Preservation Grant Will Fund The Virginia Heritage Project To
Provide Online Access To Major Virginia Research Materials
7, 2000 -- The National Endowment for the Humanities
has awarded a $250,000 preservation grant to the University of Virginia
Library, representing VIVA, the Virtual Library of Virginia. The
grant will support the creation of the Virginia Heritage Project,
a database integrating thousands of Encoded Archival Description
(EAD) tagged finding-aids that describe and provide online access
to a large body of primary source materials held by major academic
and research libraries in Virginia.
database will be freely available on the Internet to scholars, students,
and citizens worldwide; thus, from their desktops, users may discover
new links among geographically separated collections. Scholars have
expressed great enthusiasm for the project for the ease it will
provide in searching numerous collections from one location, said
University Librarian Karin Wittenborg. The database will also be
a valuable resource for Virginia elementary and secondary schoolteachers
and their students who, under Virginias newly adopted Standards
of Learning, must develop skills for historical analysis, including
the ability to analyze documents, records, and data.
of the priceless documents of American history, literature, and
political thought reside in the special collections of Virginias
colleges, universities, and other research libraries," Wittenborg
said. "This grant from the NEH will enable the University of
Virginia Library and the other members of VIVA to participate in
a worthwhile and cooperative approach to providing wider access
to materials found in special collections and archives."
founded in 1994, consists of the libraries of the 39 state-assisted
colleges and universities within Virginia, and an additional 29
independent, not-for-profit educational institutions. VIVAs
mission is to provide enhanced access to library and information
resources for the Commonwealths research libraries serving
the higher education community. Initially, the Virginia Heritage
Project will draw on collections held by 11 VIVA members: the University
of Virginia, the College of William and Mary, George Mason University,
the Library of Virginia, Old Dominion University, Virginia Commonwealth
University, the Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Polytechnic
Institute and State University, the Virginia Military Institute,
Virginia State University, and Washington and Lee University.
the principal means of accessing collections held at these various
institutions was to travel to each repository and page through a
variety of highly specific and idiosyncratic paper finding aids,"
said Edward Gaynor, director of the project and associate director
of the Special Collections Department at the University of Virginia
Library. "The database will allow users worldwide to search
standardized finding aids from all participating institutions in
a seamless, integrated fashion."
Virginia Heritage Project will establish its EAD processing center
at the University of Virginia Library, which will provide the technological
leadership. During the first phase of the project, the processing
center will encode and provide online access to thousands of pages
of finding aids representing more than 1,000 collections on African-American
history and culture drawn from all 11 participating VIVA institutions.
In addition, the processing center will encode related pages drawn
from the Virginiana collections of the University of Virginia. The
Virginiana collections are not only valuable in their own right
as a resource of materials relating to Virginia, but also the collections
serve as a rich resource that will help to place the African-American
materials in context.
processing center at U.Va. will also provide extensive training
and support to the other ten participating VIVA institutions. Five
institutions will begin their own in-house processing of EAD finding
aids during the first year of the project and the other five will
begin in-house processing during the second year.
more information about the Virginia Heritage Project, contact Edward
Gaynor at (804) 924-3138 or email@example.com.
Melissa Norris, (804) 924-4254