Content Selection Guide for the Clements Texas Papers Project

The Clements Texas Papers is curated collection of digitized documents from four different physical source collections: Governor Clements’ first and second term papers, along with his campaign and personal papers. The Clements Texas Papers represents only a fraction of the materials contained in the source collections, but the structure and metadata of the digital items you’ll find here are fully consistent with the structure and citation data of the original sources.


Source Collections

Governor William P. Clements, Jr. Official State Papers, 1st and 2nd Term consist primarily of administrative papers and correspondence, press releases, budget, planning and general counsel documents. The second term papers contain a much higher percentage of appointment letters and press materials than do the first term papers.

The William P. Clements Campaign Records, 1977-1989 and addenda, containing material from all three of Gov. Clements’ gubernatorial campaigns, consist of election correspondence, memos, and press materials relating to Gov. Clements’ three gubernatorial campaigns.

Finally, the William Clements, Jr. Personal Papers and addenda consist mainly of correspondence to and from Clements and papers from his time as Secretary of Defense.

Finding aids for the source collections, all housed at Texas A&M’s Cushman Library, are available at this link.


Project Scope

As part of the planning process, Briscoe digital projects team set a target of approximately 15,000 total items for the Clements Texas Papers, identified key user groups, and developed uniform criteria for item selection. Our overarching goal was to create a digital corpus incorporating items of highest value to key users groups while remaining broadly representative of the source collections as a whole. None of the source collections are under copyright or subject to legal restrictions, and given its recent provenance, the source material is generally in good physical condition.


Target User Groups

The Clements Texas Papers was created with the following user groups in mind:

  • Scholars and professional researchers, who will be interested in features like multiple points of access and linked open data capabilities, powerful faceted searching, and the ability to download metadata OCR and XML streams for use on other DH platforms,
  • Instructors and students, who will be interested in lesson plans and other features that leverage some of the site’s richest archival content,
  • Users with casual interest in Governor Clements, Texas political history and/or national defense policy, who will be interested in features like the site’s introductory essay and Themebook.


Collection/Item Evaluation Criteria

Before undertaking individual item selection, the project team surveyed the source collections at the box level to identify areas of each collection most likely to contain records of highest interest value to the user groups identified above.

After identifying boxes of highest potential interest value, the source items they contained were individually evaluated and scored holistically based on the following criteria:

  1. Use value: the usefulness or significance of an item’s content for primary user groups,
  2. Contextual value: the usefulness of an item for contextualizing other items in the collection,
  3. Representative value: how well an item represents the strengths of its source collection,
  4. Evidential value: the extent to which an item yields information about the origins, functions and activities of its creator,
  5. Intrinsic value: an item’s unique aesthetic or artistic quality, singular physical features, or association with historically significant people, events or institutions,
  6. Existing coverage: the extent to which an item is already available online.

Source items that scored above a preset threshold were flagged and provisionally described for digitization. The only notable exceptions to this evaluative approach to item selection were Governor Clements’ appointment letters from both his first and second terms. These letters comprise the largest discrete segment of his gubernatorial papers, and document some of his appointments to state agencies, task forces, boards and commissions. Because these letters are so numerous and consistent in both format and content, the digitization team employed a random sampling approach in order to create a representative sample of a much larger corpus.