Students Gain Competitive Edge at E-Text
Libra, Vol. 6 No. 4 (September, 1999).
SINCE THE BEGINNING OF 1999, the Electronic Text (E-Text) Center endowment has grown thanks to gifts from Lloyd T. Smith, Jr., G. Scott Shackelford, Roderick Ver\352 Nicoll, and the Kathryn and W. Harry Schwarzschild Fund. A goal of the University Library in the current Campaign is to establish a $1 million endowment for each of the Library's Digital Centers. These endowments provide for equipment and software upgrades and graduate fellowships supporting center research and instruction. The E-Text endowment has now reached nearly $65,000.
Support from the endowment provides graduate students who work in the E-Text Center the opportunity to gain valuable experience outside of the classroom, leading to enhanced career opportunities. As the new SGML Database Manager for Grolier's Encyclopedia, Tom Lukas (A&S '97) says, "I have learned from the world of job hunting that there are a lot of technically trained people out there, but there are precious few who can combine a knowledge of SGML encoding, document structure, and literary skills that are in such high demand in the academic, legal, and medical publishing fields. My E-Text credentials made it possible for me to pick and choose among several jobs in electronic publishing."
Catherine Tousignant (A&S '92, '95), who was the Associate Coordinator of the Center while working on her doctorate in English at U.Va., feels that "the hands-on experience that I garnered in my years at the E-Text Center was unique in its comprehensiveness. My direct experience in all aspects of producing web-based digital library collections made me an exceptionally strong candidate for my current position as a Digital Conversion Specialist at the National Digital Library of the Library of Congress. Because the E-Text Center is well known and respected throughout the Digital Library world for its high-quality and longstanding work, it was understood that I was well prepared and properly trained for such a position."
Networked electronic texts and books have become a mainstream part of teaching and research resources, and the University Library's Electronic Text Center is at the forefront of this endeavor world-wide. Oxford University's Karen Wikander, another E-Text alumna, says, "The Center is internationally known for its creation of a successful, reliable text library and archive, and is looked at not only for its history of accomplishments, but as an institution that sets the standards for online collections. Saying that I worked with Center Director David Seaman is like saying I worked with Steven Spielberg -- he's someone that everyone in this field knows and wants to work with."
Those who have supported the E-Text Center by building its endowment and providing stipends for graduate students working in the center are helping forge the future of all research libraries in the digital information age.
Chris Larson, Library Development Office