The PACSCL Board of Directors recently accepted the membership application of the John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives of the William Way LGBT Community Center, welcoming the organization as its thirty-ninth member.

“Philadelphia has been a city of firsts in the struggle for equal rights for LGBT individuals, and the John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives has been instrumental in documenting these efforts.” observed PACSCL board chair Ronald Brashear (Science History Institute), in announcing the Board’s decision. Current PACSCL members, including the Historical Society of Pennsylvania and Temple University, also have collections that complement those of the Archives.

“The John J. Wilcox, Jr. Archives is Philadelphia’s most extensive collection of personal papers, organizational records, periodicals, audiovisual material, and ephemera documenting the rich history of the area’s LGBT community,” said John Anderies, Director of the Archives, whose mission is to collect, describe, interpret, and provide access to publications, personal papers, organizational and business records, audiovisual materials, and ephemera created by, dealing with, or of special interest to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender individuals. “Our collections include materials from around the world, but preference is given to items that document the lives of sexual minorities in Delaware, New Jersey, and Eastern Pennsylvania.”

The Archives serves a broad range of users, including the LGBT community of Philadelphia and  the Delaware Valley, scholars/researchers from around the world, activists and artists, students from area K-12 schools, undergraduate and graduate students, teachers at area schools, local history researchers, journalists, writers, and documentarians, and William Way LGBT Community Center staff.

Topics represented in the collections include LGBT history and culture, generally; LGBT history in the City of Philadelphia and the Delaware Valley, specifically; the homophile and early LGBT rights movements; feminism and feminist organizations; and HIV/AIDS and its impact on the local LGBT community. The primary formats collected include manuscripts, printed texts, photographs, graphics, artifacts and objects, textiles, audiovisual materials, artworks, and born-digital materials. The time period of the collection ranges from the 1920s to present, with heaviest emphasis from the 1960s on. The collection is approximately 800 linear feet and growing.

The Archives makes use of ArchivesSpace as an archival management and access system ( and have recently launched an Islandora-based digital repository ( The Archives mounts between 3-4 material exhibitions each year in the Archives Gallery located in the lobby of the Center. Its online exhibit, “Speaking Out For Equality,” is based on the groundbreaking exhibit the Archives mounted at the National Constitution Center in 2014-2015 ( A second traveling version of “Speaking Out For Equality” was mounted in collaboration with the Independence National Historical Park at the Liberty Bell Center during the summer of 2018.
The Archives are open to all by appointment during the general operating hours of the William Way LGBT Community Center ( Monday-Friday, 11 am – 10 pm; Saturday-Sunday, 12 pm – 5 pm).

A one-day event, Friday, January 22, 2016.

The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books, and Manuscripts
University of Pennsylvania Libraries – Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center"Think of your open data repository as a fridge." Will Noel, keynote speaker, at PACSCL January 22, 2016 conference on building digital collections.

For PACSCL member libraries, the creation and maintenance of digital collections  is becoming an integral part of library operations. In this one-day event, members will share information on how they move from a collection of discrete digitization projects to integrating considerations of digitacollections into every aspect of operation, from acquisition through preservation and sustainability.

This event is intended to be the first in a series of PACSCL-wide conversations on ways PACSCL can support member goals and help to build a Philadelphia-area digital collection.

Most sessions were recorded and placed online at YouTube — see links by session descriptions


(Presentation slides are all in Adobe Acrobat format)

Welcome and introductions
Ronald Brashear, Chair, PACSCL Board of Directors/Chemical Heritage Foundation

Keynote address
Forward Into the Past: The Digital Middle Ages and Open Data
William G. Noel, Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts and Schoenberg Institute for Manuscript Studies, Penn Libraries

View on YouTube

Discussion: Eric Pumroy, Bryn Mawr College, discussion leader

Session 1: From Project to Plan (10:45 a.m. – noon) [view on YouTube]
Discrete digitization projects have much to recommend them, not least of which is that they are fundable. But it takes a well thought-out digital collections plan to gain institutional buy-in on providing the resources necessary to sustain and move beyond the project-based work many PACSCL members have been doing. In this session, PACSCL members will offer further information on the elements of planning for a digital collections program,  based on their own experiences building out from a project-based approach. They will also touch on other considerations that have informed their planning such as safeguarding the data and securing the resources to sustain the assets.
Margery Sly, Temple University

Beth Lander, College of Physicians of Philadelphia
Matt Shoemaker, Temple University
Michelle DiMeo, Chemical Heritage Foundation
DiMeo presentation slides

Session 2: From Plan to Program – Considerations and Tools (1:30-2:30 pm) [view on YouTube]
Developing a digital collections program, in additional to planning, can draw on elements of and lessons learned from specific projects – and funded projects can be structured so that they contribute to building institutional capability and the realization of the program. Drawing on their own experiences as well as best practices from the profession, speakers will discuss the ways in which planning contributes to the evolution of a robust digital collections program.

Rebecca Johnson Melvin, University of Delaware Library

Scott Ziegler, American Philosophical Society
Michael Foight, Villanova University
Ilhan Citak and Rob Weidman, Lehigh University
Ziegler presentation slides | Citak/Weidman presentation slides

Brief Reports and Case Studies (2:30-3:15 pm) [View on YouTube]
Presider: Heather Willever-Farr, Historical Society of Pennsylvania

  • Digital African Americana at the Library Company of Philadelphia— Krystal Appiah, Library Company of Philadelphia [presentation slides]
  • E-records workflow and dark archives–Tammi Kim, University of Delaware [presentation slides]
  • Hydra and oral histories–Margery Sly, Temple University [presentation slides]
  • Metadata and web archiving–Katy Rawdon, Temple University [presentation slides]
  • Tools for visualizing digitized content–Scott Ziegler, American Philosophical Society [presentation slides]
  • DPLA-PA–Doreva Belfiore and Delphine Khanna, Temple University [presentation slides]

Breakout Sessions (concurrent)  (3:30-4:30 pm)

The Digital Public Library of America: What DPLA can do for PACSCL and how PACSCL members can participate: PACSCL and its members can expose their digital collections to a broad audience through this nationwide platform; can use it to aggregate PACSCL-wide collections; and can use it to curate subject-specific presentations. The Pennsylvania DPLA hub prototype is operational; Delphine Khanna and Doreva Belfiore of the planning team will offer an overview, with emphasis on getting metadata DPLA-ready to derive maximum benefit from the resource. [presentation slides]

Discovery and interoperability: A look at discovery strategies ranging from metadata to interpretation, plus the use of Wikipedia, social media, and new tools in development and deployment such as IIIF and linked data. Sarah Horowitz and Laurie Allen, Haverford College (beyond discovery – value-added materials); Jaime Margalotti, University of Delaware (accessing content in multiple systems); Mitch Fraas, Penn Libraries (what he learned from the Rocket Cat and other social media tales). [View on YouTube]
Margalotti presentation slides | Link: How to destroy your collections with social media (cited by Mitch Fraas)

Collaboration: Funders love it, but that’s not the only reason — collaborations allow institutions to participate in building collections that transcend institutional boundaries. A look at three collaborations, two that move beyond PACSCL, and suggest ways that many institutions can work together. Projects include the Biodiversity Heritage Library (Cathy Buckwalter, Academy of Natural Sciences), the Bryn Mawr College / Seven Sisters Women’s Project (Eric Pumroy, Bryn Mawr), and PACSCL’s own diaries project (Holly Mengel, Penn Libraries)
Buckwalter presentation slides | Mengel presentation slides

Final discussion and wrap-up, next steps (4:30 pm)
Ronald Brashear, Presider