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University of Virginia Library

Report to the Digital Library Federation
Fall, 2003

Table Of Contents

I. Collections, services, and systems

II. Projects and programs

III. Specific digital library challenges

IV. Digital library publications, policies, working papers, and other documents

I. Collections, Services, and Systems

A. Collections

Absalom, Absalom! Electronic, Interactive! Chronology

Interactive (Flash-based) chronology mapping of the complex structure of this work by William Faulkner. Augmented by digital audio files of talks by Faulkner at UVA in the 1957 and 1958, and page images from Faulkner's notes on the chronology, which is housed in UVa Library Special Collections.

The American Soldier Surveys

During WWII, the Army conducted hundreds of surveys of American troops, covering topics relating to soldiers' attitudes toward the war, morale, and education. The collective survey results affected many aspects of federal policy in the post-war years, from promotion of the GI bill extending educational benefits to veterans, to desegregation of the military. The Geostat collection contains 137 surveys covering 78 different studies.

The Barcelona Collection

The Barcelona Collection consists of approximately 850 images shot on site in Barcelona, Spain and a small number of images digitized from the Fine Arts Library Visual Collection. The present collection is the result of work done on a grant-funded annual trip to Barcelona by graduate students in the University of Virginia School of Architecture. Most of the images were shot on site by the professors and students, and were intended as part of the teaching environment for the annual Barcelona studio class. Since the Barcelona studio class continues to be an annual event, the collection will continue to grow and evolve.

Cabell Family Papers

UVa possesses tens of thousands of manuscripts relating to the Cabell Family. This online collection consists of over 150 html pages as well as hundreds scanned primary source documents. Specialized areas include Contributions to American History, Cabells and their Times, and Cabells and the University of Virginia.

Civil Rights Video Archive

This digital archive is based on an extensive collection of 16 mm news footage from the Roanoke TV station, WSLS. The Virginia Center for Digital History is experimenting with using the GDMS for delivery of this material. This is a work-in-progress.

Colonial Revival in America: Annotated Bibliography

Originating from the University of Virginia’s Architecture Department, this bibliography provides an annotated listing of scholarly and popular literature that addresses the Colonial Revival in architecture, painting, sculpture, landscape design, decorative arts, furniture, and cultural studies from the 1870s to the present. It selectively samples the vast store of Colonial Revival literature, and is intended to be comprehensive, but not all- inclusive.

Dictionary of the History of Ideas

Published in its original edition in 1973-74 and last reprinted in 1977-1980, the Dictionary of the History of Ideas was a culminating work in a tradition that had been energized by the fight against fascism. It was a tradition committed to the pursuit of disinterested scholarship in the academic sphere and to free expression of thought in the political sphere (as in Arnaldo Momigliano's article "Freedom of Speech in Antiquity"). This project was undertaken in collaboration with The Journal of the History of Ideas and in permission granted from the Gale Group.

Digital Map Library

Virginia (ESRI data for Virginia and its neighboring states), National (coverage for the United States using USGS Digital Line Graph [DLG] data and ESRI data), and World (an assortment of digital maps using public domain data sets and ESRI data) digital map library, plus Virginia 2000 Census maps.

Duke Family Papers Online

UVa Special Collections houses many of the Virginia-related Duke Family papers. This online collection provides historical contextualization of the primary source material. The site, focusing on Richard Thomas Walker Duke Jr., will deliver the digital facsimiles of his entire Recollections (five volumes) as well as the forty volumes of his diaries.

Early American Fiction 1850-1875 (EAF Phase II)

The University has completed processing of this Mellon-funded collection of 400 volumes of American fiction (1850-1875), including works by Louisa May Alcott, Samuel Clemens, Nathaniel Hawthorne, Herman Melville, Harriet Beecher Stowe and some 90 other 19th century novelists. Each text exists as a full set of color page-images and a searchable XML text. Biographies and supporting manuscript materials were also digitized. Final release is scheduled for late 2003.

Ebook Library

Over 1,800 Ebooks for the Palm Pilot and for Microsoft Reader are now available in this continually growing collection.

The Gentleman’s Magazine Union List of Authorial Attributions

This database, aggregated and edited by Lorraine de Montluzin, now has several thousand more entries and has been condensed into one database instead of its previous three. The database will be available in September 2003 through the Bibliographical Society’s Publications page.

Historical Archaeology in Loudoun Valley and Harpers Ferry

Archaeological and historical research concerning 18th and 19th century sites in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia, and nearby Loudoun Valley, Virginia, as well as the broader region of the upper Potomac and northern Shenandoah Valleys.

Japanese Text Initiative (JTI)

The University of Virginia Library Electronic Text Center and the University of Pittsburgh East Asian Library sponsor the Japanese Text Initiative, a collaborative effort to make texts of classical Japanese literature available on the Web. Dozens of texts and a Japanese Haiku Topical Dictionary have been added. The Japanese characters are fully searchable for all JTI texts. A new grant from the Toshiba International Foundation in 2003 is supporting the expansion of the corpus.

Jefferson Country

Jefferson Country is a survey of the architecture of an historic significant region of Virginia, the county of Albemarle and the city of Charlottesville. This expansive survey, produced under the supervision of professor emeritus Edward K. Lay, has a far-reaching audience of national and regional scholars of American Architecture. Edward K. Lay's book The Architecture of Jefferson Country: Charlottesville and Albemarle County, Virginia was published in 2000 by the University Press of Virginia; a CD-ROM version containing the complete text and figures from the book and a searchable database of 2,409 structures illustrated with 3,359 images, was published by the Albemarle County Historical Society and produced by the Digital Media Lab of the Robertson Media Center that same year.

Jeffersonian Cyclopedia

9,000 entries on Thomas Jefferson quotations, searchable and browseable by theme, date, topic, recipient, and place of publication, relating to Government, Politics, Law, Education, Political Economy, Finance, Science, Art, Literature, Religious Freedom, and Morals. From the 1900 edition, edited by John P. Foley.

The Journal of Scriptural Reasoning

Published by the Society of Scriptural Reasoning, the Journal gathers religion and text scholars into a conversation in which the richness and depth of diverse scriptural readings can be uncovered, discussed, and interpreted.

Journal of Textual Reasoning

Published by the Society for Textual Reasoning, the Journal publishes essays in the exegetical analyses of Jewish texts and the practice and theory of textual reasoning.

Letters of the Delegates to Congress: 1774-1789

A 25-volume searchable and browseable collection of letters from all the delegates to the first Congress of the United States.

Lewis and Clark and the Corps of Discovery

Two full-text editions of the Journals of Lewis and Clark (1814 and 1904) with page images; a page image edition of A journal of the voyages and travels of a corps of discovery, under the command of Capt. Lewis and Capt. Clarke; by Patrick Gass; a page image edition of Catalogue of Catlin's Indian gallery or portraits, landscapes, manners and customs, costumes, &tc.; and George Catlin Indian Paintings Collection from the Smithsonian American Art Museum.

Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection

The Philip S. Hench Walter Reed Yellow Fever Collection is an extensive compilation of correspondence, notes, reports, printed materials, photographs, negatives, and artifacts spanning a period of almost one hundred years. About 5,500 items comprise the first phase of this archive, with 3,000 more coming in early 2004.

The Renaissance in Print: Sixteenth-Century French Books in the Douglas Gordon Collection

Special Collections Digital Services and the University of Virginia French Department have launched an ambitious collaborative project that will make rare books from the French Renaissance era accessible to the public via the Internet. The online collection will include digital facsimiles of sixteenth-century printed books in the Douglas H. Gordon Collection and an on-line network of resources designed to situate the books within the rich context of the French Renaissance, which produced them.

Salem Witch Trials Documentary Archive and Transcription Project

This faculty-led project consists of an electronic collection of primary source materials relating to the Salem witch trials of 1692 and a new transcription of the court records. Electronic texts, page digitization, and digital map resources have been created for this project by the UVa Library.

The Studies in Bibliography Ebook Archive

An archive of all back issues of the eminent journal of scholarly bibliography published by the Bibliographical Society at the University of Virginia repurposed from their XML base into Ebooks for the MS Reader.

Thomas Jefferson Digital Archive

A continually expanding collection of electronic texts, digital scholarship, and UVa collections relating to Thomas Jefferson.

The TEIP4 Guidelines

A searchable and browseable interface for the most recent incarnation of the Text Encoding Initiative Guidelines for use by scholars and encoders.

Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library

A consortial, integrated environment for digital publication of many diverse projects, digital and non-digital, relating to Tibet and the Himalayas. The resources include a video and audio database, an interactive map of Tibet, virtual models, electronic texts, and a Tibetan Dictionary and a translation tool.

University of Virginia Online Visual History

A growing collection of images related to UVa as well as pulled from UVa collections, this resource contains over 7,000 images and is augmented weekly. This is a collaborative project with the University’s News Services, Development Communications, and the Provost’s Office.

The Virginia Gazetteer

The Virginia Gazetteer contains the official name, type, and location of over 51,000 geographic features in Virginia. The Virginia Gazetteer is linked to an inventory of collections archived at the Geostat Center in the University of Virginia Library, allowing the gazetteer to function as a geographic catalog for the Geostat collections.

The Virginia Heritage Project

The Virginia Heritage Project concluded successfully in December 2002. Over the course of the grant, Special Collections encoded 2,203 collection guides in the EAD format, representing 27,923 pages of text. The project was awarded the SOLINET Outstanding Library Program Award for Preservation and Electronic Information on March 25, 2003.

The Virginia State Elected Officials Database Project

The Virginia State Elected Officials Database consists of approximately 37,000 annual records, with each record containing a discrete array of biographical and institutional information. It provides the first web-based compilation of the more than 8,500 individuals who have served as Governor, State Delegate or State Senator from 1776 to 2003, and enables quantitative analysis of legislative tenure in Virginia. Recent improvements to the back-end database architecture have produced a more sustainable architecture that allows for inclusion of related data, including electoral data and details on candidacy in recent decades.


Westward Exploration

4,500 page image scans of 19th century American materials related to westward exploration after Lewis and Clark will soon be available online. Many of the volumes are extensively illustrated, and all are housed in UVa Library's Special Collections.

The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799

Published an extensive archive of writings on or by George Washington. The archive is the electronic edition of John C. Fitzpatrick’s comprehensive study, “The Writings of George Washington from the Original Manuscript Sources, 1745-1799,” a collection of more than 17,400 letters and documents.

B. Services

Electronic Text Center

The Electronic Text Center develops and maintains most of the library's collection of electronic texts, including materials in fifteen languages. Especially notable are the collections of materials in English and American literature and complete works of major writers in the history of philosophy. Etext provides training and project management expertise, access to equipment that permits the creation and analysis of electronic texts, and a place in which to use the electronic texts that are not available on-line.

Digital Media Lab

The Digital Media Lab of the Robertson Media Center develops and provides collections of digital images, sound, and video for use in research and instruction. The Lab offers consulting services in digital media production and project planning, hands-on tutorials and short courses, a full array of scanners and video and audio digitization equipment, and analog editing equipment.
http://www.lib.virginia.edu/dmc/ | http://www.lib.virginia.edu/clemons/RMC/

Instructional Scanning Services and Electronic Reserves

Instructional Scanning Services and Electronic Reserves (formerly called Toolkit Scanning Services) is part of a suite of services maintained by the University Library to support the UVa faculty in its use of electronic materials for instruction. Primarily, ISS services take the form of scanning materials into a .PDF format and uploading them to the Instructor's Toolkit learning management system as additional readings. ISS also links materials already in electronic format to the Instructor's Toolkit, and scans materials for other instructional uses. Material digitized by Instructional Scanning Services is made available as electronic course reserves through the Instructor's Toolkit system. Course number or the instructor's last names are added into VIRGO records representing physical and electronic reserves, allowing online searching for all reserves, regardless of format.
http://www.lib.virginia.edu/leo/iss.html | http://www.toolkit.virginia.edu

Geospatial & Statistical Data Center (Geostat)

The Geospatial & Statistical Data Center (Geostat) provides a variety of online GIS data with a particular focus on data about the state of Virginia, as well as the Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research (ICPSR) Collection online and a variety of offline electronic data products that can be used in the Center. Geostat also provides computing facilities for data manipulation, research, and instruction, and works closely with faculty and students to train them in the use of its tools and collections.

Special Collections Digital Services

Special Collections Digital Services provides digitization of primary and secondary materials from the Department's collections to support the teaching and research mission of the University as well to increase the access to these rare items. The Special Collections Department provides a large collection of electronic finding aids that highlight the library's holdings of primary resources. Special Collections Digital Services also provides a variety of digital image collections, including the Holsinger Studio Collection, the Jackson Davis Collection of African-American Educational Photographs, UVa Visual History Online, and the Jefferson Architecture Electronic Archive. SCDS also produces the Department’s online exhibitions.
http://www.lib.virginia.edu/scds/ | http://www.lib.virginia.edu/speccol/exhibits/

Document Delivery

The Library offers electronic document delivery for both ILL items and items held locally. Articles are delivered in PDF format, and both borrowing and notification of availability are handled through the catalog and Z39.50 modules of VIRGO, the Library's SIRSI system.

Production Services

Digital Library Production Services (DLPS) was created in August 2001and is charged with building a sustainable digital core collection in a cost-effective, efficient manner. The department, part of Library Central Services, is an integral part of the operations of the Library, but is not a public service unit. DLPS has six FTEs, and focuses on large-scale text and image creation, processing, and archiving to start, intending to produce other formats in the near future.

C. Systems


The University of Virginia Library' s Digital Library Research and Development Group is collaborating with Cornell to develop FEDORA under a $1,000,000 Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant. In the first phase of the project, we implemented a prototype repository based on the FEDORA architecture (see the July 2000 D-Lib Magazine article) using a relational database combined with Java servlets that provide a web interface. Our first phase production repository launches in fall 2003 (see the April 2003 D-Lib Magazine article, the presentation on the Fedora release at the Spring 2003 CNI Task Force meeting, and the presentation at the Spring 2003 Digital Library Federation Forum). FEDORA is intended to leave a great deal of room for a repository to develop to serve local needs while providing enough structure to guarantee interoperability with other repositories. Version 1.0 was released on May 16, 2003; Version 1.1 was released on August 5, 2003.

Central Digital Repository

In March 2002, UVa Library and Cornell University began work on Fedora, and, alongside it, the first phase prototype of a Central Digital Repository for UVA. Fedora version 1.0 was complete in May 2003. During summer, 2003, we are testing a first phase prototype public interface for the repository. Input was solicited on the design, functionality and usability, as well as suggestions for improvements and additional functionality. Improvements and additions will be prioritized, with the highest priority changes implemented in August, September, and October, and guiding the development of the disseminators (delivery programs) for our Fedora system.

Descriptive Metadata Specification: UVa DescMeta

UVa DescMeta is a project led by our cataloging department to produce a set of descriptive elements for specifying the intellectual content of digital resources. Initially derived from the Dublin Core specification, they have been adapted and extended for local use. The updated specification provides a more precise description of visual, geospatial, statistical, textual, and archival resources. The UVa Library has developed an XML DTD, as well as initial guidelines for use.

Formatting Objects Production

The Etext Center is researching and building tools to automate the conversion of its text collections into “Print on Demandable” objects.

General Descriptive Modeling Scheme (GDMS)

GDMS is a project developed a DTD for creating XML files that are structured, annotated descriptions of digital collections. An infinitely recursive set of structural units: each may contain a narrative, a descriptive metadata record and references to, and metadata about, any number of digital resources. GDMS is being tested in several faculty digital projects to describe describing buildings, archeological sites and artworks, creating structural metadata for digital objects that provide access to related sets of digital images. The model will give scholarly projects a formal structure, making them more collectible than the existing HTML websites.




In April-May 2003, the UVa Fine Arts Library evaluated the IRIS visual resources collection management tool from Brown University. The system was licensed and put in place in June to support cataloging of visual materials and export data in GDMS format for inclusion in the Central Digital Repository.

User Collection Tool

Development of a user-defined image collection tool in MySQL and PHP to allow individuals to create data structures, set permissions and restrictions, and develop online collections of materials in a variety of formats. This tool is part of the collection-building toolbox for the Digital Library.


The "WebCollector" tool is a Java application that may be used as an aid to collect and preserve existing scholarship published in HTML and incorporate it into a data repository, developed as a tool for the Supporting Digital Scholarship project.

II. Projects and Programs

A. Projects

Building an American Studies Information Community

This project is funded by the Andrew Mellon Foundation. The project, begun in March 2002, focuses on building the infrastructure for an information community by concentrating on collections and tools that are particularly useful to scholars and students studying American Culture. Goals for the project include expanding our digital library testbed, developing a set of tools and procedures for an American Studies community, and developing the portal for that community. Work centers around building the appropriate collections, starting with existing text, image, statistical and GIS collections. Research will continue on how information technology can be used to support and enhance the effort to harvest and enrich metadata from collections that are bought or those that are acquired by harvesting Open Archive servers.

The Cambridge Scholarly Edition of the Works of Ben Jonson

In collaboration with David Gants, the Etext Center is helping to produce a scholarly electronic edition of the Ben Jonson first folio and quarto. The publication and form of this edition is still under consideration.

Clotel: A Scholarly Electronic Edition

A Scholarly Electronic Edition of William Wells Brown’s classic novel (the “first” African-American novel) being produced in collaboration with Christopher Mulvey of King Alfred’s College. The goal for delivery is Fall 2003 or Spring 2004.

Digital Initiatives Site

In July 2003, the UVa Library launched a publicly accessible site to describe its digital initiatives. The site includes descriptions of projects and programs, as well as reports on research and development, standards, and best practices.


Middle High German Interlinked

A $250,000 grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) is supporting the University of Virginia Library and the University of Trier, Germany, in the digitization of some 100 medieval German texts and several related dictionaries. Completion is expected in early 2004.

Page Barbour Lectures: B.F. Skinner’s Lectures on “A Technology of Behavior,” 1959

These audio tapes, housed in UVA Library’s Special Collections, are being converted by the Digital Media Lab to digital sound files for online delivery.

Earlier Projects in progress, 2003:

Center for Religion and Democracy Online

The mission of the Center on Religion and Democracy is to develop the critical insights and resources of careful academic study concerning religion and public life, and to make them available to everyone concerned with responding creatively and strategically to the challenges posed by our time. All of the titles in the Center on Religion and Democracy E-Text Library, marked up by the Electronic Text Center, are available online and in eBook formats.

Supporting Digital Scholarship

Supporting Digital Scholarship is a joint project between the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities and the University of Virginia Library to investigate the implications of collecting digital scholarly projects into a digital library. This project, now in its third and final year, was funded by a grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The final report will discuss the technical problems that we have encountered in collecting selections from the Rossetti Archive (http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/rossetti/), the Salisbury Project (http://www.iath.virginia.edu/salisbury/), the Tibetan and Himalayan Digital Library (http://www.thdl.org/), and the Pompeii Forum Project (http://jefferson.village.virginia.edu/pompeii/)

into the Library's Central Digital Repository, and policy implications for the Library in collecting such projects.

B. Programs

Information Communities

An Information Community consists of the people (authors, publishers, and users), the collections (texts, images, videos, audio, and maps), and the tools provided for interacting with those collections. The UVa Library provides the technological, administrative, and organizational infrastructure for these collections, but relies on individual scholars and collaborative projects. American Studies and Tibetan and Himalayan communities are well under way; an Architecture community is under development. Communities focusing on data about Virginia and on Poetry are in the planning stages.

Library of Tomorrow

LofT is a 5-year program to transform the traditional library into the model research library for the future, which is now in its third year. Five planning teams (Digital Content Creation and Preservation; Resource Management; Library Portal; Digital Content Selection and Acquisition; Information Communities) addressed important policy and processes needed to ensure the success of the project, and issued reports with recommendations for establishing workflow, responsibilities, decision-making points, and quality assurance methods. Implementation of the recommendations is underway, and an evaluation of the project will start in fall 2003.

III. Specific Digital Library Challenges

Enforcement of access restrictions

UVA would like to be able to establish a policy for the use of a digital object that could be matched with the characteristics of the user making the request. Under consideration is the use of a digital certificate to authenticate the user coupled with a set of policies for either the objects and/or their components.

Scalability of production and user support services

We are the victims of our own successful marketing of services, and must determine procedures for more efficient and effective workflows.

IV. Digital library publications, policies, working papers, and other documents



Gibson, Matthew, and Christine Ruotolo. "Beyond the Web: TEI, the Digital Library, and the Ebook Revolution." Computers and the Humanities 37, no. 1 (2003): pp. 57-63.

Staples, Thornton, Ross Wayland, and Sandra Payette. "The Fedora Project: An Open-source Digital Object Repository Management System." D-Lib Magazine (April 2003).


Greenstein, Daniel and Suzanne E. Thorin. "University of Virginia Case Study." In The Digital Library: A Biography. Digital Library Federation and Council on Library and Information Resources. Second Edition (December 2002).

Marshall, Catherine C., and Christine Ruotolo. "Reading-in-the-small: a study of reading on small form factor devices." International Conference on Digital Libraries. Proceedings of the second ACM/IEEE-CS joint conference on Digital libraries (2002): 56-64.

Payette, Sandra and Thornton Staples, "The Mellon Fedora Project: Digital Library Architecture Meets XML and Web Services," Sixth European Conference on Research and Advanced Technology for Digital Libraries. Lecture Notes in Computer Science, Vol. 2459. Springer-Verlag, Berlin Heidelberg New York (2002): pp. 406-421.

"Monumental Collection of George Washington Letters and Documents Now Available Online." University of Virginia Top News (November 13, 2002).


Nehls, Chris. "Sanborn Fire Insurance Maps at the University of Virginia." Virginia Libraries 46, Number 4 (Winter 2001).

Price, Kenneth M. "Dollars and Sense in Collaborative Digital Scholarship: The Example of the Walt Whitman Hypertext Archive." Documentary Editing 23, no. 2 (June 2001): pp. 29-33, 43.

Valenzi, Kathleen. "Digital Teams in Academe: The Collaboration between IT and Academic Professionals." University of Virginia Computer Science News (Fall 2001).

"UVa Library to Build Digital Information Community to Support American Studies Research Worldwide." University of Virginia Top News (November 12, 2001).

"UVa Students Test Ebooks." University of Virginia Top News (May 23, 2001).



"Fedora Digital Repository Implementation at UVa--How, Why, and What We're Doing with It." Leslie Johnston, Spring 2003 Digital Library Federation Forum.

"Hybrid Libraries--Bringing the Physical and Digital Together." Leslie Johnston (Panel Moderator), 2003 Joint Conference on Digital Libraries.

"The Fedora Project." Thornton Staples and Sandra Payette, spring 2003 Coalition for Networked Information (CNI) meeting.

"Toward a Digital Library: Plumbing an Information Space with Fedora." Thornton Staples.


"Digital Initiatives at the UVa Library - A Work in Progress." Leslie Johnston, Ann Whiteside, Judy Thomas, July 2002 Visual Resources Association Mid-Atlantic Chapter Meeting.

"Building a multimedia haiku dictionary." Christine Ruotolo, 2002 New Directions in Humanities Computing Conference.

"The Mellon Fedora Project: Digital Library Architecture Meets XML and Web Services." Sandra Payette and Thornton Staples, 2002 European Conference on Digital Libraries.

"A Hierarchical Metadata System for Image Collections." Thornton Staples, 2002 ARLIS/NA / VRA Joint Conference.

"METS: The Metadata Encoding Transmission Standard -- METS and Fedora." Thornton Staples, 2002 New Directions in Humanities Computing Conference.


"Ebooks in the Classroom: A Case Study in Progress." Christine Ruotolo, 2001 Conference on the Changing Landscape of Scholarly Publishing: Print Collections, E-Books, and Beyond.

"Build once, use many': an XML-encoded etext library for Searching, Aggregation, and multi-format output." David Seaman, 2001 "Standards und Methoden der Volltext-Digitalisierung" Colloquium.


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Last updated: December 14, 2003
© 2003, Digital library Federation, Council on Library and Information Resources