Digitization projects expand access to Atlanta
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[January 17, 2017]
- The Atlanta Museum recently completed two digitization projects
designed to provide its patrons and the general public with easier
and better access to its historical resources. The projects include
digitization of the Museum’s entire collection of Atlanta Argus
newspapers, as well as digitization of the Museum’s collection of
“Atalanta” yearbooks from The Atlanta High School. These collections
are used frequently, but were previously only accessible if a patron
visited the Atlanta Museum and accessed them on site.
The Atlanta Argus collection includes copies of the town’s
newspapers from 1869 through 1983. Prior to the digitization
project, the Argus was accessible via bound, printed copies and/or
microfilm. The latter were actually removed from public access a
number of years ago, due to the fragile condition of these original
copies of the newspapers. While the microfilm copies of the Argus
were still available, this medium had its drawbacks too. Many
portions of the microfilm were difficult to read and it was not
possible to search the microfilm via keywords. If a patron wanted to
find a news article about a particular person or event, it required
searching/reading through each page of the newspaper.
Thanks to work done by Advantage Preservation, located in Cedar
Rapids, Iowa, the complete Atlanta Argus newspaper collection can
now be accessed online. Better still, keyword searches are possible,
which result in links to each page of the Argus where the keyword
appears. Searches can be made per whatever month, year, or range of
years desired. Once a keyword is found, a link is provided to a copy
of the Argus page where it appears. The program even highlights the
keywords on those individual pages, making it easy to quickly locate
the specific news article in which the word is found.
Individual Argus pages can then be downloaded onto a user’s
computer and/or printed so the user has a hard copy. Funds to carry
out digitization of the Atlanta Museum’s Argus newspaper collection
were provided by a grant received from The Woods Foundation. The
library is grateful for this financial support, without which the
project would not have been possible.
The Atlanta Museum’s collection of Atlanta High School yearbooks is
also now accessible online, thanks to assistance from a somewhat
unlikely source: the Oklahoma Department of Corrections and its
Oklahoma Correctional Industries [OCI] program. Several months ago,
the Museum discovered the OCI program, which employs over 1,200
offenders serving sentences in the Oklahoma Department of
Corrections. OCI produces over 5,000 products ranging from furniture
to steel products to services such as its yearbook digitization
program. The yearbook digitization project is provided at no cost to
public libraries. Museum patrons and the general public can now
access copies of each AHS Atlanta yearbook, from 1919 through 1972.
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To access both the Argus and the Atlanta online collections, simply go to the
Atlanta Public Library website [http://www.atlantapld.org/] and click the links
on the homepage beneath the “Explore Our Digital Archives” section.
Staff at the Atlanta Public Library and Museum have received training in how to
access and use both the Argus and AHS Atlanta digital archive collections, so
stop by and check out these new resources – or simply access them from the
comfort of your own home. In addition, watch for announcements on the Library’s
website and Facebook regarding training sessions that will be offered at the
Library for anyone interested in learning how to access and use the Argus and
AHS Atlanta digital archive collections.
The mission of the Atlanta Public Library is to improve the quality of life of
its patrons by expanding their horizons, meeting their learning needs, and
enhancing their interests in meaningful and entertaining ways. The mission of
the Atlanta Museum is to improve the quality of life of its patrons by helping
them gain a better sense of their individual and our community’s identity,
through exhibits and programs designed to develop historical habits of mind.