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Dr. John Nietz

Dr. John Nietz

The founder of the Nietz Old Textbook Collection, the late Professor Emeritus John A. Nietz, was born near Toledo, Ohio in 1888. He earned an A.B. degree at Ohio Northern University in 1914, his M.A. at Ohio State University in 1919, and a Ph.D. in Education at the University of Chicago in 1933. During his stay at the University of Chicago, Nietz studied under the famous philosopher and educational theorist, John Dewey.

Dr. Nietz spent much of his career at the University of Pittsburgh teaching in the School of Education. When he retired in 1958, he founded the Nietz Old Textbook Collection by donating his 9,000 volume library of early primary and secondary school texts. He had acquired the texts to demonstrate the history of teaching in the early years of the United States. During his career, Dr. Nietz directed or advised over 30 dissertations and master's theses based upon the collection. Dr. Nietz died in 1970.

Since its establishment, the collection has grown to over 16,000 volumes through gifts and purchases.

Creation of the Digital Collection

The idea of creating a digital library of items selected from the Nietz Old Textbook Collection was explored by the Digital Research Library Planning Working Group. Members of the working group started scanning full color images of book pages in October 1997. As a proof of concept, three books were scanned and processed for Web display.

In 1999, the project was re-designed to provide page images as well as searchable text, using methodologies borrowed from the Historic Pittsburgh Full-Text Collection. A sample of thirty titles was selected for scanning by an imaging vendor. Searchable text was generated from the images through use of PrimeRecognition, batch OCR software. The text was encoded automatically in SGML. For detailed description of selection criteria, legal issues, tools, techniques, vendors and software incorporated in the production of searchable text, please visit the Historic Pittsburgh Web site.



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19th Century Schoolbooks is hosted by the University of Pittsburgh Library System's Digital Research Library.

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Last updated: September, 2001

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