Discussions on the art and craft of research

Category: Digitization

Charles Shain Library Digitization Series: Garbage Gazette gets uploaded to Internet Archive

By Abby Ricklin 

The Library would like to announce yet another valuable Connecticut State publication has been digitized and ready to view on Internet Archive. The Garbage Gazetteis a small yet information backed newsletter that was published by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection and ran from 1982 until 2005. The effort was truly a collaborative one. The earliest issue in the Shian library’s holdings was Vol. 6, no. 1 (Jan. 1987), but with the assistance of the Connecticut State Library, Kent State University Libraries, and Internet Archive; we were able to collect issues from Vol. 3, no. 5 (June 1984) to Vol. 23, no.4 (July-October 2004). 

It was decided to digitize this collection due to Connecticut College and community interest in trash disposal. Due to the closing of the Materials Innovation and Recycling Authority (MIRA) facility in Hartford nears its closure public interest in garbage disposal has increased to say the least. 

Issued since 1982 by the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (CT DEP), Solid Waste Management Unit, the Garbage Gazette was a state-issued periodical focused on waste minimization and recycling. The gazette contained occasional numbering errors, with some issues published in combined form. In January 2005, Garbage Gazette became part of CT DEP’s free Pollution Prevention newsletter, P2 View. The P2 View: Pollution Prevention View: A Newsletter from the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection would include a section called “Recycling Round-Up” that would focus on recycling and waste issues. If researchers have an interest to check out the P2 View periodical it can be found in the Connecticut State Library’s online catalog:

What I found interesting about this publication is not only how they talk about trash, but the design of the newsletter itself. Compare the early days of the 1980’s to the 2000’s designs. 

Garbage Gazette in 1984.
Garbage Gazette in 2004.

Or check out this nifty piece of artwork in the February 1987 issue.

Garbage Gazette artwork in the February 1987 issue.

This particular pretty design promotes a “New Leaf Composting Regulation” from issue March 1994.

Garbage Gazette design promotes “New Leaf Composting Regulation” in March 1994 issue.

I also appreciated the little graphics that they inserted for the holiday issues. You’ll just have to check out the digital collection to find them! 

To give some context on the importance of garbage in Connecticut, according to the March 1985 issue of the Garbage Gazette:

Waste-to-energy facilities are receiving more and more attention on a local, state and national level. Often, the public perception concerning these facilities appears to be that these plants offer a more complete solution to our waste disposal problems than they actually do. For instance, contrary to many expectations, waste-to-energy facilities will not eliminate the need for:

1. Landfills

2. Recycling.

The closure of the MIRA plant has people rethinking how to approach their trash and we can tell that this issue has been on the mind of CT DEP since 1982. 

Another interesting factoid that can be found in the Garbage Gazette is in the June 1984 issue. When “In early 1983, the Town of Vernon (pop. 28,000) initiated a voluntary drop-off recycling program for mixed waste paper” (p. 1). This was done to keep costs low as it was, “The town’s goal was to reduce its solid waste disposal costs, which were then about $13.50/ton. This figure included the $12/ton (now $13/ton) tipping fee at the – Refuse Gardens Landfill in Ellington and a $1.50/ton hauling cost to the landfill” (p. 1). Now compare that tipping fee of $12-13/ton in 1984 to today’s tipping fee of $103-111/ton of solid waste. Pretty amazing difference!! 

Being able to digitize this periodical brings a valuable resource into the light and it will be much more accessible to those interested in recycling and composting history. I am a firm believer in knowing the past helps know what the future holds. Being able to compare solid waste costs gives us a chance to rediscover old information and make it new. 

Library Digitization Project Provides Access to a Rich Collection of Connecticut’s Environmental History


A period of Connecticut’s environmental history is preserved in a little-known state bulletin that Connecticut College Libraries are thrilled to announce has now been digitized in a user-friendly and publicly accessible format on Internet Archive. The completion of the Citizens’ Bulletin digitization project is a welcome addition to the Libraries’ already solid holdings in environmental studies

Like many periodical publications, Citizens’ Bulletin went through a number of name changes over the course of its 18 years in print — DEP Citizens’ Bulletin (10/1973 – 12/1975), Citizens’ Bulletin (1/1976 – 6/1988), and finally Connecticut Environment: The Citizens’ Bulletin of the Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (7/1988 – 6/1991). We have chosen to refer to the publication in general as Citizens’ Bulletin, since that name is present in each of the three variant tiles.  

Citizens’ Bulletin was a monthly publication (11 issues per year) of the newly formed Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection (established in 1971) that began significantly in the heyday of environmentalism in 1973, three years after the first Earth Day. The Bulletin endured several brief print stoppages along the way, and continued publication until its end due to state budget cuts in 1991. The inaugural issue in October 1973 laid out the publication’s mission: “to give you the information you need to participate in decisions affecting the quality of our environment.”

Bulletin History

That Citizens’ Bulletin began publication in 1973 is significant, because that was the year of a major international oil crisis that fueled an explosion of creative environmental thinking in North America. That environmental thinking is well documented in library catalogs nationwide, and it remains relevant to this day. To see examples of these ideas, direct your web browser to an online library catalog of your choice, type in a search for the words solar or energy, for example, and limit to documents published between the years of say 1973 and 1980 (e.g. Shain Library or Connecticut State Library).

Following Rachel Carson’s 1962 publication of Silent Spring, and fresh on the heels of the 1968 circulation of the influential Earthrise photos of planet earth from outer space, the environmental movement, and in turn the pages of Citizens’ Bulletin, present us with an inspiring array of new ideas about how to live on a changing planet. From air pollution, cars, and land trusts, to recycling, solar energy, and wetlands protection, virtually all of the major environmental issues and policies of today can be traced back to the now decades-old pages of Citizens’ Bulletin.

The Connecticut College Connection

Connecticut College Arboretum on the cover of the June 1984 issue of Citizens' Bulletin.

Connecticut College Arboretum on the cover of the June 1984 issue of Citizens’ Bulletin.

Environmental conservation efforts right here at Connecticut College are documented in the pages of Citizens’ Bulletin. In addition to a cover story on The Connecticut [College] Arboretum in the June 1984 issue that makes the College’s presence in the Bulletin’s history explicit, wetlands protection is a topic addressed throughout the Bulletin’s history, from the first issue to the last, leaving the College’s role implicit throughout. The implicit role can better be understood by recognizing the environmental leadership of professor emeritus William Niering (1924-1999), who advocated for the passage of landmark legislation to protect Connecticut’s wetlands.

First, was the passage of the 1969 Tidal Wetlands Act (see Niering’s ’69 testimony here).  In celebrating the 50th anniversary of this Act, the Connecticut Department of Energy and Environmental Protection (DEEP) pays special tribute to Niering’s “significant contributions.” In 1972, just a year before the launch of Citizens’ Bulletin, Niering advocated for the passage of the Inland Wetlands and Watercourses Act (IWWA; see Niering’s ‘72  testimony here), considered by DEEP to be one of the top 40 environmental accomplishments of the past 40 years. 

Wetlands on the cover of the February 1987 issue of Citizens' Bulletin.

Wetlands on the cover of the February 1987 issue of Citizens’ Bulletin.

In 1987, when the IWWA act was amended, just a few years before the Bulletin would cease publication, Niering testified again on behalf of wetlands protection (click here for Niering’s ‘87 testimony). Hence, the entire print-run of the Bulletin is virtually bookended between important wetlands legislation that was championed right here at Connecticut College. Over the years, there were cover stories on wetlands in the March 1976, December 1977, January 1978, May 1984, and the February 1987 issues, which all bear a trace of Niering’s impact. 

Summary of Digitization

Citizens’ Bulletin was discovered serendipitously in the stacks of the Charles E. Shain Library at Connecticut College around August 2017, when news organizations briefly turned their attention towards New London, Connecticut, to learn that Maggie Redfern of The Connecticut College Arboretum was defending her un-mowed lawn before a hearing in front of the city’s blight officer.  That’s when staff at Shain Library noticed the article “A Few Beautiful Reasons Not to Cut the Grass” by

"A Few Beautiful Reasons Not to Cut the Grass" featured in the September 1989 issue of Citizens' Bulletin.

“A Few Beautiful Reasons Not to Cut the Grass” featured in the September 1989 issue of Citizens’ Bulletin.

Carol Rettenmeyer of the Connecticut State Museum of Natural History in the September 1989 issue of Citizens’ Bulletin, and realized there was more context to the no-mow topic than was immediately apparent in the news. This unexpected connection that was made in the library stacks set the initial spark for thinking about the value of making Citizens’ Bulletin available in a new way by digitizing the whole thing. 

It turns out Shain Library’s print holdings of Citizens’ Bulletin only go back to 1979. Having received permission from the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection to digitize and make publicly available the entire print run (Chris Collibee, personal communication, January 8, 2019) meant we would need to find the rest of the back issues in another library. Fortunately, according to WorldCat both the Connecticut State Library and UCONN’s Library hold collections of back issues, and the State Library was happy to let us scan from theirs. 

Connecticut College student Rachel Haines '20 scans an issue of Citizens' Bulletin in Shain Library.

Connecticut College student Rachel Haines ’20 scans an issue of Citizens’ Bulletin in Shain Library.

So began an effort to scan the State Library’s issues from 1973 to 1979, and Shain Library’s issues from 1979 to 1991. At the State Library a  Scannx Book ScanCenter 6167 flatbed scanner was used to scan all issues in readable (OCR) form. At Shain Library, the remaining issues were scanned using a KIC Bookeye 4 V2 scanner set to 400 DPI. Many thanks to Rachel Haines ’20 for handling the vast majority of scanning in Shain Library during the summer of 2019. And many thanks to Lori Looney, Technical Services and E-Resources Specialist, for handling the vast majority of uploading  to Internet Archive during the fall 2019 semester.

Directions for Future Research

The discovery of Citizens’ Bulletin in the stacks of Shain Library is evidence of a slogan I am occasionally heard repeating — there are hidden treasures in Shain Library (see p.9). The more creative and interpretive rigor we bring to bear on our library collections, naturally, the more we will be able to appreciate their tremendous riches. Given the way Citizens’ Bulletin brings together a diverse array of truly global environmental concerns and grounds them in issues and policies affecting Connecticut towns, makes this digitization project a research tool of potential interest to those concerned with the “global-local engagement” component of the College’s Connections curriculum.

The Citizens’ Bulletin collection on Internet Archive could be of research interest to budding scholars in ConnCourses, the Critical Interpretation and Analysis Mode of Inquiry courses, the Goodwin-Niering Center for the Environment, the Museum Studies Certificate Program, the Social Justice and Sustainability Pathway, as well as to so many other people from diverse backgrounds. Anyone with an interest in the environment and its protection in Connecticut will find a wealth of historical context in the pages of Citizens’ Bulletin. Though, it does leave one to wonder why so little has changed since the days when this wonderful little Bulletin was still circulating. Alas, why not take this opportunity to start reading it again and we can pick up right where we left off?

Accessing Our Local Newspaper, The Day: Challenges and Opportunities

“Digitizing The Day’s back issues is a dream I haven’t given up on.”

-John Ruddy, Copy Desk Chief at The Day

Connecticut College appears on page four of the 450-page history of our local newspaper, The Day Paper: The Story of One of America’s Last Independent Newspapers. This is because in 1911 the newspaper’s early and prominent publisher, Theodore Bodenwein, championed the cause of establishing Connecticut College for Women in New London at a time when other Connecticut towns were vying for the opportunity to host the new college.

Unfortunately for anyone who wants to fact-check the newspaper’s coverage at the time (i.e. October 19, 1911), or any other historical issue, your best bet is to make a trip down to the Public Library of New London (PLNL), where they maintain a complete run of The Day back to 1881 on microfilm.  The PLNL website even claims they are “the only repository in the world with a complete record of the paper.” While that seems mostly true, it is also the case that the Waterford Public Library, the Groton Public Library, the Connecticut State Library, and The Day itself combined have pieces of what amounts to a second or third microfilm copy of the newspaper’s back issues. Not to mention the film negatives allegedly stored at ProQuest that are used in the creation of the microfilm in the first place. All of these copies combined, however, still amount to a rather precarious legacy for our local paper.

Day index by Groton Public Library

Day on microfilm at PLNL  Day index 1881-1890
The Day on microfilm along with a few incomplete print indexes at the Public Library of New London.

The date of October 19, 1911, cited in The Day Paper makes for an interesting example, because it is not covered by the pieces of The Day that were digitized by Google when the company aspired to scan everything in every library; a project that was abandoned in haste without explanation some years ago. At least that’s how The Day‘s Copy Desk Chief John Ruddy recalls the relationship when he described it to me in recent communications. Ruddy estimates that Google scanned about a third of the paper, “but the gaps are random and unpredictable.”

It was only when I asked Ruddy how anyone can make an authoritative claim about what is, or is not, printed in The Day without systematic access to all of its contents, that he explained how he uses the microfilm in conjunction with several incomplete indexes in existence:

  • a card file maintained from 1929 to 1977 by librarians at The Day
  • a system of story clippings from 1977 to around 2000 also at The Day
  • incomplete print indexes available in local public libraries covering the years 1881-1890, with a partial index to one or two decades later in the 1900s

card file at The Day

Conn College entry in the card file at The Day.

Most of the cabinets that makeup The Day’s card and clipping files.









Budding researchers may be surprised to learn The Day is not free and it is not all online.  It has been cut up with scissors over the years into little pieces of paper folded into envelopes and documented by hand on index cards that are organized  in the drawers of some filing cabinets in an office almost no one still uses, while other components were bound between book covers, photographed, microfilmed, and/or digitized in haste and incompletely, some of it available on the internet for you to puzzle over.  The rest of it is buried until someone comes along to sort it all out, assuming the various scattered pieces will last that long. Besides, who would do such a thing? How long would it take? How much would it cost? How come no one does it?

We have to ask these questions as a starting place in the hope that someday something will happen. Hopefully someone will find a grant or a benefactor and connect with the right people to help advance a project like realizing the complete digitization of The Day.

As part of the National Digital Newspaper Program, the Connecticut Digital Newspaper Project has been working in this direction, to be sure, but each NEH grant received only provides for the digitization of a small portion of one or several papers in a state that has seen the publication of some 1,600 newspapers since the 1700s. One outstanding example is the Hartford Courant which has been well-digitized from 1764-1991, albeit by ProQuest rather than the public, and is available through a database via the CT State Library.

For my part, I have talked with stakeholders at area public libraries and now The Day itself about possibly getting a group together to return to the massive project of indexing the entire paper. At least then we would have a means of making efficient use of the microfilm available at PLNL. Ruddy at The Day told me that if I do resume work on the index, then I should focus on the period from 1890 to 1929, which given the tools available is the hardest portion of the paper to search, in his view.

As for access today, in addition to the abovementioned, here’s what we have:

—Andrew Lopez

Harvesting Gov Docs Locally for Preservation and Discovery

On Wednesday January 10, I had the privilege of presenting the following poster at the annual CTW* Retreat:

Harvesting Gov Docs Locally for Preservation & Discovery. Poster presented at CTW Retreat 10 Jan. 2018.

Harvesting Gov Docs Locally for Preservation & Discovery. Poster presented at CTW Retreat 10 Jan. 2018.

A quick summary of the chart featured prominently in the center of the poster, which is copied from James A. Jacobs’ report Born-Digital U.S. Federal Government Information: Preservation and Access,” and which was re-presented in his October 2017 presentation with James R. Jacobs called “Government Information: Everywhere and Nowhere,” provides an easy way to understand the nature of the problem.

Scope of the Preservation Challenge. Source: Jacobs, 2014.

Scope of the Preservation Challenge. Source: Jacobs, 2014.

The first column represents the number of items distributed by the Government Publishing Office (GPO) to Federal Depository Library Program (FDLP) libraries in 2011 (appx. 10,200 items). The second column represents the total number of items distributed by GPO to FDLP over its entire 200 year history (appx. 2-3 million items). The third column is the number of URLs harvested by the 2008 End of Term crawl (appx. 160 million URLs).

Clearly, the scope of government information produced outside of the GPO and FDLP is very large. So large in fact that what is produced online each year makes the entire 200 year history of the Depository Library Program look like a drop in the bucket. This vast array of online government  information can be called fugitive. No one knows how much born-digital government information has been created or where it all is.

At Connecticut College, Lori Looney and I are exploring ways of being proactive about this situation through our role in the FDLP. While we are unable to participate in large-scale digitization projects, we have nonetheless adopted this idea of being proactive in the FDLP from some of the ideas sketched out in Peter Hernon and Laura Saunders’ College & Research Libraries article “The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023: One Perspective on the Transition to the Future.” We see their proactive approach as preferable to withdrawing from the program altogether or assuming a more passive role within it that would maintain the status quo. We describe our adoption of this approach in our essay “Experience of a New Government Documents Librarian,” published in Susan Caro’s book Government Information Essentials.

Our latest activity addressed by the poster consists of several easy steps that librarians everywhere can do in their own libraries:

  • Keep track of your favorite websites and online publications, and make sure their URLs are captured in the Internet Archive’s Wayback Machine
  • Add rare, hard-to-find, and/or local government documents to your library catalog, as well as digitizing those that are not already available online, and upload them to Internet Archive, ideally with as much catalog metadata as possible
  • Advocate for the long-term value of seemingly obscure government information and help spread the word that short-term ease of accessibility actually masks the major problems associated with long-term preservation, access, and usability

Some of the documents we harvested in this capacity (see a few examples below) are local government publications that may not be easy to find online and which may not be accessible through any other library catalog anywhere. By finding them, adding them to Internet Archive, downloading them, physically adding them to our collection, and adding records to OCLC/WorldCat we are actively supporting preservation and discovery.

Hodges Square creativeplacemaking master plan_Page_01    

2017_draft_comprehensiveenergystrategy_Page_001    NEW LONDON DOWNTOWN TRANSPORTATION AND PARKING STUDY 2017_Page_001


This is a very small way of responding to the very large problem of web preservation in general. However, as a small institution with a selective collection of government publications, it is a practical strategy for contributing to the efforts of larger institutions involved with the fascinating and complex problems like the End of Term (EOT) Web Archive.


—Andrew Lopez


Works Consulted

Hernon, Peter, and Laura Saunders. “The Federal Depository Library Program in 2023: One Perspective on the Transition to the Future.” College and Research Libraries 70, no. 4 (2009): 351–70.

Jacobs, James A. “Born-Digital U.S. Federal Government Information: Preservation and Access.” Center for Research Libraries: Global Resources Collections Forum, 17 Mar. 2014.

Jacobs, James A., and James R. Jacobs. “Government Information: Everywhere and Nowhere.” Livestream web-based presentation to Government Publications Librarians of New England (GPLNE), 24 Oct. 2017.

Lopez, Andrew and Lori Looney. “Experience of a New Government Documents Librarian.” Government Information Essentials. Ed. Susanne Caro. Chicago: ALA Editions, 2018. 13-20.

Seneca, Tracy, Abbie Grotke, Cathy Nelson Hartman, and Kris Carpenter. “It Takes a Village to Save the Web: The End of Term Web Archive.” DttP: Documents to the People (Spring 2012): 16-23.


*CTW is the library consortium between Connecticut College, Trinity College, and Wesleyan University

Postcards from New London

In the past few months, we’ve added a new collection to the Linda Lear Center for Special Collections & Archives’ growing portfolio of digital exhibitions: a collection of postcard images of various New London landmarks, buildings, monuments, parks and neighborhoods, primarily from the first few decades of the 20th century. The physical postcards had been donated in 1980 by Muriel Castle, a 1939 graduate of the College. The images on display include the Coast Guard Academy, New London’s historic Hempsted Houses, Fort Trumbull, numerous churches, area lighthouses and notable buildings such as the Mohican Hotel and the Crocker House. The collection can be viewed here; there’s also an article about it on the Lear Center’s Tumblr site (at

New London Harbor LightBank Street

It’s probably a fairly safe bet that quite a few more people will access the postcards now that they’ve been digitized, although I hasten to add the disclaimer that what’s currently available is only a portion of the entire collection. That in itself is a key reason to continue digitizing, cataloging and promoting collections such as this one.

Second CongregationalJohn Winthrop Statue

Further, as I learned through this process, postcards are a multifaceted treasure trove of historical and sociocultural information. In addition to what’s kind of obvious about them — historical photographs of particular times and places in New London — the postcards display clues about dress, transportation, architecture, religion and government. Because we’ve digitized and included the reverse sides of the postcards (i.e., where people wrote messages), the cards can also give us insight into how people communicated with each other during the time period, and about the places to which people wrote and traveled. And again, because the images are digitized and freely available, this information is now theoretically available to anyone, not just those who are able to come to Connecticut College and visit with our archivists.

It’s also notable that the exhibition is an example of librarians’ — or, really, anyone’s — ability to create a collection, and thus to contribute content to the pool of resources for scholarly comment and knowledge creation. As the field called “digital humanities” expands, what’s becoming clear is that traditional roles are changing as publishing tools become more and more digital — and accessible. This development raises a lot of issues for research — such as how these “objects” can be cataloged, collected and found — that we’ll be sure to address in future posts.

But perhaps discussions of the wider research significance of digital collections ought for the moment to take a back seat to appreciation of the rich possibilities of a particular collection. In these postcards, we discovered quite a range of topics worthy of research and study — and many interesting, beautiful images that can simply be enjoyed. We hope the collection will serve both ends.

— Fred Folmer

© 2024 ResearchScapes

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑