January 19, 2022

Digital Collections: Baseball Hall of Fame Launches Digital Archive, New Material Added Every Two Weeks

From WKTV:

The National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum will now be accessible from anywhere in the world.

The Hall announced, Monday, that they are set to release a digital archive project will be available through the hall’s new ‘PASTIME,’ or Public Archive System To Interact with the Museum Electronically, collection.

Set to go live on Wednesday, the Hall will make many artifacts, previously available exclusively at the museum in Cooperstown, available online for fans and researchers to access from anywhere in the world.

Read the Complete Article

From a PASTIME Info Web Page:

Starting Sept. 7, thanks to the Hall of Fame Digital Archive Project, 25 volumes of 10 different Babe Ruth Scrapbooks in the collection will be available online for the first time. These one-of-a-kind scrapbooks, created by Ruth’s agent Christy Walsh, provide a unique look at Ruth’s career through letters, stories and photographs, and give a glimpse at the authentic Babe Ruth.

Additional digitized material – including photos, audio, video and text – from the Museum collection will be published every other Wednesday as the Museum adds to the PASTIME (Public Archive System To Interact with the Museum Electronically) online collection, which will be available at collection.baseballhall.org.

The next group of materials scheduled to be available on PASTIME beginning Sept. 21 will feature items related to Jackie Robinson and the integration of baseball. The third release scheduled for Nov. 5 will include materials related to the first five Hall of Famers elected in 1936: Ty Cobb, Walter Johnson, Christy Mathewson, Honus Wagner and Ruth. Future release will include oral histories, additional scrapbooks and Negro league photos.


The PASTIME digital asset management system has been developed on open source standards that will be made available so that other cultural institutions can benefit from this leap forward in digital artifact preservation. Museums and educational institutions around the world will have access to this system built by the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.

Direct to PASTIME Database
Note: Since the site has just launched don’t be surprised if it’s going to be slow if not impossible to access during the first few days.

See Also: Learn More: “The Baseball Hall of Fame’s New Era: Digital” (via NY Times; September 3, 2016)

Digitizing the full collection of the Hall of Fame library is impractical; the costs of manually tagging and indexing it all would be prohibitive, and copyright laws would prevent permanent posting of books and articles. But the Hall of Fame has a trove of personal effects and correspondence, often donated by players’ families, that would otherwise be hidden.

“We don’t collect stuff to gather dust in the basement,” said Jim Gates, the library director. “We want it to be used.”

See Also: HistoryIT Helps National Baseball Hall Of Fame and Museum Make Baseball Treasures Available To The World

The project began in September of 2015, when HistoryIT sent a team of historians and digital strategists to Cooperstown to evaluate the entirety of the Hall’s museum, library and archival holdings in order to create a plan to tag materials – ranging from Babe Ruth’s baseball bat to Negro League historian Robert Peterson’s papers – in a way that would allow the general public to peruse them. Led by HistoryIT founder and CEO Dr. Kristen Gwinn-Becker, the team spent 12 months meticulously digitizing, describing and tagging the first selection of materials to ensure that the museum’s digital assets are carefully curated and searchable.

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.