Digital library preserves, shares history, scholarly works

The Digital Library and Archives (DLA) at Virginia Tech is a consolidation of the University Libraries’ Scholarly Communications Project and Special Collections Department. For more than a dozen years, DLA has tested new forms of scholarly communications and digitized, preserved, and provided access to primary historical research materials.

Since 1995, DLA has collaborated with Digital Imaging to make historic and unique primary resources in Special Collections available online. DLA adapts to the changing landscape of the digital world and impacts the university’s intellectual life.

Grants have contributed to several advances in scholarly communications. For example, in 2004 the Library of Congress began supporting the MetaArchive of Southern Digital Culture with $1.4 million. This collaborative preservation initiative with five other southeastern research universities is part of the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program.

In 2000, NEH awarded $250,000 to a collaborative effort including the University of Virginia and other statewide research libraries’ special collections. They established Virginia Heritage, an online database of detailed guides to unique primary source materials in their libraries.

Examples of archived images are the 1920’s VPI football player, the women with quilts from the Earl Palmer collection, and the Merrimac train from Col. Harry Temple’s collection. Palmer was a renowned photographer of Appalachian culture. Temple was a decorated veteran of World War II and the Korean War who researched and published the history of the cadet corps at Virginia Tech.

Visit The Digital Library and Archives at Virginia Tech.

This image from the Digital Library is of a 1920s Virginia Tech football player. View the football photo at a larger size.

In this thumbnail photo, taken by Earl Palmer, women of Appalachia pose with their handmade quilts. You can view the complete photo at a larger size.

This thumbnail is a portion of an archived photo of the Merrimac train passing through its namesake community in Virginia. You can view the complete photo at a larger size.

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