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U.Va. Library Receives $1 Million Grant From The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation For Digital Library Project

January 24, 2002-- The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a three-year, $1 million grant to the University of Virginia Library in support of digital library research and development. The grant will enable the library’s digital library research and development group, in collaboration with a research group at Cornell University, to build a sophisticated digital repository system that will provide streamlined access to the growing collections of electronic texts, digital images, video and audio files, and social science and geographic data sets.

The U.Va. Library is a well-established international leader in the development of digital content. The Mellon Foundation grant will allow the library and the Cornell researchers to build a software system that can be useful to many different institutions, while meeting U.Va.’s particular needs.

"We believe it is time to develop a practical implementation of our prototype and to explore some of the more complex issues related to the complete implementation of the digital library," said Thornton Staples, director of digital library research and development at U.Va. "We propose to do that with input from other members of the digital library community so we can develop a good general solution as quickly as possible."

In a second phase of the work, grant participants will be expanded to include digital library staff at Indiana University, New York University, Tufts University, Northwestern University, the Refugee Studies Center at Oxford University, the Motion Picture Broadcasting and Recorded Sound Division at the Library of Congress, and Kings College, London. These groups will each use the new software package to create repositories of their own digital resources and to provide feedback for the further development of the software.

This digital repository project is an integral part of the University Library’s aim to transform its library system into the "Library of Tomorrow." Libraries of the 21st century must take on the challenge of organizing the flood of print and digital information now overwhelming students and scholars, library officials say. The objective in creating the Library of Tomorrow is to make all forms of information easily accessible to U.Va. faculty and students, as well as to non-University users, and to support excellence in teaching and research. The Library of Tomorrow initiative includes creation of a library Web portal and the introduction of a new concept called digital Information Communities, which has also received Mellon Foundation funding.

Contact: Melissa Cox Norris, (434) 924-4254

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services

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