Contra Costa County History Center’s Public Access Computer Terminal (PACT) Expanded and Demonstrated


Contra Costa County History Center’s Public Access Computer Terminal (PACT) Expanded and Demonstrated

Scan-a-Thon to be held March 18, 2017

Contact: Priscilla Couden, Executive Director– 925-229-1042

With precision and well-deserved pride, last week long-term volunteer Bill Mero demonstrated the latest additions he’s made to the Contra Costa County History Center’s Public Access Computer Terminals (PACT).  The occasion was a quarterly workshop held for the benefit of the some 30 volunteers of the Center, which operates Tuesdays through Thursdays and the 3rd Saturday of the month in Contra Costa County’s county seat, Martinez.

The workshop’s purpose was to train the volunteers to help the increasing number of visitors who come in to use the PACT and to celebrate the arrival of a second computer and terminal due to the generosity of the Martinez Community Foundation.  With new, larger screens and increased search capability, the History Center’s digitized photographs, 19th century newspapers and maps, as well as a general search of the History Center’s database, the PACT also makes it possible to access such things as several book-length Histories of Contra Costa County, Nilda Rego’s columns, and many other documents in the archive, the PACT is truly a marvel made possible in great part by Bill Mero’s own scanning and digital photography, along with the help of many other volunteers in the scanning process.

Bill has almost single-handedly created the interfaces for searching the database and making it possible for visitors to get started on their genealogical or other sorts of journeys that may be made on the PACT, generally the jumping off point for doing research in the archives.

One exception to this has been the recent scanning of the County’s Deed Indexes of Grantors and Grantees that have recently been scanned on the Society’s large format scanner by volunteer Scott Saftler.

The History Center is grateful to the Martinez Community Foundation’s (MCF) funding both for the new computer and monitors for the PACT, but also for the original computer and monitor setup.  A media center including microfiche records is another project the MCF has funded over the years.  “The PACT is really a great resource that we would like to be known as widely as possible,” said Executive Director Priscilla Couden. “We are so fortunate that the MCF has been interested in this project from the beginning.”

The public is invited to visit and use the PACT as well as to participate in the History Center’s Scan-a-Thon to be held on Saturday, March 18.  On that day, photos and documents may be scanned on one of our several scanners, including our large format (18x24) scanner.  Once scanned, you may choose to leave your original materials with the Center or to take them home, as long as the Center can add digital copies of the documents to its archives.  The Center will be open on March 18 from 10-3.  You may sign up for the Scan-a-Thon on the Center’s website  The event is free, with a $10 suggested donation.  And while you attend the Scan-a-Thon, try out the PACT.  Bill will be pleased!



March 18, 2017

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