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Hawai'i Council for the Humanities
Hawai'i Council for the Humanities
Preservation Grant Application - submitted October 2002

Final Report

 


 

Project Narrative

1. Describe the topic and the nature of the resources to be preserved under this project and their value as humanities resources for then community. Your answer should also clearly and concisely state the intellectualneed to which this project responds.

The legitimacy of the annexation of Hawai˜i by the United States has recently emerged as a significant area of inquiry in Hawaiian studies. The question of the role of the U.S. in the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom in 1893 also continues to be examined by students and researchers in numerous disciplines. This project seeks to support these inquiries by preserving documents of primary importance to these discussions: the reports popularly known as the "Blount Report" of 1894, and the "Morgan Report" of 1893-1894, the Hawaiian anti-annexation petitions of 1897 and other  documents submitted to the U.S. Congress in protest of the annexation (including those of Queen Lili˜uokalani), and the U.S. Congressional debates on the Organic Act of Hawaii from 1899 to 1900.

While the issues described above are more formally examined in classrooms and discussed in theses and other academic works, their close relationship to the issue of Hawaiian sovereignty also engenders interest in the broader communities of Hawai˜i. The body of analytical and academic work that has been produced on these topics is relatively small, but it plays an important role in informing our communities of these issues. At the UHM Library's Hawaiian Collection, reference inquiries from non-academic people indicate that there is an interest in both the scholarly work being produced, and the primary documents (described above) referenced in these works. This project also seeks to strengthen connections between the academic and broader communities by making these materials, around which much public discussion and debate is centered, more widely available in an accessible and affordable format.

The materials selected present a clear view of the opinions of both the people of Hawai˜i and the U.S. government officials who investigated the situation in Hawai˜i in the short but critical period between the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy and the annexation of Hawai˜i to the United States. The research upon which the selection of the materials is based challenges the dominant narratives presented in historical texts. The materials selected however are not one-sided. The Morgan Report challenges the Blount Report, which implicated the United States in the overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy. Also, the U.S. Congressional debates documents the extended discussion between those who supported and opposed the annexation.

This project will promote the mission of the Hawai˜i Council for the Humanities by supporting academic and personal inquiry into and analysis of historical events that continue to affect Hawai˜i and the people of Hawai˜i to this day.

Other projects that would do what this project will do have already been attempted or proposed. Digitizing of the Blount Report was begun by a community group several years ago but was never completed. The UHM Library's Hawaiian Collection has discussed the digitizing of the anti-annexation petitions with two other community groups in the past year; both groups have decided to wait for our project to be completed. In late 2001 and early 2002 the UHM Library received a grant from the UHM Diversity and Equity Initiative to begin work on this project. Under this grant, digitizing of all of the documents except the Morgan Report was initiated or completed. We are requesting assistance from the Hawai˜i Council for the Humanities to complete and verify the accuracy of the digitizing and text conversion for all documents, and to prepare a portion of the materials for issuance on CD-ROM.

2. Describe the preservation activities which will be undertaken during the course of the project.

This project will produce digital image and text versions of the Blount and Morgan Reports, the Hawaiian anti-annexation petitions (image only) and related protest documents, and the U.S. Congressional debates on the Organic Act of Hawaii. The intent of this project is not to restore or preserve the documents by archival or preservation standards. Its intent is to provide broader alternate access to documents which are all now over 100 years old and out of print, thereby reducing demand for access to the remaining copies of the documents still available.

Digitizing involves scanning the pages of each document to an image format and processing each image through OCR (optical character recognition) software to convert the image to text. Each document will be presented via the world wide web as a text HTML document (i.e. plain text in a plain web page), as a digital image in PDF format (i.e. a precise visual reproduction of the actual page), and as a word processing document formatted similarly to the actual page. The variety of formats will provide people with flexibility in how they can use the documents. The text pages will be searchable, so that people can find precise points or references within each document. (This is not the same as formal indexing, but each document will have a detailed table of contents, and in the case of the Blount Report, a reproduction of the index already compiled for the original document.) The image documents will provide a more readable document, and maintain the visual integrity of the document.

Original copies or best-available copies of each of the documents will be used for digitizing, to create the clearest and most accurate digital copies of the materials possible. For the Blount and Morgan reports, original copies of each will be used. For the anti-annexation petitions, the first-generation copy held at the Bishop Museum Archives, generally recognized to be the best copy available outside of the U.S. National Archives, will be used. For the related protest documents, photocopies of materials held at the U.S. National Archives will be digitized and manually cleaned. For the Organic Act debates, the UHM Hamilton Library's only positive copy of the collection will be used.

In addition to digitizing and offering these materials on a website, this project will also transfer the digital copies of the anti-annexation petitions to a CD-ROM. Because of the difficulty of interpreting the handwritten signatures on the petitions, creating a text version of this document is beyond the scope of this project. The petitions will thus be available on the web only as digital image files. Image files are considerably larger than text files, and take a longer time to access via the internet, particularly for those who do not have access to high-speed internet connections. To address this difficulty, this project will offer the petitions in an inexpensive and portable CD-ROM format. The UHM Library's External Services Program will be able to sell these CD-ROMs to the public on a cost-recovery basis.

There is no oral history component for this project.

4. Describe the final product or resource that will result from this project.

The project should produce an index, summary sheet or printed handout that indicates the scope of the material preserved and gives a general introduction to its historical importance or context. Which organizations (libraries, community colleges, museums) will receive a copy of this summary?

How will the availability of the resources be made known to the general public and especially to those with an interest in the areas of research they represent?

The resource that will result from this project is the Annexation Documents website that will present digital image and text versions of the documents described in question 1. This website will be hosted on the UHM Library's web server, and will be linked to from the Library's main webpage that features digitization projects. This website will be available at no cost to anyone with access to the internet. While the materials will be presented as a body of documents, each document will have its own detailed table of contents; the Blount Report will also reproduce the subject index included in its print version. The website will have a search feature and all materials, except for the signatures on the anti-annexation petitions, will be searchable.

We will distribute an announcement that provides a short introduction to the website and its materials' historical and current significance to University of Hawai˜i System libraries, libraries at other Hawai˜i institutions of higher learning, public libraries, other libraries, archives and repositories concerned with Hawai˜i materials, the state Department of Education Hawaiian curriculum development offices, and Hawaiian community groups and civic organizations. We will distribute announcements where appropriate in print and via e-mail. We will notify e-mail listserv groups concerned with Hawai˜i issues and instructional faculty working in Hawaiian studies and related disciplines. We will also register the website with search engine websites, and allow and encourage other websites to link to this website.

Another resource that will result from this project is a CD-ROM version of the anti-annexation documents. The  CD will be accompanied by a short essay describing the historical and current significance of the anti-annexation petitions in the context of the other included documents. We will distribute notice of the availability of the CD-ROM along with the announcement of the availability of the website.

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