FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: July 14, 2014
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Glenville State College
GLENVILLE, WV—Glenville State College’s Robert F. Kidd Library staff recently finished digitally archiving the long-time campus newspaper, The Glenville Mercury as well the college yearbook, the Kanawhachen.
The Mercury was published regularly from 1929 until September 2001. Through the years many things were reported within the pages of the Mercury, such as visits to campus by Amelia Earhart in 1936 and Eleanor Roosevelt in 1939. The Phoenix, the current school newspaper, began publication in 2005.
“Some of the most interesting and unique material in the Mercury revolves around local legend, superstitions, ghost stories, and historical events. Another interesting part of the paper is the old advertisements for local services,” said GSC Library Associate and Archivist Jason Gum.
The Kanawhachen has been in print off and on for over a century, first beginning in 1911. The yearbook was so named due to the importance of the Little Kanawha River for transportation to and from the rest of central West Virginia during the early years of GSC. Kanawha, from the river, and the diminutive ‘-chen’ meaning little in German. Like most yearbooks, it chronicled campus life with photos, polls, and humorous quips. Both publications were mostly produced by students enrolled in GSC’s journalism class.
Until recently, the papers and yearbooks could only be viewed in person at the library. As with many older paper documents, the files were fragile and had to be handled with care.
“The years upon years of use and deterioration made me realize that, if these materials were going to survive much longer, something had to be done immediately. Each time some of the oldest issues were used, pieces of history were turning to dust, never to be seen again. Now, the original works can be preserved and treated as artifacts while the accessibility and search ability of the content has actually increased beyond what previous generations who created this treasure trove could have ever imagined,” said Gum.
The process of digitalization began with a machine called the Book Drive Pro. It uses two digital cameras to take high-resolution images and then optical character recognition software makes the text on the pages word-searchable.
That means every word that was typed into the pages of the Mercury and the Kanawhachen can now be searched for specific topics or people in a compilation of over 100 years’ of Glenville State College history. Gum says the digitization process took about four years for all issues of both documents and that GSC saved between 10 and 20 thousand dollars by doing the process in-house.
To view either publication, click here and choose either ‘Kanawhachen Yearbook’ or ‘Mercury’ from the menu.
For more information about the GSC Archives, contact Gum at Jason.Gum@glenville.edu or (304) 462-6163.