On June 28 Falvey Memorial Library hosted a dual purpose event highlighting the opening of Villanova’s Digital Library production facility while providing a kickoff to a Special Collections summer exhibit, "Villanova's Library: Revisiting its Past, Envisioning its Future."
Members of the Villanova University community and librarians, scholars and specialists from the area were invited to attend the joint open house / exhibit opening event.
The event placed the new Digital Library production facility, located on the second floor with Falvey’s Special Collections, clearly in the spotlight. Attendees brought old family photos, letters and documents to be scanned by the Digital Library full-color book scanner; the resultant digital images were either e-mailed or burned to a CD.
Meanwhile, Andrew Nagy, the Digital Library’s chief computer programmer, demonstrated his prototype Digital Library browser which enables both the Villanova University community and the broader community of scholars around the word to view content from Villanova’s Special Collections, Villanova’s institutional publications, theses and dissertations, and from joint cultural heritage projects.
Over 50 people attended this event, including faculty, alumni, staff and students, many of whom took the opportunity to have a cherished family photo preserved in digital format. With visitors driving to campus from as far away as Lancaster, the draw was apparent. In this time of changing perceptions about research and about the purpose of higher education, it is vitally important to preserve and provide access to a shared cultural heritage in a format that students and researchers will use.
One of the most telling comments came from a faculty member who remarked that “Villanova was finally making these old books sing.” Please join our collective ‘song’ and stay tuned as upcoming articles will provide news on Digital Library developments and highlight a newly digitalized title each issue under the standing feature, “The Blue Electrode”! (See related article on Walt Whitman's digitized memoir.)
Contributed by Michael Foight
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