Adam Matthew Digital has announced today that the Congregational Library & Archives (CLA) has chosen Quartex to publish and showcase its extensive archival collections of Congregational Christian history. This project will enable the CLA to make content more accessible to their communities of scholars, religious leaders, and local churches, as well as enabling sharing of collections with a wider audience around the globe.
"At the heart of the CLA’s decision to move forward with Quartex was its ability to completely change and enhance how we provide access to our diverse and important digital content. Born-digital materials that had previously been largely inaccessible will soon become widely available through Quartex, and digitized materials from the important ‘New England’s Hidden Histories’ project, which were browsable on our website, will soon see greatly enhanced metadata and exciting new ways to search within, and between, collections."
Zachary Bodnar, CLA Archivist
The collections include around 225,000 items, a significant portion of which are handwritten manuscripts, documenting histories of churches and their communities since the 17th Century. Moving to Quartex will enable the CLA team to catalogue individual documents, replacing traditional finding aids, and also to make extensive use of controlled vocabularies to facilitate additional discovery methods.
The team will be utilizing Quartex’s Handwritten Text Recognition (HTR) functionality to improve searchability of the content. HTR uses algorithms and artificial intelligence to determine probable combinations of characters, enabling handwritten text to be identified at document level within searches. The team also plan to make the most of the platform’s powerful digital exhibitions functionality to showcase material by theme and for different audiences.
"Partnering with Quartex offers new and exciting opportunities to showcase our digital archival collections for researchers and the public, and also provides a powerful internal interface for organization and metadata management. I am especially excited to use Quartex's bespoke HTR technology to help transcribe our manuscript collections in record time, especially those digitized as part of the culturally invaluable ‘New England's Hidden Histories’ project."
Jules Thomson, CLA Associate Archivist
The first content to go live on Quartex will be the Brunswick First Parish Church Records collection, as part of a suite of 170 diverse collections that will launch in the Fall of 2021.
“The collections at CLA are an essential part of Boston history, as well as the surrounding communities and throughout New England. We're thrilled to partner with CLA for both the technology we can offer, as well as for our personalized customer experience. We'll be working with CLA to enhance their digital presence so they can meet their goals of increasing engagement with scholars and researchers from around the globe.”
Martin Drewe, Head of Customer Experience, Adam Matthew Digital
“It is vitally important that historical libraries such as the CLA become increasingly accessible to our constituencies, wherever they are in the world. The more content that we can provide digitally, the more that our collections become alive and relevant to a larger public beyond our typical scope in New England. Our partnership with Quartex makes it possible for our potential to reach fulfilment: to be a truly global center for the study of American religious history specializing in the Congregationalist traditions.”
Dr Stephen Butler Murray, CLA Executive Director