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Tuesday, October 20, 2015

All is Made New Again

Blogs across the Smithsonian will give an inside look at the Institution’s archival collections and practices during a month long blog-a-thon in celebration of October’s American Archives Month. See additional posts from our other participating blogs, as well as related events and resources, on the Smithsonian’s Archives Month website.

In this second information age, libraries and archives are constantly working to put “hidden” materials, collections, and data online so the public and scholars can discover bits of the past and make connections that may have seemed lost.

Over the last few months, working with the Freer Sackler’s wonderful Digital Media and Technology team, the archives has been able to streamline and improve our website.   We now have new and improved resource gateways for various collections including Ernst Herzfeld and Antoine Sevruguin.

Alice Roosevelt on the deck of the SS Manchuria.
We have also been able to add an entirely new gateway dedicated to Alice in Asia: The Taft 1905 Mission to Asia.  This collection came to the archives through a member of the Roosevelt family.  The collection is filled with wonderful photographs and portraits.  Most recently, the wonderful new resource gateway was featured on Smithsonian Magazine’s blog.

Aleppo (Syria): Madrasa al-Zahiriyya, Entrance Portal: Plan, Elevetion and Section
Furthermore, we have created collection level records for all of our collections.  In addition, through the development of the SOVA project all our finding aids are now searchable and downloadable PDFs.  This will be a great help to scholars who want to dig into collections.  This also makes our daily work load much more manageable because these new changes allow us to find errors and correct them immediately.

Collection organization starts from the the physical formats (paper, photographs, film) into understandable series boxes and order.  It is now also necessary to insure that the context and organization (also preservation of creator’s thoughts) are preserved in an online setting.

Lara Amrod
Freer|Sackler Archives

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