Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Union Iron Works project featured on The Signal

(by Heather Hernandez, Technical Services Librarian)

One of our projects, to create the online Union Iron Works Employee Card Collection, has been mentioned with other fascinating NPS digitization initiatives on the Library of Congress' blog, The Signal:  "Content Matters: An Interview with Staff from the National Park Service."

So far, through the efforts of staff, interns, and volunteers, over 400 cards for employees of the Union Iron Works shipyard in the 1910s have been digitized and are available online via NPS Focus (just enter these search terms: union iron works).  The hardcopy collection contains somewhere between 30,000 to 57,000 cards--we believe there is at least one card for every employee of the shipyard during this time period.  In addition to names, home addresses, occupation, they sometimes include age or year of birth, and country of origin--there is a wealth of data about an entire workforce during the WWI shipbuilding years in San Francisco, waiting to become more accessible.

In addition to full color scans of both sides of cards such as these:

Rich metadata records are being created to accompany the images, allowing them to be searched and retrieved by multiple terms including name, address (historic and current, if different and identifiable), occupation, and nationality.

In progress is a transcription database that will eventually make the entire dataset available to researchers on demand, in multiple formats.

Want to learn more?  There is a presentation available for viewing, and we'd love to hear from anyone interested in conducting research in the online or hardcopy collection, or in becoming involved in the project.