Wednesday, March 03, 2010

The most recent issue (Fall 2009) of Microform & Imaging Review includes 8 articles and 4 reviews on the theme of "women's history digital collections."

De Gruyter's Reference Global site ( offers full text access to subscribing institutions, and "abstracts" (first page) access to non-subscribers. Many libraries subscribe to the print edition, and there is always the interlibrary loan option.

The digitization projects that are showcased in this theme issue are improving access to primary sources that document women’s lives in places as diverse as Italy, Iran, and Muncie (“Middletown”), Indiana. Other collections focus on African American women at the University of Iowa, an underappreciated French American author, and the pioneering efforts of women in government and law.

Here's a list of the articles with brief annotations, along with links to the collections that are highlighted. The list also includes links to the full text of articles 2 and 7 (for this week only).

1. Women's History Collections: Digitization, Access, and the Future of Collaboration
by Ken Middleton- Provides a brief introduction to the key themes of the issue.

2. The Middletown Women's History Collection. A Case Study in Building a Digital Collection of Women's History Resources by Amanda A. Hurford and Maren L. Read- An excellent case study from the perspective of an archivist and a digital projects librarian.
Link to Middletown Women's History Collection
Link to full text of the article:

3. Women's Worlds in Qajar Iran. A Digital Archive and Website Project of the History Department and Studies of Women, Gender, and Sexuality, Harvard University; and the Harvard College Library by Afsaneh Najmabadi- This project is bringing together widely dispersed primary sources, many of which remain in private family collections.
Link to grant announcement:

4. The Italian Digital Women's Library in the Context of Europe by Annamaria Tagliavini
The author describes how the focus on women's movements influenced the types of sources collected at the Italian Women's Library, as well as the Fragen Project, a collaborative project involving European women's libraries.
Link to the Italian Digital Women's Library and Fragen:

5. Unveiling Women's History Online. Digitizing the Washington College of Law Historical Collection by Allison B. Zhang and Susan McElrath- The authors provide a wealth of information about the technical aspects of digitization: metadata; working with digitization vendors; developing a file naming convention. They also describe the custom viewer for scrapbooks.
Link to digital collection:

6. Digitization of the French Language Sidonie de la Houssaye Papers by Gina Costello
Costello covers microfilming the collection for preservation, and subsequent digitization of the microfilm to improve access.
Link to digital collection:

7. Chronicling African American Women Students at the University of Iowa by Shawn Averkamp
In addition to covering selection, digitization, and metadata issues, Averkamp outlines the timeline approach for providing a key entry point to the collection. Such an approach provides contextual information for small groups of items, rather than just for the collection as a whole.
Link to digital collection:
Link to full text of the article:

8. A Few Good Women, 1969–1974. An Oral History Collection Experienced through an Online Curriculum for Grades 6–12 by Karla M. Schmit
Link to digital collection:
This collection highlights the experiences of women in government positions during Richard Nixon's presidency. Schmit explores multiple options for making the collection relevant for students: WebQuests to compare "A Few Good Women" with women in government in other countries; compare interviews in the collection with their own interviews with women; and even play the roles of journalist Vera Glaser and President Nixon in Readers Theatre.

Review of Microfilm Collection
* Atlanta Lesbian Feminist Alliance Archives, ca. 1972–1994 (reviewed by Phyllis Holman Weisbard)

Reviews of Commercial Digital Collections
* Manuscript Women’s Letters and Diaries from the American Antiquarian Society, 1750–1950 (reviewed by Jessica Moran)
* Perdita Manuscripts: Women Writers, 1500–1700 (reviewed by Robert Detmering)
* Women, War and Society, 1914–1918: From the Imperial War Museum, London (reviewed by Nina Clements)

Ken Middleton
Editor, Microform & Imaging Review
Box 013, Walker Library
Middle Tennessee State Univ.
Murfreesboro, TN 37132
(615) 904-8524


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