The Emergence of Advertising in America: 1850-1920


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Ameritech National Digital Library Competition

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Building the Digital Collection

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The Rare Book, Manuscript, and Special Collections Library of Duke University received an award in the 1997/98 round of the Library of Congress / Ameritech National Digital Library Competition to support the digitization of this collection of materials from its holdings relating to advertising. As encouraged by the guidelines, the image files and most of the web pages describing the source collection and the project are mounted and maintained at Duke University as part of the Digital Scriptorium* (external link). Finding aids were delivered to the Library of Congress for indexing as part of American Memory. The finding aids include links to page-turning presentations at Duke University.

For more detail on different aspects of building this digital collection, follow the links below.

Digitizing the Collection

Items were scanned on flat-bed scanners in Duke University's Digital Scriptorium at a resolution chosen to support screen display and printing on laser printers. To assemble the pages for an item that has several pages into an online presentation of the entire item, an automated script was used to generate a group of web pages that serve as a page-turning "wrapper." Text in the Nicole Di Bona Peterson Cookbook Collection and the Early Advertising Publications were encoded using the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) (external link) TEI Lite DTD. For a full discussion of the creation of these digital reproductions, including details of equipment, operational guidelines, and quality control procedures, see Creation of the Images* (external link) and TEI Encoding for Text and Book Materials* (external link).

Intellectual Access to the Collection

A bibliographic description was generated for each item. Since the categories of material included vary widely, a different set of fields was used for each of the eleven categories. Terms were used to describe both the advertising item as a whole and the nature of illustrations. From the Digital Scriptorium, detailed descriptions of the database fields for each category are available from the page that supports specific searches for that category. For example, the search page for Advertising Ephemera* (external link) provides a link to Advertising Ephemera Database Terms and Descriptions* (external link).

Interoperability between the Library of Congress and Duke University

Duke University incorporated the descriptions for each item into eleven finding aids, one for each category or collection of material. The finding aids are encoded using the Encoded Archival Description DTD. They have been mounted and indexed using DynaWeb at Duke to present the Emergence of Advertising in America collection as part of the Digital Scriptorium* (external link), which supports very targeted searching by fields specific to advertising and to each category within this compilation. Copies of the finding aids were delivered to the Library of Congress, where they have been transformed into item-level records and indexed with InQuery to allow full integration into American Memory. All the data elements provided are indexed, but the more specific elements (such as illustration type) are treated either as subject headings or as free text fields. The transformation was performed using a program written in the Omnimark programming language which is able to take advantage of the DTD. The search interfaces for the Digital Scriptorium and American Memory offer different search capabilities and display the bibliographic descriptions for the advertising items differently. However, the descriptions in both systems link to the same digital reproduction. In each case, a click on the image of the title page retrieves a presentation of the entire item through the page-turning wrapper stored at Duke University.