Also known as: How on earth did people write encyclopedias before the Internet?
I’ve been a regular editor on Wikipedia for a while now, with a pretty narrow focus on the University of Virginia and related topics. In the process, I’ve found a list of sources that have made the topic much easier, and might be helpful for other fans of the history of the University:
- Philip Alexander Bruce’s five volume History of the University of Virginia, covering the period 1819—1919;
- Virginius Dabney’s Mr. Jefferson’s University, bringing the history up through 1974;
- The full text archives at the University of Virginia Special Collections, including the minutes of the Board of Visitors;
- For occasional kicks and giggles, the Cavalier Daily archives from the late 1960s through the early 1970s.
- Finally, for obits and other context, the New York Times archives (with other papers thrown in occasionally).
Note that the sources are hosted by the UVA Library, Google Books, and the Internet Archive. Without the efforts of text initiatives like these I don’t think that what is being done on Wikipedia would be possible. I don’t think that I imagined, when I was an intern applying SGML markup to out-of-copyright texts in the University’s Electronic Text Center (since incorporated into the library’s Scholars Lab), that the work would lead here.