General and Technical Information
Filing and Numbering System
The control and access needs of the court's privacy review and disclosure procedure required MDAH to account for every single item in the files. Accordingly, the system devised by MDAH generated a unique number for each scanned page. The MDAH number was assigned at the time the page was electronically imaged and incorporated into the database. This number is referred to as the Sovereignty Commission Records Document Identification Number (SCR ID #).
The Sovereignty Commission Records Document Identification Number (SCR ID #) consists of seven (7) parts and is based upon the original Commission classification and file numbering system.
The majority of the files were established and numbered by Commission staff using a classification sytem consisting of the following thirteen (13) subject categories:
Van Landingham lays out the filing system in SCR ID # 7-0-1-2-2-1-1
Additionally, the existence of unnumbered files necessitated MDAH to create three (3) artificial classifications:
File titles were transcribed verbatim from the original folders. In cases with no identification MDAH supplied a descriptive title in brackets.
MDAH established an additional classification number 50 for rebuttal files that were re-scanned and added to the collection as part of the court-ordered privacy review and disclosure process. Within this classification each individual's rebuttal is assigned a folder number with multiple volumes if necessary. For an explanation of rebuttal files see Rebuttal Files
Components of the SCR ID #
The Sovereignty Commission Records Document Identification Number breaks down as follows:
The re-scanned photographs are each uniquely identified. The numbering system is based on the existing seven-part Sovereignty Commission Identification Number (SCR ID#) assigned at the time of the initial scanning by MDAH in 1994-1995. However, originally the photographs were scanned in as pages, which meant that if several photographs were attached to the same page they received a single number. Each photograph has now been scanned in as a separate uniquely numbered item. The letters c-f have been appended to the seven-part number in cases when more than one photograph appeared on an original page. In addition, the letters "ph" have been added to all the re-scanned images to differentiate the new photograph scan from the original scan. For example, originally the four photographs attached to page 3-11-0-25-1-1-1 all shared that same number. They are now numbered as follows:
Personal names were indexed as they appeared in each document. As a result, variant spellings may exist for any name and it may not be sufficient to merely search for an individual using the most current or correct form of their name. Furthermore, there are no cross-references for names appearing in variant forms so searches need to be as broad and inclusive as possible to catch all permutations. For example, the following list shows how the first name and last name for a single individual may be formed/spelled in different ways.
Personal names in records created by the Sovereignty Commission were indexed by MDAH pursuant to American Civil Liberties Union v. Fordice, 969 F.Supp.403 (S.D.Miss.1994). For a brief chronology of the case see Agency History and Access Chronology
The court did not require that all names appearing in publications be indexed.
MDAH processed the records pursuant to American Civil Liberties Union v. Fordice, 969 F.Supp.403 (S.D.Miss.1994). To meet both the access needs and privacy stipulations of the court while maintaining the integrity of the originals, MDAH utilized an imaging system that provided an exact electronic copy coupled with an index. The court allowed individuals named in the files that met the court classification of "victim" certain privacy options. These options included the right to have identifying information permanently expunged from the records. A small number of privacy respondents chose to have information expunged. Once the court had approved these requests, MDAH electronically affixed redactions to the specified pages. Redactions appear as solid black boxes over portions of text or photographs. These distinct black boxes should not be confused with numerous markings on the original, such as underlining and scratching through of names (see example).
MDAH processed the records pursuant to American Civil Liberties Union v. Fordice, 969 F.Supp.403 (S.D.Miss.1994). The court allowed individuals named in the files that met the court classification of "victim" certain privacy options. These options included the right to submit rebuttal information. Ten privacy respondents chose to submit rebuttal information.The court did not require that all names appearing in rebuttals be indexed. Rebuttal folders can only be searched by folder title. However, in accordance with the court's directive, every page in which the name of a rebuttal respondent appears includes a note, which identifies the existence of and links to that respondent's rebuttal material.
Contrary to popular belief, only a very small number of individuals have entire files in their own names. Personal names do appear throughout the records; therefore a search by name of the individual will be necessary to locate all mentions of that individual scattered in various files. Also be aware of variant name spellings.
The original scans of the Sovereignty Commission documents were carried out during 1994-1995 to meet the provisions of American Civil Liberties Union v. Fordice, 969 F.Supp. 403 (S.D.Miss.1994). The scans were done as bilevel TIFFs with Group 4 compression. The resolution was 300 x 300. The images were held in an Oracle database.
In 2001, a process was begun to convert the images and their attendant indexing information to a web-friendly open-source format. This resulted in a conversion of the original scans to 8 color PNG Images (Portable Network Graphics). PNG was designed as the successor to GIF (Graphics Interchange Format) and is a totally open, non-proprietary, license and patent free graphic file format recommended by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C). Your Internet browser should automatically display and print images in the PNG file format. However, some browsers, especially very early versions (pre 1997) may not support PNG.
The indexing information for the Sovereignty Commission images is held in a Postgres database.
The conversion did not include going back to the original documents and re-scanning them. Instead, the previous scans were converted to a new format using software. Every attempt has been made to preserve the clarity of the original scan. However, the original scan itself was not always completely legible.
Image Size and Quality
The Sovereignty Commission files were filled with a variety of materials, including newspaper clippings and photographs. Some oversized newspaper articles were first photocopied at a reduced magnification and subsequently scanned. These will likely be difficult to read. It is recommended that, in cases where these published materials are not completely clear in the online version, patrons seek copies of them in other venues.
Comments were used to indicate the condition of the original documents, which include a vast number of Thermofax, onion-skin and newspaper prints of varying legibility. MDAH project staff found that they could sometimes enhance the quality by photocopying the original at various settings or magnifications and then scanning the copy. Photocopies were also used to manage some oversized items, such as newspapers. Other oversize items were managed by being scanned in portions (See SCR ID Part #). However, despite all best efforts to obtain legible scans image quality was often frustratingly poor. Below is an incomplete list of commonly appearing comments:
Published materials may also have comments that relay information about the publication date and source of the material.
Click here for an example of image shown in browser screen
In 2002 as part of preparations for the web-enabled version, all photographs containing no court-ordered redaction were re-scanned. The priority of the earlier court-ordered processing had been upon identifying individuals named in the records and not on the visual clarity of photographic images. The intent of the re-scanning project was to enhance the aesthetic quality and descriptive access to a component of the collection that was proving popular with the public yet difficult to search.
The files displayed in this online collection were derived from the larger high-resolution uncompressed TIFF images that were scanned from the original documents using an Epson Expression 1640XL scanner and Adobe Photoshop 4.0 LE. 736 images were scanned as grayscale and 177 were scanned in full color. The originals ranged in size from 664x780 pixels to 6045x4873 pixels. For web display the image files were converted to JPEG format and resized to 200px thumbnails, 300px display versions, and 800px detail versions.
Each re-scanned photograph was individually described by the processing archivist. The following metadata are supplied for each new image:
The Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Records are state government records made available to the public pursuant to American Civil Liberties Union v. Fordice, 969 F.Supp. 403 (S.D.Miss.1994). The web-enabled version of the Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Records is intended for public use in research, teaching, and private study in accordance with the provisions of the Fair Use clause of the United States Copyright Law (Title 17, U.S.C.). MDAH makes no warranty or assurances that materials contained in this collection are free from U.S. copyright claims or other restrictions on free use and display. It is the user's obligation to determine and satisfy copyright or other use restrictions when publishing or distributing materials found in this collection. MDAH requests that prior to publication of Sov. Com. images the user submit an MDAH Broadcast/Publication Permission form for approval by the Department. This form must be accompanied by documentation which proves that copyright requirements have been satisfied. Contact MDAH Reference Staff for details on how to obtain and complete the B/PP form: (601) 576 6876 or email@example.com. There are no MDAH Use Fees associated with use of Sov. Com. images. MDAH asks that each image used in a presentation, display, or publication be accompanied by a credit line, which at a minimum includes the name of this collection, the unique resource identifier for each image, the name of this institution, and URL. See Suggested Bibliographic Citation.
Cite images according to the following structure: Original Creator, "Title", Original creation date (if known), Unique Resource Identifier, Series Number and Title, Archival Repository, date of last web page revision, image location/URL, (image viewed on date).
Example, SCRID# 99-36-0-49-1-1-1: Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, "letter from Erle Johnston to Heber Ladner," April 7, 1964, SCRID# 99-36-0-49-1-1-1, Series 2515: Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Records, 1994-2006, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, April 20, 2006, <http://mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/contents/er/sovcom/result.php?image=/data/sov_commission/images/png/cd10/076413.png&otherstuff=99|36|0|49|1|1|1|75441|> (2013/05/07)
Example, Photograph re-scan id# 3-11-0-25-1-1-1-cph: Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission, "Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Photograph," May 11, 1967, SCRID# 3-11-0-25-1-1-1-cph, Series 2515: Mississippi State Sovereignty Commission Records, 1994-2006, Mississippi Department of Archives and History, April 20, 2006, <http://mdah.state.ms.us/arlib/contents/er/sovcom/sovcomphoto/photo.php?display=item&oid=318628> (2013/05/07)
High-resolution TIFFs of the images may be purchased from MDAH. The MDAH Public Order procedure and fee schedule apply. Consult the Photoreproduction and Digital Imaging policy or contact MDAH Reference Staff for order options as well as information on how to obtain and complete the necessary Public Order forms: (601) 576 6876 or firstname.lastname@example.org.