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GWLA Receives IMLS Grant

posted May 6, 2008, 9:18 AM by Joni Blake   [ updated May 6, 2008, 9:22 AM ]

GWLA Contact:
Joni M. Blake, 926-8765 or

IMLS Contact:
Mamie Bittner, 202-606-8339 or

Kansas City, Missouri - The Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA), a consortium of 30 research libraries in the Midwest and Western United States, has been awarded a National Leadership Grant totaling $249,736 from the federal Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) to begin constructing a digital library of water resources information for the Western United States. The total amount for the project, including matching funds, is $452,826.

The new Western Waters Digital Library (WWDL) will create a much-needed, freely and widely accessible information resource from a geographically dispersed consortium of major universities. Water usage and conservation is a major policy issue in the Western U.S., as natural water scarcity in the region is combined with the highest current growth rate in the country. Currently, no federal or state agency or other organization of any kind provides a comprehensive information resource about water to researchers, policy makers, educators and citizens.

"The Western Waters Digital Library will be a new digital library resource that is freely available to researchers and the public alike," said Adrian W. Alexander, Executive Director of GWLA and Principal Investigator on the project. "Our initial focus will be on the Colorado, Columbia, Platte, and Rio Grande river basins, but other river systems and additional areas of study will be incorporated in WWDL as the project expands."

"IMLS' National Leadership Grants foster the best thinking in our fields about how museums and libraries can further enrich community, academic, family, and individual lives across the country," said Robert Martin, Director of the Institute. "The grants we make today will help develop leading-edge technologies to expand access to collections and educational programs, support original research to improve professional practices, and form powerful partnerships between libraries and museums and other community organizations. It is our hope that today's grants will provide models for libraries and museums throughout the nation to emulate tomorrow."

IMLS 2003 National Leadership Grants for Libraries Preservation/Digitization Program provided grants totaling over $3.5 million to 14 awardees. The grants in this category help to preserve library resources, to develop model projects and best practices for digitization, and to digitize collections of national value.

The project will utilize the Western States Dublin Core Metadata Element Set developed by the IMLS-funded Western Trails project, and will incorporate the standards and principles of the Open Archives Initiative. Digitized materials will be loaded on distributed servers running the CONTENTdm� digital collections management software, and the CONTENTdm Multi-Site Server, hosted at the University of Utah, will aggregate collections to a single point of search at the project website at Work on this two-year project will begin in November 2003.

The Greater Western Library Alliance ( is a non-profit consortium of thirty research libraries located in fifteen Midwest and Western states with its headquarters at the Linda Hall Library in Kansas City, Missouri. The mission of GWLA is to deliver quality cost-effective services and resources required by clients of member institutions through joint action and collaboration.

The Institute of Museum and Library Services ( is a federal grant-making agency located in Washington, D.C that fosters leadership, innovation and a lifetime of learning by supporting museums and libraries.