Virginia Memory is part of the online presence of the Library of Virginia, the state archives and reference library at the seat of government for the Commonwealth of Virginia. Established in 1823, the Library maintains vast and varied collections of print materials, manuscripts, archival records, newspapers, photographs and ephemera, maps and atlases, rare books, and fine art that tell the history of the commonwealth and its people. Since the mid-1990s, the Library has digitized parts of the collections in an effort to make our materials more widely available to our online users.
In 2006, the Library began reviewing its online presence and came to the conclusion that our traditional Web site could no longer deliver effectively our online content; promote our many services to educators, the public, and government employees; guide users through our collections; and accommodate new and exciting digital materials created by the archivists, librarians, educators, and historians on our staff. We realized that increasingly our users would visit us virtually, rather than physically, and their expectations for their online visits would be influenced by and change according to the Web technologies available on other sites they use every day for work, research, and entertainment.
In 2007 and 2008, work began in earnest on the redesign of our agency site, as well as the creation of this offering, Virginia Memory. Virginia Memory has been designed as a gateway to the Library's digital collections, whether those items are indexed and delivered through traditional library systems, offered in online exhibitions, organized as resources for educators and students, or presented as research articles by staff who work with the collections on a daily basis.
The goal of Virginia Memory is to offer our varied constituencies access to a host of online materials highlighting the richness of our holdings and presented in flexible, yet integrated ways, providing users with a greater understanding of our collections. We seek to increase users' understanding and appreciation of Virginia history and culture, whether they are professional researchers, history enthusiasts, genealogists, students, or casual users, through the presentation of digital versions of our collections. New versions of Virginia Memory will be released regularly and will contain new collections and other materials, as well as enhanced or new functionality that will improve the user experience. We encourage visitors to check back often for new updates or to contact us with ideas or suggestions for our site. We hope you enjoy Virginia Memory.