Results tagged “#CLIRWater”

Aesthetics: The CLIR Water project

Was recently asked whether I enjoyed working with aesthetically pleasing documents or written text. Immedietly, I began thinking of all the written text I've been working with. Most recently, we recieved pieces from Ontario Library. The written text I've been working with have been, possibly suprisingly, quite beautiful. The emblems or stamps on some of these documents were amazing. IMG_9806.jpg
 Also, very aestheically pleasing were the hand writing of the texts. Although I couldn't read some of them, I could still admire the percision and beauty of the hand writing. It makes the piece seems very personal, despite being goverment or company related documents . text.jpg
I guess my answer was that, with a lot of the written text I've worked with, I've found incredible aesthetic value. It makes scanning for five hours on end a whole lot more bearable. 


A New Day, A New Collection

Hello all!

This week, I'm finally finished with all of the metadata from items I worked on over the summer. I'm back to working on scanning items. We recently received items from the Ontario City Library's water documents collection. This time, I'm working on scanning a big book. Since it's a fragile book, we're using the book scanner to allow the book to be open upright as it's scanned. This is a Land Ledger from the Ontario Land and Improvement Company. 

Here are some pictures showing what I'm talking about:

Until next time!

Ontario City Library

This week I visited the Ontario City Library, one of our project partners, to pick up some new materials for our CLIR CCEPS fellows to scan. This field trip offered a nice break from document scanning. We are working with the Ontario City Library, as well as several other libraries, to digitize a massive number of documents pertaining to water resources in California. The Ontario City Library's collection, along with their expertise, is vital for the project to succeed, and it was great to get to see the library in person.

The Ontario City Library also has special collections, what they call the Model Colony Collections. This odd name is actually a reference to Ontario's history as the city was often used as a model for emerging settlements in the surrounding area. The Model Colony Collection is dedicated to preserving and presenting the history of Ontario using books, photographs, maps, and other archival material. While visiting the library I was able to spend time with the librarians in the Model Colony History Room and see the impressive scope of their collection.

As the librarian at the Ontario City Library reviewed with us the different materials we were picking up this week, I was struck by the breadth of information that our project is going to make readily available online for researchers. Within these boxes, there were water and land company stock certificates, water well data, letters, land grant deeds, water pump reports, and more. All these discrete documents are puzzle pieces to understanding historic water use in California, pieces that would be missing from our project without the hard work and dedication of the Ontario City Library.

History in the Palms of My Hand (literally)

Hello all,

My name is Alfonso Casares, I am a second-year student at Pomona College, originally from Northern California.

Today marks the end of my second week here at Special Collections working with Southern California water documents. Perhaps because of my interest in History, it has been just a bit surreal working with all these documents. History is always described as the past but I think we often forget that History is both the past and the present (and as a matter of fact very much so the future!) and working with these texts has shown me that both figuratively and literally, history is right in front of me.

I'm currently working on digitizing a record of transactions for Bear Valley Irrigation Company, (from the late 1800s!!) that is pretty thick. I'm on my second day of scanning with this text and I am not 100% sure I'll finish today. Perhaps because I'm new I'm a little slow. If so, I'm sure that'll change soon.

Apart from that, I'm really excited for what's to come as a CLIR CCEPS Fellow.
Talk to you soon!

Approaching the End of My First Batch

Hello all, 

I am finally approaching the end of finishing the process of digitization! All of the items from over the summer have been scanned, their metadata finished, and the uploading process is almost done! 

How do I feel about all this, you ask? I am really excited! There is a sense of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes with finishing a task as long-lasting as this. This process has required meticulousness, precision, efficiency, and patience as I have talked about in the past. But, in the end, all of this hard work is going to pay off! 

Patrons have begun to see the California Water Documents Collection expand and grow over late summer. That's only going to continue as we move forward. 

My hope is that researchers will take advantage of the items we have uploaded. There are so many items in our collection that are very fascinating and exciting. 

Check out the Claremont Colleges Digital Library for more! 

The Document is in the Details

This week I have been busy scanning documents as I settle into my new position as a CLIR CCEPS Fellow. In particular, I have been scanning records from the 1920s and 1930s. When you are working with documents that are 80 or 90 years old, the historical importance transcends the contents of the page. Whether it is the paper quality, the ink, the typewriter impressions, or the handwritten notes in the margins, there are more than words held within these pages.

In particular, I have become transfixed by typography. Many of the documents I am dealing with have unique and oftentimes artistic typography. In some recently digitized pamphlets, the first letter of the first paragraph is large and ornate, oddly reminiscent of the kinds of letters seen in old bibles. The images below are just a few examples of the kinds of interesting typography I have found in the process of scanning various documents.

Another typographical element of the documents that fascinates me is the typewriter text. I have lived in an era of computers and printers. Consequently, I have lived free of white out, crossed-out words, and hand-corrected typos. These details, when I come across them while perusing documents, give a sense of life to the person who typed the words. There is a humanity and vulnerability seeing a corrected mistake in someone's work.

However, it is not just the typos within documents that remind me that an individual or a group of individuals once worked with these same documents many years ago. I often catch comments in the margins, aimless scribbles or doodles on the backs of pages, or handwritten notes among the more formal documents. Each handwritten addition adds personality to the creator of the document and as I wait for the scanner to finish whirring or the file to save, my mind wanders on the life this person lived 90 years ago.

blog image 11.JPGblog image 2.JPG

California and Water: How Did We Get Here?

Hello everyone, my name is Kiera and I am new to the CLIR Water Project. Moving forward, I will be updating you about my experiences with this collection, but first I can tell you a little bit about me. I am a graduate student at Claremont Graduate University in the Cultural Studies program. Cultural Studies draws from a wide array of disciplines--from history to sociology to literary criticism. Outside of school, I work at two different museums in the area, the American Museum of Ceramic Art in Pomona and the Bowers Museum in Santa Ana. I have come to Special Collections and the CLIR Water Project by way of my interests in archival work, an interest I developed while working at the Bowers Museum.

I've been here only a few days and already I have discovered some incredibly interesting records in the collection. I am excited to share some of my revelations about this archive. First, however, I thought I'd write about the preconceptions I had as I approached this project.

If you live in California, particularly if you live in Southern California, there is no doubt that water has been an important issue in recent years. As a native Californian, I certainly have my own ideas on water use in our state. As one of the most important resources for human life; it is no coincidence that most major cities have historically been built around bodies of water. This would make the settling of Southern California, most of which is a desert, seem improbable. And yet here we are, thirsty and ready to grow food, so water better keep flowing.

How did we get here? Many historians, environmental scientists, engineers, politicians, and even members of the general public would like to know and are working towards an answer. As I am being introduced to the wide variety of records that we are working to digitize and preserve, I am realizing that the CLIR project has an opportunity to contribute to the answer.

This is an awesome revelation to have during my first few days working on the project, and I cannot wait to see what I dig up that might be useful to future researchers and interested parties. That is one wonderful thing I have learned doing archival work--the answers to life's mysteries could be a turn of a page away.

Social Media

Hello all!

This week, while working on uploading more of my items to the Claremont Colleges Digital Library (CCDL), we have also been working on creating an online social media presence on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

Right now, we have our Facebook page up and running, which will function as the main hub for information about the project. We will announce updates and events there. Other project partners will contribute to this page as well. The Claremont Colleges Library's Twitter and Instagram will be hosting the CLIR CCEP's point of view of the project, and all posts we specifically make will be tagged with #CLIRWater.

I have been helping with this endeavor, and it has forced me to have to rethink how we use social media. How I use social media personally differs with how we use social media for a professional project. We have to be concise, specific, and efficient with how we advertise the project. We want our patrons to know what we're working on and why it matters, but we also have to figure out how to balance social media updates with continuing our digitization project.

Here are the links to the various social media sites:




Chekhov's Irrigation Report

Hi folks! In my original blog post all the way back in April 2017, I talked about scanning Samuel B. Morris's "Report submitted by Pasadena Water Department to Federal Investigating Committee at hearing com. 2-24-26 re: San Gabriel Canyon Rs of W."

That report has finally been digitized and uploaded. You can read it here.

And what of my second post, you probably weren't asking but I'll tell you anyway, about Frederick Cecil Finkle's "Report on Victor Valley Irrigation District, San Bernardino County, California"?

Good news, hypothetical reader who's really into 1920s Victor Valley irrigation! That's been uploaded as well.

And whatever became of those Willis S. Jones field notes (last one, I swear)?

Now you too can experience the joy of reading Willis S. Jones's field notes from the comfort of your home.

And with that, my CCEPS work is finished. But this project isn't! There will be new fellows continuing this work, so keep an eye out for their posts.

Bye folks!

A Stream of New Items

Hello all! 

This week here at CCEPS I have been working on uploading my items finally to the Claremont Colleges Digital Library. After a long process, I am beginning to upload my 99 scanned items to the internet for patrons to have access to! Currently, I have uploaded 36 items. They are accessible here.

Some highlights from my uploading frenzy include the following items: 

Brochure containing two maps. Center spread is a black and white motor map of Southern California featuring red dots which indicate the locations of other Security-First National Bank of Los Angeles branches. The center spread features the automobile mileage of El Centro, Imperial Valley, California to other southern California cities. The other side features a vertical black and white map of the Imperial Valley with red dots which indicate the locations of other Security-First National Bank of Los Angeles Branches.

Colored hydrograph of the Salton Sea featuring data covering 1914-1933.

More items will be coming soon! But for now, enjoy these new items added to the Water Resources collection!

Field Trip

metro1.JPGHi folks! I've spent most of this week cropping images, so there isn't much of interest to report. In the meantime, here are some images I took a few weeks back of an exhibit at the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.



Metadata Managed (For Now)

This week, I have finished managing and inputting my metadata for items. I scanned 100 items this summer! I thought there would be more items, but some items had more individual pages that needed scanning (a few items are over a hundred pages long), so it felt like I had processed more.

Nonetheless, working through this has taken several weeks, as this is my first time coming up with metadata in an archival setting. This process has required reviewing the scanned items' pdfs for content and context in order to write information for the "description" and "subject" fields. It requires searching through the Library of Congress authorities for controlled subject vocabulary, which helps archives patrons to find related items faster. As I've mentioned in the past, this requires being efficient, concise, but also clear. We do not want to mislead our patrons. We want to make sure our patrons are given the correct information. I have had to be meticulous to make sure I'm typing everything into CONTENTdm correctly (the syntax for fields has to be correct). 

Once I have input the other necessary information for an item's metadata, I upload the items. Here's a screenshot of what that looks like. Sometimes it's fast if the items are small, and sometimes it takes several minutes for just one item if it's a larger pdf.     

upload 1.pngFrom here, any new subject terms (such as local figures or regions) are added to the pool of controlled vocabulary available to us. Then, the items are approved. 

The process gets faster once you become familiar with the steps. Metadata is an intensive, focused step in the process of digitizing items, but an important one at that. 

Till next time!

A Quiet Week

Hello all!

This week here at CCEPS, I have been working on metadata and file converting. I won't try and jazz up either of these two topics, but they're very important steps in the digitization process.

We have to convert all of the PDF files of scanned items into PDF/A files. This requires the usual attention to detail and patience, as sometimes it takes awhile for the file to convert fully, especially if the document is huge.

In the meantime, I am almost finished writing up the metadata for all of my items. Having scanned hundreds and hundreds of pages of items and taken at least a dozen photographs, you would think I would have hundreds of items ready to be uploaded once I finish my metadata. It's actually a lot less, once you realize that the items are all uniquely contained sets. I have 99 items, not quite a hundred, but close enough! Most of my items are related to the Imperial Valley Records, but I have a few items that are unrelated reports.

On top of working on the behind the scenes aspects of digitization, we have started talks about how the CLIRWater project will promote itself to the public through social media. It sounds like we will be making a Facebook page in the coming week. I haven't used Facebook in close to ten years, so figuring out what people even use the site for these days has required research. Never thought I would be doing research on social media, but there is an art to this kind of professional promotion. As I described last week, each social media site has a different purpose and appeals to a different demographic. Facebook has it's own audience and appeals to a different kind of posting style. I just have to figure out what that is for 2017.

Till next week! 

I Hope Waldo's Okay


Hi folks! Back with a second volume of newspaper clippings about the 1938 flood, succinctly known as: 

"Flood, March 1938 : newspaper clippings from Anaheim, Azusa, Brea, Chino, Claremont, Corona, El Monte, Glendora, Hollywood, North Hollywood, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Monrovia, Ontario, Orange, Pasadena, Pomona, Redlands, Riverside, San Bernardino, Santa Ana, Santa Monica, Torrance, Tujunga, Upland ; with photos. of San Antonio Creek and the Claremont area"

A recurring element in this batch of clippings is the flood's impact on the film industry, mostly in the form of delayed productions, marooned cast and crew, and swept away film sets. 


A few pieces mention Paramount's imperiled film vaults, but I've yet to come across any reports of permanent losses.



I'm now curious as to whether the flood's influence is at all discernible in movies produced during this time. Were scenes cut or rewritten in response to damaged sets or stars unable to reach the studios? There's an account of one production needing to shoot around the absence of a dog (Waldo) scheduled for that day. Did Waldo eventually show up on set? If not, did the filmmakers recast the dog? 

These are the things that keep me up at night.

The Croppening

Over the past several weeks I've scanned a bunch of field notes. When I make a scan, it usually looks something like this:

(Apologies for the poor image quality)

Note the negative space around the item.The reason for this is a) the book scanner's framing tool is somewhat clumsy (you can't move individual lines of the frame box) and b) jagged white lines sometimes appear along the edges of the frame.

crop5.JPGKinda hard to see, but it's there.

Anyway, if I box the frame scan too close to the object during the image capture, those white lines are then too close for me to safely crop out later without eating into the item (you want a little negative space in the finished scan, so the reader can see the whole of the item). Hence, lots of negative space.

And so I've been in the process of revisiting the field notes, one page at a time, and cropping them to an aesthetically pleasing item-to-negative space ratio. So this...

crop8.JPGNow looks like this:

(Again, ugh, that image quality. I promise I'll learn about screen capturing one of these days)

One down, I'm-afraid-to-even-count more to go!

140 Characters: Is It Enough?

Hello all!

This week we took a field trip to the Metropolitan Water District in Los Angeles, California. We talked with David Keller, records management and imaging services, and Monika Medina, external affairs, media, and communications. We wanted to learn about the twitter campaign for MWD's 75th anniversary of the construction of the Colorado River Aqueduct. This campaign involved "live-tweeting" as individuals who helped with the construction and coordination of this water delivery project to promote the anniversary celebrations.

In turn, we shared about the CLIRWater project in order to gain insights about what we should do in order to promote the freshly digitized archival collections. Having thought on this issue, I have realized that marketing archives via social media requires thinking about the different purposes of each website and making the correct choice. Monika shared that we must think about the demographics of each platform's audience. We must ask ourselves, which platform would efficiently and creatively draw viewer's attention to the archives? Who are we marketing to?

I am interested in seeing how this aspect of the CLIRWater project will develop. I am personally only on a few different social media platforms, but talking with David and Monika has helped me realize that the websites are more different than I had previously realized. Being a frequent user of twitter and tumblr, I am familiar with these platforms. However, for a professional project in which you need to attract hits/viewership, this requires rethinking how you manage social media. Suddenly "live-tweeting" as historical characters requires thinking about how to make the most of 140 characters while also capturing the tone/accuracy of the historical people and events these tweets are meant to reflect. Not as easy as it might sound on first blush. 


Hello readers! This will be my last blog post as today marks my last day as a CLIR CCEPS fellow. This experience has taught me skills I didn't have before - now I consider myself an experienced scanner, photographer, and metadata creator. This fellowship also made me realize the amount of work that goes into archiving materials that scholars can easily access on a computer, something I very much took for granted before the fellowship. Lastly, I've thought a lot about water during the past two months, as a result of working with documents saturated with discussions about it. I can't help but think about how pertinent something like access to water is in our current climate, one in which leaders openly deny global warming and the reality that human actions have the capacity to damage the environment in real and catastrophic ways. I can go to the water fountain that is twenty feet away from me and get cold, clean water on a hot day, and I can do this because of the foresight of individuals who came long before me. Without this foresight, and what to me is at its core compassion for human and non-human life, disaster will ensue, and this is both irresponsible and cruel. Thank you to everyone for a great experience, and for the care you put into your work!

There Will Be Map

This week it was back to basics as I digitized a 1923 F. C. Finkle document, "Report on the hydrology and hydrography of Temecula Creek and Santa Margarita River, San Diego and Riverside Counties, California." All the old favorites are here:




Reference photos!


A big map of the Temecula Creek and Santa Margarita River drainage basin!


Discharge tables!

And so on. That's about all the time I have. Next week may involve a field trip... or a post about image cropping? I dunno. Either way, see you then!

More Metadata and a Watery Trip to LA

Hello readers! This week I've worked on collecting more metadata, and I have unfortunately run out of meta jokes. Dry your tears however, because next week the CCEPS fellows may be going on a field trip! We might be visiting the Metropolitan Water District in LA and getting a tour of the exhibits at the district, including "Turning on the Tap: 75 Years of Water Delivery to Southern California," and "From the Archives Reaching for Water - Rex Brandt and Metropolitan." We may also learn more about a recent Twitter campaign carried out by MWD about the stories of individuals who were involved in the Colorado River Aqueduct. I'm looking forward to hearing about things that I've spent the last two months reading pieces of, and getting a better idea of how Southern California's water history is shaping its current and future access to water. Stay dry out there - there are light showers this week, and the water is coming for you.

I, For One, Welcome Our New Metadata Overlords

Hello all!


For this week, I'll be talking about metadata again and some personal reflections now that I've completed over fifty inputs. Last week, I discussed how putting together metadata requires a balance between being efficient and concise but specific enough. Defining the subject terms for items sometimes is easy. I find that if the item I'm creating metadata for is particularly interesting, it's easier to scan through the document and extract terms that can be searched within the Library of Congress authorities (subject headings, names, titles). Thinking about controlled vocabulary has taken over my life.


Sometimes, however, it's not easy sifting through these documents, simply because I am not familiar with the contents within them. I have a familiarity with the topics in the California Water Documents, but I do come across topics I am nowhere near an expert on. Today, I needed to create metadata for an item called "An Irritant in the Arizona-California Controversy" by Rex Hardy, a Los Angeles city attorney (1947). In this document, he discusses water problems between Arizona and California in regards to the two states legal relationship. Beyond this, I am not familiar with legal terminology and laws in addition to being unfamiliar with water infrastructure. Even though I struggle understanding this document, I still have to create proper metadata. I may not be able to parse through the content of this document, but others in the future will need to be able to find and know if this document is relevant to their research interests. It sounds like an easy task on paper, but doing it yourself, finding the correct controlled vocabulary within the authorities is much more time consuming than I expected. Don't get me started on making sure I pick the correct name when it comes to LOC authorities (especially when the document only gives you first/middle initials and then a last name). It's a good thing we can create our own terms, sometimes!


So, this has been a humbling experience, learning how to put together metadata. There is still much more to learn about it, such as actually uploading the documents. We will be learning more about GIS and geospatial metadata next week, so stay tuned. I'll also have to go through and make sure there are no errors within my metadata.


I thought I could pretty much tackle anything this work could throw my way, but metadata is a challenge, one I didn't expect. I admire my fellow workers here at CCEPs and previous workers who have had to adjust to this learning curve.

It takes time, but the knowledge gained is valuable!

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