Ever wished the University had more academic resources available
from your home computer?

Kate Green
Photo Illustration by FOREST CASEY/Daily
The University is converting more than 20,000 existing books and journals into digital files acessible over the Internet.

Performing research at home through the Internet has not often
been an option if scholarly resources are needed. Adding extra pain
to the tiresome library trip, some resources stored on microfilm
require long hours of searching.

But it may no longer be necessary to physically go to the
library in order to perform research or to sort through miles of
microfilm in order to find information.

The University library system has begun preserving its older
resources by assembling them in the Digital General Collection, an
online compilation of more than 20,000 volumes. These resources
include mostly books and some journals that have been scanned and
converted into digital files.

The project started in 1996 but was not released until recently,
when project managers became certain that the collection would be
able to support widespread access to all of the resources.

One of the most important features of this new technology is the
“text search” element. Text search allows the user to
search for a key word, author, title, subject and more in the
document.

“Text search is definitely an option. That’s one of
the things we did early on. It’s one of the things that has
been transformative with our colleagues,” said John Wilkin,
library information technology associate.

Text search differentiates the Digital General Collection from
microfilm. Instead of sifting through every page of microfilm to
find results, text search cuts down the necessary time and effort
— and the frustration that occurs after time is expended and
no material is found.

The project began when the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation granted
the University, in conjunction with Cornell University, funds in
order to “nail down some of the standards (of digital
preserva-

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