For quite some time now, I have been frustrated by the lack of easy access to Dover’s historical records: old Town Reports, reports produced by various committees: school, church, selectmen, things related to town-wide celebrations, as well as the few books written about Dover’s history.
For a long, long time, these records were available at the Town Library. After the re-arrangement of the library, these materials were housed in the workroom, but now they are... somewhere else. I’ve inquired about these materials and was told that they were too fragile in some cases, and too unique to just be out on the shelves now. Granted, I understand; most of this material is one-of-a-kind. Hence, I have a suggestion: how about the Dover Library and the Dover Historical Society initiate a project to scan this material into a searchable data base that would then be available on both of their websites and/or the Town’s website. This way, all interested parties could have easy access to this material.
Back in the day, materials like this would have ended up on microfiche, or microfilm. But building a digital database is an even better way of preserving and disseminating historical information.
As we sit in Dover today and address issues, it would be very enlightening to be able to go and read old Town Reports or other records to see what the history of these issues is; how many times has the Town addressed a certain issue? What action did it take on the issue? Why did it do something, why did it not do something? What was the discussion concerning the issue? And wouldn’t it just be wonderful if these materials were indexed, so you could search the database by name, and subject? Such things are possible.
Ah, the stuff of which dreams are made.