Health Magazine

Basements, Exhibits, and Digital Content

By Chp

-Contributed by Allison Howell.

During her time as a practicum student at the CHP, Allison has been working on several projects, including preservation and digitization of a century-old scrapbook created by psychologist Edgar Doll at the Vineland Training School. You can read about the process here and here. She has now completed the project. Here, she describes the long-term care, storage, and use of the Doll scrapbook.

Now that the preservation process has been completed, you may have several questions concerning Edgar Doll’s scrapbook or preserved materials in general. Hopefully, your questions include the following:

  • Where will the physical scrapbook go now?
  • How will staff members find the scrapbook when they need it?
  • Now that it is digitized, will the scrapbook ever see the light of day again?
  • And–perhaps most importantly–how will researchers know the scrapbook is housed at CHP?

Where will the physical scrapbook go now?

Now that is has been digitized, the scrapbook will be placed in long-term storage. Archives, repositories, museums, and other such institutions generally have an area where they keep the portions of their collections that are not currently on display, and CHP is no exception.

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The box containing Doll’s scrapbook is labeled with its collection name (“Geraldine and Edgar A. Doll Papers”), its location (“Oversized”), and its unique identifier (“OS145”). With all of this information present, staff members can easily locate the box and return it to its home-location after a researcher has finished with it.

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How will staff members find the scrapbook when they need it?

Under the previous question, I noted that staff members can easily located desired boxes based on their informative labels. The bigger question is, then, how do staff members know what label they are looking for?

CHP has purchased CONTENTdm, a content management system that facilitates storage and management of a library’s digital collections. CONTENTdm allows CHP to enter information about its collections into a searchable database, which includes an item’s title, its description, its permanent location, its condition, and its format.

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CONTENTdm helps CHP staff keep the collections organized, well-described, and findable. When the scrapbook metadata is made public, this will also help alert researchers that it is here at the Center for viewing. Eventually, much of the digitized scrapbook will go online for public viewing (with some restrictions due to privacy concerns).

Now that it is digitized, will the scrapbook ever see the light of day again?

As a general rule, boxes in a repository’s storage area are not opened unless a researcher has requested the material inside. However, there are exceptions to this, particularly if an item will be included in an exhibit in the CHP museum.

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Interested in taking a look this amazing piece of history yourself? Its pages are always happy to have visitors! (Any research requests can be sent to [email protected])


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