College of Charleston Launches Lowcountry Digital Library

The College of Charleston has launched the Lowcontry Digital Library, which at the moment has about 7500 images but hopes to eventually bring 50,000 images of lowcountry cultural and history online. Partners include The Citadel, Beaufort County Library, and the Charleston County Public Library. The site’s available at

(For those of you playing along at home, the “lowcountry” of SC is essentially coastal South Carolina. Place names you might recognize include Charleston, Beaufort, and Hilton Head Island.)

You can browse the newest collections here, browse all collections, browse by institution, or by media type. You can also search by keyword if you like. Since some of these collections are somewhat small — 15 photographs documenting Charleston earthquake damage in 1886, a couple of vintage tourist guides, etc. — I found it just as easy to browse them.

This is an eclectic combination of collections. You have speeches made at The Citadel by notable South Carolinians. You have a collection of prints of world synagogues. You have a study of designs of waterfronts in cities worldwide. You have the Irish Volunteers Company records, 1798-1929. You have records of the Charleston and Savannah Railroad Company. You have medical caricatures.

I browsed a few of the collections. The format appears to be standard — image viewer on the left, item information on the right. I was going to complain about the Flash-based image viewer but it works so well I can’t — moving around the image was a breeze and some of the images lend themselves to incredible close-ups — check out the early 20th century Charleston architecture in the photographs of George W. Johnson.

Lots of stuff to see here. I can’t wait to see what it looks like with 50,000 items….

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