Monday, June 25, 2012

“Old Ironsides” in 2012

Nicole Joniec in front of USS Constitution
During my recent trip to Boston to attend the Digital Directions conference, I was fortunate to visit the USS Constitution docked at the nearby Charleston Navy Yard after the closing session.  Knowing that we had various USS Constitution items in the Library Company’s collection, my curiosity was piqued upon learning that the ship, the oldest commissioned warship in the United States, was still in existence.  It seemed particularly appropriate to visit during the bicentennial anniversary of the War of 1812, when this indomitable warship was engaged in battle with British forces. Nicknamed “Old Ironsides,” the ship’s 25” oak hull, reinforced with copper sheathing, spikes and bolts forged by Paul Revere, created a nearly impenetrable shield against the enemy’s forces winning all the battles it was engaged in.  Today, the ship stands grand in Boston’s Inner Harbor and I was honored to have the opportunity to visit this national icon.
USS Constitution sailing on the Delaware River, Philadelphia, photograph by Aero Service Corporation.  Ca. 1931

Although my curiosity drew me to a variety of Boston’s historical sites, the focus of my trip was the Digital Directions conference.  As the Digital Collections Manager at the Library Company, I oversee our digitization operation, manage our digital collections, and facilitate uploads onto ImPAC, our digital collections catalog.  The conference was extremely informative, featuring stimulating discussions on digitization, digital collections management, and future developments in the arena of digital libraries.  An exciting prospect is the future creation of a Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).  Still in its planning stages, the DPLA aspires to serve as a central hub for digital collections from national institutions willing to contribute materials, similar to the Europeana digital library in Europe.  The Library Company hopes to someday contribute our own materials to DPLA.

As “Old Ironsides” serves as a lasting symbol of our nation’s history, may the DPLA someday serve as a portal for the world to access our nation’s digital treasures.

Nicole Joniec
Print Department Assistant & Digital Collections Manager