New VRC Collection

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

If you’re a WSU student, faculty, or staff, you now have access to Historic Illustrations of Art and Architecture in Luna, a collection of 350 scans taken from various public domain works. These historic illustrations were originally published during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries and cover a wide range of objects from Europe and the Middle East. Many originally appeared in publications that predated the widespread use of photography for art documentation. These engravings, line drawings, and plans for many well-known historic structures reflect both the technological and aesthetic standards of their time.

Santa the Serial Killer?

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Scary Santa

I had to laugh when I came across this image yesterday and realized how different our ideas about the meaning of things change over the years.  In this image which was obviously set up, Santa is looking through the window at two children, one is asleep on the floor but the other is still wide awake and staring up at the decorated tree.  Looking at this image with 21st Century eyes, at least in my case, especially the look on Santa’s face as he gazes into the window, it seems sinister and creepy.

Other Images of Santa in Virtual Motor City

Santa Claus Leaving Airplane (1930s)

Santa Claus Over Detroit (1930s)

Santa with Key to the City of Detroit, Thanksgiving Day Parade (1981)

Find More images of Santa in Virtual Motor City…

An eBook For Everyone

Wednesday, July 1st, 2009

Beginning July 4th, the fourth iteration of the annual World eBook Fair kicks-off. For one month, the World eBook Fair gives you free, full-text access to over 2 million PDF eBooks–short version: you can download as many eBooks as you want directly to your desktop for free.

For those of you who read on-the-go, some of these titles are compatible with mobile devices.

Major contributors this year include: Project Gutenberg, E-books About Everything, Internet Archive, and World Public Library amongst many others.

Go now, download, and read!

Virtual Motor City Updates: Titles

Monday, June 8th, 2009

In our ongoing effort to improve the searching and browsing of the Virtual Motor City collection, we’ve just reloaded the collection’s metadata, updated with the latest additional information: descriptions of photographs, Library of Congress subject headings, and our brand new field, titles.

With the new title field, you’ll notice that some records contain two titles: Historical Title and Title.  You may ask, well, what’s the difference? Here’s our explanation.


There are two title fields, Historical Title and Title.  Historical Title is the name given to the photograph by the Detroit News Photographer who took the photo(s).  This field, while historically significant and interesting, is riddled with problems when it comes to searching because a lack of consistency.  The photographers did not use an authority list, so photographs that are similar, such as three pictures of cars, might be labeled totally different.  One might be simply “Autos” while another might be the model and brand, while another might be “Street Scenes.”  The NEW title field is original metadata added by a metadata librarian, that looks to give some consistency back to the titles and also add titles to records that never had one.  Once we’ve reached a significant number or records with this new field, users will have the ability to browse by title.

WPA Music Manuscripts, 1935-1943

Thursday, April 16th, 2009
Copyists from the Detroit Music Project, taken on 8/4/1938. Photo courtesy Walter P. Reuther Archives

Copyists from the Detroit Music Project, taken on 8/4/1938. Photo courtesy Walter P. Reuther Archives

Interested in graphic design, fonts and typography? Unique Michigan histories? We’ve just added a new collection, WPA Music Manuscripts, a digitization and access project that digitized and cataloged detailed and ornate hand-copied music manuscripts produced by Michigan men and women under the WPA during the Great Depression.  The collection and accompanying resources highlight the people and work that were a part of the Music Copying Project, supported by the Federal Music Project and WPA.  The Federal Music Project employed men and women to copy music for WPA orchestras, bands, and choruses to perform.  The collection is currently housed at the Detroit Symphony Orchestra’s archives.

WPA Music Manuscripts is a collaboration between WSU Music Department, Art and Art History Department, Detroit Symphony Orchestra, and the Library System.