If you haven’t noticed, the digital world is huge in genealogy these days. Through the magic of digitization, people and organizations are making records, photographs and documents available to researchers around the world, 24 hours a day. At MHGS, we want to be a player (albeit a small one) in this exciting segment of the genealogy environment. And so, we have added a new section to our website, called MHGS Digital Collections. (Catchy it’s not, but we couldn’t come up with anything better. Suggestions welcome.)
The MHGS Digital Collections section operates on a professional-grade software platform that will let us build a database of digital images that are fast to load to your computer screen, searchable and downloadable, and can be found through Google and other search engines. It’s also really easy to use, both for website users and our librarians. To see it, go to MHGSWichita.org and click on Digital Collections in the menu on the left side of the screen (or click here.) Click on one of the recently added items, and you will be taken to the information screen for that item, which includes little previews of the digital item (mostly photographs at this point) and as much information as we have about the item, including the subjects, the location, the date, and the photographer, if we know them. Click on one of the preview pictures and you will see a full screen view of the item.
Our goal is to fill this section with photographs and records that are interesting and useful for our members and other researchers. We will, of course, be digitizing the photographs, records and other documents in our collections in the library. We have also started working with other local groups to make their archives available as well; we are especially interested in groups that have a rich history in the Wichita area but don’t have the resources, experience or interest in digitizing or hosting a website, such as local churches, clubs and community groups.
Of course, to do all this digitizing, we need a good scanner that can handle documents, printed photographs, and photographic negatives and slides of any size. After purchasing one, we realized there were a lot of other things we need as well, so we have outfitted a desk in the library as our scanning station, complete with archival storage supplies, scanning tutorials, and even white cotton gloves! This scanning station is available for anyone to use any time the library is open, so come on down and let us give you a tour. And if you’d like to contribute a digital copy of your item to the Digital Collections, even better!