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Southward, Ho! The Microfilm South David Moltke-Hansen The revolution is quiet, but its impact is resounding. Access to the southern historical record has been expanding dramatically not only for graduate students and their professors but also for historic site interpreters, journalists, novelists, local and family historians , Civil War buffs, and others. If you're thinking about cd-rom, think again. Microforms have been precipitating the change. The revolution began long before the information age and its new technologies. Starting some sixty years ago, it accelerated rapidly twenty -five or so years later and reached a new stage in the last decade-and-a-half. In the beginning the federal government and the Mormon Church led the revolution . State archives and university libraries became the principal microfilmers in the second stage. Most recently, micropublishers have joined the leadership just as federal support has increased substantially. One micropublisher has been particularly enterprising in this most recent phase of the microform revolution in the South: University Publication of America (UPA). Adding significantly to what southern researchers can get on microfilm are three UPA projects: Records ofAnte-Bellum Southern Plantations: From the Revolution Through the Civil War, Records of Ante-Bellum Southern Industries, and Southern Women and Their Families in the 19th Century: Papers and Diaries. Together, when completed, these three titles will include some 2.2 million frames, or about 3.3 million pages, from 800 collections spanning more than 200 years—a huge amount, but still less than one-thousandth of what has been microfilmed in the South. Researchers would appear to have reason to celebrate. Yet this expansion of the microform South does not resolve a long-term problem: researchers' difficulty in accessing most microforms. With no central repository for microforms of the region and no overall guides to the microforms of interest to researchers focussing on particular geographic areas, time periods, populations, or other subjects, would-be microform users still must consult dozens of sources to determine even a portion of what is available for purchase or interlibrary loan in microform. Online registries of microform masters, provided by the Research Libraries Information Network (RLIN) and the Online Computer Library Center (OCLC), include only partial, and substantially different, glimpses of the entire microform South. Libraries have just begun to enter their holdings of copies of microformed titles or sets into their online catalogs and the national bibliographic utilities. Many state and local government units and historical societies in the region do not register their film masters . And those that have joined libraries in doing so have yet to register most of the film produced before 1989. Few institutions compile lists of their own microform holdings or issues either. Moreover, just because a microform title is listed does not mean that it is gen- 282Southern Cultures erally available. A remarkable number of institutions do not make many of their microforms available for purchase or loan. To help researchers deal with these problems, "Southward, Ho!" proposes to occasionally focus a spotlight on one or another portion of the microform South and to bring attention to related research issues. So, we invite scholars, archivists, librarians, or others to report on their knowledge of parts of the microform South. In doing so, of course, they will be giving updates that soon will be out of date. The territory is growing at such a rapid rate that no one can keep up. Recently, University Publications of America has been doing as much as any commercial publisher to keep reporters on the microform South both employed and frustrated . UPA's first and largest southern series, Ante-Bellum Southern Plantations, is slightly more than two-thirds complete and so far has 1,068 reels from a dozen institutions in six states, from Maryland to Texas, and the District of Columbia. Represented, in whole or in part, are 454 manuscript collections, ranging from single diaries or letters to huge family archives taking up to sixty-nine reels of film apiece. Project General Editor Kenneth Stampp's influential 1956 work, The Peculiar Institution: Slavery in the Ante-Bellum South, cited only a third as many collections, and Eugene Genovese's magisterial Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made...


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pp. 281-287
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