notes from Linda
Fowble, supervisor of project:
Goucher is grateful for the extensive Jane Austen Collection donated by Henry and Alberta Hirshheimer Burke--a collection that developed over the span of 45 years. A small portion of this collection is represented in ten notebooks that include hundreds of newspaper articles, magazine clippings, and letters. Since these materials are fragile and deteriorating, we felt that it was critical to get these materials promptly digitized.
Rebecca Letsome ('02) and Christopher King Gates ('03) worked as a team to design the Jane Austen Notebook site in the fall of 2001. They decided to represent each of the ten notebooks from the Burke collection with a costume of the period on the opening page. It was then decided to color coordinate the linked pages that represent each notebook with the individual costume to assist with navigation. Chris had photographed one entire notebook before working on the design; and from this experience, he suggested the organization strategy (i.e. letters, articles, etc.) Rebecca continued the design by adding Macromedia Flash animation to provide more visual interest. Chris went abroad second semester while Rebecca continued the site development by adding and organizing each notebook as it was photographed by other staff members. This was a tedious and time consuming effort--one Rebecca completed just before her graduation!
It was decided in the early stages of this project that these notebooks should be photographed rather than scanned to prevent damage to these deteriorating materials. Five new freshmen became involved with this project in the fall of 2001: Jeannette Adams, Matisse Michalski, Golda Summers-Copenhaver, Lindsey Cornelius and David Letsebe. Every article was photographed using a Nikon Coolpix 990 and a light stand. They worked in cramped quarters for very long hours to capture each image, including all hand-written notes made by Mrs. Burke.
The camera and lightstand were purchased with a Stategic Initiative Grant titled "Unveiling Hidden Treasures". The goal of the grant was to digitize and preserve valuable and rare materials from special collections in the Julia Rogers Library--this project exemplifies the goals established in this grant.
Before posting the site, David Letsebe and Michael Eginton tested the multiplicity of links in this site and checked to see that all photographs that included text could be easily read. This too was time consuming. I appreciate their hours of attention to detail.
It is our hope that Jane Austen students and scholars will benefit from this rich resource of materials that can now be easily read without future damage to the original notebooks. Enjoy!
Our thanks to Sydney Roby, college archivist, for her assistance with this project and to Nancy Magnuson, college librarian, for her continued support of these endeavors!last updated 7/02