After much planning and a lot of tedious grant writing, the Lowcountry Digital Library is now open to the public. This electronic archive was created and is hosted by the Special Collections department at the College of Charleston, but it aims to be a multi-institution collaborative project. The website currently contains more than 7,000 high resolution images, and uses the state-of-the-art ContentDM software to provide users with robust metadata and great image-zooming tools. Within the next three years the Lowcountry Digital Libary aims to hold more that 50,000 images from a number of archives in the southeastern part of South Carolina. The content ranges from architectural drawings, photographs, and maps to manuscripts, ephemera, and artifacts, all emphasising local history and local collections.
Currently the Lowcountry Digital Library contains more than one thousand images from the Charleston Archive at the Charleston County Public Library. The first collection of photographs we uploaded was the “Photographic Record of the Cooper River Bridge,” a two-volume scrapbook of the construction of the first bridge over that river in 1928–1929. Our collection of nearly 1,500 architectural photographs of Charleston, taken by Charles N. Bayless between 1979 and 1988, is our second project. Charleston Archive staff member Celeste Wiley has already scanned and composed metadata for more than 1,000 of these images, and the rest will be uploaded over the next several weeks.
The launch of the Lowcountry Digital Library is a great boon to the Charleston Archive. In the coming months, we will be uploading many more images of rare and unique materials from our collection. We invite you to browse these materials and to send us your comments!
If you’d like to learn more about the creation of this digital archive, check out Diane Knich’s story in the Charleston Post and Courier this week, titled “Digital Library Launched.”