Level three!

I've begun metadata on the Chaffey Letters, Book I! I've never been into video games much but I assume that the feeling of passing a level you tried over and over to pass is the same feeling I've felt these past two days. I suppose I should clarify what level one and two were, as well. 

Level One: Scanning. The Chaffey Letters (Book I and II) took an extremely long time to scan. Each book had such a large number of extremely thin and fragile paper. 

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Level Two: Breaking up the letters. Along with the Chaffey Letters, Ontario City Library provided us with transcripts for each letter. The past few weeks I have been breaking apart the letters, from one large pdf with all the letters into individual pdfs for each letter (as well as individual pdfs for each transcript).
Level Three: METADATA! Now that the sources are scanned and separated I have begun metadata so the hundreds of Chaffey Letters we have can go live (that's how you win this video game, in case you were wondering). With the letters we have to attach their transcripts and process them as 'compound objects,' so the letters will be able to be viewed on the Claremont Colleges Digital Library with the transcripts.

Here's to many more hours on metadata!

till next time, 

Learning Through Osmosis

I'm becoming a historian through osmosis. After a couple of weeks of creating metadata, I have an increasing understanding of the documents and the context in which they exist. I already knew some things from scanning documents and looking for interesting tidbits for social media and blog posts.

Now that I'm creating metadata, my understanding of the topics in our collection has increased tenfold. This is the nature of creating metadata, I am trying to synthesize information contained in the document so that when it is uploaded researchers browsing our collection will be able to filter through the material.

It is obviously interesting to learn about major historical events like the construction of the Hoover Dam, but it may be more surprising to hear that my favorite things to learn about are the less significant narratives. This week, for example, I created metadata for a series of letters written between 1935 and 1938 between the City of Ontario and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.

During this time the Colorado River was seen as the solution to the water scarcity problem in Southern California. Increasing numbers of people settling in the area meant increasing amounts of water was required for both agricultural and domestic use. Southern Californians looked east to the Colorado River, one of the largest rivers in the United States for assistance.

A dam in the Boulder Canyon was proposed and subsequently an aqueduct leading to Southern California. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California was responsible for the building of the Colorado River Aqueduct. The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California originally encompassed Anaheim, Beverly Hills, Burbank, Compton, Fullerton, Glendale, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Pasadena, San Marino, Santa Ana, Santa Monica, and Torrance. Later on it would include dozens of Southern Californian cities including Ontario.

This series of letters, however, gives a smaller, more intimate, and incredibly interesting history of this time. According to letters from the City of Ontario, several city streets had been damaged by the construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct. The letters addressed to the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California requested that they cover the cost required to repair the city streets. This correspondence continues with the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California's denial of responsibility of the damage. Between 1935 and 1938, the City of Ontario and the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California send letter after letter until a conclusion is made. According to one of the final letters, an Ontario City Council meeting passed a resolution that freed the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California from liability for the damage done during the construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct.

As I created metadata for these items, I was intrigued by this story. Although it is not a major event in the history of Southern California, it is an interesting narrative that could very easily have been lost to time. Instead I am able to make these letters available to researchers through the Claremont Colleges Digital Library.

Social Media, but like from the past?

Inspired by Kiera's blog about social media, I began to think of the Chaffey brothers and their use of advertisement and marketing in order to attract attention to their "Colony." As we saw in a past blog of mine, the Chaffey brothers had produced pamphlets about their "City that Charms." They truly created a sort of paradise area for people to come, to live and to prosper. "It's like Social Media, but old." *said in a high pitched voice*
They really did have their own forms of social media, their own forms of putting information out there. Nowadays if we have an idea we have an immediate outlet, but it wasn't always that easy.
In the letter below one can see how advertising was very important to the Chaffey brothers.


They had advertisements all around the area, and even in Canada. In another letter you can see the amount of people from Canada interested in the Colony the Chaffey Brothers created.


they really had a vision!

Until next time,

Making a Plan

Hello Everyone, this week I finished the box survey and began formulating a processing plan. To facilitate this next step in the process, I had to figure out the answers to two fundamental questions: What is a processing plan and how do you make one? After some sage advice from Lisa, I relied on the tried and true practice of research, research, research! Developing and Maintaining Practical Archives: A How-To-Do-It Manual by Gregory S. Hunter, the "Bible" of creating archives, and A Glossary of Archival & Records Terminology by Richard Pearce-Moses, are providing valuable information and will help guide me through the process. After some initial reading, I had to just jump in and begin filling out the processing plan. I am learning as I go and enjoying every moment.

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I came across some interesting information regarding the Junior Woman's Club of Claremont. The club was started in 1933 with the Woman's Club as its sponsor, and focuses on philanthropy, community service, and building leadership skills in young women devoted in the group. Two items of interest are the Club's History and Purpose, and the GFWC (General Federation of Women's Clubs) Junior Pledge written in 1916 by Helen Cheney Kimberly of California. I found the Junior Pledge to contain some profound language and concepts, encouraging the young women of the group to be loyal, do better in their work, be honest and courteous, and to "live each day trying to accomplish something - not merely to exist." Pretty amazing!      


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 The Junior Club of Claremont's History and Purpose.  


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The Junior Pledge was written in 1916 by Helen Cheney Kimberly of California, and was adopted in 1930 at the GFWC Convention as the National Junior Pledge.

Social Media and Accessibility

One important aspect of archival work is making information from primary sources accessible to people. For the most part this priority manifests through the creation of finding aids, the opening of reading rooms, and the establishment of digital libraries. The Honnold Mudd Library implements all these features in order to invite scholars to use the Special Collections. However, there is another way to make primary sources accessible to potential users: through the use of social media.

Social media makes archival and special collections accessible not only practically but also intellectually. In a practical sense, social media accounts can help promote repositories and encourage use by scholars and other individuals through the more traditional means listed above. However, it also allows social media users to engage with primary sources intellectually. The social media presence of a repository can be a direct way of disseminating easily digestible pieces of information taken from primary sources. By offering this engagement with primary sources, social media makes these sources more accessible to an increasingly wide audience.

Social media is a great way to share fun facts, short stories, images, and developments--this is how many individuals use accounts like Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Special collections libraries and archival repositories can use social media in similar ways. In the case of the Honnold Mudd Library and Special Collections we use our social media accounts to share images and videos of the collection, interesting information found in certain documents, and new development for projects like the CLIR Water Project. In this way, social media users engage with the collection much as how they would use a finding aid, visit a reading room, or browse a digital library.

There are two social media projects I have been developing since becoming a CLIR CCEPS fellow: #TypographyTuesday and #WaterWednesday. These hashtags are used by our Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook accounts. #TypographyTuesday and #WaterWednesday usually include an image from the collection paired with a little background information. I like to take advantage of the visual elements of the documents I come across in the Caldifornia Water Documents collection when I post to social media so that my posts are eye-catching. If this blog post caught your eye and you would like to follow #TypographyTuesday and #WaterWednesday here are links to our social media accounts.

Twitter: https://twitter.com/honnoldlibrary

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CLIRWater

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/honnoldlibrary

Getting My Groove On

Hello Everyone,

I am happy to report that I have settled into a comfortable groove this week as I continue to perform the box survey for the Woman's Club of Claremont archive. I am learning as I go, making smarter decisions, and working at a much quicker pace. I have managed to conduct the survey on 26 of the 27 boxes, and will be ready to move on to step two in the process next week. I have come across some interesting items that demonstrate not only the enduring historical significance of the club, but also how the club has made intimate connections with their community over the last century. The Woman's Club of Claremont has touched every era, and left the community better, stronger, and enriched for the interaction.

 A history of the Woman's Club of Claremont was recorded in 1960. The group unofficially began meeting in 1917, during the First World War, to do Red Cross sewing, knitting, and community service. The group became an official club after the war in 1919. There are photographs of the club and its building from the earliest years which are an interesting contrast to the way the building looks today. The comparison shows how the Woman's Club grew as the community grew, and speaks to the intimate and integral relationship between the club and the community. I know my understanding of the Woman's Club will expand as I continue processing the archive, and I look forward to delving deeper into process, and the club, next week!

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Club History, circa 1960.


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Image found in a record book containing meeting minutes titled, Woman's Club of Claremont 1924 - 1944.

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Woman's Club of Claremont today.

Preperations for Metadata!

As of late I have been separating the Chaffey Letters Book I as well as the transcript for each of the letters. Chaffey Letters Book I is finished and is ready for metadata. The transcripts have opened my eyes to many insights about the Chaffey brothers. It's very interesting to read what they had to say and understand more and more about them and their dream "colony" from 135 years ago. After I separate Chaffey Letters Book II as well I will be able to, one by one, work on metadata and let them go live on the Claremont Digital Library. We shall see how soon that day comes.

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till then,


One Word

This week I was asked how I would describe my fellowship in one word. It took me a while to think about just one word that encapsulates my entire experience working on the CLIR Water Project. Each day is a little different, and since I still consider myself new to this position, I am still learning new skills all the time. For example, just this week I have learned how to create metadata in CONTENTdm and how to upload items onto the Claremont Colleges Digital Library. With this in mind, how could I narrow down my experience into one word?

In the end, I came up with "detail-oriented," which is not even technically a single word. However, it seemed to best fit my feelings about everything I do here. Whether it is how you handle fragile documents or how you create comprehensive metadata, it is important to be detail-oriented. At every step of the digitization process, it is of utmost importance to take your time and pay attention. Every detail matters.

Consequently, many of my tasks feel a bit like mental juggling. However, I enjoy this element of multitasking while working as a CLIR CCEPS Fellow. Although it might not look or sound that exciting to digitize documents and create metadata for them, my mind is always whirring with a thousand factors to make sure every detail is perfect.

Hello Everyone, my name is Therasa Topete and I am a student in the master of arts program in religion at CGU. I began my first experience performing archival work this week processing the records of a wonderful organization called the Woman's Club of Claremont. The Woman's Club of Claremont has been active since the early twentieth century, and identifies itself as a non-profit organization open to all adult women with the desire to help the community by supporting various charities, communities, schools, and organizations. I feel honored to have a part in recording the history of such an inspiring organization, and feel a great responsibility to do a good job so current and future generations will be able to see the impact this wonderful group of women have had on their community for almost an entire century.

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This archival project contains 26 record boxes that need to be processed, and I was excited and a little intimidated on day one. As I began to perform the box survey, I kept feeling as though I was getting too wrapped up in the details and taking too long to complete each box. Once I had processed the first two boxes, which took a long time, I began to understand what needed to be noted at this stage, and what should be inspected more closely at a later stage in the process. The work went much smoother after that, and I am beginning to process at a much faster pace. I processed twice as many boxes today as I did in the last three days combined, and I am beginning to feel more confident performing the task. I really enjoy the work, and as I go through the materials I am getting to know The Woman's Club more intimately. I feel like I will view the Woman's Club of Claremont as an old friend when my time here is finished, and I am excited to continue the work. I look forward to keeping you all posted along my journey!   

The Building of an Empire

The Chaffey brothers and their letters are still in my life and I see no separation from them anytime soon. I am still scanning the second Chaffey letters book but, as I have mentioned in a blog before, I also have access to the transcripts of the letters and have been using them to prepare for the Chaffey letters metadata. The transcripts help in understanding the purpose of each letter. If I am able to identify the main subjects of each letter I am able to tag those subjects when the sources go live. Similarly, if I can properly summarize each letter it makes those who may be looking for resources such as the Chaffey letters more easily accessible. Each letter will be separated so it may be quite a while until each of the letters from Book I and II will be in the Claremont Colleges Digital Library but it will happen, I promise you that!

As I read through these transcripts I continue to see the dreams of the Chaffey brothers in purchasing the land that is today known as the Inland Empire. Another CLIR CCEPS fellow had in the past, worked with a brochure style document that was advertising Ontario, CA, "The City That Charms." As I discover more and more about the Chaffey brothers, I realize the almost utopia of an empire they wanted to build, dare I even say a sort of elite (or elitist) community. In modern day, it would most likely resemble a fancy gated community in a suburban neighborhood. In a letter dated February 28th, 1882 George Chaffey writes, "Our intention is to sell to our immediate friends and those recommended by them, hoping by this means to make a first class colony." This one sentence brings up two interesting topics. The first involves the use of the word colony. The Chaffey brothers and most other historical/biographical information about the Chaffey brothers and the Inland Empire continuously use the word 'colony,' and it is interesting to ponder on why they might use the word, but that is for another time. The second is the obvious intent of the Chaffey brothers to build an empire of perfection, a place where "the aged may rest and the young grow strong." That quote is from a page of the Ontario brochure (pictured below). It is incredibly more interesting that the Chaffey brothers found this land, mostly desert and lacking water sources, and saw beyond that. They saw possibility and they banked on that possibility.

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In that same letter George Chaffey also writes, "There is no better land in the state, it all lies to the sun and the water right is perfect, we have however absolute control of the water. Thus avoiding any chance of dispute," and in another dated September 10th, 1882 writes, "The land is very even of excellent quality. The elevation is above the Frost Belt, the situation commands a view of the valley. The water is pure mountain water which together with the healthy climate must make it all that can be desired for a home." The Chaffey brothers may have found land that seemed by most undesirable but they looked further. They saw the landscape as a view to die for, they saw the mountains of Southern California as a source to build an irrigation haven, and saw the climate ("sunny California" as it is most known today) as more than desirable. Perhaps that is why we call it the Inland Empire.