The Smithsonian Libraries have digitized John K. Tiffany’s Philatelic Index manuscript and it is now available for crowd sourcing transcription. Anyone can participate in the transcription and bring the manuscript one step closer to being fully searchable.
Smithsonian National Postal Museum librarian Baasil Wilder has provided instructions to get you started, and transcribed one sentence himself to try it out.
You can go straight to the website and begin on your own. Everything is done on the computer.
Once a volunteer decides they’ve “finished” and they’re ready for review, a different volunteer (who must also have an account on the site) can review the transcription and either send it back for edits, or complete the transcription.
The finished transcript is sent to the Smithsonian, where it may be used immediately, or undergo additional work.
The Library of Congress is inviting proposals for digitization of materials in its collections by third parties – “essentially seeking collaborators interested in digitizing Library collection materials at no cost to the Library.” (The Signal: Digital Preservation) Collaborators can be for-profit or nonprofit entities.
I will be in Portland, Oregon next week for PIPEX and the WE Festival.
I’ll be staffing an APS booth at the show, so if you are going, stop by and say hello! I’ll have copies of the latest issue of the Philatelic Literature Review, plans for the new library, digital books for sale, and all the usual APS goodies.
As part of the WE Festival, I’ll give a presentation on “How to Research” at 1pm on Friday. It’s open to the public.
The 7th Annual Postal History Symposium will be held Nov. 2-4, 2012 at the American Philatelic Center in Bellefonte, in conjunction with a U.S. Classics Society show. The theme for the symposium is “Blue & Gray: Mail and the Civil War.” The call for papers is now available.
The American Philatelic Research Library is more than just books. We collect many things, including journals, newsletters, microfilm, photographs, research files, and even philatelic music and plates. We do not, as a general rule, collect stamps.
We do, however, have a small collection of stamp albums, some of which contain stamps. We keep the albums for historical purposes, as a record of the development of the hobby. Like most of our special collections, these albums don’t circulate, but they are available for use in the library and staff can scan or copy pages from them.
The albums are arranged geographically and then by publisher. Most are easily identifiable, but a few do not have the name of the company that produced them anywhere on the album. Rather than just file them all under “unknown,” I thought I’d ask readers of the PL&R blog if you recognize any of these albums.
We’ve scanned the covers and representative pages from each and uploaded them to the photo-sharing site Flickr, where you can view all the images. If you recognize one, please let us know by leaving a comment on Flickr.
Coincidently with Larry’s posting about October being Archives month I stopped in Bellefonte, on my way home from attending the Postal History Symposium, to examine an archival collection at the American Philatelic Research Library. It consists of ledgers and official papers from the Aaronsburg, Pennsylvania Post Office spanning the 1890s until the early 1940s. As this gift had not yet been fully processed, I offered to inventory the materials and help prepare a finding aid in exchange for being able to peruse the two boxes.
Not only do I expect to use some of these materials with a Summer Seminar class that I will be offering on U.S. Post Office forms. But, I also found an opportunity for more research on the role of Registered Mail in rural America. While a single form may shed light on the handling of a particular piece of mail, a Post Office ledger or collection of forms can reveal much about the operation of an individual post office and perhaps provide a window into postal operations more generally. Several years ago, I made an in-depth examination of a Registry Book from the Post Office in Stony Hill, Missouri that allowed me to draw conclusions about commerce in rural American two decades before RFD and three before Parcel Post. Since publishing that article, I have sought other Registry Books to test whether my conclusions are valid for other locations, economic conditions, and time periods. My cursory examination of the single Registry Book in this collection suggests that Registered Mail served a different function in Aaronsburg in the first decade of the 20th century than it did in Stony Hill in the 1880s.
There are no doubt other undiscovered archival gems at the APRL. We expect to begin posting finding aids online next year; volunteers interested in helping should contact Tara. In the mean time, you are welcome to discuss your research projects with the library staff to learn what resources might available to support your projects.