Launching Our Grant Project: Reprocessing and Digitizing the William D. Workman, Jr. Papers

William Workman

William D. Workman, Jr comparing the size of the U.S. Constitution and the federal budget’s appendix volume

If you follow SCPC on Facebook or Twitter, you probably saw our June announcement that the National Historical Publications & Records Commission granted us $17,658 for our project, Reprocessing and Digitizing the William D. Workman, Jr. Papers.

As I wrote in a blog post about the Workman Papers photographs last December:

William D. Workman, Jr. was a well-known South Carolina journalist, newspaper editor, and talented photographer. His career as a newspaperman made him a household name throughout the state, and his book The Case for the South provided an important argument in defense of segregation. Although unsuccessful, Workman’s 1962 bid to become one of South Carolina’s US Senators created the skeleton of a statewide Republican Party in what was then a solidly Democratic state.

The Workman Papers are remarkable for their breadth and depth on a number of important issues. The collection’s strengths include civil rights, race relations, politics, and the creation of the Savannah River Plant nuclear facility. These and other themes are represented not just in the textual material in the collection, but in the photographs and other audiovisual materials, as the images below illustrate.

That blog post also contains “sneak peeks” of the types of images that we will be able to make more accessible to scholars, students, and the public as a result of the grant.

So, what will we be doing to make the Workman photos more accessible to users?

First, we’ll change the way they’re arranged and described in the finding aid. This will help people find relevant images more easily. At the same time, we’ll put the collection’s photographs, negatives, and 35mm slides into more protective archival enclosures. This will help protect the items from future damage and extend their lifespans, meaning they’ll be available for use for a much longer period of time.

Next, we will digitize the images and make them available online as a digital collection. Everybody with internet access will be able to check out these photos anytime they want!

William Workman

A view of Walterboro, SC, in 1948 by Workman

When we begin making digitized images available next spring, we’ll also start a crowd-sourcing project to allow the public to add information about individual images. So if you recognize a person, place, or event in a particular image, we’d love to hear from you! This will be SCPC’s first crowd-sourcing project, and we’ll be interested to see how it goes.

As the project director, I use the word “we” a lot. The truth is that most of the day-to-day work on this project will be done by grant-funded Graduate Assistant Mae Howe. Mae is a second-year MLIS candidate. She was previously one of our “regular” SCPC graduate student workers. She has been an asset to SCPC, and I am pleased to have her as our project GA.

Mae and I will continue to blog about this project. We’ll also share especially interesting collection images on SCPC’s Facebook and Twitter accounts. Keep an eye out for updates!

By Laura Litwer

This entry was posted in Collaboration, collections, digitizing, spotlight, Student Assistants, uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.