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Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture (PDT&C)

Editor-in-Chief: Gibbons, Leisa / Gracy, Karen F.

CiteScore 2018: 0.23

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 0.162
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.427

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Read by Touch: Stewarding the Reading and Writing Collection at the Perkins School for the Blind

Molly Stothert-Maurer / Jennifer Arnott / Jennifer Hale
Published Online: 2016-05-25 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pdtc-2015-0026


This article traces the history of books, and reading and writing technology, for the blind through an analysis of collections held in the Perkins School for the Blind Archives in Watertown, Massachusetts. These collections include books using embossed text and braille as well as raised figures and other writing systems. The confusion created by competing systems in the United States, especially with regard to Helen Keller’s education, is also considered. The authors establish that if we are to preserve such special collections, we must have an understanding and appreciation of their history and use. The goal of this article is to share information on the challenges of and solutions for preserving and digitizing embossed materials for other archivists and librarians who may have stewardship over similar collections, and to educate readers on how these materials might be used to study the history of reading and writing technology, especially those created for use by the blind.

Keywords: Archives; Preservation; Braille; Blind; Digitization


About the article

Molly Stothert-Maurer

Molly Stothert-Maurer is archivist at the Perkins School for the Blind in Watertown, Massachusetts. Her MA is in information resources and library and information science from the University of Arizona and her BFA in Studio Art is from Texas State University. She has worked extensively on digital projects and in 2015 became a member of the Board of Directors of the Digital Commonwealth, the statewide digital repository for Massachusetts, USA.

Jennifer Arnott

Jennifer Arnott (MLIS) has been the Research Librarian at the Perkins School for the Blind since May 2015. Her previous library positions (at a secondary school and a small public university) have given her a deep appreciation for the range of ways people find, use, and share information. She is particularly interested in how to connect people with information they want and need, in a way they can use, and in how technology changes the ways we find and share information.

Jennifer Hale

Jennifer Hale is currently pursuing a master’s degree in library and information science at Simmons College. She began working at the Perkins School for the Blind as an intern in 2013 and is now assistant archivist and assistant librarian. Her past career in Web and graphic design informs her interests in the digitization and archival description of visual materials, in particular photographs.

Published Online: 2016-05-25

Published in Print: 2016-04-01

Citation Information: Preservation, Digital Technology & Culture, Volume 45, Issue 1, Pages 17–26, ISSN (Online) 2195-2965, ISSN (Print) 2195-2957, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/pdtc-2015-0026.

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© 2016 Walter de Gruyter GmbH, Berlin/Boston.Get Permission

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