LEWISTON — The Franco-American Collection at the University of Southern Maine has announced the launch of its new online catalogue.

It is now possible to search the collection at the item level for the first time. Visitors to the site, powered by the Past Perfect museum software, can choose to browse items in the collection, bring up random records or research the collection’s holdings through search tools.

Over 1,500 records were added to the catalogue for its initial launch, and more are being added on a regular basis. This is just a fraction of the many thousands of items in the collection, but it allows researchers to access the collection’s holdings in unprecedented detail.

“What we have online so far is only a small part of the whole collection” said Collection Coordinator James Myall. “Many of our best images were selected for the initial upload, but we’ll be adding new items on a regular basis. We have a small team of volunteers and students digitizing new material weekly.”

The current online offerings include records from the many parts of the collection, its rare book library, archival materials, photographs and artifacts.

New additions will focus first on the collection’s photographs, of which more than 600 are available for viewing.

The online catalogue will be of interest to those researching local history, since many Lewiston-Auburn sites and buildings are represented, as well as events like the New Auburn fire, the Androscoggin flood of 1936 and World War II.

Some 850 people are represented in the catalogue for its launch. Many are local Franco-Americans, but non-Francos also appear, as do notable individuals from around the world, from Muhammad Ali to Margaret Chase-Smith and Pope Pius IX.

Visitors to the site have the option of emailing the collection for more information about a particular item, adding their own feedback or of ordering a reprint of a particular photograph.

To view the online catalogue, visit www.usm.maine.edu/franco. For more information, contact Myall at [email protected] or 753-6545.


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