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Mann Library to Digitize Historical Home Economics Literature.

TO PRESERVE AND MAKE available worldwide the most important and influential volumes on the history of home economics, Albert R. Mann Library at Cornell University will digitize the top 1,500 documents--some 450,000 pages--in the field, making them easily available on the World Wide Web.

The library has received a $277,000 two-year national leadership grant for preservation or digitization for libraries from the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The institute is an independent federal agency that fosters leadership, innovation, and a lifetime of learning by supporting the nation's 15,000 museums and 122,000 libraries. The grant to Cornell acknowledges the importance of the history of home economics with other grants the IMLS has funded this year, such as for digitizing materials on historical and cultural aspects of the Virgin Islands, the era of the Louisiana Purchase, and political campaign biographies from the 1800s.

"Home economists in early twentieth-century America had a major role in the Progressive Era, the development of the welfare state, the triumph of modern hygiene and scientific medicine, the application of scientific research in a number of industries, and the popularization of important research on child development, family health, and family economics," says historian Joan Jacobs Brumberg, a Stephen H. Weiss Presidential Fellow and professor of human development. "We must do everything we can to preserve and organize records and materials from this important female ghetto."

Specialists at Mann Library are developing 13 subject bibliographies pertaining to home economics, and consumer and family studies librarians throughout the country are reviewing and ranking the lists to help the library determine which are the most essential documents.

"Much of the home economics literature is deteriorating at an alarming rate since the books and journals were printed on acidic paper," says Marianne Hansen, special projects librarian for the project. "We are in danger of losing a great deal of primary evidence that could support future investigation in consumer and family studies, women's history, and American social history. This project allows us to provide a widely accessible resource for scholars well into the future."
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Author:Lang, Susan S.
Publication:Human Ecology
Article Type:Brief Article
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 22, 2000
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