moderated Archives Issues....,
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Your points, and questions are excellent. Let me take a stab at an answer…..
Yes, there is the concept of multiple “processes” to organize, scan, make available for researchers and publish material from the SRHA archives. The issue is the resources (people and hardware) to do that work.
It is hard to describe the extent of the SRHA archives much less to estimate how much work needs to be done. I cannot make a complete list but we did weigh everything for the move to Chattanooga…the total was 30 Tons not including the Spacesaver shelving. The good news is that we already have many items scanned at archival resolution (3,261 diesel drawings, 5,889 diesel photo negatives, 3,604 SR steam photos, etc.) Everything is stored on redundant (and some remote) hard drives. That still leaves many thousands of photos, drawings and documents to do.
At this point, we give priority to scan items needed for TIES, specific research projects and model manufacturers’ requests for information. We have not “OCRd” many items yet as just getting scans done takes a lot of time. (We can get assistance from folks away from Chattanooga with things like OCR once scans can be sent.)
Re your items:
1. The new building is about as fireproof as possible. We want as much “electrical” disconnected as possible when no one is there.
2. There are many documents that are more than 100 years old. Some are very difficult to scan and many cannot use a document feeder because of their age and condition.
3. Any task that can be done remotely is good.
We have several important items that are not resolved. Access and use of the material is a biggie. Obviously, we want the collection to be used (I estimate people will care about historical information on the Southern for maybe the next twenty years?) but the cost to acquire and maintain the collection needs to be considered. For example, in the past ten years or so individual SRHA members and NS have paid at least $100,000 to purchase various private collections. How do we reconcile/afford acquiring and maintaining the archives if we make everything freely available? No one wants to see the ridiculous prices that appear so common today but we must find a balance between the two. (Investment in the new building exceeds $1M.)
IMHO, the Internet is making this question more difficult. People expect to find everything on the ’net at no cost. I sit in on many presentations where the only items shown are pulled from an Internet browser. No actual research beyond Google.
At the Collinsville RPM, people from at least a dozen RR historical groups described the issues they thought most important. There was nearly a 100% correlation between what everyone was thinking about…we didn’t have many answers but all recognized how important the issues are.
Every historical groups’ archive or library needs input and help, cash and labor, to figure this stuff out.
I’d love to hear any comments, on or off list as anyone prefers.
On Dec 21, 2018, at 12:13 PM, David Friedlander <davidjfriedlander@...> wrote:
Since I don't actually know the answer...is there a process in place to just go ahead and do a blanket digital scan of everything in the Archives into a computer? Tied to that, are scans being ran through OCR software to allow the scans's individual words to be searchable? This would probably help the research phase of things big time.
I ask as scanning would open the door for a few things:
1. Redundancy of the Archives' Contents in case of fire, theft, lawsuit, etc.
2. Preservation of any documents that contain paper that has extremely aged, damaged, etc. and its lifespan is limited.
3. Opens up the ability for many more folks to organize, catalog, research, and write articles for the SRHA, etc. by removing the geographic requirement of needing to live near or visit Chattanooga.
4. As previously mentioned, if OCR'ed, this would make far easier to search key words in the text of all of the documents.
Just a question and a thought.
On Fri, Dec 21, 2018 at 9:36 AM George Eichelberger <geichelberger@...> wrote: