by Jodi Kearns, Center for the History of Psychology
Since 2008, the Center for the History of Psychology (CHP) has been digitizing selected materials in partnership with the American Psychological Association.
Using a scanner with a book cradle and powerful cameras, almost 2000 of CHP’s rare and antique English-language books published between 1632 and 1963 were digitized. The scanners, managed by technicians, turned pages with a puff of air and a robotic arm while two Canon EOS mounted cameras captured high resolution TIFFs of both pages on the open face simultaneously. The scanning company cleaned and processed the images into PDFs and delivered them to American Association of Psychology (APA) who in turn delivered them back to the CHP. The oldest book digitized is the 1601 English translation of Robert Burton’s The Anatomy of Melancholy. These books are currently available onsite by request or in PsycBOOKS.
To date, we have digitized roughly 16,000 documents that are part of the CHP Special Interest collection, including military technical reports, organizational newsletters, conference proceedings, and directories. Some examples of materials digitized are bulletins from International Council of Women Psychologists, newsletters from the Athenian Institute of Anthropos, and directories from the Society for Freedom in Science. Digitized grey literature documents continue to be released in PsycEXTRA.
Around 2,000 paper-and-pencil test from the CHP Test Center have been digitized. These tests include psychological examinations, interest surveys, vocational tests, academic achievement exams, intelligence scales, and aptitude tests; all tests digitized are either in the public domain or have been digitized under agreements with original content owners. One of the oldest digitized tests is the Frasier Writing Scale, 1904. Digitized tests documents continue to be released in PsycTESTS.
The original three digitization projects continue, and the CHP/APA collaboration is on the threshold of the newest project to include videos and films from the CHP Moving Image collection. Some possible candidates for this project are of films include military training films like Cadet Classification (1943), demonstrations films like Frances K. Graham’s 1940s Behavior Tests for the Newborn, and home movies like Michael Wertheimer’s 1950s 8mm film that were given a soundtrack 40 years after the original recording with his personal narrative.
Search CHP collections using our online repository, here.
We add new records to our online repository every day and from every one of our collections, not just those described as part of Digital Projects. We have some limitations concerning copyright and contracts that prohibit us from making all of our digital objects available in the repository, but you can search it for information about those documents that have already received records. To date, we are nearing 50,000 available records. If you find documents in the system that you would like to view, please send a reference request to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can discuss making those items available to you for research.