A number of weeks ago, the Church History Library facebook page announced a new initiative to digitize published LDS materials in their repository. They are being made available in conjunction with the Internet Archive.
As soon as I heard, I subscribed to the RSS feed and watched in amazement as my reader filled with generally inaccessible titles, now available in several formats (including text searchable). I asked the folks on the project if they could tell us about what is going on, and they kindly responded:
Our partnership with the Internet Archive is an early step in our desire to share the Church History Library’s holdings with a world-wide audience. In September, we began capturing and posting books and pamphlets to the site.
For the Internet Archive, we’ll be concentrating on our published materials printed before 1923. In the future, we will move into post-1922 publications that are free of copyright restrictions. However, for the time being, we’ll focus our efforts on the “low-hanging” fruit where we know that the items are in the public domain.
We’ve started to work through Peter Crawley’s two-volume bibliography on Mormon publications and will eventually move into frequently requested published materials here at the physical library as well as patron suggestions.
Whether or not an item appears in BYU’s digital collections may impact when we digitize it.
Low hanging fruit? Well so far, that has included numerous early hymnals and British conference minutes. Some might find the early Utah legislative documents interesting, others, the early translations of missionary pamphlets. As a new item has appeared, I have tried to skim through or read it entirely and have found numerous things that would have otherwise never have come to my attention. Several of these have been rather important for my research.
This is just one more example in a series of important projects that the various crews at the Church History Library have implemented. I’m impressed.