Advisory Board Meeting Minutes : Unearthing St. Augustine’s Colonial Heritage NEH Grant ( November 2, 2012 )


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Advisory Board Meeting Minutes : Unearthing St. Augustine’s Colonial Heritage NEH Grant ( November 2, 2012 )
Physical Description:
Meeting minutes
Caswell, Thomas Reed
George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Place of Publication:
Gainesville, FL
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Abstract from the award proposal: In preparation for St. Augustine¡¦s 450th anniversary of its founding in 2015, the University of Florida (UF) Libraries requests $321,653 (with $196,821 in contributed cost share) to build an online collection of key resources related to research on colonial St. Augustine, Florida. Along with the UF Libraries, Unearthing St. Augustine partners are the two City of St. Augustine departments (Heritage Tourism and Archaeology Program), historic Government House in St. Augustine managed by UF, and St. Augustine Historical Society. This two-year project will produce two major outcomes: 1) UF and its partners will establish for the first time a computer digitization lab at Government House which will be used create and disseminate an interactive digital collection consisting of 11,000 maps, drawings, photographs and documents and associated metadata that will be available freely online; 2) project staff will spatially enhance digitized paper maps and images through a process called geo-referencing and create original programming to produce a user-friendly, Google map-based interface, and release it as open source technology. These products will allow for downloading and manipulating primary source material thus creating a means for increasing interactivity and enhancing broader public access. Along with searching and browsing functions (including full text searching) the project will develop a map-based interface built upon geographic metadata. Users will be able to search for textual information, structural elements and geographic locations on maps and images. Users also will be able to view the creation, alteration or destruction of structures and sites within specific timeframes. For the first time, this project brings the study of St. Augustine's past into the modern research environment. An Advisory Board comprised of noted archaeologists, historic preservationists, and historians with expertise in the colonial history of St. Augustine and Florida will provide expert guidance on building the digital collection and designing the user interface. Unearthing St. Augustine collection objects will cover a broad range of subjects including Florida and U.S. history, Spanish colonies, Native Americans, slavery, exploration, architecture and urban planning, social and economic development, missionary work, military defenses and warfare. The collection will satisfy the needs of a wide variety of researchers including historians, archaeologists, architects, and historic preservationists. The 11,000 digital objects, which date from the 16th century to the present, are in the public domain or partner repositories and have reproduction rights. Selected materials will include: Government House - 1,200 maps and overlays of the city, architectural drawings of historic structures, and related government documents. St. Augustine Historical Society - 2,500 Spanish documents, transcriptions and English language translations. City of St. Augustine Archaeology Program records, photographs and site summaries for 100 excavations conducted over the past 20 years. Herschel Shepard Collection at UF - 800 drawings, photos and documents related to Shepard¡¦s restoration and reconstruction of the city¡¦s colonial buildings. Unearthing St. Augustine will be promoted broadly to local, national and international scholars, teachers and the general public. To increase discovery and access, UF will contribute objects and metadata to digital repositories and other online collections including: Trove, NINES, 18thConnect, WorldCat, OAIster, and other aggregators.

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Advisory Board Meeting NEH Grant November 2 nd 2012 Advisory Board members present: Carl Halbirt, City Archaeologist, St. Augustine Susan Parker, Executive Director, St. Augustine Historical Society Herschel Shepard, Retired Architect, FAIA UF Project Team members present: Thomas Caswell, PI, Unearthing St. Augustine James Cusick, Co PI, Unearthing St. Augustine Mark S ullivan, Systems Programmer, DLC John Nemmers Archivist, Special and Area Studies Collections Matt Armstrong Project Manager, Unearthi ng St. Augustine Matt Peters Project Programmer, Unearthing St. Augustine The agenda and minutes from the last board meeting were accepted and approved Tom Caswell presented the new members and asked them to introduce themselves. Matt Peters has a b ackground in GPS tracking and is open to the committee's vision Matt Armstrong graduated from Flagler has a historic preservation degree understands the value of this material for students in their research Tom Caswell asked if a survey (both pre and post) regarding the creation of the interface can be developed f or this project and asked the board members to think about what they want it to look like. Herschel Shepard followed up and asked again what materials are they goin g to target for this project? The goal is to have 1500 records completed by end of December. Need to know from Carl Halbirt what he wants to include. Part of the Herschel Shepard Collection has been ingested (about 200 item records so far). Tom Caswell asked abou t the prioritization guidelines for items to be digitized Susan Parker and Carl Halbirt are not yet ready to present their lists of items to be processed at this time but will begin working on that soon. Matt A established he will be working i n the Government House lab Monday through Friday from 8am 5pm if any of the board members want to meet with him during those times. Jim Cusick and Carl Halbirt have met outside the board meetings to discuss how to begin the process. Jim Cusick developed an idea of how to begin. Carl Halbirt wants items that are transferred from the site file to the lab to stay in order while in transit to and from the Government House. He wants to begin with the Castillo project -he has photos, maps, etc.


Matt A qu estioned whether or not the large r maps in the collection were to be scanned and if so, how they were going to be selected. Tom Caswell said that because of the deduction of the grant award, large scale maps were taken out of the proposal but they could ac commodate the digitization of such items on a case by case basis. Anything larger than a newspaper will have to be transported to Gainesville and be digitized on campus DLC is currently being moved off campus so all large format requests will have to wait until they have successfully relocated and are up and running again. Tom Caswell asked Susan Parker if there were older maps out of copyright that could be digitized. They do have a good finding aid but are physically extremely large items bigger than the scannin g bed in the Government House lab. Herschel Shepard asked about how to prioritize these maps? The town plan of the colonial city is historic and has a landmark status. He suggested that there should be a special category of maps that directly related to The early maps of St. Augustine are extremely important to this project and should definitely be included. Susan Parker said that another worthwhile project would be to include the public records from the clerk of the court. Th ere are older drawings that have separate map indexes. She suggested that someone go through the map index and all the p ublic records to digitize them. The deeds that accompany the maps are very interesting and add background information about the property board meeting to gain his expertise and knowledge in this area. He is a good source for suggestions on what to include in this project. She will email Tom Caswell his last name so that he can be included in the next meeting She also mentioned that St. Augustine is unique in that they have all public records from 1820 to present; nothing h as been destroyed in any natural disaster like a fire or flood as is true of other cities. Tom Caswell agrees that this would be a good component for the project. Carl Halbirt suggests that someone take the Alvarez ledger and make sense of it. The ledger is of properties during the Spanish period 1830s that includes the buyers and s ellers of each property. It has never been digitized. Jim Cusick said that if students/faculty could cross reference the maps that would be helpful. Currently it i s difficult to go through a single property when conducting research on a given area so it would be helpful to have someone make it easier to use like a grad student or programmer.


with the progress of the grant over the next 2 weeks. Matt Armstrong is going to be wor king on processing files related to properties that were outlined b y Herschel Shepard o begin to get a more streamlined work flow. As a side note for the processing of each record Mark Sullivan said that Matt A can assign record numbers locally for each item digitized at the lab wait for UF to issue numbers remotely. Matt P. is training the interface. Jim Cusick and Carl Halbirt discuss ed how to get the items from archeology prepped. First t hey need to discuss what needs to be taken to be scanned. Due to their nature, archeological items can be fairly complicated to process. Carl do es not want these items to be processed within the current workflow he wants the m to be processed separately and then merged back together after they have been digitized. Jim Cusick suggested that they may want to spend November through December prepping the archaeological stuff. Get the records ready before beginning to scan them. This will impact both Jim and Carl during this process as they will have to schedule further meetings. Site by Zone layout for digitization was suggested to be sure that all have been linked correctly. Tom Caswell said that having a good finding tool wil l be crucial. Mark Sullivan said that there will be a geographical component individual items will be indexed but there will also be structure and overall folders to make searching easier. Jim Cusick suggested that the project team takes the most complicated archeological site to process first in order to find and hopefully conquer all unforeseen problems before they launch into the whole workflow. Carl Halbirt agrees Tom Caswell assumes that each will have its own issues because of the way they are arranged. Herschel Shepard asked about the priority for these items to be scanned. Is it the time frame of the property or is it the actual historic site that should be considered? Jim Cusick says that the most complicated with the most data one that has all the time periods represented. Carl Halbirt says that the vast majority of them have multiple components. Herschel Shepard asks if they are to be arranged by geographic location. Jim Cusi ck says that that is the question by location, by time period. Herschel Shepard states that there should be 4 5 keywords associated to each record for each in future searching. the project to have as complete/complex indexing as is possible/plausible.


The floor opened up to a discussion of where and what to start with? Jim Cu sick suggests starting with Cubo Line Carl Halbirt over 10 years old. Herschel start with the most complex. Jim Cusick agrees to start with the most complex so that would help to decipher how much time/effort it is going to take. Carl Halbirt is concerned with scheduling. He has a big project that is coming up on Cor dova Street It will be 6 months in the field. Carl will have to schedule times to meet with Jim Cusick for delivering items because Herschel Shepar d asked if there are any archeology students from UF that might be interest ed in volunteering with the project. Tom Caswell said maybe. want too many people handling these sensitive materials for fear they may be damaged. Matt A. said he can coordi nate with Carl Halbirt to arrange and schedule times for the delivery and pick up of any materials that will be digitized. be asking for as we move forward with this project. safe. Matt A. will have to come up with a viable work flow for such impromptu requests. things. Tom Caswell ask ed that everyone take the next few weeks to think about how to prioritize items to be digitized so that the project will have a starting point. Jim Cusick and Carl Halbirt agree d to meet. Matt A. questioned how to list items wi ll they be by location? For named properties, yes. Tom Caswell said there will be a GIS component on all properties. Carl Halbirt asks if the project wants to digitize the l ab analysis sheets on each site Joh n Nemmers asked if they are already in cluded in each report. Carl Halbirt verified that each does have a lab analysis sheet. Jim Cusick says that we should scan them too. Carl Halbirt says to be sure to scan them on both sides as they have information on the front and back of each sheet. Tom Caswell asked Susan Parker to commit to get ting some materials ready and she agreed


Tom Caswell asked the board and project team members if they have any questions or expectations about this project. Herschel Shepard says he feels like it is an extraordinary time as the University of Florida partners with the city of St. Augustine Colonial core in the private sector. y There is an extraordinary dynamic in the city at this time. Susan Parker agreed city to accomplish this great task and that together a more generalized overview of items f rom the collection will be reached. Matt A. and Matt P. gave out contact information to the board members. Meeting adjourned.