The Western Waters Digital Library (WWDL) is a collaborative project organized by some of the member libraries of the Greater Western Library Alliance (GWLA). WWDL will focus on the great rivers of the West, with initial concentration on the Colorado, Columbia, Platte, and Rio Grande. The focus will not only be on the rivers themselves, but the interplay of the rivers on human development throughout the drainage basins they have formed.
All four rivers begin high in the Rocky Mountains and, along with their tributaries, form the lifelines of the communities that have grown up around them, supplying drinking water, fisheries, irrigation water for farming and ranching, recreation, and waste disposal. The scenic canyons these rivers have formed, and the rock faces they have left behind, help explain the nature of hydrological forces. The WWDL will address all of these factors in our attempt to document water as the defining issue of the Western U.S.
Ultimately, almost every format of material will be included in the WWDL, including printed text, photographs, maps, manuscripts, audio, video, databases, models, simulations, and virtual realities. Data will be culled from a variety of sources, including government reports, oral histories, legal transcripts, water project records, and personal papers and photographs. The WWDL will be a new scholarly and public digital library resource that includes social, geographic, economic, legal, scientific, environmental, geological, policy and planning, recreational, and historic information. For the pilot project focusing on the four river basins, materials included in the WWDL will be those in the public domain.
The content of the database is searchable so users can find either general or specific information from the text or data or digital images included. The BYU Libraries have contributed the information dealing with the Colorado River and its tributaries and also includes documentation relative to the Central Utah Project. Additional resources will be added as they are digitized. There will also be links to other related resources that will supplement what the BYU Libraries have provided.