Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Add digitizing history (Step 4)

Deep in the metadata and bubble plastic. Who knew that stuff came in four-foot rolls?

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Digitizing history, Steps 1-3

Heavy-duty shipping box.
OUR SCANNING PROJECT is picking up steam, and there's an impressive amount of effort involved in getting stuff out the door to the scanning agencies. We are doing this with a grant from a generous donor and taking advantage of the LYRASIS consortium's mass digitization project, which in turn is subsidized by a grant from the Sloan Foundation. 

We've counted pages and looked through hundreds of yearbooks, catalogs, journals and newsletters for paper clips, cut-outs and anything that might raise eyebrows. We've ordered a roomful of heavy-duty shipping boxes and about a mile of bubble wrap. That was the easy part. 

Now, on to the metadata -- the painstaking, exacting, boring work of making sure that all the titles, volume and edition numbers match line-for-line with what's going into the boxes. The results, though, will be amazing.

For a preview, take a look at some of the latest stuff in our digital repository at We'll soon have Chalon Student News all the way back to the 1970s, along with backfiles of The Mount yearbooks, Doheny Happenings, Mount Magazine and more.
Salve Regina yearbook.

If you're interested in what a digitized yearbook will look like, check out the Internet Archive's American Libraries collections. The link will take you to the 1966 yearbook of Salve Regina College, now a co-ed university in Rhode Island. (As a small women's college in the 1960s, it looks remarkably like the Mount's yearbook from the same era). On the left of the browser screen are a number of viewing options.

- Posted from my iPad

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Beauty in the details

Brady Hall's doves on terra cotta eaves plugs.
WE'VE WRITTEN BEFORE of the special design of the Chalon Campus' first building, Brady Hall, and its architect Mark Daniels (Spanish ChalonWater Features, and Together Again for the First Time).

One of the nicest and least-noticed features are the eave closures -- small plugs that tuck under the pantiles where they reach the edge of the overhang. Each one is stamped with a dove on the wing, a symbol of the Holy Spirit.

The doves appear even where they're not readily visible. Next time you're at Brady, take a moment to enjoy the thought and care that went into creating this beautiful environment.

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Portrait from a wedding

IT IS FILED UNDER 'STUDENT LIFE, 1940s,' this beautiful little image of a young Japanese couple on their wedding day. The simplicity of their dress and austerity of the chapel speak to its wartime setting. It's signed "Sincerely, Henry & Joan Umeda."

We never thoroughly studied the photo, though, until the other day. More than a wedding portrait, it speaks of a deeply poignant situation. Above the signature, in different ink, is written "Joan Nagao," presumably the bride's maiden name. Beneath that is written what looks like "Margaret." 

But when you really look at it, you see it reads "Manzanar." 

Manzanar: that shameful episode of American history when tens of thousands of innocent Japanese-Americans were imprisoned by the U.S. government after the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941. Uprooted from their everyday lives, many lost everything during their years in the camp.

Yet life went on, including love and marriage. 

A faintly visible inscription in the upper left reads "To the dear Sisters of Mt. Saint Mary's College." From that we might discern that Joan Nagao was a Mount student who wanted to share her happy news with her teachers. 

We haven't been able to find any evidence yet of a Joan Nagao or Joan Umeda graduating from the Mount before or after 1941. But we hope she and her husband, Henry, had a long and happy life together after this photo was taken, and after they were able finally to leave Manzanar.