Indexes have been created in many formats including Word Perfect, and the array of Microsoft products - Word, Works, Excel & Access. All have been "dumped" into Access where searches can be made by last name, first name, year, and source.
The LHMI indexes more than just personal names. Entries include businesses & companies, historic buildings & sites, organizations & clubs, streets & other geographic references, churches, and schools. We're even indexing the wonderful old advertisements that appear in directories, yearbooks & newspapers. In recent weeks, the department has fielded requests for information pertaining to the Colonial Hotel in South Haven and the Rebekah Lodge of Decatur. In these and other similar cases, searching the LHMI provided a list of hits referencing these topics.
Indexers for the LHMI don't have to live in the area to help with the project. We've had volunteers as far away as Arizona, California and New York. The only things required to become an indexer is a computer (no internet access necessary), a program to index into, and time. Everything else is provided by the library including detailed instructions.
The importance of indexes cannot be overstated. And, I would argue that hand-generated indexes have a higher rate of accuracy and completeness than machine-generated indexes. As we are all historians, we know better than a machine what type of information we seek and what should be indexed.
In 2011, the volunteer force from the Local History department generated a combined 1,991 volunteer hours, the lions share of which were at home workers. Consider becoming a volunteer indexer this winter. There are no deadlines, no whip cracking....just appreciation.
For more information about the LHMI or about how to volunteer as an indexer, please contact us.
Nameless Picture of the Day
Photographer - McCollum & Cunningham, Dowagiac
Can you identify the young woman in this cabinet card? Do you have knowledge of the photographer? Please contact us if you have any information and we will publish it in a future blog. Please include the photo's catalog number with your e-mail.