Digitization of the “Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collectionsâ€‌: Great Concept/Fumbled Execution

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Digitization of the “Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections”: Great Concept/Fumbled Execution. Michael Unsworth Humanities Librarian MSU Libraries unsworth@msu.edu. Outline of Talk. Genesis Why Should We Care Contents Why Digitize Publication History Bibliographic Treatment - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

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  • Digitization of the Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections: Great Concept/Fumbled ExecutionMichael Unsworth Humanities LibrarianMSU Libraries unsworth@msu.edu

  • Outline of TalkGenesisWhy Should We CareContentsWhy DigitizePublication HistoryBibliographic TreatmentDigitizersAnalysisSolutions/Coping MechanismsConclusions

  • GENESIS:Library Instruction Session

  • WHY SHOULD WE CARE"The content of this forty volume history series, though uneven in quality, includes valuable material. Every teacher of Michigan history will testify to its usefulness. Even the less scholarly contributions constitute important evidence of what a generation of pioneers regarded as significant in their history." Lewis G. Vander Velde, "The Michigan Historical Commission: 1913-1963," Michigan History Vol. 48, no. 2 (June 1964): 98.


    Letters SpeechesMemorial ReportsPrivate and Professional Papers of IndividualsPersonal Remembrances Historical EssaysDocumentary Material

  • EXAMPLE:J.A. Giradin, Slavery in Detroit, Pioneer Collections Vol. 1 (1877): 415In ancient times the city of Detroit and vicinity had slaves among its inhabitants. The old citizens generally purchased them from marauding bands of Indians, who had captured the negro slaves in their war depredations on plantationsEveryone lived in arcadian simplicity and contentment. The negro was satisfied with his position, and rendered valuable service to his master

  • ANOTHER EXAMPLE:F.M. Holloway, Hillsdale County from 1829 to 1836 Inclusive, Pioneer Collections Vol. 1 (1877): 180-181:and Mr. Stevens went with it [the proposed name of Litchfield] to Detroit, and by the free use of liquid, and other arrangements, prevailed on the Legislature to adopt that name.

  • WHY DIGITIZE?Scattered runsAccess restricted to librariesPublishing inconsistenciesPoor quality paper Loss of other materialsPromise of hi-tech indexing


    This item [v.9 1886] is sufficiently overdue that it is not likely to be returned in a timely fashion. (The borrower who has it has been billed for its replacement) You may request this material via interlibrary loan (ILL):

    Pioneer collections : report of the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan, together with reports of county, town, and district pioneer societies Lansing? Mich. : The Society], 1877-1888 MSU MAIN LIBRARY F561 .M47 v.9 1886Also checked out at MSUL: Vols. 1, 10-12; 15-18, 40 & Index for Vols 1-15

  • PUBLICATION HISTORY1876-1886 (Vols. 1- 9): Pioneer Collections. Lansing : Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan & Pioneer and Historical Society of the State of Michigan (PHSSM) . 1886-1912 (Vols. 10-38): Historical Collections. Lansing : PHSSM & Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society. 1915-1929 (Vols. 39-40): Michigan Historical Collections. Lansing : Michigan Historical Commission.Reprints/2nd ed. for Vols. 1-21 published 1900-13.

  • Michigan Historical Collections CAREFULL!!!

  • VARIANT TITLESHistorical Collections And Researches [1ST ed.] Vol. 37 (1909,1910) Collections of the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan [Reprint/ 2nd ed.] Vol. 06 (1907) - Vol. 08 (1907) . Collections: Report Of The Pioneer Society Of The State Of Michigan [2nd ed.] Vol. 09 (1908)

  • CAUTION!!!It never had the title of Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections, but its been commonly used to describe the entire collection.


    Successive EntryPioneer collections (1877). Vol. 1- 9 (1876-1886) OCLC #8597825 Historical collections (Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society : 1888). Vol. 10-38 (1886-1912) OCLC #8069520 Michigan Historical Collections. Vol. 39-40 (1915-1929) OCLC #8597926

  • Bibliographic Treatment for 1st Ed.Latest Entry; OCLC #1757295



  • Library of Congress American Memory 9 Unique Volumes

  • Google Book Search 27 Unique Volumes

  • Internet Archive Texts Collection 32 Unique Volumes

  • University of Michigan Digital Librarys Making of America 40 Unique Volumes


  • AnalysisBibliographic control is complicated by the sets numerous titles and issuing bodies. Regardless of what system of cataloging is used, the resulting record(s) are long, obtuse, and mind-numbing to even the most motivated user.

  • Analysis2. Not all volumes digitized:1st. Ed.: 39 of 40 vol. were done Vol. 9 was not digitized by any project2nd. Ed.: just 13 of 21 vol. were doneThe contents of all 40 vols. are accessible

  • Analysis3. Indexing/Access to Contents:Each volume has its own indexSociety-created cumulative indexes were digitized Many indexes created by outside groups have not been digitized

  • Analysis4. No project treated it as a serial or collection:No one stop listingCant search authors or subjects across all volumes, as in:


  • Analysis6. Digitization has:Increased distribution of individual volumesProvided access to content with:Volume & cumulated indexesKeyword searching only within each volumeComplicated comprehensive searching by volume by volume searching


  • 1. Get Michigan Pioneer and Historical Collections as an access point on bibliographic records (OCLC#8069520: WorldCat record)

  • 2. Provide links to Digitized Volumes on Bibliographic Records (U. of Toronto OPAC)

  • 2. Provide links to Digitized Volumes on Bibliographic Records (U. of Toronto MARC record)

  • 3. Produce a comprehensive Web Guide http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/MPHC

  • http://libguides.lib.msu.edu/MPHC

  • 4. Selective Indexing

  • Native Americans Guide

  • Native Americans Guide

  • Native Americans Guide


    Requires $$$$


  • 1. NONE of the mass digitization projects took an effort to study bibliographic records to insure that all access points were available for Internet searching.

  • 2. Genus Librarianus is still needed, but needs time & resources to stay abreast of developments. Then can s/he react to techno projects and make sense of them by using knowledge of the print and online worlds.

  • END


  • DIGITIZER: American Memory (LC)

  • DIGITIZER: American Memory (LC) 9 Vols digitized: all 2nd Ed.Retrievability:Title: Historical collections ONLY Author: Michigan state historical society ONLYCollection: LC

  • Formats:ScannedHTML

  • DIGITIZER: Google Book Search

  • DIGITIZER: Google Book Search 31 vols digitized: ; 1st Ed.: 20 ; 2nd Ed.: 11Retrieveability all Author & title permutations plus Michigan state historical society WITH GREAT DIFFICULTY & PERSISTENCEText Searching: YesPrint/Save: via PDFCollections: Harvard U. & U of VirginiaFormats: PDF; Plain text; EPUB (download)

  • DIGITIZER: Internet Archive

  • DIGITIZER: Internet Archive36 vols digitized: ; 1st Ed.: 31; 2nd Ed.: 5Multiple formats Text Searching: YesRetrieveability: All permutationsPrint/Save: via PDFReader reviewsCollections: U. of Toronto & Allen County (Indiana) Public Library

  • DIGITIZER: U. of Michigan

  • DIGITIZER: University of Michigan 40 vols digitized: ; 1st Ed.: 39 ; 2nd Ed.: 1Formats: scanned & OCRRetrieveability: Author: Michigan Historical Commission & Michigan State Historical Society Title: Michigan historical collections. Text Searching: YesPrint only: small imageSource Collection: University of Michigan


    Successive EntryPioneer Collections (1900). Vol. 1- 9 (1900-1908) OCLC #13501029 Historical collections made by the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan. Vol. 11-12 (1908) OCLC #13500880 Historical collections (Michigan Pioneer and Historical Society : 1908) . Vol. 13-21 (1908-19??) OCLC #13500714


  • RETRIEVABILITYAmerican Memory: Site Title: Historical collections; Author: Michigan state historical societyActual Titles: Collections of the Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan (2nd Editions) Collections: Report Of The Pioneer Society Of The State Of Michigan (2nd Editions) Pioneer Collections (2nd Editions) Historical Collections (2nd Editions & Reprints)Actual Authors:Pioneer Society of the State of Michigan Michigan Pioneer And Historical Society

    * David J. Johnson, Out of the Ashes. Michigan History Vol. 85, no. 1 (2001): 22-27.