So we were very, very excited to receive the news last week that we have been granted IMLS funding for our Connecting Presidential Collections (CPC) project! We’re so grateful to the IMLS for their support of projects like ours. (Click here to see the impressive list of organizations receiving funding.)
The duration of the project is 3 years, and we’ve divided the project into 4 pillars over that time. Phrased casually, off the top of my head, they are:
- Map out the location (physical and otherwise) of collection-level presidential materials around the world;
- Refine and launch the Beta version of presidentialcollections.org, and use #1 above as a guide for bringing in new partners;
- As we get a more thorough sense of the landscape, use what we’re learning to create training/assistance materials for sites that may want to participate but may not be ready to. (This information might include scanning assistance, metadata information, best practices, digitization research resources, etc.)
- Scan the microfilmed presidential papers of Hayes, Fillmore, and Monroe, and use existing scanning and computing technology to extract item-level metadata. (Resulting metadata is fed into presidentialcollections.org.)
All four of the pillars above feed into the broadest goal: Making presidentialcollections.org an invaluable hub for researchers and learners. Presidential collections are broad and widely disparate–from the amazing NARA libraries for modern presidents, to privately-owned presidential book collections, to museums that may possess only a few relics of presidential history alongside other artifacts.
By taking information about those collections and putting it in one place we make research easier and faster… while simultaneously elevating the visibility of those “home” institutions so that interested parties can find them when they need them.
So we enter into this time period both excited and trepidatious. We’ve set our goals high, and the next several years will be full of challenges–successes and failures both, to be sure. Three of us will be contributing to this blog, and our intention is to share the human and professional experiences of the project.
I imagine we’ll max poetic about digital standards and practices, express frustrations about obstacles, and share humor and successes.
Be sure to follow us on Twitter @pres_collection, and thanks for joining us on the journey!
Lots more goodness is to come.