U.Va. Library to Build Digital Information Community to Support
American Studies Research Worldwide
November 12, 2001 --
The University of Virginia
Library, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation,
will begin creating the technical infrastructure for an American
Studies electronic "information community" that will support
research and scholarship at the University as well as worldwide
via the Internet.
as a resource for scholars, students, librarians and anyone whose
common link is a shared interest in American Studies, the effort
eventually will provide online access to American literary, historical
and cultural texts, images, videos, audio, maps and other collections.
It will draw from the Universitys extensive holdings in American
literature and history.
library plans to promote both formal and informal mechanisms for
the scholarly exchange of ideas, and to encourage interdisciplinary
study, said Thornton Staples, director of Digital Library Research
and Development at U.Va., who will direct the project.
project will work closely with the American Studies program at the
University as well as with outside institutions such as the Smithsonian
American Art Museum, Staples said.
Librarys American Studies Information Community project is
funded by a $300,000 grant from the Mellon Foundation as one of
seven projects demonstrating ways that scholarly material published
under the foundations Open Archives Initiative can be collected
to provide high-quality information services. Under that effort,
libraries, archives, and museums publish electronic information
about their collections so that it can be gathered and used in new
ways. An important part of the U.Va. project will be to demonstrate
how an information community can take advantage of material gleaned
from publicly available archives and integrated into a digital library
collection, Staples said.
U.Va. Library will provide the technological, administrative, and
organizational infrastructure, but will consult with other organizations
both within and outside the University and will work with scholars
to produce and identify content.
information community will initially be based on existing digital
collections of University Library materials such as the Clifton
Waller Barrett Library of American Literature, the Tracy W. McGregor
Library of American History, and a host of other rare books, manuscripts
and archive collections at U.Va.s Albert and Shirley Small
Special Collections Library. Other key resources will be the Early
American Fiction Archive (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/eaf/),
the Holsinger Studio Collection (http://www.lib.virginia.edu/speccol/Holsinger/),
and the Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/sanborn).
New online resources will be integrated into these existing collections.
communities are part of a larger U.Va. Library initiative to create
the model University research library for the 21st century. "Libraries
must take on the challenge of making sense of the flood of print
and digital information threatening to overwhelm students and scholars,"
said Karin Wittenborg, University Librarian. "The Librarys
objective in creating information communities is to integrate all
forms of information in a coherent fashion and make those resources
accessible to our faculty and students as well as to an international
more information on the Digital Library Research and Development
contact Thornton Staples at (434) 924-3975 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Melissa Cox Norris, (434) 924-4254; email@example.com.