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UVa Library Digital Images in the Public Domain

Digital Curation Services has made digital images available to the public from collections such as Rufus A. Holsinger and the University of Virginia Visual History Collection in JPEG format.

These digital images have been customized for various uses:  find images sized for websites, publications, teaching, learning, exhibits, personal/scholarly research and private use.   Use of these images may eliminate having to deal with resizing and cropping.

Image sizes:

  • Small – Ideal for websites – Max Width=640 & Max Height=640 (640 pixels on the long side.)
  • Medium – Ideal for websites & PDF’s – Max Width=800 & Max Height=800 (800 pixels on the long side.)
  • Large – Ideal when one needs a higher quality image.  This size maybe useful for printing or oversize display (displays larger than original size) – Size may vary with a Max Width=1200 & Max Height=1200 (1200 pixels on the long side.  Depends on the dimension of the original size.)
  • Full Size – This image is half the size of the raw image (size is in terms of ppi).  This is an extremely large image and it is not recommended that this be your first choice.  This file size allows users to view detailed information in the images.  It is useful for maps, graphs, and viewing background information such as signs in photographs.  This image size contains a citation and persistent URL’s to the metadata along with our copyright statement.  It is not recommended one download this image for web publications.  It is a useful size for PDF publishing.  This size is better for reading small print such as with newspaper scans.
  • High resolution tiff – Not available through Virgo – these images are useful for high quality print publications, physical exhibits, GIS processing, or to use portions of an image.  The smaller the original, the more useful the tiff image.  Submit a request online at .

SAVE TIME:  save time by embedding the image in your webpage and let us do the hosting.  The UVa Library provides a persistent URL, which is available to agencies such as Digital Public Library of America.  To find the persistent URL, look up the image in Virgo, view the image online, and click on the “Permalink” tab below the title and author listing (in the top section of the page). If you are concerned with archiving of web publications, download the small or medium image.


The Daily Progress: Historical Headlines

The Daily Progress, October 15, 1912.

The Daily Progress, October 15, 1912, reports on the assassination attempt on Theodore Roosevelt.
See it in Virgo


Thanks to the efforts of the Jefferson Madison Regional and UVa Libraries, early issues The Daily Progress, the local Charlottesville newspaper, were recently digitized.  These issues are now included in our online collections, covering the years 1893 – 1923. A new Pinterest Board, The Daily Progress: Historical Headlines, highlights the Daily Progress’ reporting of some of the biggest stories of the day.

Issues on Pinterest feature national and world events:

  • the San Francisco earthquake
  • the Monongah Mining Disaster
  • the sinkings of the Titanic and Lusitania
  • World War I
  • and women’s suffrage

as well as local headlines:

  • the first electric streetcar in Charlottesville
  • the opening of the Charlottesville Public Library
  • the dedication of the Lewis and Clark statue (currently on West Main St.)
  • and the hanging of ex-mayor Sam McCue for the murder of his wife.

Click over to Pinterest to view over 30 issues documenting historic events as they unfolded to Charlottesville residents, or stop by Virgo to check out other days in history!

UVa Digital Collections’ Most Popular Images

Nearly 17,000 images have been downloaded from Virgo by library patrons in the last year. Ever wondered what the most popular images in the UVa Digital Library are? Check out a sampling of the most often downloaded images below; to download an image for yourself, click on ‘see it in Virgo’ in the image’s caption. To explore all of the top 99 visit our Pinterest board: UVa Digital Library Most Popular.

Geographie : opus nouissima traductione e Grecorum archtypis castigatissime pressum; A 1513 .P76, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.;

Geographie : opus nouissima traductione e Grecorum archtypis castigatissime pressum
see it in Virgo

Streetcars Charlottesville and Albermarle Railway Company, Holsinger Studio Collection, MSS 9862; Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.;

Streetcars, Charlottesville and Albermarle Railway Company, Holsinger Studio Collection
see it in Virgo

Timberlake Drug Store, Holsinger Studio Collection, MSS 9862; Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.;

Timberlake Drug Store, Holsinger Studio Collection
see it in Virgo

Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Virginia, G 1463 .C4 S3 1920, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.;

Charlottesville, Albemarle County, Virginia
see it in Virgo

A plan of the town of Charlottesville, G3884 .C4 1818 .P5, Special Collections, University of Virginia library, Charlottesville, Va.;

A plan of the town of Charlottesville
see it in Virgo

View of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville & Monticello, taken from Lewis Mountain, Broadside 1856 .B64,  Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.;

View of the University of Virginia, Charlottesville & Monticello, taken from Lewis Mountain
see it in Virgo

University of Virginia Rotunda Fire, Holsinger Studio Collection, MSS 9862; Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.;

University of Virginia Rotunda Fire, Holsinger Studio Collection
see it in Virgo

Aerial Photo of Downtown Charlottesville, Virginia; prints16232, University of Virginia Visual History Collection, RG-30/1/10.011, Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.;

Aerial Photo of Downtown Charlottesville, UVa Visual History Collection
see it in Virgo

Methodist Church, Holsinger Studio Collection, MSS 9862; Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.;

Methodist Church, Holsinger Studio Collection
see it in Virgo

Brown Milling Company, Holsinger Studio Collection, MSS 9862; Special Collections, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.;

Brown Milling Company, Holsinger Studio Collection
see it in Virgo

Preservation of Born-Digital Materials in the UVa Library

The University of Virginia Magazine recently published “Born Digital” discussing preservation of born-digital materials in the UVa Library.

Increasingly tasked with preserving materials that started out in digital formats and do not have a physical copy, UVa librarians are figuring out “What is the best way to save materials when the pace of technology so often makes the hardware and software on which they were created obsolete?”

“In the past, notable people would give you their papers,” says Bradley Daigle, director of digital curation services for the University of Virginia Library. “Now Thomas Jefferson 2.0 hands over a hard drive.”

The library is also collecting material that was never on disk, such as websites and Twitter feeds created surrounding the controversy over President Teresa Sullivan’s resignation last summer.

The article includes tips to authors and artists interested in saving their own work for posterity:

    1. Back up your data – save a copy on an external hard drive or use a cloud service.

    2. Make informed decisions about how you create documents; some suggestions:

    • images: TIFF or uncompressed JPEG
    • text: PDF/A or backward-compatible version of Word (.doc, not .docx)
    • audio: Broadcast wave (WAV)
    • digital video: highest resolution your camera will produce.

    3. Save different drafts of your work instead of overwriting them.

To read the full article, click over to the University of Virginia Magazine.

Disc 0421, Papers of Alan Cheuse, 1976-1987, Accession #10726, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Disc 0421, Papers of Alan Cheuse, 1976-1987, Accession #10726, University of Virginia Library, Charlottesville, Va.

Holsinger Collection Now Available Through the Digital Public Library of America

The Digital Public Library of America went live today, with one of its initial collections being the Holsinger Studio Collection from UVa Special Collections. From the DPLA launch announcment: “The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) launched a beta of its discovery portal and open platform today. The portal delivers millions of materials found in American archives, libraries, museums, and cultural heritage institutions to students, teachers, scholars, and the public. Far more than a search engine, the portal provides innovative ways to search and scan through its united collection of distributed resources. Special features include a dynamic map, a timeline that allow users to visually browse by year or decade, and an app library that provides access to applications and tools created by external developers using DPLA’s open data.”

UVa partnered with other institutions such as the Smithsonian, New York Public Library, Harvard Library, and ARTStor to provide a cross-institutional portal to digital collections. The Holsinger Studio Collection is the first of many future contributions by the UVa Library, and can be accessed through DPLA here.

Ethel Holsinger

Ethel Holsinger

Digitization Services Awarded a Jefferson Trust Grant to Pursue Multispectral Scanning

UVA Today announced the Jefferson Trust Grant awardees today, and Digitization Services is one of them! Christina Deane, Digitization Services’ department head, submitted the application to bring multispectral scanning to the digitization studio. From the UVA Today Article: “Funding for this project will allow the University Library to begin exploring multispectral imaging, opening new avenues of research to scholars with a modest investment of funds. Multispectral scanning is extremely useful in making obscured writings visible on palimpsests, severely damaged manuscripts and documents that are barely legible, allowing scholars and students to make discoveries that were previously impossible. Multispectral imaging reveals details that are invisible in white light by using multiple single wavelength scans to capture details from documents. The proposed project will digitize materials from the Thomas Jefferson collection with crossed out words and phrases. The Jefferson materials are just the beginning of the process, and this multispectral scanner is the entry point for the University to begin expanding digital imaging services to scholars.”

Check out UVA Today to read more about the Jefferson Trust program and this year’s other recipients.

Interested in multispectral scanning? Read more about how it works here or take a look at in action over at the Archimedes Palimpsest Project.

UVA Library to Join the Digital Public Library of America

The University of Virginia Library is partnering with other prominent institutions to create the Digital Public Library of America, the first national library that provides a single access point for finding digital resources from multiple university libraries as well as federal organizations. The first UVa contribution will be the Holsinger Studio Collection, containing more than ten thousand images of life in Charlottesville at the end of the 19th and beginning of the 20th centuries.  The recent announcement has generated a lot of excitement, as well as news coverage. To read more about the DPLA launch and UVa’s involvement, visit the DPLA website at or check out some of the recent press, and be sure to check out the Holsinger images like the one below in the DPLA later this week.

UVA Today: University of Virginia Library to Join Digital Public Library of America

NBC29: UVA Contributes to the Digital Public Library of America

WTOP: First National Digital Public Library to Go Live


University of Virginia Rotunda Fire, 1895

Digitization as Preservation: Fleeing Mali Rebels Torch Historic Library in Timbuktu

By James Perla, Class of 2015

At the end of January, publications from the Guardian to the New York Times reported the tragic loss of priceless manuscripts dating as far back as the 13th century, the oldest dated from 1204.

Digitization could have allayed this tragedy; precious cultural and historical information would be safely cataloged in servers, firewalled against the elements and potential transgressors. There is so much effort taken to protect individuals from terrorism; books, manuscripts, and letters should not be discarded into the realm of additional or non-essential for language creates and distills culture, destroying the documents that define a region is an act of terrorism against cultural identity.

Rebels were not so much religious-extremists as criminals. They captured the city of Timbuktu and raised a black rebel flag, pirate-style. As French and Mali government forces approached the rebels torched two of the buildings that contained manuscripts.

These manuscripts cover topics ranging from astronomy, poetry, music, medicine and women’s rights. Many of these contained local African languages, as well as texts written in Arabic, preserved unique cultural history of Africa, and gave a counterexample to the myth that Africa only has an oral history. Some of the more peculiar documents included an ancient history of West Africa, letters of recommendation for a German explorer, and a text dealing with erectile dysfunction.

Speaking on the reports, the Guardian quoted the chairman of the Timbuktu Manuscript Project, Esspo Pahad, who said: “it’s one of our greatest cultural treasure houses. It’s also one of the greatest houses of Islamic history. The writings are so forward-looking on marriage, on trade, on all sorts of things. If the libraries are destroyed then a very important part of African and world history are gone. It would be a catastrophe if the reports are true.”

Luckily, the reports are not true. The manuscript scare proved to be just that: a close call. The latest report says that around 10,000 manuscripts had been stored in a new building. Additionally, the restoration was taking place, so there were only a few manuscripts being worked on by conservators.

For those who appreciate the unsung efforts of conservators and digitizers alike, the work taken to preserve and arrange these documents has been extensive. Imagine organizing and digitizing unnumbered manuscripts! Scholars painstakingly ordered copious manuscripts, which were initially ordered by repeating the last word of a previous page on each new one. This required the direction of an international team of experts—no room for skipped pages or incorrect numbering here.

The near-miss of the terrorist-attack-on-culture has made the protection of the cultural and intellectual heritage of this region a top priority. Currently, the Ahmed Baba Institute and Tombouctu Manuscript Project work digitizing manuscripts, however only a fraction have been digitized.

These organizations have a different method of digitization than here, at University of Virginia’s Digitization Services. The Tombocutu Manuscript Project focuses on studies of book history and manuscript traditions of Africa, as well as manuscript translation; Digitization becomes an essential tool so that manuscripts can be studied in more detail. The Djenne Manuscript Library is working to digitize 220,000 pages of Djenne’s manuscripts with equipment similar. Furthermore, the Djenne project organizes public seminars on different aspects of manuscript preservation including cataloguing, conservation, calligraphy, and information technology.

As we adjust to our new LCD lights at DigiServ and put the old Tungsten bulbs and white photo-shoot umbrella set up into storage, these Malian scholars work with the equivalent of my desk lamp and DSLR fastened on a yard-stick. There’s a feeling of pride and camaraderie in the preservers-of-the-unseen written treasures of the world. There’s a sense of duty to further research, translation, and understanding of cultural jewels that transcends national, linguistic and budgetary boundaries to bring us together as digitizers. That connection is what makes this manuscript scare, this near miss of catastrophic destruction of culture, this transgression against transnational preservers of the precious so close to being tragic.
The err in reporting becomes a call to action:

In our hyper-paranoid world warring against terror, we send unmanned aircrafts, we listen to phone conversations unasked, we do full-body scans, we draft, we train, we proactively hunt under the umbrella-justification that terrorism is raining down on us. And when it rains; it pours. So, why not digitize? Protect our intellectual treasures. We digitize; we do our jobs, we preserve the precarious kindling-like documents in catalogs (readable-on-kindle). We do our jobs so that the pirates, rebels, criminals and thugs cannot destroy precious cultural items as easily as flicking a cigar into a collection after the last puff before the government officials arrive to do their jobs.

Learning While Working: The Benefits of Being a Student Assistant in Digital Curation Services


Scanning the Bay Psalm Book required unorthodox methods due to the text being close to the gutters.

Scanning the Bay Psalm Book required unorthodox methods due to the text being close to the gutters.

The title-page of the Bay Psalm Book.

The title-page of the Bay Psalm Book.

I recently came across an interesting article titled “Hidden Learning:  Undergraduates at Work in the Archives” that provided an alternative way for viewing the student workforce in many university libraries.  I decided to share this article because, in many ways, Digitization Services is already putting into practice what it’s author’s suggest:  Treating its students as professionals and educators.   When thinking about student workers, generally library assistants, tour guides, bus drivers, and lifeguards, and receptionists come to mind.  Many of these jobs require special training prior to the students being able to work.  However, the level of initiative and creative thinking required by these jobs is generally fairly low.  The job of a Student Assistant at Digitization Services, however, is a different animal altogether.  We work with a broad variety of objects, many of which hail back to a time when printers didn’t follow regulations and books were not bound by novel conceptions such as regular shape or format.  Therefore, while many standards exist and extensive training is provided, the students are required to often make judgment calls and work together to solve problems.  For example, while scanning the Bay Psalm book student workers, Cissy and Neda, found the usual methods of book scanning unsuitable to the task because the binding of the book was incredibly tight.

Student Assistant showing students how book scanning is done.

Student Assistant showing students how book scanning is done.

In their article Hidden Learning:  Undergraduates at Work in the Archives, Kelly Miller and Michelle Morton present a compelling statistic:  97% of recipients of Cataloging Hidden Collections Special Collections and Archives grant projects report that they employ student workers and 73% reported that their student workers included undergraduates. (Miller & Morton, 2013) I find this statistic interesting because I have often encountered surprise when I tell people what I do.  Many people find it astonishing that the University would hire students with little to no previous library and archival experience to work with the delicate rare materials housed in the Special Collections Library.  I understand where these individuals are coming from because on one hand student workers do not make the most efficient work force.  While we are cheaper to employ from a wage standpoint, we are an incredibly unstable population to recruit from for a job that requires as much training and oversight as working in digital curation does.  However, working in an environment like that of Digitization Services has given me and my fellow student workers an excellent opportunity to develop many important skills.

Scanning a Daguerreotype

Scanning a Daguerreotype

From my experience I can easily say that some of the most important life skills I have attained while at the University of Virginia came from my time with Digitization Services as a Student Assistant and later a Student Supervisor. The lessons learned in the classroom have many potential uses, but the lessons learned in Digitization Services, such as teamwork, patience, attention to detail, and communication, are far more directly useful to the workplace.  Regardless of whether we graduate as English, History, Biology, or Mathematics majors, those of us who have worked at Digitization Services will have skills and experience useful to a broad variety of careers. Placing emphasis on the efficient training of student archivists and how that training benefits them educationally improves the over all gains for the student and the library.  In the end these jobs are student jobs, and the worker’s role as a student at a university should not be forgotten.  After all it is the primary job of a university to educate its students, so why shouldn’t emphasis be placed on ensuring that while work gets done, learning is accomplished also?


 Jacob Ericson

CLAS 2012