The 1997 Kentucky Postsecondary Education Improvement Act, under the leadership of Governor Paul Patton's administration, allowed the Kentucky Council on Postsecondary Education to provide funding for the Kentucky Virtual Library (KYVL). In 1999, the KYVL implemented its digital library initiative focused on providing enhanced access to archival collections housed in Kentucky repositories by creating a single, integrated source for searching and navigating Web accessible electronic text, archival collection finding aids, digital photographs and digital audio files documenting the history and heritage of Kentucky. This initiative was entitled the Kentuckiana Digital Library Project.
Kentuckiana Digital Library Project participants currently represent 15 Kentucky institutions including colleges, universities, historical societies and museums. During the 1999/2000 planning year, a digital library plan for selecting appropriate resources, creating digital content and providing Web-based access and navigation to the resulting digital collection material was developed. Federal funding through the NHPRC (National Historical Publications and Records Commission) assisted with planning, as project participants worked with digital library consultants to draft and further develop best practice guidelines for producing digital library content.
The Kentuckiana project's selection focus is supported within a broad Library of Congress subject heading hierarchy based on the subject contents of J. Winston Coleman's A Bibliography of Kentucky History, which identifies major works dealing with the history and heritage of Kentucky before 1950 [Coleman, 1949]. Kentuckiana Digital Library content includes published material as well as archival materials, such as manuscripts, photographs, and diaries. The intended audience for these materials includes scholars, researchers, higher education students, and the K-12 community. Copyright, format, physical condition of original material, existing metadata, and significance of archival collection resources are also considered when selecting items for digital conversion.
The Kentucky Virtual Library and the University of Kentucky have worked together to build a digital lab, which is housed at the University of Kentucky where the Kentuckiana Digital Library Project is managed. Faculty and staff of the digital lab assist in training statewide project participants and draft best practice guidelines, as well as handle systems administration and digital conversion. The lab is equipped with a digital camera, a 35mm microfilm scanner, and four flatbed scanner workstations.
In the production of online holdings, through utilization of respected digital library standards, the Kentuckiana Digital Library Project has adopted strategies centered on providing long-term access to digital content. In a broad sense, these strategies involve using system-independent, non-proprietary data formats such as XML (eXtensible Markup Language) and adopting the practice of "master" and "derivative" file creation to produce high quality digital files for off-line storage and migration. These files are then used to create lower quality derivative files that are offered over the Web. Specific standards utilized in the project include Dublin Core for bibliographic metadata creation, EAD (Encoded Archival Description) for encoding archival finding aids, and TEI-Lite (Text Encoding Initiative) for encoding full-text resources.
Kentuckiana Archival Finding Aids
Kentuckiana Digital Photographs
Kentuckiana Rare Books (planned)
Vintage Fiddlers Oral History Project
Cooper (John Sherman) Oral History Project
Duff's Funeral Notices Scrap Book
Ford Photo Album Collection
Project SiteThe Kentuckiana Digital Libary Project can be accessed via the Kentucky Virtual Library Web site at <http://www.kyvl.org>.
Coleman, J. Winston. A Bibliography of Kentucky History, The University of Kentucky Press, Lexington, 1949. Available at <http://www.kyvl.org/kentuckiana/digilibcoll/Coleman.pdf>.
Copyright 2002 Eric Weig