Locust Grove Project Management

Project Worksheet

With the goal of bringing the world of the 19th and 20th century Hudson Valley to life, the project will digitize the Young family diaries and mount them on an interactive website.

Target Audience:
The target audience for this project is fairly broad and will appeal to the scholar or anyone with an interest in 19th century American history. Educational elements of the website will also target high school students and teachers and complement New York State Regents requirements.

Document Source:
The primary source of the diaries in the initial phase will be the Locust Grove archives. Other material from the archives or outside sources, such as local newspapers, will be digitized only to help flesh out the stories the diaries themselves tell. A second phase of the project would aim at digitizing other material from the Locust Grove archives as well as other 19th century Hudson Valley diaries.

Description of documents:
There are approximately 200 diaries from nine family members spanning over 100 years. The physical condition of the diaries still needs to be ascertained, as well as an estimated page count. The documents are in English so no translation is necessary.

The diaries are, for the most part, in the public domain. For those that were written after 1923, copyright permission can be obtained from the Locust Grove estate.

Publication Formats:
Images of the diaries will be mounted and for the initial phase selected entries will be transcribed. Selection criteria for transcription will rely on significant dates in the Young family history (i.e. marriages, deaths), as well as important dates in Hudson Valley, New York and American history. After the initial phase of the project, transcription with be an ongoing task and enlist volunteers and the public to assist. Web technologies to facilitate this will be set up during the initial phase.

The diaries will be mounted as complete texts to enable browsing as if visitors to the site had access to the physical books. Individual entries will be indexed accordingly to allow for keyword searching.

The diaries, however, will be prioritized in advance for digitization to ensure a substantial number can be mounted as quickly as possible to maximize the impact of the project.

Special Needs:
Subject expertise: A subject matter expert in 19th century New York history will be contracted to assist with transcription and develop appropriate web content based on the diaries. This will include placing the content of the diaries in the larger historical context and relating it to general social and cultural trends. This individual will also be responsible for developing annotations for the diary entries to assist site visitors with knowledge about the people, places and events described therein. This subject specialist will also develop a timeline and family tree for inclusion on the website.

Web design: A designer/programmer will be contracted to design the website and develop the search interface, as well as develop interactive/collaborative tools.

Metadata: The project manager will develop metadata standards, which will be applied by interns and volunteers.

Nature of the Digital Project:
Metadata: Metadata for diary entries will include author, date, subjects and people discussed. Tagging will also be enabled to allow public contributions.

Quality control: The project manager will be responsible for quality control of the digitization and transcriptions.

Contextualization: The contracted subject matter expert will provide introductory material to the web site, as well as annotations to the diary entries as appropriate. He/she will also be responsible for developing on-line content to add context and meaning to the diaries. These will include interactive family histories, description of significant events as seen through the eyes of the Young family, and a timeline and family tree for mounting on the site.

Locust Grove education and public programs staff will develop components for the website as well.

Web 2.0: User comments will be enabled on the site to encourage public participation. Also, the public will be encouraged to assist with the transcription efforts, as well as tagging diary entries. Also, a donation interface will be included should the public wish to support this project financially.

Search and Access: Access to the diaries will include a browse function by author, date and tag. Entries will be searchable by keywords (if transcribed) as well as the metadata fields described above.

Institutional Support:
Locust Grove can provide office space, equipment and supplies. The estate will also provide advice, counsel, and basic research and technical support as well as initial server space. The estate will also provide access to interns and volunteers to assist the project. Current Locust Grove salaried staff will be available to assist on a limited, part-time basis. Contract staff will carry out the bulk of the project as detailed below. Locust Grove will also assist with public outreach in attracting support for the project.

Staff Needs:
The following staff will need to be hired to carry out the project:
Project manager – oversight and quality control, assist with digitization and transcription as necessary
Subject Specialist – provide transcriptions of selected diary entries and contextual content for the site
Digitizer – 1-2 full-time staff to conduct the actual digitization
Secretarial/Clerical – provided by Locust Grove
Publicity/Outreach – provided by Locust Grove
Programmer/Website Developer – needed to develop the web site and search interface, as well as interactive functions of the site

Full compliment of hardware to outfit 1-2 scanning stations and related software TBD.


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