Inside Rensselaer

DFWI Papers Added to Digital Collections

The newest addition to the Rensselaer Digital Collections chronicles more than four decades of research at the Darrin Fresh Water Institute (DFWI), including hundreds of scientific papers, theses, technical reports, and media interviews. The result is a treasure trove of information that is unavailable anywhere else—and that could guide decisions on freshwater ecology for years to come.

Rensselaer Digital CollectionsThe DFWI collection is typical of the material that is being targeted for preservation and digitization by the Rensselaer Libraries’ digital projects “virtual team.” Led by Jeanne Keefe, media and digital assets librarian, the eight-member team selects collections that contain a critical mass of papers and multimedia assets that have enduring value to Rensselaer and the broader research community.

“We are taking a focused approach, choosing collections that are of high value but may be inaccessible and have the potential for being lost,” said Bob Mayo, director of the Rensselaer Libraries. “The DFWI collection is a perfect example. It’s a hidden gem, especially given the emphasis on sustainability, ecology, and human ‘pressures’ on the environment. And, now, we’re giving it new life online.”

Mayo gives credit to Patricia Hults, the Libraries’ manager of technical services, for her lead role in the project, and to Chuck Boylen, professor of biology and associate director of the DFWI, for preserving and organizing much of the DFWI collections information.

“Chuck has been with DFWI since its early days and has done a tremendous job of collecting and saving hundreds of papers, all of which are now available online,” Mayo said.

Work on the Rensselaer Digital Collections began about five years ago. In addition to the DFWI collection, highlights include:

  • The Polytechnic, from its first issue in 1869 to the present. This project is nearing completion. Optical character recognition technology will extend search capability to the contents of each issue.

  • Project Tubeflight, a ground transportation scheme that was developed by Rensselaer researchers in the 1960s and could have implications for today’s high-speed rail proposals.

  • New York State Geology, home to all Rensselaer theses and dissertations ever written on this subject.

  • School of Architecture Collection, featuring images, publications, theses, instructional materials, exhibits, and other works by faculty, staff, students, and guests.

To access the digital collections, go to the RensSearch page at and click on Rensselaer Digital Collections.

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Inside Rensselaer
Volume 5, Number 11, June 17, 2011
©2011 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
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