TSLAC Conservator, Heather Hamilton demonstrates the protective measures the State Archives staff are employing to preserve oversize materials from the battleship collection.
Austin, TX – The Texas State Library and Archives Commission (TSLAC) is pleased to announce a major digitization effort that provides online access to more than 3,000 ships plans and records from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department’s (TPWD) collection documenting the USS battleship, Texas. Also known as BB-35, the dreadnought was commissioned in 1914 and participated in both World War I and World War II, including as flagship during the Allied invasion of Normandy on June 6, 1944. USS Texas went on to become the first memorial battleship in the United States and serves as a national historical landmark.
The recent addition to the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department Battleship Texas ships plans and records online collection is the culmination of a multi-faceted initiative involving conservation work, preservation, processing and archival housing of oversized materials, and a successful collaboration between TSLAC’s Archives and Information Services Division (ARIS) and the State Records Center (SRC) to engage in a mass digitization initiative together. SRC staff converted the thousands of blueprints, documents, manuals, booklets and other paper materials into digital files for ARIS staff to organize, manage, describe and ultimately upload to TSLAC’s digital repository, the Texas Digital Archive. Visitors to the site will find information about the battleship in the finding aids and an extensive series of detailed images of plans and records from the entire lifespan of the Texas.
The battleship Texas records include oversize schematic drawings up to six feet long. TSLAC Conservator Heather Hamilton analyzed the preservation challenges the size and nature of the drawings presented and determined the best solutions for repair and housing. Tears in the plans had been taped in the past and the paper was breaking along the creases created when folded and stored in boxes. The new housing employs archival quality plastic sheeting, and the plans will be rolled as opposed to folded to help prevent further damaging the paper. More information about the project can be found on the TSLAC Conservation blog.
While the State Archives is taking care to preserve the original plans and records for the battleship Texas, the digitization project has opened access to the collection for anyone with an internet connection. No need to pull the enormous plans from the stacks if one is able to click on a link to a digital image and download as needed. The partnership between the Archives and the SRC on this effort offers a model for future mass digitization projects.
The Texas State Library and Archives Commission provides Texans access to the information they need to be informed, productive citizens by preserving the archival record of Texas; enhancing the service capacity of public, academic and school libraries; assisting public agencies in the maintenance of their records; and meeting the reading needs of Texans with disabilities. For more information, visit www.tsl.texas.gov.