Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Jackie Robinson and Baseball

This digital collection focuses on the career of Jackie Robinson, the baseball color line and Negro Baseball leagues. The collection was completed as part of the Library of Congress’ American Memory Project which created a series of collections before 2000. It’s not as impressive as some of the more recent digitization projects we’ve seen but the LOC certainly put some thought and effort into the collection. They used photographs and documents from a number of reading rooms to begin to explain Robinson’s career and how race affected Major League Baseball. The collection is only comprised of thirty items which were considered representative of these topics.

The pictures are then split into five categories: baseball beginnings, game day in the majors, players, non-major league baseball, and major league teams and games. Each category has its own page with a mix of text and images. Each of the images can be seen in different sizes and has a separate page of metadata. Because it was done by the LOC, the record page is very thorough and includes subject headings for the images. The site is not particularly easy to use, in part because of the categories. There is not one gallery where a researcher could see all thirty images. Instead, you can just browse through each category.

LOC clearly doesn’t intend for this to be a very rich resource but more of a starting point for learning about Jackie Robinson. They provide links to related websites and a bibliography on the topic so readers can do more research on their own. It’s an interesting site but lacks some of the features digitization projects today have added. It’s much more of a website about Robinson than a digitization project but it uses digitizes resources from the LOC.

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