Daily Herald: Saints by Sea: BYU database collects stories of Latter-day Saint maritime immigration. “[Fred] Woods, a professor of religious education at Brigham Young University in Provo, is the compiler for Saints by Sea, a database housed by the BYU Harold B. Lee Library that includes autobiographies, journals, images and letters of more than 1,000 members of The Church of Latter-day Saints who immigrated to the United States by sea.”
DeSmog: The Imperial Oil Files: New Collection Adds to Climate and Energy Research Archives On Science and Denial. “These documents add new context to the groundbreaking investigative reporting by Inside Climate News, and the Columbia School of Journalism in partnership with the Los Angeles Times, that revealed the #ExxonKnew conspiracy. Those journalistic efforts exposed the facts that Exxon’s own climate science research had confirmed the role of fossil fuels in driving global warming, and that the company pivoted away from that advanced knowledge, choosing instead to spend tens of millions of dollars funding climate science denial campaigns.”
Foreign Affairs: Trapped in the Archives. “Did the United States have a hand in assassinating Congolese and Dominican leaders in 1961? What did President Richard Nixon’s White House know about a successful plot to kill the head of the Chilean army in 1970? After the Cold War ended, did top U.S. military commanders retain the authority to strike back if a surprise nuclear attack put the president out of commission? The answers to these and other historical mysteries are likely knowable—but they are locked in presidential libraries and government archives and inaccessible to researchers. The reason: the U.S. government’s system for declassifying and processing historical records has reached a state of crisis.” A really important read. Please do not miss this one.
GPO: GPO Completes Digitization of 1,300 Congressional Hearings. “The U.S. Government Publishing Office (GPO) has digitized more than 1,300 historical Congressional Hearings dating back to 1958 and made them available on govinfo, GPO’s one-stop site to authentic, published Government information. Through these digitization efforts, the public can access records of Congressional Hearings for free. These include the transcripts from meetings or sessions of a Senate, House, joint, or special committee of Congress, in which elected officials obtained information and opinions on proposed legislation, conducted an investigation, or evaluated the activities of a government department or the implementation of a Federal law.”
State Archives of North Carolina: There’s Still Time to Help Improve Access to NC’s Historic Documents. “Great news! TranscribeNC, the crowd sourced transcription program by the State Archives of North Carolina, has reached a milestone. Over the last six months, over 100 volunteers have dedicated their time to complete over 1600 page edits. The local draft board project will close on November 30. You still have a chance to make history! Beginning in December, TrasncribeNC will debut new projects focusing on WWI letters and diaries and women’s history. More information coming soon!”
Villanova University: Now Digitized!. “Over ten years ago, Distinctive Collections posted a blog post, “THE ONE THAT GOT AWAY…,” about the many materials that are too difficult to digitize. Michael Foight, Director of Distinctive Collections and Digital Engagement, described how the unique Special Collections materials sometimes are too fragile or too tightly bound to be properly scanned. Another complication brought to light is how complex materials once digitized can lose its context with each other. For example, digitizing scrapbooks with many components are digitized individually may lose the interrelationships between each other and the scrapbook as a whole. These obstacles highlight how the argument for ‘digitize everything’ is not so simple or easy. But with the years of upgrades to the Villanova Digital Library we are able to revisit the scrapbooks that could not originally be digitized!”
Smithsonian: The Unprecedented Effort to Preserve a Million Letters Written by U.S. Soldiers During Wartime. “Andrew Carroll is never far away from the slim black portfolio he calls ‘the football.’ Inside are more than two dozen original letters, creased and faded, bullet-torn and tear-stained, spanning 225 years of American war history, from the early days of the Revolution to 9/11. Each page is sheathed in a protective plastic sleeve, and for added security, there are the handcuffs. Carroll locks the case to his wrist when he travels, which he does almost constantly. By his own count, he was on the road almost 200 days last year, using this remarkable sampling of letters to convince anyone who will listen how important—and ephemeral—such documents are. It’s all part of the historian’s ambitious effort to rescue these eyewitness accounts from attics, basements, garage sales and trash bins.”