by Gerry Leone, MMR NMRA Communications Director
If you’re a subscriber to NMRA Magazine (formerly Scale Rails) you’ve seen the “Timeframes” series of photographs printed on the magazine’s last page. Those are all shots taken from the Kalmbach Memorial Library (KML) archives. The fact is, our NMRA Library has over 100,000 images, negatives, slides, plans and drawings, and only a handful have ever been seen by NMRA members because it would have entailed making a personal trip to Headquarters in Chattanooga, Tennessee, to flip through the files.
Soon that will all change, thanks to the NMRA’s Diamond Club. The Diamond Club is a fundraiser specifically designed to support adding enhanced content to our website at www.nmra.org. The first item on the list of is scanning those 100,000 images and making them available for download.
The good news is that scanning of the photographs has begun! In August of 2010, Historical Archives Services (HAS), the firm the NMRA Board of Directors hired to do the scans and design the photo website, began receiving and cataloging shipments of photographs from KML. HAS estimates that the first batch of photographs will be available for viewing online sometime in the first quarter of 2011, after a short period of beta testing late this year. Putting the entire library online will be a costly, time consuming task, since each photo’s listing will also contain highly detailed, searchable metadata, which is being added by the railroad experts at HAS. This detailed metadata will make it easier and faster for users to find exactly the photograph they’re looking for.
Current plans are to make the low resolution thumbnails of the photographs available to everyone via the website around the clock. Users will be able to download high resolution files, and NMRA members will receive a substantial discount. Proceeds from the scans will help fund the remainder of the project and future Diamond Club web projects.
As promising as this sounds, it’s important to remember that the Diamond Club still hasn’t reached its projected goal of $75,000. If you haven’t contributed to this worthy cause, please send your donation now to The Diamond Club, NMRA, 4121 Cromwell Road, Chattanooga, TN 376421, or do it online at www.nmra.org/diamondclub.