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Intellect

BYU contributes to NEH-funded Western Waters Digital Library

A partnership of five academic research libraries, including Brigham Young University's Harold B. Lee Library, has just concluded a three-year project titled “The Foundations of Western Water Policy” funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

Led by Colorado State University, the other schools participating include the University of California, Berkeley; the University of Utah; and Washington State University.

The purpose of the project was to add content to Western Waters Digital Library, a website that provides free public access to information concerning water issues in the western United States. These resources — which cover a wide range of topics and include items such as government reports, legal transcripts, personal papers, photographs and audiovisual materials — are held by a geographically dispersed partnership of major universities in the West.

“Water concerns have dominated the western states for more than a century, and as populations increase and we face the uncertain outcomes of climate change, pressures on the West’s fragile water supply will only increase,” said Kenning Arlitsch, associate director for Information Technology Services at the University of Utah’s J. Willard Marriott Library. Arlitsch says the new website provides data and information resources that can guide future planning and policy.

The Western Waters Digital Library began as a collaborative regional partnership by 12 academic research libraries from eight western states under the auspices of the Greater Western Library Alliance. Initial funding for the website was provided by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

Since its inception in 2004, the site has expanded to include water-related materials from 25 archival-holding institutions from throughout the western United States.

For more information on BYU’s contribution to the digital library, contact Elizabeth Smart, Digital Content Management chair, at (801) 422-4995 or elizabeth_smart@byu.edu. For more information about the WWDL or to access its collections, visit http://westernwaters.org.

Writer: James Dildine

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