Cataloging and Indexing


Ribald Renderings, a Nuanced Novella and Informed Innocence: Readex Report (November 2019)

In this issue: Seamy urban newspapers seduce and scandalize readers in 19th-century America, weighty themes abound in yesteryear’s children’s books, and did an 1849 execution inspire an enigmatic American novella?


Washington Goode and Melville’s Billy Budd, Sailor: Race and the Death Penalty through Nineteenth-Century Media

By Lenora Warren, Lecturer, Department of English, Ithaca College

Warren-cover-300px.jpgWhat connects the 1849 execution of an obscure African American sailor with Billy Budd, Sailor, the enigmatic novella written by Herman Melville, one of the greatest American writers of the nineteenth century? Perhaps a great deal. Let’s begin with the sailor, a man by the name of Washington Goode, about whom little is known. As a very young man Goode served under Andrew Jackson during the Seminole War, and after the war, he served as a ship’s cook. By 1848 Goode was a resident of “The Black Sea,” a neighborhood frequented by sailors on leave, immigrants, and African Americans, and notorious as a hotbed … > Full Story


The Cultural Work of Child’s Play: Examples from Three Picture Books in Readex Digital Collections

By Laura Wasowicz, Children’s Literature Curator, American Antiquarian Society

Ribald Renderings, a Nuanced Novella and Informed Innocence: Readex Report (November 2019)

The Power of Metadata: Readex and the Territorial Papers of the United States

Earlier this year Readex published the Territorial Papers of the United States, 1764-1953, the most important early American content not yet digitized—until now.

TPUS Interface Dec 2018.JPG

More than half of America’s states began as territories. From the 1760s to the 1950s the United States of America expanded southward and westward, acquiring territories that spanned from Florida to California to Alaska. Before they evolved into twenty-seven American states, these territories were managed by the U.S. State and Interior departments. The official history of their formative territorial years is recorded in Territorial Papers of the United States—a collection of Native American negotiations and treaties, official correspondence with the federal government, military records, judicial proceedings, population data, financial statistics, land records, and more.

About two thirds of these documents are in manuscript form. This means they cannot be made full-text searchable through the application of Optical Character Recognition (“OCR”) technologies. Yes, there are technologies today that can do a fairly decent job applying OCR to certain types of manuscripts, but the handwriting needs to be very clear, and extremely uniform, for the technology to work at all, and even then the results don’t match the quality that can be achieved from printed (as opposed to manuscript) documents.

The documents in Territorial Papers of the United States are from many time periods and in many handwritings, making them poor candidates for OCR application.

The Power of Metadata: Readex and the Territorial Papers of the United States

Preserving a National Treasure: A Partnership with the Dartmouth College Library

Serial Set volumes at the Dartmouth College LibraryIn 2003, Readex began a special partnership with Dartmouth College Library. Readex wished to scan a number of specific maps and color illustrations for our definitive digital edition of the 14,000-volume U.S. Congressional Serial Set—the crown jewel of American government publications. The Serial Set, which contains the Reports, Documents and Journals of the U.S. Senate and House of Representatives, is an exceptional source of primary material on nearly two centuries of American history. To ensure the comprehensiveness of our digital edition, our initial goal was to borrow and scan these items located in the Dartmouth volumes.

Serial Set Team at the Dartmouth College Library

In 2005, this Dartmouth-Readex partnership expanded from the initial request to a landmark project to preserve the complete print set at the Dartmouth College Library. In addition to enabling Readex to offer researchers the most accurate and comprehensive digital edition available, this unique partnership brought several benefits to the Dartmouth College Library: the cleaning and repair of more than 13,800 volumes, including the critical repair of spines and thousands of fold-out maps; creation of detailed item records for every volume; and invaluable first-hand experience with a large-scale digitization project.

Preserving a National Treasure: A Partnership with the Dartmouth College Library

Now Complete! The Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994

From its first session, Congress concerned itself with the publication of its own proceedings.  By 1815, a definite set of publication types along with a schema for numbering volumes and publications had been established.  The challenge of finding references in those volumes became the pursuit of several different attempts to index the rapidly expanding body of material.

 

Now Complete! The Readex U.S. Congressional Serial Set, 1817-1994

The Index of Virginia Printing: Building an Online Reference with Print and Digital Resources

Our Guest Blogger is David A. Rawson, Ph.D., Historian & Professor, Worcester, Massachusetts

How does a researcher handle dated reference works still in print and still widely used?

From the masthead of a Virginia newspaper

This has been a recurring challenge in my twenty years of research into Virginia's early printing trade. Historians of the Old Dominion have long repeated the assertions of their predecessors with a certain reverence for their closer proximity to the historical past, and so of their forebears' intrinsic authority. Names like Lyon G. Tyler, Earle Gregg Swem, William G. Stanard, and Lester J. Cappon carry considerable authority among Virginia's historians, just as those of Charles Evans, Clarence Brigham, Roger P. Bristol, and Winifred Gregory do among bibliographers of early American imprints and newspapers. Their works are magisterial efforts from a time when the now-common computerized collecting and sorting of bibliographic and biographic data was not just unknown, it was unfathomable.

The Index of Virginia Printing: Building an Online Reference with Print and Digital Resources

Location, location, location!

Nothing says “home” quite like a map of Alaska and adjacent lands shown as Russian and British territory—with annotations in French! 

“Map showing Russian territory of Alaska and coastline of western Canada. Alaskan Boundary Tribunal” (1903). Source: U.S. Congressional Serial Set, Readex

Location, location, location!

A uniquely valuable archive of translated foreign materials

 

Discover Joint Publications Research Service Reports

A uniquely valuable archive of translated foreign materials

Writing the David Ruggles Biography: Newspapers Help Complete the Portrait of a Radical Black Abolitionist

 [This article by Graham Russell Gao Hodges, George Dorland Langdon Jr. Professor of History and Africana & Latin American Studies, Colgate University first appeared in the February 2011 issue of The Readex Report.]

Writing the David Ruggles Biography: Newspapers Help Complete the Portrait of a Radical Black Abolitionist

Flashbacks: Filling in the Blanks (with the Seattle Times historical archive)

Maybe you missed it, or perhaps you weren’t yet born. But imagine for just a moment that you’d made the trip from Seattle, Washington, to Max Yasgur’s Bethel, New York, farm in the late summer of 1969. You were one of the half-million people attending the Woodstock Music and Art Fair. One of your traveling companions embarked on the trip to protest the war in Vietnam. Another tagged along for the three-day party. You however came for the music. And moreover, you’d endured three hungry days of rain, long Porta-John lines, and National Guard rations for this singular moment. The opening riff to Jimi Hendrix’s “Message to Love” brings you out of your tent, and onto your feet. He’s your hometown hero. His white Fender Stratocaster, manufactured for a right-handed player, is strung upside-down for his deft left-handed manipulation. He’s working the fret-board furiously with long, spindly fingers. And just then, you flash back.
Flashbacks: Filling in the Blanks (with the Seattle Times historical archive)

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