JC Digitization

Digitization Policy

For the Jersey City 1910 archive project, the main sources of digital documents include newspaper clips cut out and pasted into scrapbooks or kept free in the JC Public Library's vertical files, books and published booklets, postcards and maps.

Additionally, the newspaper articles, books and booklets include maps and images that will be tagged with metadata to aid searching. Where appropriate, these embedded images and maps will be saved as their own digital files for placement within the JC 1910 interactive map. In the archive, they will always be kept within their original context.

Since the Jersey City Public Library does not have an available scanner, I took digital images using my Canon Elf Powershot SD1000 7.1 megapixel camera. The resulting jpg images allow a remarkable degree of zooming. They do not, however, create files capable of replacing the original documents in true digital archive fashion. Whether or not this is appropriate to this project remains to be decided. The library has no intention of getting rid of its original documents any time soon, but some, such as the Bergen Celebration scrapbook, are deteriorating rapidly and would make good candidates for digital preservation.

The first example document below is a page from this scrapbook, kept by the Hudson County Historical Society in 1910, spanning the months from July through October.


Pages from the Hudson County Historical Society's scrapbook documenting the planning and implementation of the 1910 Bergen Celebration will be transcribed and tagged using xml. Experiments with the ABBYY FineReader 9.0 professional OCR converter at the NYU digital studio demonstrated that transcription is probably easier in the long run than correcting mangled OCR.

Below is a sample transcription with elements noted for xml tagging:

Hudson County Historical Society Bergen Celebration Scrapbook, p. 31
Contains two articles.
Article #1.
(Handwritten: Jersey Journal. October 15-10— translate to date, October 15, 1910)
A History of Jersey City
by Mary F. Flint
of Public School #19 (preserve line breaks and stanza breaks in poem below)

On the banks of the beautiful Hudson,
Amid scenery grand to behold,
Our forefathers settled New Jersey
In the village of Bergen, we're told.
They came first from the country of Holland,
From the land of the famed Zuyder Zee;
And to gain Indian fur trade they settled
On Manhattan isle near the sea.

Soon some Dutch bergomasters came Westward,
And no one it seems now denies
That the whole of the county of Hudson,
Was bought for some gay merchandise.
At Communipaw and at Pavonia,
At Bayonne and at Hoboken too.
Settlers came and soon built themselves houses
Here and there on the farmlands so new.

'Twas a pity they treated the Indians
With suspicion and great lack of trust;
For the Red Man resented injustice,
And laid their homes low in the dust.
Several wars with the Indians then followed,
Leaving ruin and death in their trail,
When the terrible suff'rings and hardships
Caused the hearts of suvivors to quail.

They took refuge in forts o'er the river,
But when treaties of peace had been made,
And the county of Hudson repurchased,
They, no longer, by terror dismayed,
Brought their friends, and in sixteen and sixty,
On the beautiful “maize land,” so fair,
Settled Bergen and laid out the village,
In garden plots, 'round Bergen Square.

Soon provision was made for a school house,
And a “Vorrleezer” found who could teach;
Thus the school and the church were united,
For the schoolmaster then had to preach.
So rapid in growth was the village,
That scarcely a year had gone by,
E'er the first local court was established,
And no settler could justice defy.

Though the Dutch had thus settled in Bergen,
Yet the land by the English was claimed
On account of the Cabot discoveries,
For which England so long had been famed.
When the Duke of York conquered New Netherlands,
And the flag of the Dutch was torn down,
In the village on this side the river,
The English flag waved o'er the town.

It was then the land west of the Hudson,
As far as the swift Delaware,
Was named for the first time, “New Jersey,”
This fact, I to you now declare.
The first English gov'nor was Carteret,
And so wise and so just was his rule,
That the people were prosperous and happy,
Having freedom in church and in school.

They were roused from their peaceful contentment
By the throes of the country at war.
Both sides in the great Revolution,
Deemed important the hills on the shore.
Many loyalists aided the British,
And “Old Bergen” soon fell to their lot.
These historic events in New Jersey
Will never, we trust, be forgot.

Paulus Hook also fell to the British,
And they strengthened this fort near the sea.
But a brilliant and most dangerous exploit,
Was its capture by Major H. Lee.
To commem'rate this battle so glorious,
And to mark its right place in the land,
A fine monument now is erected
Where Washington Street crosses Grand.

When the terrible conflict was ended,
And American col'nies were free,
Steps were taken to lay out a city,
Near the place of the vic'try of Lee.
“Tis a wonderful thing to remember
As we travel our city to-day,
That we had such a humble beginning
In the Marshland and Lowland S——.

(note last word not readible because clip cut off too close to bottom before being pasted into the scrapbook— would want to note this in xml).

The next sample document is a page from Jersey City of To-Day: It's History, People,Trades, Commerce, Institutions and Industries. Walter G. Mulrheid, editor, Frank Stevens, Treasurer, George A. Parker, Advertising. Copyright 1910 by Frank Stevens, Treasurer Review Special, Jersey City, NJ.

In the case of this book, the OCR works pretty well. If the whole book were to be borrowed and scanned properly in a flatbed scanner, OCR would probably be sufficient for search capability. Additional image tagging would be necessary to made searching for the remarkable images contained in the book to be possible.


[Jersey City of Today OCR]

The next two sample documents are a large image produced from a postcard and an original print produced by the Jenkins Studio documenting the pageant put on by students at PS 11 for the Bergen Celebration. The original postcard is not part of the library's collection. For this document, xml tagging is necessary to aid searching.


The next sample document is a postcard. This postcard was photographed front and back with the same Canon digital camera. Ideally, the postcards to be used for this project would be scanned using a flatbed scanner. They would then be tagged and any relevant handwriting will be transcribed.


Here is a sample transcription and description of the postcard shown above:


Title: St. Aloysius Church, Jersey City NJ.
This postcard features a print of a black and white photograph of St. Aloysius Catholic Church, (need to research year it was built, architectural style— looks to be combination of Greek Revival and neo-Gothic). St. Aloysius Church borders the newly incorporated and renovated West Side Park (Hudson county) open to the public in 1910. A row of sapling trees lining the park entrance boulevard are visible in the left side of the postcard photograph.


The handwritten text will not be transcribed as it is not directly related to the landmarks depicted in the postcard. Poscard Publisher: J.H. Orlaniads? 196 Harrison Ave, Jersey City. Postcard Sent Date: October 11, 11;39AM, 1910.

The final examples on this page are maps. The first two are contained within the souvenir pamphlet produced by the Hudson County Historical Society for the Bergen Celebration and the last one is the 1908 Hopkins fire insurance map, 24”x32,” showing all the districts in the City. The map would best be digitized using a very large flatbed scanner.

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