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Welcome to Richmond Virtual Village: Digital Gallery


This website helps to fulfill the traditional mission of The Richmond Virtual Village to select, collect, preserve and make accessible "the accumulated wisdom of the world, without distinction as to income, religion, nationality, or other human condition." It offers broad public access to a wide range of historical and cultural documents that "enable individuals to pursue learning at their own personal levels of interest, preparation, ability and desire, and help ensure the free trade in ideas and the right of dissent."

Project History

RVV Digital Gallery is the Richmond VA website, image database, developed to provide free and open online access to images from the original and rare postage stamps of the online community. Spanning a wide range of historical eras, geography, and visual media, RVV Digital Gallery offers digital images of postage stamps, illuminated manuscripts, covers, photographs, posters, prints, and more. Encompassing the subject strengths of the collections from pst exhibitors and JP Cohen collections, these materials represent the applied sciences, fine and decorative arts, history, performing arts, and social sciences.


Our collections will be added and updated as they are ready for display and access.

Content Selection

Curators throughout RVV have identified and nominated materials to be included with the following criteria:

  • materials already in high demand by the public
  • unique or very rare treasures too vulnerable for routine availability
  • unwieldy or brittle artifacts that are difficult to serve
  • key holdings in particular collection strengths identified with The Exhibits
  • little-known but important items from the collections deemed worthy of discovery

Additional materials continue to be identified, as the utility of web availability increasingly serves departmental reference purposes and as curators accession new, suitable holdings.

Digital Images

For each item in RVV Digital Gallery, a high-resolution, 300- to 1200-dpi digital image file has been created using a flatbed scanner or a digital camera. Each file is named at the time of capture with a unique number tying it to its respective descriptive record. Destined for archival storage, these original digital "captures" are not altered, enhanced or otherwise corrected, creating a record of an item's authentic appearance and condition; nor are the "archival" files cropped, in order to retain accompanying written or printed information.

Simultaneously, three low-resolution, 72-dpi "derivative" files are created for delivery on the web, at 150 pixels (thumbnail or index image), 300 pixels (detail view) and 760 pixels (enlargement), respectively, on the long side. The service files for creating the derivatives (copies of the archivals) are cropped not only to eliminate the routine color calibration bars but sometimes also to reduce very wide borders which bear no image or printed information, much as picture framers routinely overmat the borders of photographs and prints. On occasion, service files are enhanced to ensure better readability of the resulting derivative files. In addition, digital images of especially important, large, oddly-shaped or difficult-to-read items have been processed for image-compression delivery making it possible to enlarge and browse their fine details on the desktop.

IT Architecture and Delivery

RVV Digital Gallery runs on an open, extensible architecture and managed in conjunction with JP Cohen Publishing. Image files are stored on a hosted network of servers with godaddy.com. Together, the image files and the data hierarchy and structure are managed through a MYSQL database. A systematic XML extract of this data is indexed with the Java open-source search engine Lucene, which provides the public search matrix. ColdFusion software provides the application programming interface that integrates metadata and images for web delivery, via a website interface developed with consultant support by the Digital Library Program.