Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Church in the Southern Black Community

The Church in the Southern Black Community is a collection hosted by the Library of Congress's website, but was created by UNC-Chapel Hill as part of their collection "Documenting the American South". The LOC built the browsing interface, but it links to items at UNC's site, which I thought was a little bizarre, especially since there's a link on the front page to UNC's homepage, which has its own (better) interface. I think this setup may be because the project was funded by the LOC, but it has the potential to lead to confusion, since it's a little clunky.

On both sites you can browse by subject, title, and by author name. Each text can be downloaded as an HTML file or an XML/TEI source file, which I thought was interesting. They also have a list of associated illustrations for each text, which are in JPEG format. The texts themselves are things like pamphlets, journals, and books which document African Americans' experience in Protestant Christianity; several of them are biographies of pastors. The TEI files make me think that the texts were probably digitized using OCR. This is probably a good resource for church historians, or African American history scholars (I got the link to the site from the Carver Museum here in Austin).

--Amanda McClendon

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