This story first appeared in the Shippensburg University Magazine.
The 1917 to 2018 versions of The Cumberland, Shippensburg University’s yearbook, are now available to the public in the digitized archives.
Christy Fic, university archivist and special collections librarian, said the digitization project took a year-and-a-half to complete. “Most people think that digitization is simple—scan the item and put it online. But there are actually many steps involved. We used an outside vendor, Backstage Library Works based in Bethlehem, to scan the yearbooks. There were over 20,000 pages to scan in 100 years of The Cumberland.”
This major undertaking required many helpful hands. University Archives and Special Collections received assistance from three graduate assistants who worked on the project over multiple semesters.
First, the yearbooks were prepped and packed before being sent to Backstage. Graduate assistant Julie Sanders helped this process by calculating the number of pages, assessing their condition, then packing them into boxes.
After Backstage converted the yearbooks to the newly created digitized files, Fic spent much of fall 2019 reviewing all 20,000 pages for quality. Afterward, graduate assistant Martavis Washington started uploading the PDFs to the digital archives, and graduate assistant Tara Quinlivan finished the process in August 2020.
The Backstage staff performed its own quality check, converted files, then combined all the files into a single PDF for each year. Finally, the files were run through optical character recognition software to make the PDFs keyword searchable, Fic explained.
In the past, alumni contacted Archives and Special Collections for photos or information on relatives who attended Ship. Alumni may now view The Cumberland online and reminisce about playing for Ship athletics or participating in student clubs.
“Yearbooks are like time capsules,” Fic said, transporting alumni back to their years spent as a Raider and sharing their favorite memories with friends and family.
To view the yearbooks, scan the QR code or go to https://bit.ly/3lHLnQ3.