It’s Christmas in the Archives!

Katie Nash
December 21, 2012

For those of you who regularly follow our blog, this post will be different from all the previous entries. Our goal in 2013 is to include more blog posts about what we do in the Archives and Special Collections, as well as include any interesting projects we are working on throughout the year. Let this post be a sneak preview to other posts that will be written in 2013. Enjoy!

Our new scanning station!

Our new scanning station!

Christmas has arrived in the Belk Library Archives and Special Collections! This week we received our second scanner, that’s right our second scanner!! While this may not seem like a huge deal to some people, it is quite a milestone for us. To put our excitement in perspective, when a student assistant of ours (Pam Richter) started working in the archives in January of 2008 we had no scanners. Whenever we would receive a request to scan a photograph from our collection, she had to use one of the few scanners located on the first floor of the library–and let’s just say that these scanners were small and did not produce high quality scans. Granted at that time we did not have many requests for scans of photographs, but I knew in the back of my mind that this ‘luxury’ would not continue long.

While serving on the planning committee in 2008 for the Ever Elon capital campaign, I knew our world was going to change when one of the major components of the fundraising campaign was to create a video that included photographs of Elon through the years and video footage. By this time, our photograph collection had been successfully organized (although many photo collections continued to come through our doors which we were busy integrating), and for the most part our slide and negative collections had been processed. In addition to our photograph collection, we have quite a few excellent slides and negatives, but we had no way of scanning these for digital use. I knew we would need a high quality scanner to capture the best pictures that we had across all types of media. In addition to the Ever Elon campaign, the number of photo requests across campus and among researchers was steadily increasing.

In late 2008 Belk Library purchased an Epson Expression 10000 XL scanner for the Archives. This scanner is great–it has the capabilities of scanning photographs, slides, negatives, glass plates, and oversize (up to 11×17) documents. Once it arrived, we started selecting photos for the Ever Elon campaign and got to work scanning . Since 2008 we have scanned thousands of images for many projects including: student class projects such as when an iMedia student was working on a large campus map project that included historic images, all of our digital collections, the alumni video (coming out in 2013), George Troxler’s book about Elon’s history (coming out in 2014), converting all our glass plate negatives to digital files, and much more. Currently we have over 100,000 digital photographs and some of them can be seen on our Flickr site.

There are a few ongoing projects and many projects on the horizon that will increase the demand of providing photographs from our collections (such as George’s book and Elon’s 125th anniversary celebration in 2013-2014). In the past year our staff has also increased, so using our one scanning station as our volunteer and student work space has been challenging. We were so excited to be able to purchase another scanner (identical to our first scanner) and increase production! In the coming year, be on the look out for more images from the Archives that will be added to our digital collections page, our Flickr site and other social media sites, and a variety of University publications. It has been a good year in the Archives and Special Collections and we look forward to sharing more of our success stories with you in 2013!

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