Illustrating a Milestone: 50 Spencer Sheet Music Covers for 50 Percent Online

This blog post was written by Baylor Libraries intern Will Overton. Will is a senior professional writing major from Dickinson, TX working in the Office of Marketing Communication for the Libraries and ITS.

Music has been a part of American culture since the Colonies were founded hundreds of years ago. Many examples of American sheet music dating all the way back to the 1700s are in the process of being made available online in the Frances G. Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music. This physical collection of approximately 30,000 pieces was acquired by Baylor in 1965 and continues to grow. Today, with 16,453 items online, it may seem daunting to browse the collection. In celebration of reaching the halfway point in making these titles available, I have compiled a list of my Top 50 favorite American sheet music covers that are currently available for browsing.


1700-1800s

The Origin of the Harp Canzonet
http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/fa-spnc/id/6577/rec/7

El jaleo de Jeres: a Spanish dance in the opera of The Black Domino
http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/fa-spnc/id/69489/rec/11

Hail, Columbia
http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/fa-spnc/id/23067/rec/19

O would I were a boy again: ballad
http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/fa-spnc/id/34218/rec/21

1801-1850

The Rose of Tralee
http://digitalcollections.baylor.edu/cdm/compoundobject/collection/fa-spnc/id/10516/rec/1

 

 

 

 

Read All About It: Waco Historic Newspapers Digital Collection Launches

Masthead of the May 28, 1873 issue of the “Waco Daily Advance” newspaper.

Waco’s renaissance as a national name – due largely thanks to our resident “Fixer Uppers” Chip and Joanna Gaines – has done much to elevate the city’s name and reputation in the eyes of a national audience. But for the local audience of the late 1800s and early 1900s, if you wanted to read about the goings-on in “Six Shooter Junction,” (or “Athens on the Brazos” or the “Hub City,” take your choice) you could do so in any one of dozens of different local newspapers.

In today’s one-paper-per-market media climate, it can be hard to believe that there was a time when a city of Waco’s size could support not only multiple titles but multiple daily editions along with a smattering of weekly, monthly and irregularly published titles. The large number of media outlets at the turn of the last century was a significant indicator of Waco’s growing importance to the state and regional economy. For today’s researcher, they present an invaluable resource for daily news, commentary, rumor, social commentary and advertising.

The archival holdings of Baylor’s Texas Collection – a special library dedicated to state, local and Baylor history – include the largest known assemblage of historic Waco newspapers available today. Numbering approximately 21,000 total issues, the collection had previously been accessible to on-site researchers and spans dozens of titles and decades from roughly the Reconstruction Era (1870s) to the end of the “public domain” period (1923).

Now, the Digital Preservation Services team, in partnership with The Texas Collection, is proud to announce the availability of 5,375 issues of this important collection in the new Historic Waco Newspapers digital collection. Currently, there are eight titles available in their entirety:

  • The Artesia
  • The Waco Daily Advance
  • The Day
  • Waco Daily Day Globe
  • Waco Daily Examiner
  • Waco Daily News
  • Waco Evening News
  • Waco Evening Tribune

The digitization process for these materials involves a multi-step procedure starting with a careful organization and inventory of the physical issues; generation of cataloging metadata in a shared spreadsheet; digitization of the materials on one of two large-format friendly scanners (a Cruse CS-285ST large format scanner and a Zeutschel OS14000 A0 format scanner, if you’re curious); and, finally, ingestion of the images and metadata into our digital collections content management system (CONTENTdm).

The total amount of time needed to get all 21,000 issues online depends on a number of factors including availability of student and staff labor and the time-intensive nature of handling the fragile physical materials, but we hope to have every issue of The Texas Collection’s holdings from 1875-1923 online and publicly accessible within the next two years.

For now, we encourage you to head to the collection’s homepage and start your deep dive into this treasure trove of local Waco history. Here’s a fun one to get you started: try searching for the word “shiplap.” Yes, turns out JoJo’s favorite wall covering shows up at least six times in the collection, including this ad from the October 28, 1927 Waco Evening Tribune.

Turns out time is a flat piece of wood used as an interior or exterior cladding, not a circle, after all.

 

Sadly, the house at 916 Mary Avenue was demolished long ago, but fear not! You can visit the Magnolia Market, just a stone’s throw away, next time you’re in town. Be sure to pick up a t-shirt before you head home.


Special thanks to the staff at The Texas Collection for their care and maintenance of these archival treasures for more than 90  years.

Feeding an Elephant, One Book at a Time: Supporting the Hathi Trust Digital Library

Modern researchers rely on access to information in a manner that was unthinkable less than a generation ago: the Internet, with its light-speed connection to all the resources of the world’s libraries, archives and cultural heritage institutions. But even with the explosive growth in digital collections there remains an untold number of books and other resources that remain difficult to find online. One way to make the job of finding them easier is through aggregator systems that bring together materials from a number of disparate places.

The HathiTrust is one such site. From their website:

HathiTrust is a partnership of academic & research institutions, offering a collection of millions of titles digitized from libraries around the world.

Those digitized titles – numbering more than 14 million as of 2015 – cover an impressive range of topics, time periods and authors. But like so much in life, the items in the HathiTrust are only useful if they’re available. And that means someone has to take the time to ensure the items the site has flagged as being in the public domain actually are, no simple feat when you consider the sheer volume of materials ingested into the system every year.

When Baylor committed to being part of the Copyright Review Management System  World (CRMS-World) team for the HathiTrust, it was with the understanding that we were pledging to review thousands of books and manuscripts to determine their copyright status and whether or not they fell into the category of a public domain work in the United Kingdom, Canada and Australia. Enter our Electronic Library team, specifically Denyse Rodgers, Darlene Youts and Brenda Anderson.

Denyse was the first Baylor library member to sign on for the project, in 2012; Darlene and Brenda joined in 2014. The initial grant that funded the project expired in February 2016, but the trio of Bears volunteered to keep working on the project through the end of the year on a volunteer basis.

Using a custom web interface developed by HathiTrust, Denyse, Darlene and Brenda spent hundreds of hours reviewing digitized copies of books added to the database from HathiTrust partner institutions. Using a set of criteria provided by the Trust, they reviewed provided metadata records for each book and determined whether or not it met predetermined public domain criteria. Then, they would flag the record in the system and it would join the ranks of the PD or non-PD materials in the HathiTrust catalog.

In toto, the project reviewed more than 305,000 volumes, identifying more than 154,570 as public domain works. Locally, the numbers were:

  • Brenda reviewed 21,011 items, of which 9,807 were PD
  • Denyse reviewed 20,860 items, of which 9,857 were PD
  • Darlene reviewed 7,090 items, of which 3,116 were PD

Perhaps the most exciting result from the project is that our Baylor team – along with teams from Penn State and University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign – reviewed roughly 1/3 of the entire corpus of works covered during the project’s timeline.

After the project’s completion, Denyse told me, “I believe this was a very worthwhile project because it allowed materials to be made openly accessible that otherwise might not be.  In April 2016, ALA recognized the program with the L. Ray Patterson Copyright Award.  I was pleased to be able to participate in such a worthy effort.”

Billie Peterson, director of Resources and Collection Management Services for the Electronic Library, also praised the project. “From my perspective,” she said, “all of the institutions that participated in both the original CRMS grant and the CRMS World grant enabled opening access to hundreds of thousands of English-language orphaned works contained in the HathiTrust corpus and developed a tested and robust method to determine whether or not English-language orphaned works are actually in the public domain.”

The Baylor team worked on the HathiTrust project in addition to their regular daily work managing library information systems (Denyse), coordinating the usage statistics process (Darlene) and managing the course reserves process (Brenda). As of the Spring 2017 semester, their hard work paid off: thanks to their efforts, the Baylor Libraries had met their commitments and added thousands of titles to the public domain list in the database.

The old joke, of course is that you eat an elephant one bite at a time. But as the efforts of our Electronic Library colleagues show, it takes a steady diet of daily work to feed one.

Thanks for your hard work, and Sic ’em, Denyse, Darlene and Brenda!

Contributing to the Social Welfare History Image Portal at Virginia Commonwealth University

The Frances G. Spencer Collection of American Popular Sheet Music is many things: big, colorful, historically significant and occasionally eye-opening in its imagery and lyrics. And as of this week, you can add another descriptor: a supporter of a project sponsored by the Virginia Commonwealth University Libraries.

The opportunity to support the Social Welfare History Project, which is described on its homepage as “chronicling the history of the nation’s response to human need,” came thanks to a connection with a former Baylor staffer. Alice Campbell, formerly of The Texas Collection, is heading up the VCU project in her role as the university’s Digital Outreach and Special Projects Librarian. She reached out to our interim Dean of Libraries, John Wilson, and said she thought nine pieces from the Spencer Collection related to the Prohibition era would make great additions to the project. Everyone here in Waco agreed, and so today there are nine new items in the collection, each digitized from our amazing sheet music collection.

It’s certainly worth checking out the entire project, but we wanted to highlight the covers of the nine pieces Alice selected here in this post so our readers can get a sense of how the Spencer Collection’s materials are supporting this fascinating project.

At The Prohibition Ball: Novelty Song by Alex Gerber and Abner Silver, 1919 (View the full item in our Digital Collections.)

Empty Cellar Blues by Jack Nelson, 1920 (View the full item.)

Every Day Will Be Sunday When The Town Goes Dry by William Jerome and Jack Mahoney, 1918 (View the full item.)

Everybody Wants A Key To My Cellar by Edward Rose, Billy Baskette and Lew Pollack, 1919 (View the full item.)

For If Kisses Are As Intoxicating As They Say, Prohibition You Have Lost Your Sting by J. Russel Robinson, Al Siegel and Billy Curtis, 1919 (View the full item.)

How Are You Going To Wet Your Whistle When The Whole Darn World Goes Dry? by Francis Byrne, Frank McIntyre and Percy Wenrich, 1919 (View the full item.)

It’s The Smart Little Feller Who Stocked Up His Cellar That’s Getting The Beautiful Girls by Grant Clarke and Milton Ager, 1920 (View the full item.)

Oh Doctor by Billy Joyce and Rubey Cowan, 1920 (View the full item.)

Where Do They Go When They Row, Row, Row Three Miles Away From The Shore by Bert Kalmar, George Jessel and Harry Ruby, 1920 (View the full item.)


View all the Spencer Collection’s Prohibition-related titles here, and be sure to check out the other items in VCU’s Social Welfare History Image Portal. Thanks to Alice W. Campbell of VCU Libraries for reaching out to us on this opportunity!

Our Summer With Gabby: Hosting a Waco ISD Summer Intern

Fans of our Facebook page may recall seeing this photo at the start of the summer:

This fresh-faced young lady is Gabriella “Gabby” Hernandez, a rising senior at Waco ISD’s University High School (home of the Trojans) and our 2017 Prosper Waco summer intern here at the Baylor University Libraries! Gabby spent 80 hours with us over the course of June and July getting experience in the work we do here in the Digital Projects Group, and today we’re highlighting her end-of-internship project.

But first, some background. The Baylor Libraries participated in the inaugural Prosper Waco/Waco ISD summer internship program last year. Intern Casandra Barragan-Melendez worked with staff from the Central Libraries to create a custom artwork based on a 15th century piece titled Très Riches Heures. (You can read about Casandra’s project on the Central Libraries blog.)

This year, the DPG agreed to host the Prosper Waco intern, and from the start we knew we’d struck gold with Gabby. She is unfailingly polite, punctual and positive. Every task we gave her – from the mundane, like organizing stacks of old newspapers, to the innovative – she handled with attention to detail and politeness. In short: we were thrilled with the quality of Gabby’s work during her time in the Riley Digitization Center.

Because the internship program doesn’t have a category for “students who want to work in a state-of-the-art digitization center” yet, our biggest challenge was finding a way to adapt our resources and technologies to Gabby’s post-high school interests. Her dream is to open a childcare center, the kind of place where preschoolers can go to learn and develop into successful children; not, as Gabby puts it, a place to “babysit people’s kids all day.”

After some conversations and giving Gabby time to explore our Digital Collections, we hit on the idea of challenging Gabby to take items from the collections and turn them into learning tools – like hands-on manipulatives (puzzles, matching games), songs, art projects and more – for kids ages one to five. Gabby came up with eight examples using materials from the Digital Collections, including a coloring sheet, a matching game and an early literacy evaluation tool.

Another component of Gabby’s time with us was introducing her to the WordPress suite of tools. She expressed an interest in setting up a website for her post-school business, and we thought a WordPress blog offered a good introduction to both desktop publishing and entrepreneurial enterprise. So she reserved a URL (https://gabriellahernandezweb.wordpress.com/) and set up her first blog, with a post about her experiences with us this summer and another detailing her plans for creating lesson plans using Digital Collections materials.

We won’t spoil her stories here, so we’ll encourage you to head over to Gabby’s blog to read the thoughts and experiences of a 17-year-old budding businesswoman in her own words.

Our time with Gabby was short but certainly sweet, and it was a positive experience for all involved. We exposed her to new technologies, helped her develop skills and materials for her future job and we benefited from having the energy and insight of a high school student around the office. That’s one busy summer!

From all of us at the RDC to Gabby and all her fellow Prosper Waco interns, we wish you great success as you enter your senior year and SIC ‘EM!

You can view Gabby’s blog at https://gabriellahernandezweb.wordpress.com/. Read her post on lesson plans here, and her post on her experience in the RDC here.