Waterloo Digital Library: written by Brittney Wong

woman standing in front of table

My name is Brittney and I’m in my last term of Geography and Environmental Management! I’ve been a Library Ambassador for four terms now and this is my final one. I wanted to be a Library Ambassador because I could connect with students and inform them about what the library has to offer besides printing services and Browsers Café. I have learned so much from being a Library Ambassador, from skill development, mentoring opportunities to life advice! I have enjoyed working with library staff, fellow Ambassadors, and our occasional therapy dogs. Also, the prep work for events is always fun and it’s a good feeling when you see the students having fun at the events.

screen shot of webpage

This semester, I learned about the University of Waterloo’s Digital Library (WDL). It’s an online repository for students and staff to access select items from the special and archival collections. The Library’s Digital Initiatives, the Special Collections & Archives departments updates the WDL on Islandora. Many staff and students have worked on this service to make it happen by digitizing and scanning the work. This service is beneficial for the library because we currently have a permanent copy of these materials for students and staff to access. The content in the Special Collections & Archives and the University of Waterloo Archives is very informative and can be expanded in the future. There must be a space big enough to properly store these materials in special conditions like a temperature-controlled room and a specific relative humidity level. Therefore, the physical capacity limits the amount of materials the libraries can have. By having them online, there are so many more possibilities of how the information can be shared!

This service impacts me and other students because now we can access materials from the special and archival collections online. Therefore, we don’t need to be on campus to see these items if we’re conducting research remotely. The Special Collections & Archives has rare books, collections, and other materials that need to be in special care and handling to preserve the integrity of the material. However, these are now digitized. For example, the Women’s Domestic Work Advertisement Collection or the Pulp Fiction covers are all available. This service can continue to expand as student’s interests grow and more items make it online.

book scanning

If you have any questions/comments or want more information about this service, feel free to contact: http://digital.library.uwaterloo.ca/contact!

I hope that students find the Waterloo Digital Library a useful tool for their studies. It’s an interesting step forward as more companies and organizations move towards digitizing files to make things more accessible (and environmentally friendly!). Stay updated with upcoming events and new projects that the library is working on by following our social media accounts @uwlibrary on Twitter and Instagram, and University of Waterloo Library on Facebook.