Digitizing Policing: Opening Access to Law Enforcement Resources

In 2016 the Lloyd Sealy Library completed a project called  Digitizing Policing: Opening Access to Law Enforcement Resources.  The goals of this project was the digitization of key resources related to policing, of which our Library has deep and rich resources. Many of these resources are not readily available elsewhere, and many of those who might want to read these resources, such as Law Enforcement professionals do not normally have access to academic resources. The METRO grant financially supported $5,000 worth of digitization of library resources through the Internet Archive.  However the project is broader in scope and utilized existing in-house staff and technology resources to increase access to law enforcement related resources through our catalog and in our digital collections. In support of this digitization project, we have begun working on increasing discoverability and access to our extensive collections on and about the NYPD and other police departments throughout the United States. The in-house portion is an ongoing project on which we will continue to work through the Fall 2016. Updates will be reported upon here.

Digitizing Policing with the Internet Archive

The main focus and expense of this project is the digitization of Law Enforcement News (LEN) which was continuously published from September 1975 through September 2005 by John Jay College of Criminal Justice. In its 30 years of publication, it produced 636 issues. These issues have been digitized by the Internet Archive with the support of this grant. Webpages listing each issue by decade of publication 1975-1979, 1980s, 1990s and 2000-2005 have also been created to facilitate browsing.

Two additional police related serials titles were selected for digitizationof a very similar content, but from decades earlier.  These publications feature the same type of articles as Law Enforcement News in that they were created by and for police officers and other law enforcement professionals.  These will appear soon on the Lloyd Sealy Library Page of the Internet Archive.

We note that this project builds upon earlier digitization projects, such as our our very first digital project, in 2006/2007 Crime in New York 1850-1950. We also have built upon our earlier projects with the Internet Archive,  including a METRO funded grant project Criminal Justice in New York (2012-2013) in which we digitized many Annual Reports of NY Prisons a few trial transcripts and some early NYPD Annual Reports, and  some of the images from these reports can be browsed on our digital collections. In 2014-2015, with the support of private donors, we digitized several early annual reports of other police departments, including:

Digitizing Policing at Lloyd Sealy Library

 We are currently in the process of arranging and describing our NYPD Collection, which includes materials which cannot be cataloged and/or are still in copyright. We have completed the arrangement and description and/or digitized selections from the following Manuscript Collections related to police and policing:

Cataloging Policing

In 2016 we have also focused efforts on cataloging ephemeral ‘grey literature’ publications which are still in copyright and arranging, describing and digitizing (when appropriate) fragile materials in our special collections room. Our NYPD Collection of archival material is still being arranged and described.  We have also been working with adjunct faculty member Marlene Kandel to identify items in the collection that can be cataloged as rare books. All of these NYPD ephemeral publications are not held by any other library, so requiring original catalog records. Some of the recently cataloged items may be found by searching New York (N.Y.). Police Academy or New York (N.Y.). Police Department in CUNY+. We have also identified many NYPD and other police department serial holdings in our cataloging backlog including departmental and police union magazines, newspapers, newsletters. We hope that these too can be cataloged soon.

Digitizing Policing was a project supported in part by a 2015/2016 METRO Digital Conversion Grant. A portion of staff resources to complete this project was supported by Student Tech Fee. This project was directed and carried out by Professor Ellen Belcher, Special Collections Librarian with the assistance of Professor Marlene Kandel, Cataloging Librarian. Additional indexing and metadata was compiled Q was completed by Professor Mark Zubarev, who also completed final quality assurance for Law Enforcement News. Professor Kathleen Collins assisted in collecting some metadata for Law Enforcement News. Professor Ellen Sexton directed the 2014/2015 project to digitize early police department annual reports.  This project was also supported in part by funds from the John Jay College Student Technology Fee.