Samuel J. May Anti-Slavery Collection
Project | Selection | Cataloging | Prescanning | Digital Conversion | Quality Control | Delivery
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illustrationCataloging and Metadata
At the collection level, each collection containing political Americana materials has a record in the Cornell University Library’s online catalog and in the international RLIN database.  We linked the catalog records in our OPAC to the digital collection using the 856 field. Additionally, information about the collection is available through the Cornell Library’s Gateway for electronic resources, a Web- and Z39.50-accessible SQL database. Currently, each collection also has an unpublished finding aid. As part of the Project, the finding aid for each collection was converted to EAD format and linked to the catalog record.

At the item level, individual pieces of published material, ephemera, and artifacts were cataloged using Multi MIMSY 2000 museum database software.  Each item’s metadata contains the following information: the item’s catalog number, title, object type and genre, creator(s), date made, materials and techniques used to produce the item, names of people related to the object, associated election dates and party affiliation, information on whether and where the item was published, subject keywords, and additional descriptive captions. 

Controlled-vocabulary thesauri are being used extensively during cataloging. Object type and genre terms are taken from the Art and Architecture Thesaurus (AAT). Maker names, both of individual artists and particular companies involved in the item’s manufacture, are checked against the Union List of Artist Names (ULAN) and/or the RLIN Name Authority Files.  Candidate names are verified in the RLIN Name Authority Files. Subject terms were assigned to describe (1) specific individuals, places, and organizations portrayed in the work; (2) more general classes of things represented (e.g., “American flags,” or “elephants”), and (3) thematic interpretations, such as “Slavery,” “Prosperity,” or “Social classes.”  Subject terms are drawn from the AAT, Library of Congress Subject Headings, and the Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names. 

Items from the Douglas Collection were assigned accession numbers that reflected Susan H. Douglas’ original classification scheme. Douglas divided the items in her collection into 17 categories: Ballots, Bric-a-Brac, Broadsides, Cartoons, Buttons, Maps & Charts, Pamphlets, Paper Miscellaneous, Parades, Posters, Prints, Ribbons, Sheet Music, Songbooks, Textiles, Trinkets, and Wearing Apparel. Political campaign items from other collections from the Cornell Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections were also cataloged. 

Staff members converted metadata from the Multi MIMSY database for use by Luna Insight, our chosen digital image delivery system. The Insight database allows individual users to customize the arrangement of metadata, as in standard MARC format or Dublin Core format, although its basic structure is modeled on the VRA Core (version 3.0) Categories. The Insight database provides keyword searchability to each item. Primary access points are candidate names, election years, political parties, and object types. 

Almost all of the published books and pamphlets included in the Project have individual records in the Cornell library catalog. Records were created for the few monographs not currently in the catalog. All printed records are linked by a PURL (maintained on the library’s PURL server) to the digitized copy.

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Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections Cornell University Library

Copyright © 2002 Division of Rare & Manuscript Collections
2B Carl A. Kroch Library, Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, 14853
Phone Number: (607) 255-3530. Fax Number: (607) 255-9524

For information regarding copyright issues and securing permission to publish digital reproductions of images from the Cornell University Collection of Political Americana, please consult our Copyright & Permissions Page.

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