TITLE: Virtually Missouri

ACCESS: http://www.virtuallymissouri.org/

Coordinated by the Missouri Digitization Planning Project (MDPP), Virtually Missouri is a portal to dozens of digital collections and exhibits created by Missouri archives, libraries, museums, galleries, and historical societies. With over sixty digitized historical, cultural, scientific, and artistic collections and exhibits, Virtually Missouri is a valuable archival resource for researchers and students.

Virtually Missouri provides access to a number of online collections of primary source material, often with JPEG or GIF representations of original documents. The Dred Scott Web site documents Scott's legal battle for freedom that ended in the landmark 1857 U.S. Supreme Court "Dred Scott" decision, and includes JPEG representations of the legal records of his 1846-1857 court cases. "The Decision to Drop the Atomic Bomb," from the Truman Presidential Museum & Library, is a comprehensive documentary history of the policies and decisions that led to the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Along with contextual readings, the Web site features hundreds of pages of Truman's diaries, letters, memos, White House minutes, and other official documentation. Other Truman Museum documentary collections are devoted to the U.S. recognition of Israel, the Berlin Airlift, and Truman's decision to desegregate the armed forces.

Springfield-Greene County Public Library has several excellent Ozark historical and cultural resources, including the Max Hunter Folksong Collection of 1600 Ozark folk songs complete with transcriptions and audio files - an essential resource for any academic folklore program. Other collections and exhibits document Kansas City's jazz heritage, the history and flora of the Missouri Botanical gardens, Native American artifacts, Civil War letters, and Gregorian chants, to cite a few examples in this rich and varied site.

Access to the collections and exhibits is provided through an alphabetical list of entries containing a brief description, representative graphic, and URL for each individual collection. Collections and exhibits are also searchable by keyword, subject area, collection name, and project name.

In addition to being an online archival repository, Virtually Missouri also serves as the MDPP's information clearinghouse for participating agencies. The Web site includes guidelines and standards for creating metadata, scanning images, dealing with copyright issues, and posting collections to the site. Funded by the Library Services & Technology Act, MDPP's Virtually Missouri is a noteworthy example of a successful, interagency digitization initiative. As such, it serves as both a model and a resource for librarians and archivists who are considering developing online access to individual or collaborative digitization projects.

Gene Hyde
Lyon College

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