Digitizing the Register

Two weeks ago, our group began the process of digitizing the cemetery’s register.  The volume is large and heavy, with over 500 pages.  The National Park Service would like a preservation grade digital copy.  Marianne and I sat down for an hour on February 8th to begin the process.  We ran into some difficulties because we didn’t realize we were digitizing the index section of the register, which can’t conform to the naming conventions established by the NPS.  I sent an email asking for more clarity on the naming convention, and by the next class period, in which we began our group contract, we’d reached some answers about the naming convention and how to proceed.

On Wednesday last, I sat down for 2 hours and digitized 90 pages of the register, with an hour of help from Nick.  We put a sizable dent in the work left.  I really enjoy the process of digitizing documents.  It is mechanical and repetitive, which allows me to pay more attention to the actual image being produced.  I didn’t realize how warped the spines of old books could be.  The register’s spine isn’t perfectly straight, and the glass plates of the machine have a tendency to obscure the running numbers on the right page.  I got really good at adjusting the platten, and delicately pushing the book around so that the glass fit into the crevice of the book, producing a clearer image.

We are still negotiating the appropriate naming conventions for the different types of pages within the register (blank pages, title page, index, register pages), But we have at least digitized a good portion of the material, and are on track to have at least 50% of the register digitized by the 27th.  It should be relatively easy for us to go back and rename the files when we finalize our naming conventions.

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