Fondly, Pennsylvania

Nearing 100% Collection Discoverability

Tuesday, 4/3/12

The Historical Society of Pennsylvania is proud to announce that more than 6,100 collection level records are now available online through discover.hsp.org.  Many of these records were previously unavailable online making this a valuable addition for researchers.  Information on nearly every collection at HSP is now available on discover.hsp.org. These records provide a summary of each collection that will aid you in your research.  Examples of materials never before described online include:

Kirk & Nice, Inc. business records: collection 3414 – An important archive of fairly detailed funeral records

Violet Oakley sketchbooks and engraving plates: collection 3336 and collection 3334 – Oakley was a predominant local woman artist of the 20th century

Emergency Aid of Pennsylvania Foundation records: Collection 3263 – interesting records of a WWI aid group, mostly ran by women

Balch institute mixed ethnicities sound recordings  – A substantial group of audio collections.
All Library Company of Philadelphia manuscript collections housed at HSP

The road to near 100% online access to collection level description for HSP materials was not a simple path.  The posting of information online itself is fairly simple, but I wanted to insure that the process was handled in a way that would utilize data HSP staff create in their day to day positions, and make certain that data was managed in a way that would make reuse and portability to future systems a more straightforward process than what we went through for this legacy data migration.   In order to meet these goals I ended up massaging and then importing data from HSP’s aging access database, MANX, and importing its records into Archivists’ Toolkit.  A series of scripts now run daily to take new data entered by staff from AT and import it into VuFind, which serves as the workhorse for our discover.hsp.org metasearch system that combines our separate information repositories in one accessible place. 

This process insures that all of our data made accessible online stays as up to date as possible.  Discover.hsp.org currently holds collection level records from AT, published material records from our Voyager OPAC, and information from our website www.hsp.org.  Soon we will be adding information to Discover from our CollectiveAccess instance, digitallibrary.hsp.org. This will allow users to also find our digitized and born digital materials along with the rest of HSP holdings.  All of this will make HSP materials easier to locate online allowing everyone to expand their research possibilities.

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