Digitization Update November 2018

Digitization Update November 2018

Thursday, November 29, 2018

Hello everyone!  This is Erik Johnson here to give the latest monthly update for the Theodore Roosevelt Center’s digitization progress.

As of the end of November 2018, the Theodore Roosevelt Center has cataloged 61,010 items by describing them and giving them metadata. Of those, 58,342 items have gone through our review process to check the metadata for accuracy, and we have investigated the copyright status of 55,911 items. 53,054 items are currently published online in our digital library.

TR to Henry Cabot Lodge, June 4, 1902Of note this month, we finished creating metadata for every item we have so far from the Massachusetts Historical Society! Many of these items were the originals of letters between Theodore Roosevelt and Henry Cabot Lodge, for which copies existed in the Library of Congress Manuscripts Division. We prefer to present the original items when possible, so we processed these quickly and replaced the reproductions that were previously displayed in the digital library. (Note the White House stationery and the signature on the letter from the MHS collection at the right.) While this does not increase the number of published items we make available to you, we are glad to be able to provide the original letters for everyone to use.

One other significant project that we worked on this month that is not reflected in the above statistics was an update to our name authority file for the digital library. In the Theodore Roosevelt papers at the Library of Congress alone, there are more than 50,000 individual creators, not to mention people who are recipients of letters and those named as subjects in the body of a document. Identifying all of these people in Roosevelt's world is a big part of what we do.

For many individuals of the era, we are able to use records from the Library of Congress Name Authority File (LCNAF). The LCNAF contains more than 8 million names, many of which are outside the scope of our project. And although LCNAF is immense, it is not comprehensive. Many less-famous people named in the items in our digital library are not among the 8 million in LCNAF. For these reasons, we maintain our own name authority file, including names both from LCNAF and those which we create.

As we process items, we frequently stumble upon names that need to be added to our list. This can be a rather lengthy process. First, if someone is identified only by their initials, we try to determine their full name. Then, we locate their birth and death dates, to create a standard form of the name in our database and to determine the copyright status of items which they may have created. On a regular basis, we update our own names list with these newly standardized forms. We then go back through all the records in the digital library in which those names appear, to be sure the standardized form is used. The end result of this process is that we can more easily and quickly catalog new items. Even more important, you and other researchers can more easily find items to, from, or about individuals in the digital library!

Hopefully that gives a little glimpse into what we are working on here at the Theodore Roosevelt Center.  Thanks for supporting us in our work.