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Category: historical research

Chapter 8: Preparing and Releasing Official Statistical Data by Professor Natalie Shlomo

Black and white photo of a woman using a keypunch to tabulate the United States Census, circa 1940.Chapter 8 of Partners for Preservation is ‘Preparing and Releasing Official Statistical Data’ by Professor Natalie Shlomo. This is the first chapter of Part III:  Data and Programming. I knew early in the planning for the book that I wanted a chapter that talked about privacy and data.

During my graduate program, in March of 2007, Google announced changes to their log retention policies. I was fascinated by the implications for privacy. At the end of my reflections on Google’s proposed changes, I concluded with: ... 

Election Eve: Fighting for the Right to Vote

In less than six hours, the polls in Maryland will open for the 2012 general election. Here on ‘election eve’ in the United States of America, I wanted to share some records of those who fought to gain the right to vote for all throughout the USA. Some of these you may have seen before – but I did my best to find images, audio, and video that may not have crossed your path. Why do we have these? In most cases it is because an archive kept them. ... 

Breast Cancer: Join the Army of Women & Help Scientists Find the Cause

In honor of the Army of Women Day, my post today takes a quick look at how the American public  has been delivered various messages about cancer via posters and PSAs.

These two 1930s posters from the Library of Congress focus their message on convincing women to seek treatment from their doctor quickly and not fight their cancer alone.

By the 70s we got PSAs from organizations like the American Cancer Society, focusing on not smoking, doing self-exams and seeing your doctor for ‘regular cancer check-ups’. The clip below features Farrah Fawcett in 1981 (25 years before her own cancer diagnosis): ... 

Ada Lovelace Day: Portraits of Women in Technology

What does a brilliant female scientist look like? In honor of the 2010  Ada Lovelace Day, I went on a hunt through the Filckr Commons and other sources of archival images to see how many portraits of women who have contributed to science and technology I could find.

A few years back I read Malcolm Gladwell‘s book Blink. One of the ideas I took away was the profound impact of the images with which we surround ourselves. He discusses his experience taking an Implicit Association Test (IAT) related to racism and his opinion that surrounding oneself with images of accomplished black leaders can change ones ‘implicit racism’. Project Implicit still continues. I found a demo of the ‘Gender-Science IAT’ and took it (you can too!). “This IAT often reveals a relative link between liberal arts and females and between science and males.” My result? “Your data suggest little or no association between Male and Female with Science and Liberal Arts.” My result was received by 18% of those taking the test. 54% apparently show a strong or moderate automatic association between male and science and female and liberal arts. ... 

Encouraging Participation in the Census

1940-census-posterWhile smart folks over at NARA are thinking about the preservation strategy for digitized 2010 census forms, I got inspired to take a look at what we have preserved from past censuses. In specific, I wanted to look at posters, photos and videos that give us a glimpse into how we encouraged and documented the activity of participation in the past.

There is a dedicated Census History area on the Census website, as well as a section of the 2010 website called The Big Count Archive. While I like the wide range of 2010 Census Posters – the 1940 census poster shown here (thank you Library of Congress) is just so striking. ... 

Concertina History Online Features Virtual Collaboration and Digitization

In the early 1960s, my father bought a Wheatstone concertina in London. He tells how he visited the factory where it was made to pick one out and recalls the ledger book in which details about the concertinas were recorded. After a recent retelling of this family classic, I was inspired to see what might be online related to concertinas. I was amazed!

First I found the Concertina Library which presents itself as a ‘Digital Reference Collection for Concertinas’. With fourteen contributing authors, the site includes in depth articles on concertina history, technology, music, research and a wide range of concertina systems... 

Archiving Women in Technology: A Tribute to Ada Lovelace

In celebration of Ada Lovelace Day 2009, I decided to see how many different archival resources I could dig up that document the achievements of women in technology.

My first find has me giving a big hats off to IBM. They have a page dedicated to IBM Women in Technology, but the real fun is in digging through the persona pages listed in the IBM Women in Technology International (WITI) hall of fame. You can watch oral history interviews with women like Frances Allen,  an “expert in the field of optimizing compilers”, or Caroline Kovac, who “oversees the development of cutting-edge information technology at IBM for the life sciences market”. ... 

Library of Congress Inauguration 2009 Audio and Video Project

President Taft and his wife lead the inaugural parade, 1909 (Library of Congress: Prints and Photographs Division)

Amazing how much can change in 100 years. In March of 1909, the stereograph above shows African Americans driving the carriage that carried President and Mrs. Taft from the Capitol to lead the inauguration parade to the White House. On January 20th of 2009, Barack Obama will be the guest of honor. The American Folklife Center‘s Inauguration 2009 Sermons and Orations Project aims to collect recordings, transcriptions and ephemera of speeches addressing the significance of the inauguration of Barack Obama as the first African American president. ... 

Google Tackles Magazine Archives

Google Book Search: Popular Mechanics Jan 1905 Cover ImageAs has been reported around the web today, Google is now digitizing and adding magazines to Google Book Search. This follows on the tails of the recent Google Life Photo archive announcement.

I took a look around to see what I could see. I was intrigued by the fact that I couldn’t see a list of all the magazines in their collection. So I went after the information the hard way and kept reloading the Google Book Search home page until I didn’t see any new titles displayed in their highlighted magazine section. This is what I came up with, roughly grouped by general topic groupings. ... 

Blog Action Day 2008: Poverty in the Archival Record and Beyond

Blog Action Day - Poverty long

In honor of this year’s Blog Action Day theme of Poverty, I want to point people to examples of ways in which poverty is documented in archives, manuscript collections and elsewhere.

The most obvious types of records that document poverty are:

There are also organizations dedicated to research on poverty – such as the Chronic Poverty Research Centre, University of Kentucky Center for Poverty Research and National Poverty Center. The archival records from groups such as these could show ways that organizations have addressed poverty over time, as well as the history of poverty itself. ...