Sunday School Books: Shaping the Values of Youth in Nineteenth-Century America

Building the Digital Collection

Michigan State University Libraries received an award in the 1998/99 round of the Library of Congress/Ameritech National Digital Library Competition to support the digitization of the books in this collection. The works digitized are owned by the Special Collections Division of the Michigan State University Libraries and the Clarke Historical Library at Central Michigan University. Scanning and transcription of all works was performed by the Digital Sources Center at Michigan State University Libraries. Bibliographic records in the MARC format and transcriptions marked up in SGML (Standard Generalized Markup Language) were delivered to the Library of Congress for indexing and integration into American Memory. The page images are mounted at Michigan State University, which provides a page-turning interface.

For more details on different aspects of building this digital collection, follow the links below.

Interoperation between the Library of Congress and Michigan State University

For this collection, the image files are mounted and the page-turning presentations generated at Michigan State University Libraries by the Digital Sources Center. The center uses Microsoft Access to manage the image files and brief records for each book. The web presentation of the collection at Michigan State University (external link) is supported by Cold Fusion software. Two views of each book are available at MSU:

  • Page images can be seen through a page-turning interface, built using Cold Fusion.
  • The transcript (marked up in XML using the TEI Lite DTD) can be viewed through an XSL stylesheet directly by web browsers that support XSL (Internet Explorer 5.0 and higher). For earlier browsers, a static HTML version is generated using the stylesheet. The transcriptions provide links to individual page images.

Using the MARC Descriptive Records and Marked Up Text in American Memory

Catalogers at Michigan State University Libraries modified MARC records for the original works to link to the digitized versions. URLs were entered in subfield $u of the 856 field. A set of records was exported from the catalog for delivery to the Library of Congress. The records were modified automatically in minor ways to allow effective integration into American Memory and facilitate coherent searching across collections. Modifications included adding local boilerplate fields to distinguish items in this digital collection from other American Memory collections, moving the URL for the MSU presentation to a local field, and adding local information to the 856 field to support access to the American Memory presentation of the text. The MSU presentation is accessible through a link, labeled Related Digital Items, at the bottom of the bibliographic display.

Versions of the text transcripts marked up in SGML were also delivered to the Library of Congress. This allows users to search the full text through American Memory; the MSU interface does not yet support searching of the full text. Using the Encoding Guidelines (external link) provided by MSU, staff at the Library of Congress mapped the tags and the stylesheet's display treatment of each tag to the equivalent functionality provided by the American Memory system for documents marked up in the American Memory DTD. As for American Memory book collections, the transcripts were divided into "chunks" using the top level <div> tags in the documents and, for each book, an automatic table of contents was generated from the headings of these divisions. For each page, a link to the page-turning interface at MSU is provided. The transformations to perform these tasks and prepare the files for indexing with InQuery are programmed in the Omnimark programming language, which recognizes the structure of the DTD. These tasks are run in batch mode before indexing.

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Linking from MARC Descriptive Records and Transcripts in American Memory to the Presentations at Michigan State University

Bibliographic displays for these books in American Memory provide links to presentations of the texts at both sites. The primary link at the top of the display links first to the table of contents generated automatically at te Library of Congress from the marked up transcription. This serves as a menu to individual chunks, usually chapters, but including elements of front matter (e.g., title pages and frontispieces), and back matter (e.g., advertisements). The individual sections incorporate links to the page-turning interface at MSU for each page; these links are constructed from numbers assigned to each book and page sequence numbers identified in the marked up text. A link at the bottom of a bibliographic display provides access to an HTML page at MSU that offers users a choice of page-turner and transcript views. This is also the choice provided for users of the Michigan State Libraries online catalog when they choose to "view full text online.".

The two views of the transcripts, at the Library of Congress and at Michigan State Libraries, are generated from the same underlying markup but the resulting presentations are distinctly different. This provides an excellent demonstration of the combination of markup that describes the structure of the document and the use of a stylesheet (or equivalent transformation) to control online display based on the structural markup. At MSU, each book is presented as a single file. This is convenient once downloaded, but may take a long time to download on slower Internet connections. A single downloaded file can be stored for future reference. The American Memory presentation uses the markup to divide the work into smaller chunks and construct a table of contents "navigator." This is useful for skimming a work and provides chunks that are individually faster to display. Searches of the full text of the entire collection return a chunk from a work rather than the entire work.

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