Monday, November 19, 2012

Postcards from Doheny, Part I

Looking south down Chester Place toward West Adams Boulevard.
The tower on the right is part of No. 7, home today of the Mount's
Student Affairs department and Campus Ministry.

WE OBSERVED AWHILE BACK that it is a lucky archives indeed that owns a batch of antique postcards.  We're fortunate today to have a batch of the digital equivalents, courtesy of our friend and historian, Don Sloper, and our St. James Park neighbor Jim Robinson.

Jim, who lives in the landmark Dockweiler House a block west of the Doheny Campus, has collected photographs and postcards from the historic neighborhood that date back to the turn of the 20th Century. His company, Robinson Residences, leases several vintage homes in the area.

In researching his book Los Angeles' Chester Place, Don availed himself of some of Jim's collection and in the process digitized nearly all of it. Don recently turned over his entire research collection to the College Archives, and Jim gave us permission to showcase his images.

We're looking forward to adding them to the Mount's online repository and making them available for viewing. There are other sources for viewing these postcards online, but we believe that we've got the largest collection in one place. That's an asset both to the Mount and Los Angeles history buffs. Watch this space for updates on availability.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Tucking in the kids

Catalogs stacked by decade, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s.
PARDON US IF WE INDULGE in some motherly behavior, but we're very glad that all the children are safely back in their beds. Or more literally, back on their shelves and tucked back in for the long sleep of archives.

The thousands of yearbooks, catalogs, literary journals, newspapers, newsletters and other publications of the Mount's 87 years were shipped out in June to scanning centers in Indiana and North Carolina. They've been coming back in, first in a trickle and then in a rush of boxes and bubble wrap.

With the final batch -- catalogs -- back in order, all the collections are back home. With most of the collections easily readable and searchable on line ( we need no longer disturb the aging originals.

Yearbooks back
on the shelves, 1947-2012.
We can hear you thinking, "Oh, so you're not throwing them away?" It's a common misconception (among non-archivists) that scanning something means that originals can be safely discarded. That's true only in the event that you know how to preserve digital objects forever -- and very, very few people understand how to do that, let alone say with confidence that it can be done.

If we may offer another dumb metaphor, with the return of the collections the chickens have come home to roost. If you think that implies something a little ominous, you're correct -- and I invite you to the College Archives for a chat about (cue the violins) metadata.