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VIVA Outreach Committee

The Outreach Committee promotes and publicizes VIVA and its resources and advocates VIVA's funding needs and the benefits that VIVA confers to appropriate agencies, organizations and legislative groups.



Internet access to historic texts from UVA and netLibrary

The Virtual Library of Virginia
For Immediate Release: Fairfax, Virginia 2/3/2000

Note: In April, 2000 netLibrary notified the University of Virginia Library that it will not proceed at present with the joint U.Va.-netLibrary conversion project. The project, announced in January, would have provided electronic texts of approximately 2,000 out-of-copyright, pre-1924, English-language books on the history of America and of individual states, including Virginia. The texts would have been made available by U.Va. to all VIVA libraries.

netLibrary will continue to distribute some English-language electronic texts made available world-wide by the U.Va. Library Electronic Text Center at

U.Va. University Librarian Karin Wittenborg said, "We are sorry that netLibrary is not going to proceed with this project now, but hope that in the future ways can be found of making these important documents of American history available as e-texts to Virginia libraries."

Virginia academic libraries to gain Internet access to historic texts

The University of Virginia Library and netLibrary have announced an agreement that will provide students and faculty at institutions of higher education across the Commonwealth of Virginia with free Internet access to thousands of historically significant books from UVA's collections. This agreement applies to all 71 libraries, public and private, that participate in VIVA, the Virtual Library of Virginia. netLibrary , the major provider of electronic books over the Internet and the University of Virginia Library, one of the world's strongest repositories of historical texts, will join forces to digitize 2,000 books of historical significance. UVA and netLibrary will select approximately 2,000 out-of-copyright, pre-1924, English language books to create a digital library of eBooks. Selections will emphasize the history of America and of individual states, including Virginia. UVA will supply books from its collections to netLibrary, which will digitize them for Internet distribution. This is the first time that these historic texts from the UVA collections have been made available to a commercial publisher. While netLibrary subscribers worldwide will have access to this major collection of eBooks on a fee basis, arrangements have been made to provide free access to academic libraries in Virginia. Karin Wittenborg, University Librarian at the University of Virginia Library says of the agreement, "We are delighted to form a partnership with such a dynamic Internet company as netLibrary to make noteworthy titles in American history widely available. I am glad that we were able to work out arrangements to make these works freely available to every college and university in Virginia."

The agreement specifies that the 2,000 books to be digitized by netLibrary will be offered at no cost to member libraries of the VIVA consortium through the Electronic Text Center at UVA. In addition, approximately 1,000 works that are already freely available from the Electronic Text Center at UVA will be made available without charge to the larger community of scholars via netLibrary. This unprecedented agreement between one of the nation's premier research libraries and one of its fastest growing Internet companies will provide unparalleled benefits to colleges and universities in Virginia. Students and faculty throughout Virginia will have instantaneous, electronic access to masterworks of American and Virginia history held by the largest library in the state. The works of great statesmen, such as Jefferson, Madison and Lincoln are likely to be included, as well as titles such as John Winthrop's Journal. This agreement is expected to help preserve and expand access to a treasure chest of American history. Advanced search capabilities will open new possibilities for scholars to analyze and interact with historic documents. Students and faculty at even the smallest colleges in the most remote corners of the state will have the same opportunities for research and discovery previously available only to those affiliated with the largest universities.

This is an important step in bridging the information divide in Virginia. The University of Virginia, which has decided to forego royalties in order to provide free and open access to other institutions in the state, exemplifies the spirit of cooperation and effective use of advanced technologies that are the hallmarks of VIVA. According to Roy Strohl, Library Director, at Mary Washington College and Chairman of the VIVA Steering Committee, "This will be a significant contribution to the higher education community of Virginia. Personally I cannot think of a more magnanimous gesture of sharing the riches of the University of Virginia's wonderful library holdings with all of our students and faculty. That this project makes available some of the most important historical publications concerning our country through the wonders of some of the most advanced levels of the new information technologies makes this truly a milestone event."

VIVA, The Virtual Library of Virginia, is the consortium of the libraries of the 39 state-assisted colleges and universities (at 52 campuses) within the Commonwealth of Virginia. In addition, 32 independent (private, non-profit) institutions and The Library of Virginia participate where possible. VIVA’s mission is to provide, in an equitable, cooperative, and cost-effective manner, enhanced access to library and information resources for Virginia’s academic libraries serving the higher education community. VIVA is sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education for Virginia (SCHEV).


For additional information contact:
Katherine A. Perry
VIVA Director
B222 Fenwick Library
George Mason University
Fairfax, Virginia 22030-4444
Tel: (703) 993-4652


VIVA is funded by the Virginia General Assembly and the VIVA member institutions, and is sponsored by the State Council of Higher Education (SCHEV).