Challenge Grant Will Help Create $1 Million Electronic Text Center
Dec. 7, 1999 -- The
National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) has awarded a $200,000
challenge grant to the University of Virginia Library for its innovative
Electronic Text Center.
With this grant, matched four-to-one by private fundraising over
a four-year period, the library will create a $1 million endowment
that will be used to expand what has become one of the most respected
online cultural and research sites.
of the NEH funds will go immediately to train and support graduate
students, as well as to keep computer hardware and software up to
date, and to provide quick-response digitizing support. Once the
endowment is fully funded, it will provide tens of thousands of
dollars every year for the Etext Center's primary goals: to build
and maintain an Internet-accessible collection of texts and images
in the humanities, and to nurture a user community adept at the
creation of these materials.
to University Librarian Karin Wittenborg, "This grant comes at the
perfect time as we are working to build on our already substantial
accomplishments in the digital world to create the Library of Tomorrow
here at Virginia. A little known fact about the Etext Center is
that it started in 1992 as one English graduate student (now Director
David Seaman) at a desk with a personal computer, and it is now
a model for libraries worldwide."
Etext Center provides access to over 45,000 electronic texts online
and hosts a myriad of websites created by faculty for creative teaching
and learning. The site provides access to texts in English and 13
other languages, including innovative sites in Japanese and Chinese
literature, as well as specialized teaching archives on subjects
ranging from Mark Twain to Samuel Taylor Coleridge to the Salem
Witch trials. The Etext web server receives over 80,000 individual
accesses per day, making it a prime cultural outreach vehicle of
center was the brainchild of Deputy University Librarian Kendon
Stubbs, who early on saw the need for libraries to take advantage
of emerging computer technologies. Throughout its history, the center
has been a leader in setting standards for the coding and delivery
of texts in order to guarantee universal accessibility. It has also
garnered substantial funding for individual projects, including
two major grants over six years from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation
to create an archive of images and texts from rare first editions
of early American fiction.
pride ourselves on our local service," said Etext Center Director
David Seaman, "and have an international presence in our areas of
expertise. The endowment we build with the NEH challenge grant and
our private donors will allow us to continue to thrive and support
massive public use as well as an increasingly demanding local audience."
friends of the library have already contributed nearly $100,000
in cash and pledges that can be counted toward the NEH challenge,"
said Hoke Perkins, director of development for electronic services.
" In the coming years, we hope to use the challenge not only
to build the endowment, but also to spread the word about the wonders
of the new digital world here at the University of Virginia Library."
more information about the Electronic Text Center at the University
of Virginia Library, visit its web site at: http://etext.lib.virginia.edu
or contact Director David Seaman at (804) 924-3230.
Melissa Norris, (804) 924-4254