Polish Center Digital Archives

We have had a busy couple of months at the Polish Center. We had a tent at the Kiełbasa festival, a very successful Golf Tournament and just as successful Polish and Eastern European Genealogy Roadshow organized by the Polish Genealogical Society of Massachusetts to celebrate its 25th anniversary (view photos here).

I, however, had been busy with another project that I am happy to unveil today: Polish Center Digital Archives. The ever enthusiastic Eric Basile led the technical side of the project installing Omeka and setting up web hosting with a lot of hocus pocus that he refers to as coding and congeniality. I have had the pleasure and honor of overseeing the project and choosing, organizing, and describing the content.

A few words about the software: Omeka is a free, open source, web-based content management system used by many museums and libraries to publish online collections and exhibits. It uses the Dublin Core metadata schema which standardizes the description of online resources.

We started the project at the beginning of May and had to overcome a number of obstacles before we were even able to start uploading materials. As of now, there are over 100 items on the website which are described in detail and can be viewed in high resolution. We are adding new items almost every day now.

The majority of items on the page right now come from the Felix Furtek Collection Papers. Felix Furtek was a notary public in the city of Chicopee and he dealt with issues of immigration, sponsorship, land sale in Poland etc. You can read more about him under the exhibit tab on the archives website. There are also sections on the Blue Army (well worth your time), Solidarity (always worth your time), and a Nazi War Crimes case (deserves attention).

Due to the fragility of those materials, we have prioritized their digitization. In this, Adam Maciaszek and Michael Sweeney have been tremendously helpful with their interest and attention to detail.

I hope you will enjoy exploring the archives and learning something about Polish American history.I also want to thank everyone that helped with the project so far and I am looking forward to seeing the project grow with all your help!

Marcin Marszałek