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Mount Allison University Libraries | Music Library
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Marshland: Technical information

A virtual exhibit on the records of life on the Tantramar.


Technical information

The objective of the Marshland Virtual Exhibition Project was to digitize and provide Web access to some of the original documents in the holdings of the Mount Allison University Archives which relate to life and work on the Tantramar. In this way the Archives hopes to draw attention to the value of archival material as both a research tool and a teaching tool.

Archival documents featured were selected from 27 different fonds and collections and several publications. The exhibition includes over 50 pages of text and 300 images (approximately 1194 files) . Many more documents than could be featured in the online version were scanned. The total material digitized is 24.99 GB (including approximately 1000 images) and 158 megabytes are included in the online version.

The Project implementation was broken into the following processes:

*Research and Selection
*Preparation of archival descriptions
*Topic identification, arrangement and text
*Preparation of interpretations of documents
*Metadata collection
*Web design and access



Scanning was carried out by the Project Assistant at the Mount Allison University Archives with a Perfection 3200 Photo scanner. Master images have been captured to the following standard:

File Format : TIFF
Compression : Uncompressed
Digital Resolution : 300 to 400 dpi

Images are stored in both CD and DVD formats as well as on the Mount Allison University server.
Documents displayed on the Web for online delivery have been converted to JPG format with 72 dpi. Each is presented online as a thumbnail image with options for two additional size increases for more detailed viewing. These are saved at a low to medium compression level in order to offer both high quality images and facilitate faster load times.

Oversize documents were transported to the University of New Brunswick Libraries Electronic Text Centre for imaging. They were captured at 300dpi in both TIFF and JPG formats and manipulated for the online exhibition as described above. These images are also stored in CD format as well as on the Mount Allison University server.

Every effort was made to respect the integrity of the original documents. Therefore no action was taken to correct imperfections in the originals. However for a very small number of items, due to the limited size of the scanning bed, sections were scanned individually and then merged together using the Photomerge feature of PhotoShop Elements 2.0 software. These actions are documented in the Project files.



Structural metadata has been gathered during the scanning process. The structural metadata files contain information about the pagination of the document and correlation between filename and identification (retrieval) numbers.

Descriptive metadata for fonds includes title, dates of creation, physical extent, administrative history/biographical sketch, custodial history, scope and content, source of title, accruals, associated materials, finding aids, immediate source of acquisition, language, location of originals, physical description, related records, notes, retrieval number, repository.

Descriptive metadata for items includes retrieval number, title, date, repository, title of fonds or collection from which item selected, scope and content, restrictions on access use and reproduction. If the item is a photograph and the photographer known this information is also included.



The Albert Anderson interview was copied from audio cassette tape and encoded on to a computer using the open source software Audicity. One topic of conversation was selected and copied from the original file then edited to remove pauses and off topic speech. This project file was saved as a 2 minute and 41 second mp3 file suitable for Web presentation.

Field recording of marsh sounds was captured on a field visit to the Tantramar Marshes (White Birch Rd area) on the evening of June 1st, 2004 where approximately 35 minutes of audio was recorded on a Sony mini disc recorder. This audio was then encoded on to a computer using the open source software Audicity. Selected clips were copied from the original file one at a time then pasted into a new Audicity project file. Multiple tracks were used to aid in composition of the final product. This project file was then mixed down to a 60 second mp3 file suitable for Web presentation.



The generalized map of marsh body locations was produced using ArcGIS 8.1, geographic information system software in the Department of Geography and the Spatial Econometrics Laboratory at Mount Allison University. Property boundaries and physical boundaries related to the marsh bodies as indicated on the historical source maps in the Archives were located on the present day digital property map. Using the property map as an underlay, individual polygons were produced for each marsh body by digitizing over the property layer. Other features such as rivers were added. The resulting map provides a generalized location only. While some polygons are very accurate (reflecting the stability of the underlying cadastral pattern and the presence of physical boundaries such as the river's edge), others have more poorly defined information from the archival record. In some cases, the name of the marsh refers to different areas over time, as more and more land was dyked and brought into production, particularly through the nineteenth century. In other cases, there are overlapping jurisdictions through time, making clear definition difficult. The map that we have produced here therefore shows general locations only. No attempt has been made to indicate the expansion or contraction of specific marsh areas in relation to the dyking records found at other locations in the exhibition; rather, the map represents the maximum extent of land referred to in the source maps alone and throughout the past 200 years.



Web design of the original virtual exhibition was carried out by Jill Innes, Webmaster, Mount Allison University and Gerry Watson, Marshland Virtual Exhibition Project Assistant.

Migration of the exhibition to the LibGuides platform was undertaken by Renée Belliveau, archival intern, in 2019. Banner and background of the navigation menu were created from archival images (Mount Allison University Archives, Phyllis Rourke fonds, 9907/3).



The Marshland Virtual Web Exhibition, originally published on 30 June 2004, will be supported on this new platform from April 2020 onward.