Columbia University Libraries Announces New Digital Program

NEW YORK, August 21, 2003 - Columbia Libraries and Information Services have established a new Digital Program Division to advance digital technology tools and resources at the Libraries. The Division, launched in September 2002, consists of seven staff members, bringing together programmers and specialists already working on digital projects elsewhere in the Libraries’ organization and creating three additional positions. Stephen P. Davis, previously director of Columbia’s Library Systems Office, is the Director of the new division.

In the near term the Libraries Program will focus on three main areas: developing new tools to improve access to, and enhance the use of published electronic resources required for University teaching and scholarship; creating innovative scholarly tools and new digital presentations from Columbia Libraries’ archival and special collections and collaborating with other research libraries and institutions where appropriate; and implementing a plan for the long-term archiving and preservation of Columbia’s digital content by developing institutional and other types of digital repositories. A key goal of the program is to acquire or develop a manageable, scalable and robust software systems platform to deliver digital library resources to the University and scholarly community.

Deputy University Librarian Patricia A. Renfro said, “We are pleased to begin this programmatic approach to digital initiatives at the Libraries. It is essential to make new investments in staff and technical infrastructures in order to achieve our goals locally.” Stephen P. Davis, director of the new program added, “The Libraries’ recognition of the importance of its digital program and its commitment of resources to this new initiative will allow Columbia to make faster progress in implementing the technology tools needed to manage, preserve, and provide access to the vast array of electronic information. It will also enable the Libraries to make available more significant portions of its extraordinary archival and special collections to scholars and researchers in ways that will change the nature of scholarship”.

Current and ongoing Libraries-based digital library projects include: the Advanced Papyrological Information System (APIS); the Digital Scriptorium (medieval and Renaissance manuscripts); the John Jay Papers Online Archive; the Greene & Green Virtual Archive; the innovative Master Metadata schema and metadata repository; and the Computational Linguistics for Metadata Building (CliMB) research project.

The Libraries Digital Program Division collaborates closely with other groups in the Libraries and Information Services already working in areas such as electronic content creation, online curriculum support and digital library research and development, including: the Electronic Publishing Initiative at Columbia (EPIC), the Center Research in Information Access (CRIA), the Center for New Media, Teaching and Learning (CCNMTL), and Academic Computing (AcIS).

Columbia University Libraries is one of the top ten academic library systems in the nation, with 7.5 million volumes, over 50,000 serials, as well as extensive collections of electronic resources, manuscripts, rare books, microforms and other non-print formats. The collections and services are organized into 23 libraries, supporting specific academic or professional disciplines.  The Library's web site at is a gateway to the print and electronic collections and to services.

For information contact:

Communications Coordinator

08/21/03 JD