In March 2014, UC San Diego began work on digitizing the Leo Szilard Papers with grant funding from the National Historical Publications & Records Commission (NHPRC). Leo Szilard is one of America’s most influential scientists. These materials document the birth of the nuclear age, the work of the Manhattan Project, and the beginnings of the study of molecular biology. Szilard’s papers also illustrate the leadership role a scientist may play in society when he fully understands the implications of his work and its effects on the global community. The two-year project will digitize 50,630 items (50,080 text-based pages; 550 photographic prints) 120 minutes of video recordings, and 595 minutes of audio recordings, using methods that are both cost-effective and attentive to the level of detail needed to make the materials discoverable and freely available on the Internet.
The project team held a kick-off meeting on March 13 to review the 2-year project details, work plan, and budget, as well as address any questions for the team members. We are digitizing the video and some of the audio in-house. Some audio formats (stenorette tapes, Voice Master “magnetic recording on a disc,” and an IBM dictation belt) are too old for us to re-format in-house and we are planning to send them to an audio preservation expert to digitize.
Even before the kick-off meeting, we were busy preparing our first batch of documents for delivery to Luna Imaging, Inc., who is digitizing the document and photos for this project. Since Luna is located in Los Angeles (relatively local, ~230 miles roundtrip), we determined the most economical and safest way to transfer materials between us and Luna was to drive them there ourselves. We rent a campus vehicle for the trip, usually a Prius hybrid. The cost to rent the vehicle for the day runs around $70, including gas.
We package the manuscript boxes and the hard drive in cartons and the shipments easily fit in the back of the Prius. While the first batch is being digitized, we prepare and package the second batch for shipment. When the first batch is ready to be retrieved, we bring the second batch of materials and exchange them at Luna.
New Writing Series readings by Prageeta Sharma and Ken White
Prageeta Sharma is the author of Bliss to Fill (Subpress Collective, 2000), The Opening Question (Fence Books, 2004, winner of the 2004 Fence Modern Poets Prize), Infamous Landscapes (Fence Books, 2007) and Undergloom (Fence, 2013). Sharma’s poems and writing have appeared in Art Asia Pacific, Bomb, Boston Review, Fence, Indiana Review, The Literary Review, Vanitas, Women’s Review of Books and other journals. She is a recipient of the 2010 Howard Foundation Grant.
Ken White is a co-writer and co-producer of the feature film Winter in the Blood, adapted from James Welch’s novel of the same name. His current project is a screen adaptation of Debra Earling’s novel Perma Red, which he is attached to direct. He has written or co-written eight feature scripts, including Blight and The Wereman, as well as adaptations of Goethe’s The Sorrows of Young Werther and the medieval Irish epic The Tain Bo Cuailgne – The Cattle Raid of Cooley. His poetry has appeared in The Boston Review, The Tusculum Review, Columbia: A Journal of Literature and Art, Versal, and Manor House Quarterly, among others. He is the author of one book of poems, Eidolon (Peel Press 2013).