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S.C. Digital Library receives grant funding

Feb 14, 2011
The South Carolina Digital Library, a collaborative project led by Kate Boyd, Digital Collections Librarian, and involving several colleges in South Carolina has received a $48,000 grant to continue its work to make online collections and rare documents available to the public. The grant is the seventh Library Services Technology Act Grant (LSTA) the SCDL has received from the South Carolina State Library. The grant is administered by the Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS). The SCDL ( has centers at USC, Clemson University and the College of Charleston. "Thanks to the continued commitment from the State Library, and IMLS South Carolina has an exceptional and robust state wide digital library that continues to grow daily," said Boyd. Boyd says the grant money will be used to promote the web site and hire part time staff for each of the centers, where materials are digitized using special scanners, catalogued and uploaded to the free, searchable database. In addition to working with outside institutions to digitize important and rare materials, these centers host regional meetings to raise awareness of and potential for the project. In 2010 nearly 24,000 items, including photographs, maps, manuscripts, books, sound recordings and objects, all representing the history of South Carolina, were added to the website. Recent additions include some 2,000 images from the "John Hensel Photograph Collection" (Historic Columbia Foundation), "Materials towards a history of the Baptists in the provinces of Maryland, Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina and Georgia" (Furman University) and selections from the manuscript collections of the S.C. Historical Society. To date, the website features more than 80,000 items from nearly 30 different institutions. Among them are the Beaufort County Public, Richland County Public, Greenville County Public, the State Archives, the State Museum, the State Library, Clemson, College of Charleston, USC Columbia, USC Aiken, Charleston Museum and the Gibbes Museum. Underway presently is a collection of photographs from Chester County Historical Society and Erskine College that wouldn't be possible if it weren't for the LSTA grants. "We have a very large (estimated at about a half million, maybe more) images taken by Henry Orion Nichols, depicting Chester County and its residents over a span of 72 years (1918-1990)," said Liz Anderson with the Chester County Historical Society. "We receive very little outside funding. Without the expertise and willingness of the staff of the South Carolina Digital Library, we might just have lost a goodly portion of our photography collection." It is Boyd's goal that everyone will turn to the SCDL website to learn more about the history of South Carolina through original documents pulled together in one place, from archives all over the state. "The word is getting out," said Boyd. "Last year, people from more than 87 countries visited the site. Users can even follow the addition of new collections through Facebook at South Carolina Digital Library."