Vice Admiralty Environmental Scan

Presenting transcriptions of analog documents online has become a popular method to provide greater accessibility to records that would otherwise remain offline and within an archive’s physical holdings. Some websites even include a digital image of the document linked to the transcription, such as the University of Rochester Rare Books and Special Collection’s site, Lincoln and His Circle (http://www.lib.rochester.edu/index.cfm?page=531).

While transcriptions and/or digitized documents are offered online from the same time period as the Vice Admiralty Court of the Province of New York, for example the Founders Early Access Rotunda website (http://rotunda.upress.virginia.edu/founders/FOEA.html) a site does not exist that deals with Vice Admiralty subject matter. The extent of Vice Admiralty Court records online is confined to a listing in digital finding aids or catalogs from repositories such as the UK National Archives and the Library of Congress.

In preparation for establishing a designer and functionality plan for the New York Vice Admiralty digitization project, the environmental scan extended to include a survey of the digital image viewing software on some sites like Lincoln and His Circle site and the Morgan Library and Museum website. The Morgan site uses the open source software called Zoomify to allow users to zoom in and out on a digitized document, while displaying a smaller document on the page with a red bar highlighting the area of the document the viewer is interacting with. The Lincoln and His Circle site has a similar program, but it seems to be more of a magnifying rectangle that can be moved up or down over the digital document. The New York ViceAdmiralty project will incorporate software similar to the one in use on the Lincoln and His Circle site. Overall, the materials housed at NARA in the Vice Admiralty Court of the Province of New York have not been digitized nor have other British colonial vice admiralty courts as was ascertained from searching on Google, ArchiveGrid, Archive Finder, and Access to Archives.

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