The Civil Rights Digital Library Initiative represents one of the most ambitious and comprehensive efforts to date to deliver educational content on the Civil Rights Movement via the Web. The struggle for racial equality in the 1950s and 1960s is among the most far-reaching social movements in the nation's history, and it represents a crucial step in the evolution of American democracy. The initiative promotes an enhanced understanding of the Movement through its three principal components: 1) a digital video archive of historical news film allowing learners to be nearly eyewitnesses to key events of the Civil Rights Movement, 2) a civil rights portal providing a seamless virtual library on the Movement by connecting related digital collections on a national scale, and 3) a learning objects component delivering secondary Web-based resources - such as contextual stories, encyclopedia articles, lesson plans, and activities--to facilitate the use of the video content in the learning process. The CRDL advances cross-disciplinary approaches, promoting a seamless infrastructure for learning, emphasizing context and structure for digital information, and recruiting and educating new leaders for a learning society. The Civil Rights Digital Library initiative achieves its desired outcomes through a partnership among digital library and information technology professionals, archivists, humanities scholars, educators, university graduate and undergraduate researchers, academic publishers, and public broadcasters.
The initiative receives support from a National Leadership Grant for Libraries awarded to the University of Georgia by the Institute of Museum and Library Services.