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About Boston Streets


Project Personnel

Data preparation overview

Technical documents

IMLS reports

Help Area


Decorative image

Where did the images and descriptions come from and how accurate are they?

The images were cataloged between 2000 and 2004 as part of the regular work of the DCA and TBS. Levels of descriptive cataloging reflect the different missions of the two insitutions. TBS images are used by researchers the world over for a variety of research interests, genealogical, architechtural, urban develpment, built environment, etc. Therefore, TBS catalogers did extensive research on the buildings, tenants, and locations depicted in the images. The DCA images documented the development of the Tufts health sciences campus in downtown Boston, and the cataloging interest was both more specialized and less detailed. DCA catalogers tended to focus on the Tufts connection of the buildings and people in the images. Nevertheless, what unites the descriptions is the documentation of place. This connection of images to a specific point on the earth is what unites not only the images in the two collections, but connects them with the city directories and the history of the city that is contained in them, Making the images sort of "extra illustrations" of the directories, and allows the directories to furnish extra information about the images that were beyond the scope of any image cataloging research.

Can I have a copy?

You may request copies of the images you find on this site by following the link: "Request a copy of this image" when viewing pages of individual photographs. You will be directed to the web site of the institution that owns the image you are viewing.

How accurate is the information included in the directories?

The digital editions of the directories have been scanned from original pages, been converted to text twice, with versions compared for discrepencies, and encoded at Tufts with students and staff reviewing the output of the variety of processes listed above. A significant amount of "hands and eyes"-on editing has also happened on individual entries. But mistakes, of course can and will still occur.

We have taken some consolation in the findings that sometimes, while chasing down an error, we are able to trace back through the tagged documents, converted texts, scanned page images all the way to the original printed versions. It appears that even the original compilers were not perfect, except when the errors were incredibly obvious, we have not corrected questionable errors exiting in the digital documents that can be traced to the originals.

As always, we encourage patrons to question "doubtful" content and notify us of mistakes. We will take every effort to resolve and correct any errors we have made, or that can be proven to be wrong in the originals by additional sources.

How are they different from the printed directories available in traditional libraries?

These directories could be considered to be new, digital, abridged additions. Not all sections of all directories are offered, nor all all included sections accessible to the same level. Page images of advertisements, for example, are included for reference, but the text on these pages cannot be searched, only read while browsing.

These digital directories are also arranged in a way we think Charles Stimpson, George Adams and the other original publishers would have approved of whole-heartedly. While the alphabetical divisions have been replicated, we have used current technology to transcend the "page" limitations of organizing information and instead offer a second level of division by last name (or the first "word" of each entry).

How are/were the online directories created, structured and delivered?

The directories offered as part of the Boston Streets Collection all were originally scanned from printed directory sources available for consultation at the Tisch Library, Tufts University and The Bostonian Society Library. Scans of the directories from to cover to cover, or in sections (personal A-Z listings, Advertisements, etc.) were made at the Digital Collections and Archives from late 2002 through 2004. Sections to be converted from images to text files were sent out to DigitalDivideData for double-key data entry and quality assurance processes.

Once the page images of A-Z listings had been converted into text files, the project staff began the mark-up process, following the Text Encoding Intiative's P4 XML guidelines. Text editors were used to execute regular expression-based global search and replacement processes on the data, while programmers on staff aided in the "chunking" of directories by last name. Once the text files were transformed into highly-tagged well-formed XML files, they were added into the Tufts FEDORA system for management and delivery, along with page images from section not converted to texts and the accompanying metadata files. Much like the original printers, stylistic qualities are applied to components of each entry to highlight personal and organizational names, occupations, and addresses.