(Digital Collections) If You Scan Something, Set It Free: The Surprising Places We Find Our Digital Objects Online

An image from the Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music makes an appearance on “Gregg’s Blogg” at http://www.harpguitars.net.

For the parents among our readership, you well know that stepping back and letting your child experience life on their own – from their first unaided steps to the day they walk the stage at graduation – is one of the toughest things you have to master. And even though you know it’s part of their healthy development, you can’t help but feel a mix of bittersweet emotions when you see them take that next step on their own.

We experience something akin to this when we take a look around the Web to see where our digital collections objects are showing up online. The usual suspects turn up pretty frequently – Flickr, Pinterest and the like – but every now and then we see references to our materials in some pretty interesting places. So we thought we’d present a few examples to you here, in no particular order, of places you can see the results of our hard work presented by people all across the Internet’s spectrum of sites.

War of the Rebellion Atlas plate on a French language site registered in Djibouti

War of the Rebellion Atlas plate on a curated set of American Civil War images amalgamated by Photoree

Article on the Browning Letters Project from PublicLibraries.com

Wikipedia entry for Pat Neff featuring image from 1933 “Roundup”

An image from the Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music on a blog dedicated to “the harp guitar”

And these examples are just a smattering. Many of the images and references back to our collections stem from the major publicity we received from two viral stories related to our work that came out last year. One was the major media coverage related to the Valentine’s Day unveiling of the Browning Letters Project, and the other was our blog post from August, “So We Can Throw These Out Now, Right?” What We Learned from Microfilming Newspapers and How It Shapes Our Digitization Strategy.

One issue with the widespread proliferation of our materials does arise, however. Many of the references to our Digital Collections homepage link back to an old URL. We used contentdm.baylor.edu prior to an update to our content management system, CONTENTdm, which we implemented a couple of years ago. That means anything that was blogged about, posted to Flickr or referenced in some other way using a link from the old contentdm.baylor.edu address won’t work correctly today. Instead, it will redirect users to our homepage, where they’ll have to carry out their search again. We’ve added information about this issue to our Digital Collections homepage, and so far we’ve not received any negative feedback regarding these now-unavailable links.

So if you’re out scouring the fringes of the Internet one day and happen to come across a reference to our digital collections in a fun or unexpected place, drop us an email and tell us about it. Because if there’s one thing parents everywhere enjoy without question, it’s seeing their babies making a difference in the world.

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