Infirmary: An Untold Story

Microfilm, Microfilm, Microfilm


For this project, my main focus lately has been working on digitizing records about the Wood County Infirmary from PDF’s. This is a rather time consuming task as each roll of microfilm takes around 8 hours of work to PDF. I’ve been picking and choosing from the 24 rolls of microfilm the ones with documents pertaining to my period of study. Therefore that has been the vast majority of my time spent on the project since I last checked in. In addition to the microfilm, I also have been working on getting newspaper articles about the infirmary from the opening of it (1869) to 1900.

The last couple weeks have helped me to narrow in my focus on the project. I feel as though originally the scope of my project was much to large to feasibly be completed in one semester’s time. Instead of focusing on everything to do with the infirmary that occurred during the over 100 years the infirmary was open, I am focusing on the beginning period of operation 1869-1900.

The GIS seminar was also very helpful to me. It gave me a few ideas as to how I want to go about putting my project into spatial context. I still want to map people and where they came from, but I also had a new idea. Instead of just mapping geographic space and people, I want to map use of space. The infirmary had many buildings and parts of buildings that were used for a variety of purposes. I want to map conceptual space. Female verse male space (gendered space). Also agricultural verse domestic space. Another aspect I hope to look at is employee space verse resident space. The superintendent and matron lived at the infirmary and employees did as well. Therefore they had their own space and utilized it for their own purposes. I’m curious how they maintained the divide between personal/private and work space while living at work.

One obstacle that I have found (and think will be the largest obstacle) is technology. I do not have any experience with website design or anything similar to it. I also have been just trying to experiment with the different digital tools to see what ones I like and what ones I think may be useful for my project. I feel as though there is a learning curve for me to get past for most of the tools. Although I do have a little GIS experience.

So far this has been quite the learning adventure. It has had familiar aspects as well as not so familiar ones. The future endeavors are to start making the maps and graphs, additional text analysis, and finishing up the microfilm pdfing.