I just recount this as a reminder to myself as much as anyone that the collections for which we are responsible are just a small part of a whole. The IBVM & CJ Archive includes the collections of all the provinces and schools around the world.
When getting requests for information about Australian Loreto Sisters who have been born and/or entered elsewhere or left Australia to join another Province I find it invaluable to be able to tap into our wider network of Province Archivists.
The history of Australian Sisters leaving for India is an example of the cross-over of collections. We have had genealogists and academics interested in the contribution of the Australian Sisters in India. The relationship began with M. Gonzaga Barry and India’s 2nd Provincial, M. Gonzaga Joynt. They both worked on a revision of the Constitutions to include Regulations for Foreign Missions and supported each other through their correspondence. We have quite a few interesting letters between the two and artefacts given to M. Gonzaga from the Indian Province, including a beautiful album containing photographs of the Indian foundations, presented to M. Gonzaga Barry by “her namesake”, M. Gonzaga Joynt, for her Golden Jubilee.
The students of Ballarat also kept in touch with the Indian students as letters, news and photographs featured in the school magazines.
Many of the early Australian Sisters to go to India had been recruited from the Ballarat and Melbourne Loreto Teachers’ Training Colleges.
Naturally, after they leave for India, often entering in India, we have very little record in Australia of the lives and works of these women. Several times we have relied on Indian archivists, Sr. Mary de Souza and Maureen King, for further information on their careers in India.
So thanks to Sr. Mary and Maureen and others who fill in the gaps.
We have completed one of our long awaited projects – the digitisation of the papers of M. Teresa Ball IBVM – foundress of the Irish branch of the IBVM (Loreto).
This is the oldest collection in the Institute Archives, the earliest document dates from 1814 and it documents the foundation of the Institute in Ireland from 1821.
We were anxious to have preservation copies of the original material and to facilitate greater use of the collection particularly by province archives and through our online presence.
The digitisation project was outsourced to a local company – Eneclann, who specialise in the digitisation of archival material. They have extensive work experience in digitising collections with national, local and other archival repositories, and were familiar with the security and handling requirements of archival collections. The collection was taken off –site for the digitisation process and were returned to us within 4 weeks.
Over 2,400 discrete images were captured. On completion of the project we were presented with images in two formats to facilitate preservation and access. The resulting images were captured as a 24-bit (full colour) image with a 450 DPI. The master or preservation copies are stored as uncompressed TIFF images. A surrogate set of files were created as PDFs, these are the access copies. The master copies are the preservation copies and will only be used to generate lower resolution images to facilitate access.
All images are watermarked to protect the copyright and associated intellectual rights of IBVM Archives.
Each image (master and access) is named after the reference of the original (physical) item and are stored in folders corresponding to the file reference of the original (physical) item.
We requested a selection of sample images of both master and access formats during the digitisation process, to ensure that we were happy with the quality of the images captured. The digitisation company implemented their own validation procedures during the project including checking for focus & clarity, completeness of the captured image, lighting, bit depth, resolution & file format.
We are delighted with the end product and look forward to increasing access to this foundation collection through the use of our digitised images.