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University Libraries - News, Events & Exhibits

Digitization allows us 'to share this with the world'


Digitizing the sheet music in the Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection is an ongoing project that began in September 2013. Mary Anyomi (holding the sheet music in the photo at right), Irvin Department of Rare Books and Special Collections, and Brianna Hughes, a graduate student in the master’s of library science program, are doing the work.

“This particular digitization project is part of an effort to make more of the unique items in the Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection available via the web,” said Mary Anoymi, a cataloger in the Irvin Department. “Cataloging the Bruccoli Fitzgerald Collection was my first project at the library, so it is wonderful to be working with another one of Dr. Bruccoli’s collections.”

The Joseph M. Bruccoli Great War Collection at the University of South Carolina is one of the largest collections of material about World War I. Matthew J. Bruccoli began to build the collection in 1998 as a tribute to his father, who served in the Great War. The collection has grown to more than 4,500 items including literature, personal narratives, historical works, posters, postcards, original art and sheet music.

 Part one of the digitization project is scanning each page of music, which is no easy feat.

“The music can run from one to 22 pages long,” said Hughes, who majored in music as an undergraduate. “Part two is cropping the scanned copies and adding metadata. I love the images on the covers. They really tell the story of the war.”

Digitizing the sheet music is a way to share these treasures with everyone, said Dr. Alex Pappas, a 1971 USC graduate. He and his wife, Dr. Ann Maners, set up the Maners Pappas Fund in the Irvin Department to support projects like this.

“When my wife and I set up the fund, it was to provide for digitization of items as the library staff sees fit, for projects they think are valuable and notable,” said Pappas, a pathologist. “Having been in academics myself for 30-odd years, I know that sometimes the things that you really want to get done just don’t get done. Digitization allows the library to share these items with the world. I think that this project, thanks to the fact that we are into the 100th anniversary of the beginning of World War I, is quite timely.

“I had an administrator once who liked to say there are two kinds of librarians: those who like the see the books on the table, and those who like to see the books on the shelves,” Pappas said. “I think this is a way to get those books, or sheet music, on the table.”