January 24, 2022

New Digital Collection: Diaries Digitized by UC Merced Tell First-Hand of Civil War, Lincoln Assassination

From the California Digital Library:

A new digital collection provides a glimpse into the everyday life of a Union soldier during the U.S. Civil War, as well a first-hand account of President Lincoln’s assassination and its aftermath. The UC Merced Library contributed the collection to the Online Archive of California (OAC), Calisphere, and Merritt, in what appears to be the final chapter in a search for Lincoln’s last written words.


The publication of this collection is the result of countless hours and hard work at the UC Merced Library. Since the diaries are physically fragile and quite long—together they contain several hundreds of pages—they presented a challenge to library staff.

Head of Digital Assets Emily Lin and a student assistant employed gentle, labor-intensive methods to scan the thin handwritten pages, as well as the many newspaper clippings and poems pasted into one of the diaries. Student assistants painstakingly cataloged and transcribed the diaries. Library Services Manager Mary Weppler-Selear took on the digital curation of the collection as a capstone project for a certificate in digital information management. She supervised the students, created metadata, and did all of the technical work required to contribute the collection to the CDL’s access and preservation repositories.

The Nightingale collection is available on the OAC and Calisphere, and has been deposited in the Merritt digital curation repository—thus ensuring both broad public access to and long-term preservation of these historically significant materials.

Additional Background About the Collection in the Complete Announcement

Direct to Digital Collection (via Online Archive of California)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.