About William & Mary


William & Mary is a public university located in Williamsburg, Virginia. Founded by Royal Charter in 1693, it is the second oldest institution of higher learning in the country. William & Mary has a long history of liberal arts education and a growing research and science curriculum that demonstrates a strong commitment to undergraduate research. The school has a student body of approximately 8,500 students with a 12-to-1 student-faculty ratio.

U.S. News and World Report ranks the university sixth among all public universities in the country. Known as ‘the alma mater of the nation’, William & Mary has educated three American presidents: Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe and John Tyler — with George Washington serving as its first American chancellor.

Our Role

William & Mary Libraries has partnered with the Royal Collection Trust and King’s College London to process, digitise and make materials from the Georgian period discoverable and accessible online for scholars world-wide. The partnership will work together to create an open, discoverable online archive of approximately 350,000 digitized items from the Royal Archives. Approximately 85% of the items are unknown to scholars.

Adding Value through Transcription & Metadata

'America is Lost!' from the essay collection of George III, 1783

‘America is Lost!’ from the essay collection of George III, 1783 Royal Archives/© Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II 2017

While digitization will take place at Windsor Castle, librarians, archivists and student assistants from William & Mary will work to transcribe materials and enhance descriptive metadata. The scanned documents will digitally traverse the Atlantic Ocean to be processed in the digital lab at Swem Library, William & Mary’s main campus library.

It is only through the exploration, digitisation and scholarship of the collection that we will fully learn the extent of the materials and their contribution to our understanding of North American and English history. Metadata facilitates this discovery by making it easier to find, retrieve, use and manage resources.

The Georgian Papers Programme provides a unique opportunity for librarians, archivists and students from William & Mary to work on an international digital project, setting standards for cataloging and digitisation that will contribute to the ever evolving role of libraries in the digital age. Lessons learned will inform our work as we embark on digitising, transcribing and making discoverable unique items in our own collections like the James Monroe Papers, diaries from the Civil War and the Robert Gates Papers.