Tag Archive for Baylor University

(Digital Collections) Where The Bears Made Their Dens Back Then: A Multimedia Visualization of Baylor Student Housing From 1913-1914

Student housing, 1913 style. From “Baylor University Students of 1913-1914: A Multimedia Project,” via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.

Welcome back to a new year and a new post here at the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections blog! We’re excited to be back on campus and look forward to another year of providing you with unique insights into our ever-growing array of digital collections.

This week, we’re taking a multimedia look at a pair of resources related to Baylor University and Waco history: the 1913-1914 Waco City Directories and Baylor Round Ups

Abel Maud Miss, student Baylor Univ, res 727 S 17th

This entry for Maud Abel, a student at Baylor in 1913, is the first student-related entry in the 1913 Waco City Directory. The directory – which contains the names, addresses, ethnicities and occupations of Waco’s citizenry – is a rich resource for students of Waco history. While updating the navigation for a number of volumes this collection, I noticed a large number of entries for Baylor students and had an idea: what if we used Google Maps to plot the known addresses of those students on a current map of the city of Waco? And what if we added select photos of those students to the map, so modern researchers could get a sense of where Baylor students in the early 1910s lived during their tenure as Baylor Bears?

And so the Homes of Baylor University Students of 1913-1914 project was born. Using the names listed in the 1913-1914 directories and the 1913-1914 Round Ups, I plotted the hundreds of names in a custom Google Map, along with a sampling of photos of students, some single headshots and others group photos taken on the front steps of their boarding houses.

Exploring the Project

The Google Map plotting the student housing locations of 1913-1914. Click the image to access this resource.

The housing map is simple to navigate, but here are a few helpful tips to make your browsing more enjoyable.

–       You can navigate directly to an address by clicking on it in the list at the upper left of the screen. An entry marked with a blue star indicates a location marker that also includes a photo of the student(s) who lived there. Green markers indicate female students, yellow markers indicate male students, and brown markers indicate either mixed gender residences or students whose gender is unknown.

Navigation panel for the Google Map.

–       As you zoom closer to campus, you’ll see a green rectangle. This roughly represents the boundaries of campus as they stood in 1913-1914.

–       Clicking on a marker will pull up a list of the students who lived at that address. For large dormitories – like Burleson Hall – there are multiple markers with long lists of names.

Location marker for Maud Abel’s home address, 727 S. 17th St.

The photos for the project are housed as a set in our Baylor University Libraries Digital Collection’s Flickr photostream. In the descriptions of each photo, you’ll find a link to the corresponding page in the Round Up from which it was taken so you can explore each photo in its original context.

The Flickr set of images for the project. Click the image for access.


We hope you’ll enjoy exploring the topography of Baylor’s student housing in the earlier 1910s through this multifaceted project. Leave us your comments on what you found enlightening, interesting or confusing – we’d love to hear from you!

Images from the 1913-1914 Baylor Round Ups via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections, digitized from originals held by The Texas Collection, Baylor University, Waco, TX. To see the digital copies of the Waco City Directories or the Round Ups, visit our Digital Collections homepage. To arrange access to physical copies, or to see more resources related to Baylor and Waco history, contact The Texas Collection.

(Digital Collections) A Diverse Topic Demands A Diverse Collection: The John Armstrong Collection

This is the final installment in our series of blog posts exploring the digital collections related to the life and legacy of John F. Kennedy. To read the previous posts, click here for part one, here for part two and here for part three.

THE BEGINNING of a life-long obsession can often be hard to pinpoint exactly, but in the case of the assassination of John F. Kennedy, it often starts on that blood-soaked day in Dallas: November 22, 1963. Much like the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, no one who was alive and over the age of five can forget where they were when they heard reports that the president had been shot while riding in his presidential motorcade as it rolled through Dealey Plaza.

In the decades since that fateful day, many thousands of pages have been written about the event that changed American society forever. They run the gamut between carefully worded, scholarly examinations to full-on philippics attacking the author’s personal bête noir/cause of death. But the common thread that ties them all together is the author’s need for raw material, for the documents, photos, films and newspaper reports that serve as the basis for their various theses, regardless how far-fetched or ponderously grounded they may be.

For sheer scope of content, no other JFK-related digital collections in our care match the range of materials to be found in the John Armstrong Collection. Spanning dozens of notebooks and ultimately tallying more than 2,100 items, the Armstrong collection is a rare peek into the mind and method of a Kennedy author as he works to create his magnum opus (900+ pages and an accompanying DVD of more than 2,000 images).

A typical example of an item from the John Armstrong Collection, which features Armstrong’s notations on a sticky note (at top).

Armstrong spent years filing FOIA reports, photocopying articles from newspapers and generally being an obsessive collector of any and all documentation related to his task.  While some of the material in this collection may be found elsewhere, there is no doubt that the sheer volume of the material available in one place – especially the items that were cleared through FOIA requests – makes it of particular value to researchers.

While the collection has been crawled with OCR technology to make it keyword searchable, users should be advised that due to the nature of the source materials – which include poor quality photocopies of original documents, as well as materials that have been heavily redacted – it is advisable to browse the collection by its well-documented tab- and box-level listings, which are available on the collection’s home page.


ON FRIDAY, November 22, Americans will pause to honor the memory of a young president, struck down by an assassin’s bullets and ultimately added to the honored rolls of great men lost in their prime. As the nation continues to determine what President Kennedy’s lasting legacy will be even at fifty years removed from his death, we are proud to partner with our friends at the Poage Legislative Library to present these materials to the world so that they, too, can make their own evaluations on the events before, during and after 11/22/63.

For more information on the John Armstrong Collection, visit the Poage Legislative Library’s collection homepage. For more digital collections content from the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections, visit our homepage.

(Digital Collections) A Double Inspiration: The Tragic and Triumphant Lives of Judge Quentin Corley and Frank G. Coleman

As the work to post the audio of the final years of Dr. George W. Truett’s long career continues apace, I was generating a transcript for his sermon of January 3, 1943 when a story caught my attention. Truett uses a fair number of what I privately call his “modern day parables” to help illustrate his points. Often taking the form of inspirational (or, at times, admonishing) tales drawn from his years in the ministry, they tend to recount stories of anonymous people he’s encountered over the years (“a prominent business man,” or “one of the leading citizens of this state” and the like) whose circumstances illustrate a point he’s driving home in the message.

The wording of this particular story was so striking as to seem outlandish; I admit, for a moment I wondered if Dr. Truett was inserting a tale woven from whole cloth just to see if his audience was paying sufficient attention. The transcript of this story will illustrate the basis for my skepticism:

“We’re to make the best of a so-called accident. A man in this city, years ago, had his arms ground off in a mill. But the young fellow, undaunted, fixed him up some steel arms and went on with his studies and his work, diligently, and became one of the most prodigious toilers of our community, and came to a great judgeship and set a great example of fortitude and high behavior, enough to thrill any man capable of being thrilled by heroic behavior.”

“Sweet creamery butter!” I said to myself. “This has all the makings of a direct-to-cable inspirational movie of the week! Gruesome accident? Check! Hardworking young man refuses to give up, stays focused on his goals? Check! Man acquires high position, inspires humanity? Check and check! How is it that I’ve never heard of this man before?”

It turns out that while Dr. Truett may have gotten a (fairly major) detail about the story wrong, the actual story of Quentin Durward Corley was certainly remarkable enough to inspire both Truett’s use of his life story in a sermon and, later, the life of one of Baylor’s most remarkable graduates.

The “Armless Wonder” of Dallas

Corley was born in 1884 in the town of Mexia, Texas, a rough-and-tumble oilfield town about 45 minutes’ drive from Waco. According to this well-written blog post about Corley’s life, he worked as a bookkeeper and stenographer after graduating from high school before striking out for a career in civil engineering.

His life made a major shift in 1905, however, when he fell off of a train in Utica, New York. The accident left him without his entire right arm and the left arm from the elbow down. What could have been a life-ending circumstance instead served as a source of inspiration for Corley, whose amazing life was only just beginning.

Displaying a strength of will – and cleverness – rarely seen in this or any other decade, Corley set about finding a way to overcome his limitations. He invented – and later patented – an artificial limb for his left arm that featured interchangeable elements such as eating implements (a knife), a simple hook and a pincer.

Judge Quentin D. Corley drives his automobile with the aid of his self-designed prosthesis. Courtesy the Library of Congress via Wikipedia.

If all of this seems far-fetched to modern readers accustomed to our medical wizardry springing forth from laboratories, clinical studies and pharmaceutical manufacturers, it is helpful to remember that Corley came of age only a generation or so removed from the end of the most catastrophic conflict in American history: the Civil War, in which thousands of men returned to their homes maimed and scarred, many missing limbs following gruesome battlefield amputations. It is reasonable to assume that during his childhood in Mexia, Corley would have been exposed to such men at least once a year during the annual Confederate reunions held there between 1889-1946. These gatherings of former Rebel soldiers were major events for the city, and it would seem likely that Corley would have seen and even interacted with amputees at these events, so his experience with artificial limbs may have been more frequent than that of an average citizen.

After studying law at the firm of Muse & Allen in Dallas, Corley was elected justice of the peace in 1908 and was rewarded for his work by being elected county judge in 1912. Corley proved himself a capable administrator and arbiter of the law, earning accolades from his voters and the nickname “Armless Wonder,” a shockingly un-PC moniker to modern audiences but no doubt offered in a spirit of respect by those he served in the 1910s.

Corley’s story would be inspiring enough if it stopped at this point, and, in fact, that is probably how Dr. Truett would have known it to end. What he might not have known – despite a relationship with Baylor University that stretched back to the late 1800s and a lifelong closeness with the school – was how Judge Corley’s life would directly impact that of another young man who faced similar challenges and dreamed of similar successes.

“Baylor Students Complain Over Nothing … How Would They Do If They Were Hindered as Frank Coleman?”

Frank G. Coleman was born without arms and only one leg. This fact opens a rather blunt – but no less inspiring – piece in the January 26, 1926 issue of the Baylor Daily Lariat. The reason for the piece is Coleman’s place on the ballot for judge in Bell County, Texas, where he practices law in the city of Temple. Coleman was a 1925 graduate of the Baylor Law School and, by all accounts, led a remarkable life prior to finding himself in the running for county office.

A look into previous coverage of Coleman’s story in the Lariat fills in some of the details. A “Freshman” edition of the Lariat from March 3, 1921 – which was edited by Coleman, incidentally – includes a write-up of his life captioned, “Frank Coleman First Armless Person in Baylor.” It goes on to detail his early life and disposition – “one of the happiest and best-liked fellows around the University,” who apparently gave himself the nickname the “Finless Fish” during his first year – and tells of his first encounter with Judge Corley.

Profile on Coleman from the “Lariat” of March 3, 1921.

Coleman was a user of Corley’s patented prosthetic arms, and in the spring of 1918, Coleman joined him for a tour of government hospitals housing disabled veterans of the First World War. Intended to “[bring] new hope to disabled veterans by showing them how, though maimed[,] they could become useful, happy citizens,” the younger man discovered an interest in becoming a lawyer, perhaps due to Judge Corley’s own story of triumph over adversity. Coleman would enter Baylor Law School and graduate in 1925. He returned to Temple to practice law.

He appears in the pages of the Lariat again in 1926, with a story that details his appearance on the Democratic primary ballot for judge of Bell County. Unfortunately, his presence in the historical record, at least in terms of Internet-accessible materials, seems to end here. I have been unable to find any evidence of the results of the 1926 election or of Coleman’s later life, though I will document any future findings as updates to this post.

Coleman poses with members of the Bell County Club, from the 1922 “Round Up.”

Coleman and his fellow Law Club members, from the 1922 “Round Up.”


The intertwining stories of Dr. Truett, Judge Corley and “Finless Fish” Coleman are an example of the ways in which a single twist of fate – a misstep from a train in Utica, NY – can affect the lives of countless others, even at a distance of more than a century. Corley’s early patents in prosthetics led to advances in the field that would bring us today’s carbon-fiber artificial legs and remarkably realistic prosthetic arms. Coleman’s inspirational story would bring comfort to wounded veterans and encourage his fellow Baylor Bears to greater heights of academic and personal achievement.

And the story of the judge with the “steel arms” told by Dr. Truett to his audience of parishioners on the first Sunday of a new year would be recorded for prosperity on a 16” transcription disc that would find its way to Baylor’s Texas Collection and, eventually, to the world via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.

(Digital Collections) The Unsurprisingly Consistent Vein of Sorrow in the Works of the Armstrong Browning Library’s Women Poets Collection

Title page from “A Story of Doom and Other Poems” by Jean Ingelow, one of the uplifting titles from the 19th Century Women Poets Collection.

You could be forgiven for assuming that a collection of 400 works written by 19th century poetesses would encompass a mostly positive worldview. It would even be safe to assume, for example, that the kinds of women who had the educational backgrounds, available leisure time and access to commercial (and private) printers would tend to fill the pages of their volumes with odes to Greek myth, the beauty of a countryside idyll or the joys of being part of the landed nobility.

To be fair, the 19th Century Women Poets Collection contains its fair share of material dedicated to just these sorts of inoffensive, uplifting and mildly amusing pursuits. But a closer examination of the works in this collection also reveal a startlingly high number of works dealing with difficult subjects ranging from the deaths of infants to loves gone awry and the martyrdom of Christians for the cause of Jesus. And that may be because even the relatively luxurious life of a lord’s wife or daughter was not enough to shelter these women from the often brutal truths of life in the nineteenth century.

What is Death?

A simple keyword search for “death” in the Table of Contents field for this collection returns only seven titles – a very small subset of 400, to be sure. But that simply means seven occurrences of the word in titles where a table of contents is present. Searching for “death” across the entire collection returns 387 results: a whopping 96.75 percent of the collection. It would be very difficult to pick a work in this collection that does not include at least a mention of death on at least one page. This number alone speaks volumes (pun intended) about the prevalence of death in the lives of these authors and about their attempts to come to grips with it through the muse of poetry.

And that is by no means the only way to describe death via poetry. Take the example of Hella, and Other Poems by Mrs. George Lenox-Conyngham. Poems from this work feature titles including, “The Last Words of Girlamo Olgiato,” “Death the Mediator,” “What is Death?” “The Memory of Grief,” The Last Days of a Good Man,” and “The Skeptic and His Dying Son.” That means six of 38 total works deal explicitly with death and dying, a fairly significant percentage. While these works deal with the explicit sadness surrounding death, there are works in the collection that view death as a transition into the afterlife, where friends will be reunited, as in the poem “Friendship” by Mary Anne Evans from her work, A Few Short Poems by M.A.E., which reads in part:

“Oh for a Christian friend,

Whose heart to God is given;

When death this friendship seems to end,

‘Twill be renewed in heaven.

Works dealing with the death of children comprise a particularly challenging subset in this collection. A search for the exact phrase “dying child” returns 22 pieces in the collection; a deeper search of similar phrases will turn up dozens more. In today’s world of oversharing and me-centric communication – an experience anyone with a social media account has no doubt encountered – it can be hard to imagine a time when any subject was off-limits for public discourse. But even today, we can find it difficult to come to grips with the death of a child, and many of us would be hesitant to address it more than was absolutely necessary out of a fear of judgment or professions of surface grieving from our online “friends.”

Imagine, then, just how difficult it would be for a woman in the nineteenth century to express her feelings of gut-wrenching sorrow on the loss of a child. After all, this was a time when it was expected that almost every family – certainly a majority of them – would experience the death of a pre-adolescent child in their extended family, whether from accident or illness or some other trauma associated with life in the 1800s. In many ways, the poetesses in this collection who chose to address the deaths of children were serving as proxy mourners for a nation of women whose outlets for grief were few and whose expectations were to bear the burden of loss with quiet dignity as they went forward with the daily tasks of raising and bearing still more children.

That’s not to say that mothers were the sole targets for these works on childhood mortality. In a book called, Children’s Poetry by the Author of ‘John Halifax, Gentleman,’ we see a poem entitled, “A Dying Child.” Here, in a book ostensibly written to instruct and uplift the youngest members of society, we are presented with a work that addresses a deep-seated fear experienced all too often by children in the nineteenth century: the death of a sibling.

“How the trembling children gather round,

Startled out of sleep, and scared and crying:

“Is our merry little sister dying,

Will men come and put her underground,


As they did poor baby, last May-day?

Or will shining angels stoop and take her

On their snow-white wings to heaven, and

Make her

Sit amount the stars as fair as they?”


Pestilence, Famine, War (and Death)

But death itself is not the only macabre theme uniting practically every work in this collection beneath the umbra of sorrow. A search for several other equally depressing topics returns a veritable cornucopia of the troubles of mankind, including:

War: 280 results

Famine: 98 results

Plague: 75 results

Broken hearts: 258 results

Loss: 273 results

Sickness: 173 results

You get the (increasingly depressing) picture.

So what does recurring litany of woe tell us about the women who wrote these words more than 100 years ago? Were they all obsessed with death, a coterie of depressives venting their sorrows onto the printed page so that others may share in their sadness? Or were they bravely putting to words the often unutterable darkness that confronts women (and men) of all ages and has since the beginning?

Though it is by no means indicative of the kinds of lives lived by all the women in this collection, perhaps the life, career and death of Christina Rossetti can shed some light on the kinds of motivating influences that drove these women to write in the manner they chose.

Rossetti as a young woman, from a sketch by her brother, Dante Rossetti.

Rossetti was born in London in 1830 to an exiled politician/poet father and a mother who was sister to Lord Byron’s personal physician. Her early years were pleasant and filled with poetry, outings to cultural attractions and visits from “Italian scholars, artists and revolutionaries.”

But in 1843, her father’s declining mental and physical health – he was diagnosed with “persistent bronchitis, possibly tuberculosis and faced losing his sight” as well as depression – took a toll on the family. As her siblings left to begin their careers, she became increasingly isolated and suffered a nervous breakdown at the age of 14. She turned down three offers of marriage, due mainly to her increasingly devout religious beliefs, and though she wrote several well-received poems over the next thirty years, she suffered greatly in her final days from both Graves Disease and breast cancer. [1]

With all of this turmoil, sorrow and sickness to deal with, is it any wonder that recurring themes of sadness and struggle pervade her works? Though the other poetesses in the Women Poets Collection certainly led lives of varying degrees of suffering compared to Rossetti, it is easier to understand why they chose to address their subject matter in their works.

Perhaps there is no more fitting way to end a rather gloomy post than with the full text of Rossetti’s work, “Song,” from her book, Goblin Market and Other Poems. As you read it, think of the impact of the somber things in life and what it meant to a poetess’ soul. But as you do, remember that it is the sorrow in life that makes us appreciate the light, and the words written by these women more than a century ago are but fixed reminders of the balance between darkness and light that must be sought by every living soul.


When I am dead, my dearest,

Sing no sad songs for me;

Plant thou no roses at my head,

Nor shady cypress tree:

Be the green grass above me

With showers and dewdrops wet;

And if thou wilt, remember,

And if thou wilt, forget.


I shall not see the shadows,

I shall not feel the rain;

I shall not hear the nightingale

Sing on, as if in pain:

And dreaming through the twilight

That doth not rise nor set,

Haply I may remember,

And haply may forget.


For more works from this collection, visit the 19th Century Women Poets Collection.

[1] Details on the life of Christina Rossetti from her entry on Wikipedia.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christina_Georgina_Rossetti. Accessed 9/10/2013.

(Digital Collections) Expectations for the Freshman Class: An Examination of the Annual Catalogue of 1889-1890

Cover of the 1889-1890 Catalogue of the Officers and Students of Baylor University. Image courtesy the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections, from an original held by The Texas Collection, Baylor University.

Classes roared back into action last week, and the campus of Baylor University is once again full of vitality, excitement, confusion and triumph – and that’s just what’s involved with trying to find a parking space near the library. But seriously, we’re excited to have students back, as it’s their passion for learning that makes this beautiful campus come alive every fall.
That longing has been part of the Baylor student experience since 1845, a common tie to the earliest days of the university. But much of the college experience has changed since our founding at Independence, Texas, and that is nowhere more evident than in sections of the 1889 Annual Catalogue with headings like “Discipline,” “By-Laws,” “Extravagance” and “Moral and Religious Instruction.” Let’s take a look at some of the established norms for the men and women of Baylor’s freshman class of 1889.


Although occupying only a paragraph’s worth of printer’s ink, this section outlines the basis for recording and enforcing the university’s system of demerits and other “violations of the regulations and laws of the University.” While disclaiming that discipline is “firm, but kind,” the section indicates that each department had an officer whose responsibility it was to keep a log of all violations and make a report of them to the President. This officer, the catalogue warns, will have “all the respect of a teacher or professor.”

“Discipline” section of the 1889-1890 “Catalogue”


The by-laws of the university kept order by employing a system of demerits that were issued to students who violated any of the 43 items listed under this section. Some of the more interesting points include:

3. Disturbances in the chapel, or lecture room, or in any part of the college premises, shall incur a demerit of from two to ten.

5. Absence from rooms after dark and before 9 p.m. a demerit of five; after 9 a.m. a demerit of ten.

6. Any student guilty of playing cards, or any game of hazard, shall be suspended or otherwise severely punished.

10. No student shall be guilty of nocturnal disorders or revelings, nor become connected with any dancing school, society, or social club without the approval of the faculty …

20. Any student guilty of using profane or obscene language, shall be publicly reprimanded, and for the third offense shall be suspended or otherwise punished.

28. No young lady of the Institution, boarder or day student, shall receive the attention or escort of young men. A violation of this rule will incur a heavy penalty at the discretion of the faculty. Books and beaux never go together.

41. Any student who shall ring the University bell, not directed to do so by the proper officer, shall be suspended or otherwise punished.


In a section that reveals just how much the philosophy behind what “parental support” means to a college student has changed, the “Extravagance” section outlines the dangers of providing money to students beyond what is necessary for tuition, room and board. Noting that “there is such a diversity of taste and means among our patrons and students,” (in other words, some students will come from much wealthier backgrounds than others) the section essentially tells students that having extra spending money will negatively impact their ability to succeed in classwork. And while it remains true that college students all too often fall prey to the trap of spending far beyond their means/needs, to see a prohibition against profligacy spelled out in the student handbook is unusual for modern eyes.

“Extravagance” section of the “Catalogue”







Moral and Religious Instruction

One major element of a Baylor education remains consistent over the years: moral and religious support, encouragement and exploration. And while this section contains the expected information about Baylor’s beliefs in the Bible, regular church attendance and honoring the Sabbath, the last two sentences reveal the university’s concern about the influence of popular culture on the student body.

All reading of novels is forbidden as an unmitigated evil. All indiscriminate reading o[f] novels, unless selected by parents or teachers, is an injury.

One wonders what the writers of the 1889 catalogue would think if they were to see the campus of 2013? Perhaps after they took in the sheer size of campus, the technological wonders on display, and the drastic change in the clothing choices sported by today’s student body, they would find that today’s Baylor Bears share a common core of beliefs about God, education and country with their 19th-century ancestors.

One thing is certain, though: they’d be hard-pressed to pry the smart phones – on which they can access millions of digital novels at a moment’s notice – out of their hands. No amount of demerits can accomplish that Herculean task.

To view the entire 1889-1890 Catalogue, click here. You can view the entire collection of digitized University Catalogs – including items created during the Baylor at Independence years and the catalogs of Waco University – click here.

(Digital Collections) What We Did On Our Pre-Summer Vacation: News, Updates and Miscellanea from the DPG

If you follow our Facebook page (and if you don’t, we’d love it if you would!), you saw that the DPG took time the past two weeks to participate in our bi-annual “shutdown” period. We instituted this time a couple of years back to allow for recalibration, updating, new machinery installations and more as a way to ensure we’re running as smoothly as possible the rest of the year. It’s a good time to do it – the end of a semester means no students around and a natural lull in production due to a loss of student labor – and we’ve found it to be a great opportunity to catch a quick breather before we dive headfirst into summer.

We wanted to use this post to update you on some changes that have come or will be coming in the near term, including the announcement of some new equipment for the RDC, updates to collections at http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu and a personnel note related to our staff.

We’re Gonna Need a Bigger Toolbox: New Scanners on the Way

Although they’re currently sitting in a central shipping warehouse somewhere on campus, we will soon be in possession of two new scanners that will update and enhance our ability to get things done.

The Kabis III

The first is a Kabis III, an upgrade for our current Kirtas APT 2400 high-speed book imager. The Kirtas has been a workhorse for us since its acquisition more than four years ago, digitizing hundreds of thousands of pages from documents including oral history transcripts to 19thcentury women poets’ books and binders full of JFK assassination-related documents. The Kabis III will reach speeds up to 2,900 pages per hour!

The CopiBook HD

The second new scanner is a CopiBook HD. This will replace the oldest of our specialized scanners, the Zeutschel Omniscan 10000tt. We anticipate using the CopiBook to digitize the same kinds of materials previously handled by the Zeutschel, including rare and fragile books, photographs, small manuscripts and the like.

Both of these scanners were acquired to replace machines that have been extremely effective and efficient but have been supplanted by improvements in technology over the past few years. We’ll have some videos and photos of the scanners in action in a future blog post.

Changes Major and Minor: Updates to Our Digital Collections Site

I spent a good deal of the shutdown doing some revisions, updates and additions to the metadata for our collections. A couple of collections were rebranded as hybrid collections – meaning their source material is derived from multiple holding institutions – and the order the collections appears in on the homepage was tweaked to reflect those changes.

A major metadata enhancement project was wrapped up when I completed the enhancement to the page structure navigation on the Round Up collection. Our campus yearbooks now feature more helpful page titles for quicker navigation via the right-hand panel (illustrated below). Instead of reading “Page 1, Page 2,” and so on, their headings now reflect the title or page number of the physical item, ensuring that the digital surrogate and the physical original mirror each other exactly.

The newly enhanced navigation for the Round Up. This functionality will be added to other collections.

Next, we added some new navigational functionality to our global headers. Now, you can click “View Previous Collection” or “View Next Collection” to quickly move from collection to collection without returning to the homepage. This will be especially helpful when users want to peruse a set of collections from one institution. For example, if they want to move quickly between all of the collections from Poage Legislative Library, this will speed up that process considerably.

Lastly, we’ve made some follow-up passes through our collections in order to make some corrections, updates and other enhancements to the metadata throughout. These updates should make them more searchable, more accurate and more in line with what people are coming to expect from how metadata is displayed in online digital collections.

“Orienting” New Students To Our Collections

This month, we’re taking part in a rite of passage for all Baylor students: New Student Orientation! For the second year in a row, Moody Memorial Library is hosting Dr Pepper Hour in the afternoons, and we’ve been asked to show off our digital collections to the 300-600 students (and their parents) who come through each day. That’s tons of great exposure for our digital assets, and a chance to expose students to the rich history and traditions of our university.

Our setup for Orientation

A Colleague Departs: Saying Farewell to Austin

On a sad note, we said goodbye to Austin Schneider last week. Our former Digital Collections Consultant for the Texas Collection left to take a new job opportunity off-campus. Austin was with us for just one year, but her contributions to the productivity and workplace atmosphere are much appreciated and she will be missed.

Best of luck in your new position, Austin, and don’t be a stranger!

(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.

(Digital Collections) A Century of Daily Baylor History, Now Online: The “Lariat” Digital Collection

The “Lariat” digital collection spans the entire 20th century and beyond

If you follow us on Facebook, you’ll recall a few weeks ago that I teased some “big news” was forthcoming. Well, the wait is over, and we’re excited to announce that thanks to the efforts of the Digitization Projects Group, The Texas Collection and the office of Student Publications, the entire run of the Baylor University Lariat is now available online via the Baylor University Libraries Digital Collections.

From the inaugural issue of November 8, 1900 to the present, users around the world can now access every issue of the Lariat from the comfort of their own homes. Issues from 1900 to 2006 are available in our Digital Collections, while issues from 2007-present are available from the Lariat’s website.

You may have seen some media coverage about this collection thanks to articles in the Lariat and the Waco Tribune Herald, but we wanted to give you some more information here, via our blog, about just what went into the creation of this major collection.

Planning and Process

The process began about three years ago with very early, test scans of bound volumes of the Lariat dating back to the early 1900s. We used our Zeutschel planetary scanner to handle the digitizing and found the process of manipulating bound volumes to be slow and cumbersome. With the addition of the Cruse large-format scanner – and permission from The Texas Collection’s director to unbind the volumes – we made much better progress. In fact, a skilled operator could digitize ten issues of the Lariat two pages at a time on the Cruse, a dramatic increase in efficiency that allowed us to complete the digitization of more than 11,000 issues of a newspaper collection in about a year and a half.

This staggering amount of content is the primary reason most universities choose to either avoid digitizing the full run of their campus newspaper or outsource the job to mass digitization companies. We chose to keep the process internal so as to avoid shipping irreplaceable copies of the Lariat off-site, as well as exercising full control of the metadata creation and collection curation process.

As with all of our digital collections, high-resolution preservation copies of the files were created and stored on our preservation server, and access-friendly PDFs of the issues were created and ingested into our CONTENTdm system. “Skeletal” metadata – basics like date, editor name and page count – were added to all items as they were ingested; later additions to the records include listing headlines for each issue, names of Lariat staff members, and the price per issue.

The Collection’s Impact

Digitizing a century’s worth of the campus newspaper was no small undertaking, and the decision to handle the process in-house from start to finish meant a significant investment in infrastructure, hardware and staff time. But none of those potential obstacles were significant enough to deter us from our goal of giving instant access to the wealth of information available in the pages of the Lariat. Now, scholars around the world can delve into the daily details of campus life, social commentary and world events as seen through the eyes of Baylor University’s student reporters.

Keyword searching makes the collection’s entry points as diverse as the English language. The ability to restrict a search to a single point in time – a year, a month, a decade – makes browsing from issue to issue not only manageable but enjoyable. The ability to zoom in on photos and paragraphs of text makes navigation and closer examination a breeze. And of course, access via the Internet makes it possible for everyone to use the collection, not just those with the ability to travel to the Baylor campus.

We look forward to seeing the ways our users dissect, synthesize and utilize the information in the Lariat collection. If you find something fascinating, earthshaking or downright bizarre in the thousands of pages therein, drop us a line at digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu and tell us about it. Who knows? We might even feature your find in a future blog post (with your permission, of course!).

The digital Lariat collection is available at www.baylor.edu/lib/lariats. The Digitization Projects Group, The Texas Collection and Student Publications collaborated to create this collection.

(Digital Collections) Feeding Our Nostalgia: A Sampling of Waco’s Favorite Former Restaurants, Via the BU Libraries Athletics Archive

Although the temperatures outside our offices here on campus don’t reflect it yet, the calendar says we’ve officially entered fall. And with its arrival come the requisite things we love about autumn like changing leaves, cooler days, and a tidal wave of foods flavored with pumpkin and cinnamon.

But nothing says “fall” on a university campus like the return of college football, and as our Baylor Bears are riding a 3-game winning streak this week, we thought it fitting to turn our attention to our Baylor University Libraries Athletics Archive (BULAA) for inspiration for this week’s post.

And so it was that while perusing football programs from the 1930s-1980s, I stumbled upon a recurring theme: the ads for restaurants that don’t exist in Waco anymore. Be they beloved staples mourned to the present or mere one-time wonders barely remembered by anyone, they still took the time to invest in advertising space in programs for Baylor home football games, so their impact on our university was easily measure in terms of ad revenue and column inches – if only for a season.

We thought it might be fun to showcase a few of those ads and, as a bonus, add their locations to a custom Google map so you can see exactly where they were located “back in the day.” Longtime Wacoans may well remember dining at some of these establishments; likewise, newer residents (or those just passing through town) can gain a better understanding for our fair city’s historic culinary offerings.

Leslie’s Chicken Shack (from November 24, 1934 game vs. SMU)

Jack’s Café (from October 23, 1948 game vs. Texas A&M University)

Pat Rutherford’s (from November 11, 1950 game vs. University of Texas)

Taco Patio and Mr. Chuc Wagun (from November 12, 1977 game vs. Rice University)

The Water Works (from November 22, 1980 game vs. University of Texas)

This is just a sampling from the smorgasbord (sorry!) of eatery ads to be found in the football programs of the BULAA. We hope you’ll take time to look through the programs for your favorite Waco restaurants, and take a minute to leave us a comment on your fondest food memories. Bon appetit!

(Digital Collections) Loan, Give, Tip: How Your Materials Can Become a Part of Our Collections

Materials from the S.E. Tull Collection of historic Baptist sermons

One of the most rewarding parts of our work in the DPG is knowing that our efforts will lead to better exposure for Baylor’s unique collections and a better understanding of the world in which we live. The materials housed in Baylor’s special collections provide ample resources for a career’s worth of output, but there are times when even our enviable collections could benefit from some outside augmentation.

That’s where you come in.

Several of our major projects are at their best when they’re aided by you, our users and supporters. One important way is through lending or outright gifting of materials to either the Digitization Projects Group directly, or indirectly through our campus special collections partners.

Lending or Donating to the Digitization Projects Group

Our two biggest ongoing projects that can most benefit from your help are the Black Gospel Music Restoration Project (BGMRP) and the Baylor University Libraries Athletics Archive (BULAA). While very different in content, they both operate on the same principle: we’re digitizing as much material as we can find that fits our criteria, and we know that a substantial portion of it lives off-campus. If you – or someone you know – is a collector of black gospel music or Baylor sports memorabilia, you can lend or donate materials to our group for digitization and inclusion in our digital collections. (See the end of this post for contact information on how to lend or give to the DPG.)

Donating to Our Partners

If you’d like your materials to have a permanent home at one of Baylor’s special collections or institutions, you can contact them to arrange for a meeting with a representative who can appraise and research your materials for possible inclusion in their collections. Then, if they make good candidates for digitization, we’ll work with our liaisons at the special collections to queue them up for digitizing and uploading. (See the end of this post for contact information on how to lend or give to our special collections partners.)


Know someone who has a large collection of Civil War letters? How about antique maps or black gospel albums from the 1950s? If you do, and you think they’d like to contribute to our work, send them the link to our digital collections homepage, pass along our email address (digitalcollectionsinfo@baylor.edu) or have them stop by the Moody Memorial Library on campus and meet with us. We rely on word-of-mouth and user tips from people who collect materials we’re digitizing to help us create larger, more complete digital collections.

So take a minute to peruse your bookshelves or filing cabinets, give that obsessive collector a call, or take an extra minute to look through the gospel section of the used record store for things that might help us create a bigger, better digital collection. We’ll even make sure to list you as the custodian or lender if you’d like to see your name in our records!

The Digitization Projects Group
ATTN: Eric Ames
Baylor University Libraries
One Bear Place #97148
Waco, TX 76798-7148

The Black Gospel Music Restoration Project
ATTN: Denyse Rodgers
Baylor University Libraries
1312 S 3rd Street
Waco, TX 76706

The Texas Collection
or txcoll@baylor.edu

Armstrong Browning Library
or Rita_Patteson@baylor.edu

W.R. Poage Legislative Library
or Poage_Library@baylor.edu