The Georgia Archives streamlines its digital collection workflows with CONTENTdm hosted by OCLC

Since 2006, the Georgia Archives has been using CONTENTdm to showcase its digital collections. Archives staff selected CONTENTdm because they wanted a digital collection management system that would provide strong support and was ready to use out of the box. Last year, they moved to having their CONTENTdm software hosted by OCLC. Since their migration, they have added several additional collections, including the Colonial Estate Records and the Colonial Plats and Warrants collection.

 “We are very pleased now that we have moved to having CONTENTdm hosted by OCLC, and the response time has been excellent,” said Kayla Barrett, Assistant Director for Archival Services for the Georgia Archives. “The service is what we need.”

Seventy-five percent of the researchers who come to the Georgia Archives are focused on genealogy, and the institution has received enthusiastic, positive reactions from users who have been able to find items in the Archives’ diverse CONTENTdm collections of Confederate resources. Researchers find resources such as death certificates, marriage records, Confederate pension applications and Confederate Muster Rolls. The Georgia Death Certificates collection has the highest amount of user interaction through comments posted by users.

The Georgia Archives promotes its digital collections through several avenues. Staff post notices on their website and share information on Facebook. They also host a popular, monthly lunch and learn series with programs on different topics that tie back to their CONTENTdm collections. At least one program a year is focused on how to use their finding aids, including Georgia’s Virtual Vault.  They also host genealogy and academic research programs on specific topics, such as the prison system records, transportation records and a Black History Month program.

The Archives’ Vanishing Georgia Photographic Collection contains almost 18,000 images. This CONTENTdm collection is the result of a Georgia Archives project that started in in the mid-1970s to locate and copy historically significant photographs held by individuals throughout Georgia. A National Endowment for the Humanities grant supported an expansion of the project from 1977–1979, and images were added to the collection until 1996. The Georgia Archives sent a traveling photo lab around Georgia to capture photos shared by Georgia residents. This collection contains pictures from across the state of Georgia, and it is heavily used for exhibits, to decorate homes and businesses and fulfill requests from publishers and filmmakers.

Up next, the Georgia Archives is getting ready to put another photograph collection online. This collection will focus on mining and geology in Georgia, which has had a state geologist since 1836. In the early 20th century, the incumbent state geologist photographed more than 2,000 gold and kaolin mines and road building in Georgia. The collection promises to provide another rich resource for Georgia Archives users. 

Digitized item from The Georgia Archives

Cobb County, Georgia, ca. 1915. Sensational W&A train wreck due to the washing out of a Railroad Bridge. Courtesy, Georgia Archives, Vanishing Georgia Collection, cob340.