Lehigh Valley Rail Road Collection Part 2: Organization of Collection and Scanning

Special Collections originally received the Lehigh Valley Rail Road Land Documents collection in two storage boxes with the documents in disarray, carelessly folded, crumpled, and dusty. After sorting through the contents, it was discovered that some of the documents had been previously numbered and organized, presumably by the Lehigh Valley Railroad office staff. Three quarters of the documents feature red stamped numbers, categorizing them into a certain order. This numbering system was maintained by Special Collections when organizing and processing the collection for use by researchers. With regard to the documents that did not have a red number stamped on them, they were simply organized according to associated references. Additionally, the documents are mostly organized in chronological order, though there are a few exceptions throughout the collection. It is a basic archival principle to maintain the original order used by the creator of the material, as this organization can itself provide useful information.

Physically, the collection now consists of four archival boxes,totaling two linear feet, and one flat box that is also two linear feet, making this a relatively small and manageable archival collection. The first four boxes contain regular sized documents relating to the Lehigh Valley Railroad Company and are number in numerical order from 1 to 4. The fifth box contains documents that were removed from the collection because they were oversized. Each box is compromised of folders and more detailed sub-folders that contain the documents themselves.

After organizing the collection, each document was scanned using one of Special Collections’ overhead scanners at the highest possible quality of 600 dpi. The digital files of the scanned documents were then placed into folders that mirrored the organization structure of the boxes. By the end of this scanning process, all of the documents in the collection had a digital version placed into files based on the physical organizational structure of the collection, making it easy for researchers to identify and locate both the original and digital materials. The digital files can be viewed and freely downloaded through Lehigh’s digital collections site. All of this information is now stored and made available in an archival finding aid, available online through the Lehigh Libraries website.

 

 

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