African-American Experience in Ohio: 1850-1920

Interoperation between the Library of Congress and the Ohio Historical Society

For this collection, the image files are mounted and the page-turning presentations generated at the Ohio Historical Society. The society uses Microsoft Access to manage the database of descriptive records and Cold Fusion software to generate the web presentation of the content.

Transformation and Indexing of Descriptive Records

The descriptive records were exported from the database management software (Microsoft Access) and transformed automatically at the Library of Congress to a tagged form to facilitate indexing by the InQuery search engine. For those items for which full searchable text had been created via optical character recognition (OCR) or re-keying, the text was merged with the records for indexing. Full text is available for 468 of the 19781 items.

Linking from Descriptive Records to the Presentations at the Ohio Historical Society

Each item has been assigned a sequential numeric identifier within the Ohio Historical Society's descriptive database. The web presentation of each item is generated by a script or program that uses the identifier as a parameter. For example, the script, africanam/page1.cfm, runs on a web server at the Ohio Historical Society.

Example:    http://dbs.ohiohistory.org/africanam/page1.cfm?ItemID=17656
In each descriptive record, a Uniform Resource Locator (URL) of this form was embedded. Although not guaranteeing persistence or independence of location, this approach to implementing links provides a practical level of both characteristics. The Ohio Historical Society can reorganize file-structures and change the design for presentation of items without requiring changes to the records stored at the Library of Congress. All that is required is that each numeric identifier be treated as a permanent identifier for the corresponding item and that a script of the same name continue to generate a web-accessible presentation. Behind the scenes, the data and the images could be migrated to new hardware and software.

Linking from the Finding Aid for the George A. Myers Papers to Individual Letters

The same form of URL supports the links from the finding aid for the George A. Myers Papers. This finding aid was marked up in SGML by Laurie Gemmill of the Ohio Historical Society, according to the standard for Encoded Archival Description (EAD). At the Library of Congress, a version in HTML was generated using the conversion software used for the Library of Congress Finding Aids.

The finding aid presents correspondence (primarily letters received by George Myers) in chronological order. This is also the order used for physical organization of the originals into boxes and folders. An HTML page for each box lists individual letters and links to the digital reproduction of the letter through the page-turning interface at the Ohio Historical Society.

Example:    Box 5: October - December 1897

The links have been set up to open a second browser window for the content. This allows a user to page through a letter and jump back conveniently to the finding aid -- as if two books were open on a table. For users who prefer to use a single browser window, an alternative one-window version is available.


Return to Building the Digital Collection
Return to African-American Experience in Ohio