May 31, 2011 Veterans History Project Marks Milestone: Digitizes 10,000 Collections
Contact: Jeffrey Lofton (202) 707-6432; Lisa Taylor (202) 707-2333
The Veterans History Project (VHP) of the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress reached a major milestone as it begins its second decade of collecting, preserving and sharing the first-person recollections of U.S. war veterans. Now, 10,000 of its more than 75,000 collections are digitized at www.loc.gov/vets/, making these recorded interviews, photographs, letters and other historical documents fully accessible to anyone with Internet access.
“Our digitization process is ongoing. We hope to digitize thousands more in the coming years, making more collections accessible to the American people and the world,” said Veterans History Project Director Bob Patrick. “These stories run the gamut from tragic to heartwarming and from funny to harrowing – there’s something for everyone.
“Our 10,000th digitized collection is of World War II Coast Guard veteran George A. Travers, who recounts his remarkable D-Day experience at Iwo Jima,” Patrick said. Travers’ digitized interview can be found at http://lcweb2.loc.gov/diglib/vhp/story/loc.natlib.afc2001001.37943 .
Through a vast network of volunteers, both individuals and organizations, VHP receives an average of 100 to 200 new collections each week. After about a six-month processing period, every veteran receives his or her own web page on the VHP site, which provides users with basic information summarizing the veteran’s military service. Alongside all the collections of the Library of Congress, some VHP collections are selected for digitization according to Library standards and criteria. Collections with special preservation and stabilization needs are a priority. Veterans whose collections have been digitized are identified by a “view digital collection” button. From there, users may watch or listen to recorded interviews, view photographs, read letters, diaries or journal entries, and browse two-dimensional art.
The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds nearly 147 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.
Congress created the Veterans History Project in 2000 as a national documentation program of the American Folklife Center (www.loc.gov/folklife/) to collect, preserve and make accessible the first-hand remembrances of American wartime veterans from World War I through the current conflicts in Iraq and Afghanistan, so that future generations may hear directly from veterans and better understand the realities of war. The project relies on volunteers to record veterans’ remembrances using guidelines accessible at www.loc.gov/vets/. Volunteers may request more information at firstname.lastname@example.org or the toll-free message line at (888) 371-5848. Subscribe to VHP’s RSS on the VHP home page.