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Putting Valley History Online: Vernon and Doris Bishop Library Online Archives
04.01.14 |

Since she returned to the Valley in 2010 as LVC’s access services librarian, Maureen Anderson Bentz ’00 has focused on making the College’s historical documents available online. She has overseen the digitization of thousands of archival materials—most recently, 100 years of LVC publications, including the student newspaper—making them searchable for anyone with online access.

By all accounts, the Valley community is thrilled to have access to these documents. The College’s online digital archives—which include decades of yearbooks, course catalogs, and issues of The Valley magazine—attracted more than 16,500 page views during the 2012–2013 academic year alone, and Bentz expects usage to continue to grow as the newspaper collection becomes fully available online in the spring of 2014.

“Our physical archives are accessible only by appointment, and we have limited staff, so it’s really important that folks have access to these documents online,” Bentz says. “It’s also helpful to make the information accessible not only for myself, but for other librarians and people on campus.”

Students working in the library have been a great help in the project, Bentz says, especially Ally Stengel ’13, Betty Ross ’14, and Leann Hyatt ’13, D’15. “These students have contributed at a very high level to the digitization preparation and behind-the-scenes work,” she says, noting that the project was funded in part by a grant from the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation.

LVC’s online archives project extends beyond paper documents. Frank Mols, director of the Vernon and Doris Bishop Library, is currently working with Rick Beard ’90, M’92, LVC’s director of athletics, to digitize the College’s athletic films. In addition, Bentz will soon work with the Office of Marketing and Communications to digitize the Valley’s photograph collection.

Bishop Library’s online holdings extend far beyond the College archives. Mols notes that the library recently increased its collection by 130,000 books—all of them e-books accessible remotely through its online catalog. The library also provides access to more than 500 electronic reference books through the CREDO Reference Database, and more than 48,000 electronic journals through various databases and e-journal packages. “Part of our mission is to make our students lifelong learners,” Mols says. “If they learn these searching tools and master these databases, the world of knowledge is at their fingertips.”

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