Journal Jottings, July 2018

By Diane L. Richard, NCGS Journal Editor, journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org

Acquiring Digitized Materials (Something You Can Do!)

Increasingly, we don’t have to travel to archives to acquire material from them. Just a few years ago, my options for accessing unindexed original/raw material were the hope that an archive had digitized what I sought and placed it online; otherwise, I needed to personally visit the archive and take my own photographs.

I recently contacted the archives at both Duke and UNC-Chapel Hill and learned that, for what I consider a modest fee ($30-$35 each), I can get small ledgers or a folder’s worth of material digitized. This service applies to materials known to be in the collections of these universities that were located through their online finding aids. Paying to have these collections digitized is more cost-effective than spending hours driving to the repositories and spending time navigating the campuses.

Additionally, when you pursue getting materials digitized in this fashion, you agree that the digitized material you paid for might be placed on their respective websites for access by others. Do know, however, that you cannot post the acquired digitized material online or share it with others as those digitized images are for your personal use only.

I love this idea. When I use this service and the material is ultimately abstracted for the Journal, I can include a link to the online collection so everyone has access to the material via the digitizing institutions own websites.

Sometimes, if a collection is small enough, there might be no cost. ECU recently helped me with a few sample pages (now available on its website) from a collection related to one of my recent topics of interest – tolls. You’ll learn more about that in a future issue of the Journal.

I view this as a win-win situation. I spend less time driving and instead get something in digital format that I can then share with abstractors/transcribers and it may also become available online to all researchers for only a little bit of my time and a modest fee. Now, this doesn’t mean that I won’t continue my treks to Duke and UNC or elsewhere when there is a need, but this service provides me with a nice alternative for those times when I don’t know when I might get to these places.

And, this is something each of you can do. Whether it’s to support your own research needs, or because you’ve come across something you think would be great for the NCGS Journal (hint-hint). All you have to do is send an email to the archives, be specific about which element of a collection may interest you, and then ask for a quote for a digital reproduction. It’s really that easy.

What Would You Like to See in the Journal

Though I have no lack of ideas for future Journal content – I probably have about twenty in-process projects going at the moment – I am open to suggestions for what other types of records or content you would like to see in the Journal.  After all, it is your Journal.

Graphic Design Suggestions

I have been slowly incorporating some new graphic elements into the Journal. With the Journal readily available via the members area of the NCGS website and the newer digital memberships options, many members are now accessing the Journal online.

Along these lines, you have hopefully noticed the inclusion of more images to complement articles, the addition of sidebars, improved use of table structures to manage formatting, and more.

I have a few more ideas planned in terms of introducing color into titles, headings, and a few other elements.

If you have a background in graphic design or just an interest in such, feel free to suggest elements that I might incorporate into the Journal.

I have learned that working with a 6” x 9” format really puts space at a premium and yet, with the ease with which we can now include graphical elements, and the increasing demand for such, we have an opportunity to always be improving the appearance of the Journal.

Do note that though I am introducing color and other visual elements, we cannot exclusively rely on such to convey key information as the Journal is still printed in black and white. Please keep this in mind when making your suggestions.

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 Thanks again to all who have helped and to those who will volunteer in the future. It does take a village to create a journal. As always, I can be reached at journaleditor@ncgenealogy.org to answer your questions, and to receive your submissions and suggestions.

Go Journal Team!

You may also view a printer-friendly pdf version of the July 2018 Journal Jottings.

(Image source: “Folder With Files Clipart”, by martink, licensed under Creative Commons CC0 1.0, Public Domain, via openclipart.org.)