As you know if you follow the blog, we have a grant from the National Historical Publications and Records Commission to digitize some of our manuscript collections that have already been captured on microfilm. Up until August, I had been adding the images and metadata to Connecticut History Online. We are now moving to a new platform hosted by the University of Connecticut, called the Connecticut Digital Archive, in a “collection” called Connecticut History Illustrated.
To date, I have been able to add the papers of Samson Occom, John Trumbull the artist, John Trumbull the poet, and Governor Thomas Fitch. The papers of Oliver Wolcott will be coming next, along with the American Revolution Collection. The beauty of this new platform is that the repository itself (Islandora) is a digital preservation system. The digital images will be maintained and preserved “forever” even with changes in technology over time.
Why digital preservation? Well, remember the 5″ floppy disc, 8-track tape and VHS? The technology that created these and other forms of media is now obsolete. There are very few programs, let alone equipment, to “play” older media. At CHS we have a dedicated server to store our digital images, but we have no mechanism in place to constantly check for any losses in image integrity or to migrate the files when we upgrade our software or hardware.
We are grateful to NHPRC and Connecticut Digital Archive for providing the support we need to make our collections available to a wider audience.