The recent push by libraries and scholars to digitize their material resources has helped them to preserve these assets for posterity and to allow for wider access to their more rare and valuable items. With resources spread throughout numerous catalogues and throughout the Internet, scholars face the new challenge of searching through discrete blocks of information arbitrarily disconnected from each other. The ARC Catalogue gathers these resources together to allow one-stop searching of materials organized in ways that scholars think.
The ARC-supported communities NINES, 18thConnect, MESA, and SiRO were developed by scholars for scholars. They are search portals for scholarly content that has been peer reviewed (collections already ingested by libraries), and they engage in the task of peer reviewing digital projects, insuring that only the best scholarly resources will be found via these portals. Additionally, allowing users to save searches, tag items, create curated exhibits of items, and even correct transcriptions of early modern texts, these search portals are really community-driven virtual research environments.
ARC supports those three sites and is helping to bring two more into existence: ReKn (the Renaissance Knowledge Project) and ModNets (Modernism on the Net). ARC runs the ARC catalog which services all three (soon five) portals that all follow a shared RDF metadata standard. We negotiate with vendors, libraries, and digital journals to get content for each node; we support development of the research environment and exhibit-building tool Collex which was originally built to run NINES and will power all five nodes.