In 1991 the University of Hawaii Library received a Higher Education Act Title II-C federal grant, under the category "Strengthening Library Resources." The project was designed to inventory and select significant items from the Trust Territory Archives Photograph Collection, add descriptive information to the existing bibliographic records, scan photographs and slides to produce a digital image file, and link the digitized image to the online catalog record. The Library employed digitizing technology as a means of preserving archival photographs; the online viewing of images eliminated much of the need for handling of archival photographs. The University of Hawaii Library staff involved in the project included Mr. Tom Brown, UH Library Photographer; Ms. Martha Chantiny, Systems Librarian; Dr. Karen M. Peacock, Pacific Collection Curator; Ms. Ann Toyota Rabinko, Project manager, and a number of student assistants.
After initial research and procurement processing, a microcomputer, scanner and software for scanning production were set up in January 1992. Although the University of Hawaii Library used procedures developed by the Boulder Public Library digitizing project and CARL Systems Inc., the "starter" documentation provided to the Library required updating via experimentation with scanning and cataloging. Ms. Chantiny and Ms. Rabinko created processing procedures and learned to use the scanning software and equipment and CARL software used to update the bibliographic records. As the work proceeded, the physical collection was also inventoried and rehoused.
Pacific Curator Karen Peacock surveyed each set of photographs and selected those which would become part of the digitized database. Approximately, 50,000 photographs were surveyed, and twelve percent of the total collection was selected for inclusion in the digitized database. When an image to be scanned had only a negative, the Library Photographer made a positive print, and vice versa. Curator Peacock composed descriptions for each photograph, and student workers under Ms. Rabinko's supervision added this information to the bibliographic record. The photographs were then scanned and linked to the record. It should be noted that many of the files in the physical collection include a variety of photographs of the same individual or event, as is the common practice of photographers. In such cases, usually only one photograph was selected for digitization to represent a series of shots of the same person/event. In addition, because this collection had its origins in the daily work of the former Trust Territory Government, there were many files with construction and engineering photographs that had no great historical or cultural interest, and these were excluded from the database.
By December 1993, six thousand images were digitized, and these formed the new database, which was at the time made accessible through workstations in the Pacific Collection and elsewhere in Hamilton Library. (For technical details, see Chantiny's 1993 article, "Incorporating Digitized Images in the UHCARL PAC Online Catalog," Library Software Review, 12(1):22-26.)
In Fall 1998, three areas of the UH Library's Special Collections department were awarded an Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) grant. The grant provided funds for a two-year project that would begin developing a digital library of Hawaiian and Pacific Islands materials, and included expanded digital access to the Trust Territory of the Pacific Islands Photo Collection.
The Trust Territory Archives Photograph collection's digitized database offers a wide range of images to the researcher in an efficient and convenient fashion. The user is able to keyword search the Trust Territory Archives Index, identify bibliographic records of interest, call up images of the photographs listed as part of a particular record and view these images via the Internet.This resource offers greater access and helps to preserve the valuable images that record significant moments in the history of Micronesia.
The University of Hawaii Library hopes that users of the photo database will provide Pacific Collection staff with any information that might further enhance the records of the Trust Territory Archives Index. Such information can be added to the records, to increase the usefulness of the system for all researchers. (Comments can be sent via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org )