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The National Endowment for the Humanities has awarded a 2-year grant of $250,000 to the Virtual Library of Virginia's (VIVA) Virginia Heritage Project Task Force, of which Old Dominion University's Perry Library is a member.

The task force will use the grant to create a database that describes and provides online access to a large body of primary source materials held by major academic and research libraries in Virginia. The database developed for this project will be freely available on the Internet to scholars, students and ordinary citizens worldwide.

The project will initially draw on collections held by Old Dominion, University of Virginia, College of William and Mary, George Mason University, the Library of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, the Virginia Historical Society, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University, Virginia Military Institute, Virginia State University and Washington and Lee University.

Traditionally, in order to access collections at archival repositories scholars had to travel to each repository and page through a variety of highly specific paper finding aids. The union database will allow researchers worldwide to search standardized finding aids from all participating institutions in a seamless, integrated fashion. From their desktops, researchers will be able to discover new links among physically distant collections. The database will also be a valuable resource for elementary and secondary school teachers and their students supporting Virginia's Standards of Learning which mandate that all Virginia high school students develop skills for historical analysis, including the ability to analyze documents, records and data.

This article was posted on: May 4, 2000

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