Encyclopedia Virginia’s mission is to provide a free, reliable, multimedia resource that tells the inclusive story of Virginia for students, teachers, and communities who seek to understand how the past informs the present and the future.
About Encyclopedia Virginia
Encyclopedia Virginia (EV) is a reliable and user-friendly resource on the history and culture of Virginia. Encyclopedia Virginia anthologizes the best and most current scholarship that exists on a given topic. A project of Virginia Humanities 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. Content creation is a work in progress, with new entries published regularly.
Entries are accompanied by primary documents and media objects, including images, audio and visual clips, and virtual tours of historic sites. Many of our media objects are unavailable elsewhere and are published courtesy of partnerships with museums and cultural institutions in Virginia, the United States, and Great Britain.
A Brief History
In 2001, the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) awarded Virginia Humanities 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 trusted resources on Virginia history ever published.
Encyclopedia Virginia has benefited from generous support from the General Assembly and private and corporate foundations. In addition, EV has received several competitive grants from the NEH.
Encyclopedia Virginia (EV)’s editorial process is designed to ensure accurate, up-to-date scholarship. 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. Then, 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 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.
Miranda Bennett, Public Engagement Manager and Assistant Editor
Peter Hedlund, Director
Patti Miller, Editor
Caitlin Newman, Special Projects Editor
John Rhea, Designer/Developer