Saturday, June 1, 2019

Unsung Heroes Award - Library - Genealogy Center at the Plano Public Library

Southern California Genealogical Society Jamboree
Burbank, CA
June 1, 2019

The Genealogy Guys Podcast and Vivid-Pix have today gave the Genealogy Center at the Plano Public Library the Unsung Heroes Award for a Library for the second quarter of 2019.
The Genealogy Center of the Plano Public Library

The Genealogy Center at the Plano Public Library ( features a vast collection of digitized images for Collin County, Texas. These include photographs, documents, diaries, personal papers, family collections, newspapers, yearbooks, mayoral dockets, and more. These archive materials represent the people and places of the county. Some of the earliest documents and photographs date back to 1857.

In the mid-1970s, the Friends of the Plano Public Library, library staff, and a few other researchers were gathering information such as photographs, diaries, and oral histories to write a history of Plano, Texas. The Carpenter family was one of the early settlers of Plano. Lizzie Carpenter wrote five diaries covering the years from 1857-1890. One of the descendants, Roy Carpenter, donated in 1976 one of her original diaries and it is that which the library owns. Based on the notes in the box where the diary is stored, the diary was transcribed about that same time period. The transcription was typed and bound into a book when it was completed. About twelve years ago, the Plano Public Library began a digital collection online called Collin County Images. The first items to be available to the public were the pictures used in the book Plano, Texas: The Early Years and the diaries of Lizzie Carpenter. The library has only have the one original diary but has the transcriptions of her other four diaries and they are all available online.

Staff used a scanner to scan each page. They were unable to use OCR because the transcriptions were typed on a typewriter and made to look like the diary. This means if Lizzie had written on the side for some notes the transcription was typed on the side. OCR was confused by this format. The library personnel had to re-enter the metadata into the description field to help it be searchable.

Cover and page from the diary of Lizzie Matthew Carpenter.
(Click to enlarge.)

page from Lizzie Matthew Carpenter diary and transcription.
(Click to enlarge.)

These are just two examples of from this library's extraordinary digital collection. This is undoubtedly one of the most impressive digital public library collections in the United States.

We Sing Your Praises!

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