“The library wanted to reveal its hidden collections and highlight its unique holdings,” explained Lisa Koch, metadata librarian at UCSB. “The Digital Library is a resource for people who want to explore the materials but can’t come to the building. Scholars and users can view items at home, and teachers can bring the archives into their classrooms.”
With more than 500,000 volumes, photographs, and early sound recordings –– not to mention 16,000 linear feet of manuscripts –– many of the holdings in the Special Collections Department of UC Santa Barbara’s Davidson Library date back to periods well in advance of modern technology. A few thousand of those items have been brought into the 21st century thanks to the new Digital Library, which makes the images and audio recordings available to anyone with an Internet connection
Approximately 3,000 items are currently contained in the Digital Library, with more being added regularly. “Right now we primarily have items from Special Collections, although we hope to add government documents, videos, and maps from the Davidson Library’s Maps and Imagery Lab,” Koch said. “We started by choosing collections we could digitize without coming up against copyright issues, that were small enough to be manageable, and were likely to be of interest to users.”
A special feature of the Digital Library is the ability to geo-locate an item on a map. For example, a visitor to the Digital Library might access a photograph of the Bowers Mansion in Nevada. He or she can see the photographer’s image and then see the building on a satellite image, or even see a current street view through Google Maps. There is also an advanced search feature that allows users to find all items by proximity to a specific location –– an address, a city or state, or even geographic coordinates.
Direct to the UCSB Digital Library