Transylvania archival tomes enjoy new life, digitized and reimagined for everyone

Thanks to Special Collections Librarian BJ Gooch, Digitization and Metadata Specialist Kevin Johnson and professor Simonetta Cochis, parts of the collections are coming to life online.

For centuries, literally, old tomes have waited patiently for attention. The lucky ones have lived in protected archives, such as the Transylvania University library’s Special Collections, breathing air that has been properly humidified for their care, their pages ready to serve as passports to another era. Seeing them had been limited to a personal visit from a scholar, group tour, class or student doing research. And then it was back to quiet waiting for the next researcher.

Until now. 

Not only has Transylvania’s Douglas Gay Jr./Frances Carrick Thomas Library been digitizing its Special Collections, making the contents of its archive available without charge to anyone with computer access, but faculty and staff are visually retelling the stories of particular works in creative ways.

Witness Les Fleurs Animees, which has enjoyed the full attention of the library’s team of storytellers and technicians using Adobe Spark. The work unfolds appealingly, with informative commentary accompanying each rich and gorgeous leaf — or, in this case, flower.  

So, even when the library is closed and tours of the remarkable Special Collections are on hold, as they are now because of COVID-19, readers can leaf through digitized works, page by page.

Four virtual tours are now available — stay tuned for additional ones.