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President Burruss Papers


From selecting original documents to serving the digital surrogates, creating the President Burruss Papers portion of the JMU Founding Documents in Special Collections web exhibit posed several unique challenges.  In March, 2004, Chris Bolgiano, JMU Special Collections Librarian, selected three files of original documents from the Julian Ashby Burruss Papers belonging to Virginia Tech for inclusion in the JMU Founding Documents exhibit: Reports to the Board of Trustees (RG 2/8, folder 19), Minutes of the Normal School Board (RG 2/8, folder 315), and Miscellaneous Correspondence (RG 2/8, folder 215).  In February 2006, Tamara Kennelly, University Archivist at Virginia Tech, graciously provided scanned pdfs of those documents on behalf of the Digital Library and Archives of Virginia Tech.  By that time, Chris Bolgiano had retired, so Julia Merkel, Preservation Specialist at JMU's Carrier Library, acted on behalf of Special Collections and collaborated with the staff of JMU's Center for Instructional Technology to ensure that the images were placed on a server until the project could be revisited.

By Spring 2007, the staff of Special Collections had completed most of the Founding Documents web exhibit and could turn its attention to the Burruss Papers.  Original documents in the collection had not been arranged to the item level, so there was no  descriptive information about the scanned documents.  Tracy Harter, Special Collections Librarian, worked with graduate students Geraldine Poppke Suter and Heather Browne to review the pdfs, compile descriptive metadata in Excel spreadsheets, and determine how to sort and serve the documents.  In many instances, mult-page documents consisting of several pdfs were combined into a single pdf for ease of use.  Special Collections staff opted to arrange the pdfs chronologically within each category.  Using his design of the Founding Documents web exhibit Timeline as a model, web manager Greg Brown then designed the templates from which the Burruss Papers can be viewed. 


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