Library patrons have become accustomed to finding
information online, be it through the online catalog, full text
databases, electronic books and journals, or Web sites. In Special
Collections, however, seeking information proves to be much more
complex, and many of our unique resources are not available online.
In fact, for most of our manuscript collections patrons must use
the card catalog or speak with the Special Collections Librarian
to discover what treasures can be found. This is true at most academic
institutions, but change is on the horizon. In the same way that
online catalogs have replaced the card catalog, archives and special
collections have been developing new methods to access primary resources.
Finding aids for archival collections are now being created in
EAD (Encoded Archival Description), which produces a searchable
record, detailing folder by folder what is held in each box of the
collection. The first example of this at the Claremont Colleges
is the finding aid for the Ellen Browning Scripps papers. This,
as well as all finding aids that are being developed, will be hosted
on the Online Archive of California (http://www.oac.cdlib.org),
a core component of the California Digital Library, which brings
together primary resources from libraries, museums, archives, and
other institutions from across the state.
Digitization projects are another exciting new development in the
Libraries' Special Collections. The first completed project is the
Investigation Records of the San Gabriel Mission, a series of
investigations that took place from 1788-1861, consisting of notarized
interviews with couples requesting marriage in the Roman Catholic
Church. Another digital collection to be launched later this semester
are the Wheeler
Scrapbooks, which consist of newspaper clippings, photographs,
and other Claremont ephemera from the 1880s to the 1940s. Over the
years this collection has received heavy use by students for research
projects, as well as by historians and scholars interested in southern
California history. Both of these collections in digital form allow
the user to browse page by page, as if examining the original. By
providing online access to the materials many individuals can use
the collections at once and the typically fragile originals are
being spared any harm that occurs through handling.
With online access to finding aids and digital collections, primary
resources are now easier than ever to incorporate into the curriculum.
Special Collections welcomes input and ideas for future digitization
projects that faculty feel would benefit students and scholars.
Please contact Special Collections at (909) 607-3977 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Kelley Wolfe, Denison Library