The Rumsey Hall Memory Project

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~ Football in Cornwall    




The Rumsey Hall Memory Project


The mission of the Rumsey Hall Memory Project is to provide access to the historical treasures of Rumsey Hall School, bringing together primary source documents and objects in digital format in an online scrapbook to:

          •    Celebrate the history of Rumsey Hall
          •    Preserve and protect the fragile materials in the collection
          •    Encourage the continued collection of primary source documents
                pertaining to Rumsey Hall

          •    Encourage the collaboration of alumni and friends of Rumsey Hall in
                identifying and adding to the Memory Project collection


The core collection of the Rumsey Hall Memory Project will be comprised of the archival photographs belonging to Rumsey Hall School that number close to ten thousand as a best approximation at this time. Due to the state of the collection of photographs and the fact that they have never been organized or identified, it will be important to identify a select group of photographs to make the scope of this project realistic to ensure completion of a pilot project. In addition to the photographs, the collection will include images of programs and other ephemera as well as photographs that will be taken of objects that represent the history of Rumsey Hall. The photographs will be chosen based on the following criteria:

  • Photos that are the most accurate representation of each decade. Every effort will be made to adequately document each decade from 1900 through 2000. As there is little to go by in terms of written documentation, decades will need to be determined based on automobile styles, fashion, and location of the school.
  • Photos that are in the best physical condition will be chosen initially.
  • Due to the scope of the project, items will be added to the collection without full bibliographic information until that time when it may be added. Tags will be added first to ensure they are included in search queries.
  • Current students, alumni, parents, and friends of Rumsey Hall are encouraged to contact the project director concerning images they would like to donate to this collection. 
  • The project director, Headmaster, and Director of Development will identify areas of the collection that need further development and collection additions will be determined on an individual basis using this criteria.
  • The School's legal council will be consulted to draft a permissions form for donations to the collection.

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A memory project presents unique challenges in terms of organization. Unlike books, articles, lectures and other print material that are typically assigned a title and subject as well as possessing identifying information such as author, publisher, and date that is listed at the time of publication -  photographs, objects, and ephemera not previously published lack much of this organizational information. Therefore, it is critical that memory projects organize their collections so that they appear logical and understandable to the intended user. 

Because Rumsey Hall School has had three distinct eras; Seneca Falls, NY, Cornwall, CT and Washington, CT, the initial organization will be completed using these three categories. Flickr allows the photos uploaded to the site to be organized into collections and sets. Because the images will be viewed on the Yola website, all the images will be assigned to an appropriate set or sets. It is possible for one image to belong to as many as four or more sets. Organizing the collection in this manner will allow for many varied browsing and viewing options. In addition to this system of organization, images will be listed alphabetically by subject.

Digitizing the Collection

Photographs were scanned using an Epson Perfection 4490 PHOTO flatbed scanner with Adobe Photoshop 4.0

All items were scanned as TIFFs at 300 dpi. Images were then uploaded to where derivative jpegs were created for each item on an 'as needed' basis.

The Flickr image itself holds descriptive metadata information about the image in the digital collection. Multiple subject tags were added to the images to increase the reliability of search results.

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Dublin Core Metadata

In adapting the Dublin Core elements for use with this primarily image based collection, I found that I needed to streamline the elements to fit the unique nature of cultural heritage materials.  In reviewing a number of memory projects, I found that most of the descriptive records in their metadata did not correlate with any standard set of elements. Based on these observations of the differing elements used, I settled on the following Dublin Core elements:

  • Title
  • Subject
  • Description
  • Contributor
  • Date
  • Resource
  • Identifier
  • Source
  • Genre
  • Rights 
  • Owner 
  • Collection 
Genre Terms for Cultural Heritage Materials

As this collection closely mirrors the items in the Library of Congress American Memory Project, I have chosen to use the basic list of genre terms they developed for cataloging their collections. These basic genre terms are:
    An item printed solely as a means of advertising a product or service, but not an event.
    Bound or loose-leaf sets of pages. Includes handmade albums and published volumes of blank pages designed for the addition of images or keepsakes.
    Includes drawings and photos.
Baseball Cards
    Advertising or collectible cards that feature portraits of baseball players, other people, or topics associated with the game. Introduced in 1886 or 1887 by a tobacco company; also popular with bubble gum manufacturers beginning in the 1930s. Common sizes include 1.5 x 2.5 inches, 2.5 x 3.5 inches, and ca. 5 x 8 inches. The cards may be actual photographs mounted on card stock or photomechanically printed.
Blank forms
    Forms that have been printed blank, which may or may not have been filled in; the document was typically meant to be returned to the publisher (e.g., subscription lists, petitions).
    Published non-periodical volumes in bound codex form, usually with 49 or more pages.
    Single-sheet notices or announcements pinted on one or both sides, intended to be read unfolded.
Cartoons (Commentary)
    Pictorial images using wit to comment on such things as contemporary events, social habits, or political trends; usually executed in a broad or abbreviated manner.
    Enumerations of items arranged systematically with descriptive details. May have prices.
    General or broad views of cities and towns or sections of them. Usually made from an elevated or distant vantage point, such as a view from a roof or a view of a skyline.
    Objects with physical evidence suggesting extraction from a larger entity (e.g., books, newspapers).
    Communication by the exchange of letters.
    A daily record, especially a personal record of events, experiences, and observations; a journal.
    Narrower terms include both physical media and genre categories but are limited to those which use drawing in the sense of a specific medium rather than in the everyday sense of graphic representation.
    Transient everyday items, usually printed and on paper, that are manufactured for a specific limited use, then often discarded. Includes everyday items that are meant to be saved, at least for a while, such as KEEPSAKES and STOCK CERTIFICATES.
    A short literary composition on a single subject, usually presenting the personal view of the author.
    Documentation made for or by anthropologists and others involved in the systematic recording of human cultures.
    Notes, often in books, kept by researchers or surveying parties while on site.
    Images that explain or elaborate a written or spoken text; may be issued separately from the text.
    A conversation, such as one conducted by a reporter, in which facts or statements are elicited from another.
    General or broad views of natural scenery, including inland bodies of water; may also include figures or man-made objects, but these are of secondary importance to the composition. Usually made from an elevated or distant vantage point, such as a view from a hill; not ground level close-up view of, for example, a tree.
    Unbound volumes with fewer than five pages.
    A book, document, or other composition written by hand. A typewritten or handwritten version of a book, an article, a document, or other work, especially the author's own copy, prepared and submitted for publication in print. Handwriting.
    Graphic delineations at a set scale, of all or part of the earth or another celestial sphere indicating the relative position of selected artificial and natural features.
Miscellaneous Documents
    A written or printed paper that bears the original, official, or legal form of something and can be used to furnish decisive evidence or information.
Motion Pictures
    Used for Cinema, Films, Movies, Moving pictures.
    The art of arranging sounds in time so as to produce a continuous, unified, and evocative composition, as through melody, harmony, rhythm, and timbre.
    A narrated account; a story.
    Color paint applied by hand to a surface (support) such as paper, canvas, wood, glass, or other.
    Published non-periodical volumes with no cover or with a paper cover. Usually 5 or more pages and fewer than 49 pages.
    Serials usually issued at regular intervals and more frequently than annually.
    Includes activities involved in petitioning.
    A general designation for any photographic process. The narrower terms include both physical media and genre categories.
Physical Objects
    Something perceptible by one or more of the senses, especially by vision or touch; a material thing.
    A piece of literature written in meter; verse.
    Graphic representations, especially of the face, of real persons, usually posed, living or dead. Pictures whose purpose is the portrayal of an individual or several people, not pictures that merely include people as part of an event or scene.
    Cards on which a message may be written or printed for mailing without an envelope; often include a pictorial, comic, or other scene on one side.
    Single or multi-sheet notices made to attract attention to events, activities, cuases, goods, or services; also, purely decorative posters. For posting, usually in a public place; chiefly pictorial. Intended to make an immediate impression from a distance.
    Images formed by transfer from one surface or source to another. Usually created with ink(s) and produced in multiple impressions.
    Lists of the events, pieces, performers, speakers, etc., of an entertainment, ceremony, or the like.
Recording logs
    Sequential lists or summaries of the contents or events on sound or video recordings.
    The written form of a composition for orchestral or vocal parts.
Sheet Music
    Unbound songs and other pieces of music on eight or fewer pages.
    Items printed solely for use as timetables (e.g., train schedules).
    Something that has been transcribed, especially: Music. An adaptation of a composition. A recorded radio or television program. Linguistics. A representation of speech sounds in phonetic symbols.

Subject Headings

Each item is given at least one Library of Congress Subject Headings (LCSH). The subject headings were applied more as keywords and broad relationships to search by and not used in the strictest application of library cataloging.

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Developing the Interface

This digital library was created using Flickr, an online photo management and sharing application in conjunction with Yola, a free, online web-building and hosting service. In designing this digital library, I attempted several different configurations of development with Greenstone and WordPress open source software programs before ultimately deciding on this combination.

Once the photos were uploaded, a website was created using Yola. The images on Flickr were linked to the site via the creation of slide shows and photo albums using HTML code to create widgets. Images can be viewed directly on the website or on the Flickr site, depending on viewer preference. With just a little bit of experience, the viewer will quickly learn how to navigate between the two sites.

Due to the fact that the bulk of images in this collection have no identifying marks or notation, the greatest challenge will be in the documentation phase of this digital library.

The Library of Congress (LOC) American Memory Project was faced with a similar problem - although on a much grander scale. They created a pilot project placing many of their unidentified images on Flickr, inviting the American public to tag and comment on them and hopefully help with identification. It is with this goal in mind, that the Rumsey Hall Memory Project Photostream was created on Flickr. Present students, alumni, friends and family of Rumsey Hall will be able to tag photos and add comments, thereby enriching this collection through a collaborative effort.

Search Capabilities

The collection is organized so that there are 4 ways to find information.

  1. You can search for particular words that appear in the title or describe the image using the custom Google search engine that searches only the contents of The Rumsey Hall Memory Project. You will find the search engine at the top left of each page.
  2. You can browse images by collection by clicking on the Collections button. This brings up a list of collections available in the project.
  3. You can browse images by viewing the slide shows when you click on the Slide Shows button. This brings up each collection in a slide show format.
  4. You can browse images by subject when you click on the View Subjects button. This brings up each collection in a list format alphabetically.
A customized Google search engine was created which indexed the text via a sitemap on Yola as well as the metadata listed with the images on Flickr. Although there is not an advanced search option with this engine, results may be expanded or limited based on the query.

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The main service feature of this memory project is the ability to download images directly to the user's computer after permissions are granted. Images are typically available in the five sizes listed below, in addition to the original scanned size.

(75 x 75)
(100 x 65)
(240 x 156)
(500 x 326)
(1024 x 667)

  • As the collection is expanded and full-text articles are added, these will be made available in Word and pdf downloadable format.
  • There is a contact form on the 'Contact Us' page that allows users to give feedback or add comments on any image in the collection
  • Through the Flickr site, visitors will be able to tag and add comments once they set up their own account.

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My goal with the design of this memory project was to create an interface that was clean, classic, and evocative of the historical nature of the collection. Because this project was created for Rumsey Hall School, I wanted it to reflect the traditional values and philosophy that are the hallmark of their program. In terms of the digital resources, I chose to present them in a more stylized manner, similar to a scrapbook or photo album rather than a more formal format typically used for research and reference purposes. I felt this was more in keeping with the spirit of the project and its intended use.

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Because this memory project was created for Rumsey Hall School, which holds all the permissions for the images in this digital library, the ultimate fate of this collection lies with them.
For the purposes of course evaluation, The Rumsey Hall Memory Project will be published online through the Yola website.  At the end of the evaluation period, the Headmaster and Trustees will make a decision if this will be used in-house or published to the web and linked to the school website.

Recommendations for Enhancement
  • Because identifying information for much of the collection is not documented, place a notice on the Rumsey Hall Website with a link to the memory project requesting information on the images.
  • Create a page specifically so that recollections can be submitted to the project manager.
  • Host luncheons for older alumni for the purpose of identifying images.
  • Make use of Alumni Weekend to document and record recollections.
  • Record oral histories and create podcasts which can be added to the collection.

In an effort to evaluate the extent to which the Rumsey Hall Memory Project meets its mission statement, the Headmaster and Trustees will be asked to give feedback as the project progresses. An email link will be featured on the library site as well as information on how to reach the web manager/librarian by more traditional methods. A contact form is on the 'Contact Us' page that allows visitors to submit feedback or comments on any of the images in the collection.

Ultimately, funding will need to be made available for a librarian/web manager to maintain and develop the collection for it to continue as a viable memory project dedicated to preserving the history of Rumsey Hall School.

Maintenance Plan

The Rumsey Hall Memory Project will be maintained by the project manager on a weekly basis. All links and functions requiring the use of widgets will be checked to ensure their currency.

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