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Digitization

Imaging is a significant undertaking, entailing careful handling of the fragile manuscript and typescript documents in the Martha Berry Collection, detailed record-keeping, and exceptional communication among project members. Its importance to preservation and access, as well as to dissemination, cannot be overstated.

MBDA's imaging workflow was designed to leverage the strengths of our undergraduate students, who have participated actively in this foundational stage of digital archive development. The workflow includes assignment of unique filenames for documents, an effort which provides an initial cataloging step and which ensures a one-to-one correspondence between digital representations of documents in MBDA and the location of their primary source exemplars in the physical archive.

For preservation purposes, documents are scanned and stored first as high-quality TIFF files, which are retained by the Berry College Library. JPEG derivatives are then generated for web publication on MBDA and, together with document metadata, for collection-level inclusion in the Digital Library of Georgia.

Given the scale of the collection, imaging is currently ongoing. Because we are particularly interested in discovery, fileboxes were not prioritized for imaging based on document composition date or chronology. Rather, they were prioritized based on inclusion of important correspondence (e.g. between Clara Ford and Martha Berry, between Emily Vanderbilt Hammond and Martha Berry) which continued across decades and which today provides a compelling narrative of discourse between authors. We also selected all fileboxes from 1926 for priority imaging, as this pivotal year in Berry history offers a kind of 'core sample' which is representative of the collection at large.


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