Decades of historic moments at Glenville State College will now be available to search through digitally.
The college's Robert F. Kidd Library staff recently finished digitally archiving the long-time campus newspaper and college yearbook using a machine called the Book Drive Pro, which uses two digital cameras to take high-resolution images and then optical character recognition software makes the text on the pages word-searchable.
Until recently, the papers and yearbooks could only be viewed in person at the library. As with many older paper documents, the files were fragile and had to be handled with care.
Jason Gum, Library Associate and Archivist determined if these materials were going to last, action had to be taken.
"Each time some of the oldest issues were used, pieces of history were turning to dust, never to be seen again," he said. "Now, the original works can be preserved and treated as artifacts while the accessibility and search ability of the content has actually increased beyond what previous generations who created this treasure trove could have ever imagined."
Gum said the digitization process took about four years for all issues of both documents and the college saved between $10,000 and $20,000 by doing the process in-house.
The Glenville Mercury was published regularly from 1929 until September 2001 and many significant events were reported, such as visits to campus by Amelia Earhart in 1936 and Eleanor Roosevelt in 1939.
"Some of the most interesting and unique material in the Mercury revolves around local legend, superstitions, ghost stories, and historical events," Gum said. "Another interesting part of the paper is the old advertisements for local services."
The Kanawhachen was so named due to the importance of the Little Kanawha River for transportation to and from the rest of central West Virginia during the early years of the college and has been in print off and on for over a century, first beginning in 1911. Kanawha, from the river, and the diminutive "-chen" meaning little in German.
Like most yearbooks, it chronicled campus life with photos, polls, and humorous quips.
Both publications were mostly produced by students enrolled in GSC's journalism class.
Now every word that was typed into the pages of the Mercury and the Kanawhachen can now be searched for specific topics or people in a compilation of over 100 years.
The publications can be viewed at glenville.edu under the "Library" link near the top of the page. One can then click 'Archives' located on the top left of that page and from there click on either 'Kanawhachen Yearbook' or 'Mercury.'
For more information about the archives, contact Gum at Jason.Gum@glenville.edu or 304-462-6163.