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Digital Support Services (DSS)
Smathers Libraries
University of Florida
P.O Box 117003
Gainesville, FL 32611 USA

P: 352.273.2900
F: 352.392.6597

Celebrating 100 years of IFAS and the Smith-Lever Act

Visit the Florida Agriculture and Rural Life Collection for more.

The Haiti Sun

A collaborative project with the Duke University Archives, the DSS is scanning a run of the of the Haiti Sun from 1950-1962.

Ramón Figueroa Mexican & Cuban Film Poster Collection

Collection: Digital Library of the Caribbean

Drew Field Echoes

Description: Newspaper published at the Drew Field Air Force Base in Tampa, Florida.

Collection: Florida Digital Newspaper Library

Antique Maps, Historic Sanborn Maps, and Aerial Photography

Collection: Map & Imagery Library Digital Collections

Archie Carr and Sea Turtles

Description: Archie Carr attaching weather balloons to sea turtles.

Collection: University Archives Photograph Collection

Alfred Browning Parker

Description: Alfred Browning Parker, architectural drawings, from the University of Florida Architecture Archives

Collection: University of Florida Libraries Architecture Archives Collection

Digital Library Center Mission & History

The mission of the University of Florida Digital Library Center is to provide a forward-thinking framework for expanding the UF Libraries in the information age. To meet current and future needs, the Digital Library Center advances collaborative interdisciplinary research by creating digital content; implementing and integrating multiple interoperable standards to ensure optimal access and preservation; and additional tools to enhance digital content and extend research possibilities.

The Digital Library Center facilitates and focuses the Libraries' development and integration of digital programs and services within and extending from the University of Florida. The Digital Library Center was established in 1999 to support ongoing research into preserving and enhancing access to materials. Given the University of Florida’s role as the primary preservation partner for Florida and the Caribbean and the incredible need in the region, the Digital Library Center quickly expanded from the exploration of digitization for preservation into a large-scale digitization facility.

To meet the ongoing preservation and access needs, the Digital Library Center also provides the infrastructural base for many collaborative projects through the UF Digital Collections and its underlying technology, the SobekCM system. Because of the infrastructure costs for digital preservation and online open access, the Digital Library Center leveraged the robust infrastructure of UFDC and SobekCM to support all internal and collaborative projects.

SobekCM features a robust standards-reliant infrastructure that allows for the automatic translation among multiple metadata standards (MODS/METS, MARC, DC) for maximized interoperability and allows for customized interfaces and views depending on the institution contributing the materials, the collection or project, and the material type. The Digital Library Center provides technical support and training for all partners to digitize their materials, and the Digital Library Center continues to digitize materials as a primary contributor to all of the collections in UFDC and hosted by SobekCM, adding unique materials regularly.

Because digital content and collections are incomplete without context, the Digital Library Center undertakes collaborative scholarly research initiatives to create the necessary contextual supports through interdisciplinary research. One example of this is the Ephemeral Cities project. The Ephemeral Cities project allows users to browse through cities spatially, showing one new method for accessing materials in relation to each other geographically and in relation to the cities themselves. Allowing users to see and use materials in new ways creates new information, new types of information, and new avenues for research.

The Digital Library Center’s core areas of scholarly focus and digital expertise thus lie within:

  • Historical children’s literature, as found in the Baldwin Library collection. These materials are supported in coordination with the Baldwin Library curator, Rita Smith, and the faculty in children’s literature studies.
  • Materials from and about the Caribbean and Latin America, as digitized by the University of Florida and partners for inclusion in the Digital Library of the Caribbean. These materials are supported in coordination with Richard Phillips, the Curator for the Latin American Collection in the UF Libraries, faculty in the Center for Latin American Studies, and partners across the Caribbean and Latin America.
  • Florida Newspapers in the Florida Digital Newspaper Library. With 1 million pages of historic through current, present-day newspapers digitized with permission from the publishers, the Florida Digital Newspaper Library is a unique example among state newspaper collections. These materials are supported in coordination with James Cusick, the Curator for the P.K. Yonge Library of Florida History; Carl Van Ness, the Curator for the Manuscript Collections in the UF Libraries; Patrick Reakes, the Head of the Journalism Library; and various others in the Libraries and the UF teaching faculty.
  • Intellectual and creative materials produced at the University of Florida and by partners, housed in the Institutional Repository, IR@UF
  • Technologies of digitization and digital collection creation, support, and extension, including the infrastructure to support large multi-lingual and multi-national projects.

Given the core areas of scholarly focus and digital expertise, along with the mission to preserve, make accessible, and enhance resources, the majority of projects in the Digital Library Center are ongoing. For instance, the Digital Library of the Caribbean was funded through a grant from the Department of Education for 2004-2009. While the grant will end by October, the project was developed for an ongoing need and it continues to grow sustainably. The Ephemeral Cities project also ended; however, current work has already begun to recreate the project using Keyhole Markup Language (KML) so that the project can be explored using a Google Maps interface instead of the ArcGIS interface, which is more difficult for the majority of users. Plans are also underway to extend the Ephemeral Cities project using Encoded Archival Description (EAC) to develop authorities for cities, places, and people, and then allow users to explore the historical world through digitized documents and through the people populating the world.

The Center’s projects and mission require faculty collaborations both within and beyond the Libraries and University of Florida. Partners include the Florida Museum of Natural History, the Matheson Historical Trust, Florida's State Library and Archives, other state university libraries and university libraries across Florida, and university and special libraries beyond Florida. The Digital Library Center has hosted a research fellow, and the Digital Library Center has supported visiting scholars and fellows hosted by the Baldwin Library, the P.K. Yonge Library, the Center for Latin American Studies, and other units in the Libraries and other colleges. As a unit within the University of Florida Libraries, the Digital Library Center is funded and supported by the UF Libraries. Past projects have been funded by: the Department of Education; National Historical Publications and Records Commission; National Endowment for the Humanities; Andrew W. Mellon Foundation; Institute for Museum and Library Services; Florida Humanities Council; and Florida’s Library Services and Technology Act program.