Historic Mining Journal Goes Digital

Title: Historic Mining Journal Goes Digital
Authors: Kathi Conner and Cathy Van Tassel
Publication: The Outcrop, October 2010, p. 8-9


Imagine reading an article written more than 100 years ago, the typeface produced by the cutting-edge Linotype technology of the late 1800s and printed on paper pulped, pressed and delivered to the frontier west in horse-drawn wagons. In 1896, the paper was crisp, strong and smelled of fresh ink; a far cry from its appearance today: brittle, sensitive to light and touch, and smelling faintly old.

A gift from CSM alumnus Frank Seeton (EM ’47) created a unique opportunity to make the delicate Mining and Metallurgical Journal (MMJ) accessible to researchers while supporting the aspirations of a Mines’ engineering student.


Paul Brayford, a senior in mechanical engineering, needed an on-campus job. Collections Conservator Margaret Katz needed a student assistant with just the right aptitude and attitude for meticulous preservation work. They are the perfect match. Paul’s creativity and engineering skills melded with Margaret’s conservation expertise to fully develop a process to preserve and digitize editions of Mining and Metallurgical Journal.

Paul’s challenge was to take preliminary work done by Eddie McWhirter (’06, MS’09) and precisely articulate the technical and creative aspects of reproducing these journals in a high-quality digital format with minimal handling. Unlike the standard digitization process of scanning the materials into a computer-based image editing program, each page is individually photographed according to the optimal specifications Eddie amines-2nd Paul refined through rigorous research and experimentation. The digital photographs are then optimized using an image editing program.

In true Mines’ style, Paul carefully addressed each objective Margaret posed and crafted a technical paper detailing each step of the process, making it replicable and adding exponential value to Mr. Seeton’s original gift. As for Margaret – she couldn’t be happier with the outcome of this project; “Paul is doing a fantastic job, but ultimately Mr. Seeton is the real hero in this story – his philanthropic support has provided the resources that are moving this project from dream to reality.”

Arthur Lakes Library owns 96 issues of Mining and Metallurgical Journal; this is the largest known collection in the public domain. Each 20 page issue will require six hours to digitize.

Visit http://library.mines.edu/LIB-Mining-Archive-Gd-MMJ to view Mining and Metallurgical Journal, V. 15, No. 1, published April 1, 1896.

Reprinted with permission, Inside Arthur Lakes Library, Volume 7, issue 2.