America's Swamp: The Historical Everglades Project
Interim Report July 2010
Purposes and Goals of the Project
The University of Florida proposed a 3-year project to digitize using cost-effective methods approximately 99,690
pages in six archival collections that document the despoiling of the Everglades and the development of South
Florida in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The collections selected for this project document early plans for
draining the Everglades in the 1880s and 1890s, the dredging of canals and subsequent development of the
destroyed wetlands at the start of the 20th century, as well as early attempts by conservationists to preserve the
natural resources of the Everglades. All six collections are being digitized in their entirety, although a small
number of boxes will be excluded because they are not within the chronological scope of the project. The
collections date from 1854 to 1963, but the bulk of the materials included in this project date from 1877 to 1929.
Collection Extent Exclusions Pages
Napoleon B. Broward Papers, 1879-1818 10.75 In. ft. (14 boxes; 4 11,465
William Sherman Jennings Papers, 1877-1928 13.5 In. ft. (29 boxes; 16 32,575
May Mann Jennings Papers, 1889-1963 8 In. ft. (23 boxes) 2 boxes dated 22,500
Thomas E. Will Papers, 1893-1938 14 In. ft. (24 boxes) 2 boxes dated 29,800
Arthur E. Morgan Papers, 1912-1954 0.8 In. ft. (2 boxes) 2 files dated 1,850
James E. Ingraham Papers, 1854-1920 1 In. ft. (2 boxes) 1,500
Total pages: 99,690
John Nemmers, Principal Investigator. Descriptive and Technical Services Archivist, Department of
Special and Area Studies Collections, University of Florida Libraries. 352-273-2766.
firstname.lastname@example.org. He serves as project director and is responsible for overseeing folder level
reviews and conservation assessments prior to digitization, as well as compiling and submitting all project
Dr. Laurie Taylor, Co-Principal Investigator. Digital Projects Librarian, Digital Library Center,
University of Florida Libraries. 352-273-2900. email@example.com. She is responsible for
coordinating all aspects of the digitization process.
Plan of Work
All imaging is completed in the Digital Library Center (DLC), a unit of UF Libraries. For all digitized materials,
METS metadata is created. In addition to technical and structural data, descriptive metadata is imported and
repurposed from existing Encoded Archival Description (EAD) finding aids. Each of the six collections is being
processed separately as discrete units so that no co-mingling of materials can occur. Each collection is processed
in its entirety by a specific unit before it moves into another processing area.
Time Schedule of Activities
All project activities scheduled to begin between January 2010 and June 2010 have occurred on schedule. These
activities are described in detail below.
Selection, preparation and conservation review
All pre-imaging activities continued on schedule. Prior to imaging, Special Collections personnel (John Nemmers,
Flo Turcotte, and Jim Cusick) are reviewing folders and completing pre-imaging checklists. They physically
examine each archival container to identify potential special-needs materials such as fragile documents,
photographs, etc. They ensure that the physical arrangement of the folders in each box is identical to the
arrangement described in the EAD finding aid. Special Collections personnel use the checklist to "check out"
each archival container prior to imaging and include written notes and instructions for the DLC staff when
delivering materials for digitization. Prior to digitization, Preservation Department staff (John Freund and Cathy
Martyniak) review items of particular concern and determine handling requirements. For some of the fragile
materials, Preservation personnel have flattened and placed the documents in polyester sleeves to protect them
during and following imaging.
Once a collection is received by the DLC, the existing EAD finding aid data is imported into the DLC Tracking
Database and repurposed from existing collection-, series-, and folder-level descriptions for the collections. In a
few instances, where individual items are described in the EAD finding aids, item-level descriptions are available
for use with the digital objects. For all digitized materials, national Metadata Encoding and Transmission
Standard (METS) metadata is created. The basic METS files are created and enhanced automatically as an
individual folder moves through the digitization chain.
Lourdes Santamaria-Wheeler, head of the imaging unit, trains and supervises the scanning technicians who are
completing scanning activities. All items are digitized to meet the requirements of the item's physical format. The
production imaging unit performs initial image review of all pages, adjusting the image quality as necessary,
including adjustment of levels, skew, and contrast. Advanced image manipulation is performed as needed and
includes level adjustment and color replacement to minimize the appearance of aging and foxing. Images are
captured as uncompressed TIFF files (ITU6.0) at 100% scale; the current de facto standard for electronic image
archives. Both flatbed and CopiBook scanners are calibrated regularly in order to maintain color fidelity and
optimum image results. Following imaging, the boxes are returned to the Special Collections Department.
After initial scanning and image enhancement, all aspects of image control and digital package creation are
controlled by the UFDC Toolkit, an integrated software package that controls derivative image formation, quality
control review at the package level, and deployment to the UFDC server. Jane Pen, head of the Quality Control
Unit, supervises a staff of quality control technicians who create and review jpg, jpg2, and jpg thumbnail images.
Errors are noted and returned to the imaging unit for scan/rescan of the pages. If there are no errors, the files go to
the Metadata Control Unit. At this point, the initial METS file contains basic structural and administrative
metadata, as well as the descriptive metadata repurposed from the EAD files.
Digital Package Markup & Deployment
Once quality control has been completed, the digital package moves to the Markup Unit. For this project, Matt
Mariner, the unit head, ensures that all package level metadata conforms to the national METS, our local
extension schemas, and to requirements for serving in UFDC and permanent preservation. Users can view the
METS file for any item loaded in UFDC by selecting METSMetadata under the Technical Data menu on the
navigation bar to the left of an item being viewed. With final package approval, the Metadata Control Unit
transfers the digital package to the UFDC server for public access and metadata harvesting, sends the package to
the Florida Digital Archive for preservation archiving, and saves the packages to a tape archiving system for local
Accomplishments and Products
The results of the project have been satisfactory to date, and all goals have proven to be realistic and achievable.
As of June 2010 all of the boxes in the James Ingraham, May Mann Jennings and William Sherman Jennings
collections have been imaged by DLC and returned to Special Collections. Of the 16 volumes of letterbooks in the
William Sherman Jennings collection, 8 volumes currently are being imaged by the DLC staff. Once the 16
volumes are digitized, all imaging activities for the William Sherman Jennings collection will be complete.
All of the boxes and volumes for the Napoleon B. Broward, Thomas Will and Arthur Morgan collections have
been reviewed by Special Collections and Preservation staff and all pre-imaging activities and worksheets have
been completed. It had been planned to complete digitization of the Broward Papers by June 2010, but it was
decided to complete the Ingraham Papers first because of researcher demand for photographs.
To date 52,701 pages have been scanned and made available online (53% of total 99,690 pages):
May Mann Jennings Papers 22,988 page images (original estimate used in grant proposal: 22,500
William Sherman Jennings Papers 28,033 page images (original estimate: 32,575 pages)
James Ingraham Papers 1,680 page images (original estimate: 1,500 pages)
Page images continue to be added to the Everglades homepage that has been developed as part of the University
of Florida Digital Collections (UFDC) and is available at http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/UFDC/?c=swamp. The
homepage currently includes a sample of photographs and documents from the six collections, as well as project
documentation and acknowledgement of NHPRC funding. The project homepage includes a page with a brief
summary of performance objectives and links to the grant proposal for more information (available at:
http://www.uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?c=swamp&m=hitplan). Project personnel hold regular meetings to plan the
functionality of the UFDC interface.
User Contribution Functionality
DLC staff began developing user-contributed tagging/description functionality as part of the University of Florida
Digital Collections (UFDC). With a login and authentication system, anyone signed in with their free user account
can add descriptions/tags to digital items. An overview of this functionality is available at
http://ufdcweb 1 .uflib.ufl.edu/ufdc/?m=headmin tagging. User-contributed tagging/descriptions will be tested in
upcoming months by project staff and selected users (e.g., UF faculty and students). Following public release of
the functionality, users will be able to contribute descriptions and tags to any objects in the Everglades
As part of the project, UF widely publicizes information about the project. All documentation, including
workflow and technical specifications, is added to the project homepage. Project personnel also are disseminating
information about methodology and outcomes in journal and newsletter articles and via conference presentations.
Promotional activities will increase in the final year of the project.