Special Collections and University Archives Primary Source Highlights

Special Collections and University Archives is excited to share a new digital resource, “Special Collections and University Archives Primary Source Highlights,” a site that makes accessible a trove of images we have scanned for researchers over the years. The site also features images from an ongoing project to scan the Sinclair New Jersey Postcard Collection.

Like all of Rutgers Libraries, SC/UA faculty and staff had to quickly find ways to continue to support research and instruction as the university shifted to a remote environment last year. And like most of our colleagues in archives and special collections around the country, and indeed around the world, we spent much of summer and early fall 2020 planning ways to enhance access to digital materials, offer Zoom research consultations, and provide remote classroom instruction, all while working (primarily) remotely.

Faced with the challenge to increase digital resources with very limited access physical access to our collections materials, we decided to look to existing resources that we could leverage and work with from home. In SC/UA we make hundreds of high-resolution scans for patrons every year, typically for publication in books, journals, magazines, television and film productions, and for a variety of online projects. These images are stored on an internal server for potential future internal and external use. It was almost as if all of these images were waiting for their moment to shine.

Dave Kuzma and I collaborated on planning the site during fall 2020. Dave undertook the nuts and bolts work of the site, spending much of the fall semester polishing his Omeka skills, identifying images, cleaning them up for optimal display, and creating metadata, and will do more of this work moving forward. Tara Maharjan, Isaiah Beard, and Sam McDonald have provided technical expertise. Thanks to Sonia Yaco and Rhonda Marker for their support of this project.

While “Primary Source Highlights” is still in its infancy, we are adding images regularly, so we encourage you to check back frequently. This site is also now part of our Digital Resources Guide, which continues to serve as a one-stop-shop for centralized, easy access to all of SC/UA’s digitized resources, from manuscripts to maps to instructional videos. This guide also includes digitized material related to the work and mission of SC/UA, including Rutgers sites that feature digital content from SC/UA, and New Jersey history-related digital collections and resources. We welcome and encourage you to share “Primary Source Highlights,” as well as SC/UA’s other digitized resources, with the students, faculty, staff, and community members with whom you engage.

Christie Lutz