Let’s get digital

The Special Collections Department  has added three new digital collections to our resources in the past year.  Going digital takes a great deal of effort but makes these collections available to a much larger audience and also makes them more accessible because of their searching capabilities.  The easiest way to get to them is to go from the home page to Library Collections and look for the Special Collections tab near the top on the right side of the page. Or, you can follow this link and bookmark the page. 

 The Alaska -Yukon – Pacific – Exposition Collection was the first of group of material digitized because of the centennial celebration of the AYP in 2009. The AYP was a turning point for Seattle and the entire region and as many people said, “put Seattle on the map”. Over three million people came to the event which was held at what is now the University of Washington. In fact, many of the buildings built for the AYP served (and some still do) as UW buildings.

Having gotten our first digital collection on board, we proceeded to digitize the Seattle Public Library Northwest Art Collection. The Seattle Public Library owns a collection of art from many important Northwest artists: Mark Tobey, Kenneth Callahan, Helmi Juvonen, Robert Cranston Lee, Fay Chong and Guy Anderson, to name just a few. We digitized a selection of 85 prints, drawings and paintings from the collection. Mark Tobey’s “Illustrations for lecture, Feb 26 1948” and Stuart Morris’ line are representations of people using the library itself. In conjunction with the launch of the Northwest Digital Art Collection, we’ve mounted an art exhibit of the Library’s artwork on Level 8 at the Central Library.

And, last but not least, we began to digitize the Seattle Historical Photograph Collection. The collection contains more than 1100 images of Seattle’s early history. There are street views from the 1870’s, photographs taken during, before and after the Great Seattle Fire of 1889,  portraits of important and everyday Seattleites from her early beginnings. There are photographs of buildings, waterfronts, railroads, schools, ships and more.  We’ve begun with over 100 photographs and will be adding to the digital collection through the year, so keep an eye out for the updates.

One thing to remember: Not everything is digital.  We have a treasure trove of resources in Special Collections (and other departments) that are not online and not  in the catalog. Going digital takes time. Don’t miss out on the treasures we have now. You never know just what you might find!~Carol L, Central

3 thoughts on “Let’s get digital”

  1. It would be really interesting to have the digital photographs available while reading historic fiction set in Seattle. Now I’m trying to remember the title of a book set in the Denny era — the name might have been the name of a famous house on Capitol Hill. Ring any bells with anyone?

  2. Hi Anne,
    You’re so right about the digital photographs coming in handy when you’re reading about Seattle’s past. As for the book you mentioned, tell us more about it. Let us know if it was historical fiction or some other genre. What do you remember about the plot, setting, and characters? When do you think it was written? Author? Hmm, a famous house on Capitol Hill…very intriguing. We love the details!
    And thank you for taking the time to let us know what you think about the post. We really LOVE to hear from our readers. Carol

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