browse functionality worked out. (I’m hoping we’ll hear more about that soon from this semester’s incarnation of the SILS Digital Libraries class, who will soon be finishing up their work on the Morton project).

We’re aiming for a summertime launch of both the digital collection and the finding aid for Series 1. To tide you over, here’s the basic structure:

8 thoughts on “Series 1: North Carolina Places”

  1. Very interesting post, Elizabeth. I can’t wait to see the online finding aid, as well.
    I’m currently working on a very quick overhaul regarding the online display of our finding aids, so I’m extremely interested in what others are doing/considering. In fact, this post of yours has prompted me to finally add an entry about how I’m dealing with a smaller but similar issue here at ECU:
    I wonder — especially since you’ll be putting up the information for Series 1 first — if are you envisioning a display that will keep all of the series separate? Also, how many series and digitized objects will this collection eventually have? Will they be linked?
    Congrats on yet another interesting milestone.

  2. WOW! You have lost me in cyberspace. But the photo of the three people was taken in Linville cCaverns, and the girl on the right is Catherine Morton.

  3. Hi Mark, you bring up some important questions about the finding aid and how it will link to the digital collection.
    Yes, the full finding aid will be huge, but it will contain a minimum of item-level information. I plan to link to the digital collection at the “group” level rather than the item level. (So, to get all technical on you, “Cape Hatteras Lighthouse” will be a c04 in the finding aid with additional c05s underneath that describe specific groups of images and/or individual images of the lighthouse. The dao link will go at the c04, and will conduct a “canned search” in CONTENTdm to retrieve all digitized images of the lighthouse.) For an example of what I’m talking about, see the finding aid for the Edward McCauley photos, do a CTRL-F search for “Lady Bird Johnson” and click on the thumbnail image. It should take you to a list of results in CONTENTdm.
    To help with the length and display issues (among other problems), we are currently working on a new stylesheet for our EAD finding aids at UNC that will offer the ability to collapse and expand different levels. I just hope no one tries to *print out* the Morton finding aid, because it’s going to be a huge document.

  4. Julia, all this will make sense once it is up and running — I hope! Thanks so much for your continuing comments providing background and identifications for the photos.

  5. Been a while since I’ve used CONTENTdm, but I think I understand your example now (aside from the file naming). For example, this link:
    part of box 45
    will show everything in the McCauley collection that’s been digitized from (that section of?) box 45.
    We’re doing something very similar, but everything is primarily based on just three numbers (collection#, box#, folder#).
    As for lengthy finding aids, I like the option of having a PDF available. That way, someone can easily see how long the finding aid actually is before determining if they want to try and print it out (or only print out certain portions).
    So far, the best marriage of finding aids and PDFs that I’ve seen are the ones done at Princeton:
    Princeton University Finding Aids

  6. Once again, Elizabeth, you are to be congratulated on this milestone in processing the Hugh Morton Collection. Your technical knowledge and computer skills are nothing short of amazing. Those of us who have participated in “A View To Hugh” over the past 18 months, look forward to that time when, as you say, everything will be up and running.

  7. Just to add a bit more detail for those who may want to know. Clicking on an image icon in the McCauley finding aid executes a search in the McCauley CONTENTdm collection. That is, it does not link to the individual CONTENTdm records for each of the images. That way we do not need to add links later when scans are added to a group of images.
    For example, if there are only two scans available from a group of ten images, clicking on the image in the finding aid for that group retrieves those two CONTENTdm records. If we later scan the remaining eight negatives in that group and add them to the CONTENTdm collection, clicking on the image icon in the finding aid would bring up all ten images, without our having to return to the finding aid to update the coding.

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