I’m delighted to announce that we have begun publishing Jane Addams documents on our website — http://digital.janeaddams.ramapo.edu! We are still in the early stages, and have lots of work yet to do, but the site is up and running.
The digital edition is built on the Omeka content management system, with plugins built by programmer Daniel Berthereau in order to optimize it for operating a digital edition. Some of the features already in place for documents are:
- Metadata–the Jane Addams Digital Edition provides detailed metadata on each document in its collection, helping you locate materials by date, type, subject, language, and description.
- Images–the digital edition includes document images from the microfilm (and some scans from original documents as well).
- Transcriptions–all documents will be transcribed so that they are text-searchable.
We are also building identifications of the people and organizations, and some events and places named in the documents. These short identifications will provide readers with some context for the documents, and will provide links to our sources and to open-access resources to help them in their research.
- Metadata–We are also building ways for readers to explore Jane Addams’ world by searching her correspondents and associates. You can search descriptions of people using tags to identify all social workers, all men or women, all politicians, or all family members, etc.
- Images–When we can locate a rights-free image of the person, we will include it with a citation.
We have gathered information on the repositories that contain Jane Addams material, starting by entering over 700 archival collections that appear in the Jane Addams Microfilm Edition, and adding new collections as we locate materials. Once documents from these collections are added to the digital edition, they will be linked to the archival collection.
The tag cloud allows readers to find everything on a set of large-scale topics. It also provides a good overview of the kinds of materials that are in the collection.
We are also using a map to plot people, organizations, events, and documents, producing another way to explore the materials. A search page below the map enables you to limit the items–looking at where Addams’ correspondents lived in 1903, or where settlement houses were located, etc.
We began with the goal of publishing documents between 1901-1903 as our first installment. In order to publish a complete document, we need to:
- Create and proofread the metadata
- Create and proofread the transcription
- Obtain permission to publish the image from the archive, library, or person that owns it.
- Obtain copyright permission when needed.
We can only publish a document when all four steps have been completed. Fortunately, many of our document’s authors are in the public domain, which makes the process easier. We have received the cooperation of most of the archives and libraries that own the document, but obtaining permission is a cumbersome task. Proofreading our transcriptions of difficult-to-read documents has also been a slow process. This helps explain why not all of the documents between 1901-1903 are up yet. We are clearing them for publication as fast as we can, and will post them as soon as possible.
We have located over 1,000 individual people in our first six months of work, and while we have been creating entries as fast as we can, there are still many to go, and we haven’t proofread and checked all of them. As names go live, the links between documents and subjects will also go live.
This summer we will focus on getting more documents up, more identifications complete and developing the design of the site. Its an exciting time at the Jane Addams Papers Project.
Please let us know here, or by emailing me at firstname.lastname@example.org what you think of the work done so far.