About Encyclopedia Virginia

Encyclopedia Virginia (EV) is an authoritative and user-friendly resource on the history and culture of Virginia. A project of the Virginia Foundation for the Humanities (VFH) in partnership with the Library of Virginia, EV publishes topical and biographical entries written by scholars, edited to be accessible to a general audience, and vigorously fact checked. Entries are accompanied by primary documents and media objects, including images, audio and visual clips, and links to Google Street View tours of historic sites. Content creation is a work in progress, with new entries published regularly.

Encyclopedia Virginia anthologizes the best and most current scholarship that exists on a given topic. In particular, our sections on Virginia Indians and the African American experience in Virginia are of a depth and breadth that is unavailable elsewhere on the web. Many of our media objects are also unavailable elsewhere and are published courtesy of partnerships with museums and cultural institutions in Virginia, the United States, and Great Britain.

The presentation of Encyclopedia Virginia, meanwhile, takes advantage of the web's most innovative tools. Our faceted search can filter content by resource type, time period, and subject, allowing users to quickly find the information they need. And because of the rich metadata associated with each entry, users can access that information in a number of ways, including on maps, in static and interactive time lines, and for our "This Day in Virginia" feature. In the future, users will be able to isolate content based on the relationships between entry subjects (i.e., family members, colleagues, ideological allies, etc.), and mobile users will be able to read EV entries appropriate to the very geographical spot on which they stand.


A Brief History

In 2001, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded VFH a planning grant to study the feasibility of creating a comprehensive online resource focused on the history and culture of Virginia. After years of consulting with similar ventures, fund-raising, and infrastructure- and partnership-building, EV published its first entries late in 2008. In 2012, the project partnered with the Library of Virginia to become the digital publisher of the Library's ongoing, multivolume Dictionary of Virginia Biography, one of the most authoritative resources on Virginia history ever published.

That same year EV collaborated with the Virginia Indian Heritage Program at VFH to create the Virginia Indian Archive. The online project serves as a repository for images, documents, and audiovisual resources representing the history and cultural experiences of Virginia Indians since the colonial period.

Encyclopedia Virginia has benefited from generous support from the General Assembly and private and corporate foundations such as Dominion Resources. In addition, EV has received several competitive grants from the NEH.

Editorial Process

Encyclopedia Virginia (EV)'s editorial process is designed to ensure accurate, up-to-date scholarship. Each entry undergoes a series of review stages, outlined below.

First, content is created in thematic sections (i.e., Civil War, colonial Virginia, literature). In this way, entries are created with an eye toward their larger historical context and EV, as the sum of its many thousands of parts, remains a coherent resource.

Once a section of content has been identified, EV engages one or more scholars to serve as section editors. They help to create a list of topics and suggest contributors, most of whom are other scholars who have published widely in the field. After an entry has been submitted, EV editors work with the contributor on any necessary developmental editing, consulting primary and secondary sources as appropriate and making an initial check of facts and interpretations. A draft is then sent to the section editors for review. Entries deemed to be particularly complex or potentially controversial are sent to multiple scholars for review.

When the section editors and contributor are satisfied with the result, the entry is reviewed separately by our freelance fact checkers and copy editors.

Parallel to this process, a primary resource specialist identifies and transcribes related documents and the media editor compiles media objects, all of which are reviewed by EV editors before being attached to entries.

After fact checking and copy editing, EV editors make any suggested changes, again in consultation with the contributor and, when necessary, section editors. Only then is the entry ready for publication.

Even after publication, the life cycle of an entry continues. As scholarship presses forward, EV must keep pace. Individual entries and sometimes whole sections are periodically revisited and revised. Entries may be tweaked for style or factual errors, or they may be entirely rewritten based on new information or interpretive trends.

Staff

Matthew Gibson, Editor
Peter Hedlund, Programmer
Donna Lucey, Media Editor
Caitlin Newman, Associate Editor
Brendan Wolfe, Managing Editor

Section Editors

Civil War
Peter Carmichael, Director of Civil War Institute, Gettysburg College

Colonial History
John Kolp, instructor of U.S. History at Augustana College and former professor of history, U.S. Naval Academy

Jefferson
J. Jefferson Looney, Editor-in-Chief, The Papers of Thomas Jefferson: Retirement Series

Literature
Casey Clabough, Associate Professor of English, Lynchburg College

Precolonial History
Michael Barber, State Archaeologist, Virginia Department of Historic Resources
Helen Rountree, Professor Emerita, Old Dominion University
E. Randolph Turner, Director of the Tidewater Regional Office, Virginia Department of Historic Resources

African American Experience During Reconstruction (1863–1902)
Stephanie Shaw, Associate Professor of History, Ohio State University
Brent Tarter, Library of Virginia

Twentieth Century History
Larissa Smith Fergeson, Associate Professor of History, Longwood University
John Kneebone, Associate Professor of History, Virginia Commonwealth University

Copy Editors

Ann Henderson
Monica S. Rumsey
Emily J. Salmon

Fact Checkers

James J. Baillie
M. Teresa Doherty
Pamela Foreman
Gregg Grunow
Maria Scinto

Editorial Advisory Board

Edward L. Ayers, President, University of Richmond
Daryl Dance, Professor of English, University of Richmond
Penelope Kaiserlian, Director Emerita, University of Virginia Press
Paul A. Levengood, President and CEO, Virginia Historical Society
Thad Tate, Professor Emeritus of History, College of William and Mary
Sandra Gioia Treadway, Librarian of Virginia
Robert Vaughan, President, Virginia Foundation for the Humanities
Peter Wallenstein, Professor of History, Virginia Tech
Walter R. T. Witschey, Director Emeritus, Science Museum of Virginia

Technology Advisory Board

Joshua Greenberg, Program Director for Digital Information Technology and the Dissemination of Knowledge, Alfred P. Sloan Foundation
Daniel Pitti, Associate Director, Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities, University of Virginia
Christine Ruotolo, Manager Digital Services and Technology Support, Alderman Library, University of Virginia
David Seaman, Associate Librarian for Information Management, Dartmouth College
Patrick Yott, Associate Dean, Digital Strategies and Services, Northeastern University

Staff Emeriti

Katherine Agnew, Media Assistant
Betsy Chunko, Editorial Assistant
James P. Coleman, Editorial Assistant
Emma Earnst, Editorial Assistant
Matthew Gaventa, Media Editor
Katherine Harbury, Editorial Assistant
Erika Howsare, Editorial Assistant
Veronica Hylton, Editorial Assistant
Jason Moran, Media Assistant
Margaret Lewis, Primary Resources Specialist
Peter Luebke, Editorial Assistant
Erin O'Hare, Media Assistant
Amanda Prestowitz, Editorial Assistant
Lisa Romano, Editorial Assistant
Erika Seay, Editorial Assistant
Tori Talbot, Assistant Editor
Bland Whitley, Editorial Assistant
Karen Wikander, Associate Editor
David Zimring, Editorial Assistant