Posted December 29, 2022 in General
As this year draws to a close we would like to offer an overview of some of what we have been working on during the year in regard to digital material, including further scanning of items from the archives collection, collaboration with other institutions, and continued research into and development of plans for born-digital materials.
The ongoing work of digitization has continued throughout this past year. One significant example of this has been the digitization of the collection of church registers we maintain. While not all of these will be made available online due to privacy concerns, they have already proven to be an invaluable resource for Archives staff as they assist researchers.¹ We are also nearly finished with digitizing the oversized Drawings and Prints collection. This project presented unique challenges due to the large size of the items. Still, we are pleased to soon have these items available through our online finding aid alongside items from the rest of the Drawing and Prints collection which was digitized previously.
This year has also seen the Moravian Archives Bethlehem collaborating with other institutions on projects that have improved the accessibility and visibility of several collections. An excellent example of this is our collaboration with the Saxon State and University Library (SLUB) in Dresden, Germany, which requested that we digitize dictionaries and linguistic materials related to the Onondaga peoples, in addition to the personal papers of botanist and minister Ludwig de Schweinitz. These digitized materials will now be accessible through both institutions.² Additionally, throughout the year we have digitized a number of individual items at the request of researchers throughout the world.
As has been discussed in the previous year in review posts, we continue to research and plan for accepting and maintaining born-digital records. As part of this, we have begun maintaining a secure offsite backup of digitized materials, bringing us into line with guidelines for best practices in data storage which call for three copies of each item, one of them stored at a geographically different location. In addition, we have already received a few born-digital items and are pleased to say that so far our procedures for ingesting these kinds of materials have worked well and we believe can be practically scaled up for larger collections in the future.
¹ Read more about this in our earlier Digital Collection Spotlight, available here: https://tinyurl.com/3nuexerx
² More about this can be found in our earlier Digital Collections Spotlight here: https://tinyurl.com/7nxrdrj8