Pieces of Brock’s history now available online

Front page of a November 1965 issue of The Blue Badger

November 1965 issue of The Blue Badger

Special Collections and Archives have been busy digitizing and making available online bits and pieces of Brock’s history to mark the institution’s 50th anniversary this year.

Artifacts from the University’s past have recently been digitized and made publicly available online – University newspapers and newsletters, as well as undergraduate and graduate calendars.

“We’ve had this idea for a long time,” says David Sharron, head, Special Collections and Archives at Brock. “These items represent a long-standing history of the University.”

All of the print editions of Brock’s internal newspaper – beginning with the Blue Badger in 1964, through to Campus News and The Brock News until it moved online in 2009 – have been digitized and placed online.

“Whatever the name,” says Sharron, “these papers are an excellent chronicle of the University’s history.”

All available Undergraduate Calendars from 1964-65 to 2010-11 and Graduate Calendars from 1975-76 to 2003-04, have also been digitized and made available online.

Various Brock course calendar covers

Various Brock course calendar covers

“Often the Library and Registrar’s Office gets requests from alumni who need to look up past courses for credit in other educational pursuits, for job applications, or just causal interest,” says Sharron. “Having these online will help our former students find what they are looking for quickly and easily.”

“For me, the funnest thing about the calendars is the covers,” he adds. “They show the art styles of the times.”

The digitization of these resources was undertaken by the Library’s Copying and Printing Services group and they are saved online as full-text searchable PDF files. They are available for searching and browsing in the Library’s Digital Repository.

The newsletters and calendars were digitized using optical character recognition (OCR) software that scans the documents and creates a layer of text behind the images. The program recognizes shapes of words and the translation from image to text is about 95 per cent accurate.

“Seeing as it’s our 50th anniversary, we’re getting questions about our history on a regular basis from all over the University,” says Sharron. “About a question a day.”

“It used to take us an hour or more to find details about our history, but with the online resource it now takes us about 5 minutes to find what we’re looking for,” he says. “It’s really helpful.”

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