UVa Library Press Releases 2001 - 2002
U.VA. LIBRARY TO BUILD INFORMATION COMMUNITY DIGITAL PRESENCE TO SUPPORT AMERICAN STUDIES
Contact: Melissa Cox Norris at (434) 924-4254 or email@example.com
November 12, 2001 - With support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the University of Virginia Library is creating the technical infrastructure for an Information Community that will support American Studies activities at the University and beyond. An Information Community is an Internet-accessible resource for scholars, students, researchers, librarians, information specialists, and citizens whose common link is a shared information interest -- in this case American Studies.
The Information Community concept includes people (e.g., authors, publishers, and users), collections (e.g., texts, images, videos, audio, and maps), and the online tools for interacting with those collections. By creating this resource, the Library hopes to promote both formal and informal mechanisms for the scholarly exchange of ideas, and to encourage interdisciplinary study. The project will work with the active American Studies program at the University, as well as outside institutions, such as the Smithsonian American Art Museum. Thornton Staples, Director of Digital Library Research and Development at U.Va., will be the principal investigator for the project.
The Library's American Studies Information Community project is funded by a $300,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation as one of seven projects demonstrating ways that data published under the Open Archives Initiative (OAI) can be collected to provide high-quality information search services. The OAI is a project in which libraries, archives, museums, and others publish electronic information about their collections so that it can be gathered and used in new ways. An important activity of this project will be to demonstrate how an Information Community can take advantage of information gleaned from publicly available archives and integrated into a digital library collection.
The 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. The American Studies Information Community will initially be based on existing digital collections of Library materials such as The Early American Fiction Archive (http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/eaf/), The Holsinger Studio Collection (http://www.lib.virginia.edu/speccol/Holsinger/), The Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps (http://fisher.lib.virginia.edu/sanborn), and others. New online resources will be integrated into these existing collections.
Information 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 Library's 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 audience."