Mina Rees Library Digital Collections

The Mina Rees Library created three major digital collections…

Remember Me to Herald Square: Thirty-fourth Street from River to River

This collection targets students K-12, their teachers and the general public. It pictures a 34th Street different from the one we see today.

… the center of a thriving theater district – the Times Square of its day; a 34th Street once bounded on its eastern and western edges by foul slums, factories, and slaughterhouses as well as charitable institutions that served the poor; a 34th Street where millionaires briefly lived and then moved on as the neighborhood commercialized; a street that once had noisy, dirty elevated trains that are now just a memory.

… you will also find much here that is familiar: department and specialty stores that have been a part of 34th Street for more than a century; a streetscape that was as bustling and crowded then as it is today; and most important, a street that is home to a sprawling transit network that began to take shape more than 150 years ago and is still growing. It is this function as the busiest transit hub in the nation – served by several rail lines and myriad subway routes that has long defined 34th Street’s character, and will continue to shape its identity and destiny far into the future.

The Opening of the Erie Canal

This is another collection built using Omeka, and was made possible through the collaboration of the Seymour B. Durst Old York Library and The Eighteenth-Century Reading Room at the Graduate Center.  It was partly funded by from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO) through the New York State Regional Bibliographic Database Program.

Constructed in an era when roads were little more than ruts and dirt pathways, the Erie Canal opened up East-West trade in the newly developing United States, providing an all water connection between the interior U. S. and the Atlantic coast seaports. Built almost entirely by man and horsepower, construction began on the canal on July 4, 1817 with little public support and no government funding.


Digital Murray Hill

This project was started in 1976, when the Murray Hill Neighborhood Association (MHNA) put together a collection of images which show how their neighborhood had transformed in the last hundred years.  With help from the Metropolitan New York Library Council (METRO), the collection was enhanced by graduate students who were hired to research the “architectural history” of each site. This information is found in the “building information” section that appears for each address in the collection.

Technical details:

The project’s records were created using a digital collection building tool called ContentDM provided by METRO to grant recipients. Once the records had been created they were then exported in a dublin core based xml format and converted to RSS and imported in WordPress for display on the site. The subject headings and other descriptive terms that appear in the site’s categories features were mapped into a wordpress format for creating a category taxonomy, this taxonomy was also imported into the site.