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Duke University Digitizes Yearbooks

Duke University has digitally published almost 50 years of its yearbook, The Chanticleer, online in a joint project of the University Archives and the Duke Library's Digital Collections program. Issues between 1912 and 1960 have been scanned and posted in multiple formats, including PDF and text, as well as a flip book format that allows readers to browse through the volumes quickly and do text and photo searching.

"As the Archives has increasingly placed digitized content online, the materials most requested for digital access have been the Chanticleers," said university archivist Tim Pyatt. "When Digital Collections asked us for ideas for mass digitization projects, we quickly volunteered the Chanticleers."

The project has been done with the use of equipment from the University of North Carolina Library, which has a "Scribe," a high-speed scanner and software application developed by the Internet Archive. The machine performs the conversion of books to digital format that can then be published online.

"I'm glad that early editions of The Chanticleer are now so easily accessible," said Devika Jutagir, current Chanticleer editor. "We're proud of our tradition of high quality photography, and the online archives are a great way to bring us recognition from Duke and beyond... We also hope the digitization will help the Duke community realize how useful the yearbook can be, by making research projects using the Chanticleer much more feasible."

About the Author

Dian Schaffhauser is a writer who covers technology and business for a number of publications. Contact her at dian@dischaffhauser.com.

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