May 1952 cover

The Project

Until now, Charette’s contents have been virtually inaccessible for want of indexing or other access. A partial index of vols. 3-20, 1922-1940, exists in paper copy at the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh, but it is incomplete even for the years that it covers. Portions of Charette were also indexed in the Avery Index of Architectural Periodicals, but coverage is spotty and unreliable. Further handicapping the potential user, all known library collections of Charette consist of incomplete runs, and some issues of the journal are quite rare.

The Pittsburgh Architectural Archives' Charette Digital Project has created a digital archive of the journal by digitizing virtually the entire run of Charette. Electronic images of each page include all text, photographs, graphics, advertisements, etc. The resulting database permits browsing by issue and full-text searching of the contents of Charette.

There were five primary stages to this project:

  • Clarify copyright. A search for active copyrights was requested and was performed by the U. S. Copyright Office of the Library of Congress. Necessary copyrght permissions were obtained fron Arthur P. Ziegler, formerly of Van Trump, Ziegler & Shane, Inc.
  • Identify and obtain as many issues of Charette as possible. The Carnegie Mellon University Libraries owns most issues of Charette. Additional issues were borrowed from the Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh and the James D. Van Trump Library and Achives of the Pittsburgh History & Landmarks Foundation. Three issues could not be located and are thus not part of the project.
  • Scan and OCR 561 issues of Charette. Scanning and OCR was done by the Carnegie Mellon University Libraries' department of Archives and Digital Library Initiatives.
  • Utilize journal delivery and navigation functionality using the DIVA system. DIVA is a project Carnegie Mellon University Libraries' department of Library Information Technology.
  • Develop web interface. The web interface was provided by the Carnegie Mellon University Architecture Archives.

A useful model for this project has been the Canadian Architect and Builder Online project of McGill University’s Blackader Lauterman Library of Architecture and Art. For a discussion of this project see Marilyn Berger, "Digitization for Preservation and Access: A Case Study," Library Hi Tech 17:2 (1999), 146-151.


Martin Aurand, Architecture Librarian and Archivist, ma1f@andrew.cmu.edu

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