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Rotunda Platform Taps into the Conversations Shaping Early American History

SAN CARLOS, Calif. — March 30, 2010 — MarkLogic Corporation, a leading provider of information infrastructure software, today announced that the University of Virginia Press (UVaP), a university press founded to advance the intellectual interests of the University of Virginia and higher learning institutions throughout the world, is using MarkLogic Server as the foundation for its Rotunda platform. Rotunda is comprised of an invaluable source of primary and secondary materials about some of the most enduring figures in American history and the humanities. Rotunda allows unprecedented online access to documents relating to some of the most important moments in American history, including the American Founding Era collection. This set includes original digital editions of the papers of major figures of the early republic, such as George Washington, John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, Alexander Hamilton, in addition to the extensive correspondences of Dolley Madison.

“MarkLogic enables us to achieve our vision of bringing together all the papers of the major founding fathers into one online place, allowing us to listen in on conversations around early American history,” said John P. Kaminski, director of the ratification of the constitution project, UVaP. “New features available in the latest version of MarkLogic Server allow us to do what has never been possible before. Before, you would have needed to look back and forth to find information among hundreds of books. Now, users can see what these important historical figures said at a granular level around a particular topic.”

As part of the newly redesigned American Founding Era collection platform, Rotunda makes available the Papers of Thomas Jefferson Digital Edition to commemorate the 266th anniversary of Jefferson’s birthday. The Jefferson Papers consist of the first 33 volumes of this ongoing project and covers the period of Jefferson’s life from January 1760 to April 1801, when he became the third president of the United States. This online edition allows subscribers to access the extensive writings of Jefferson, author of the Declaration of Independence, in a fully searchable online environment that will continue to expand as new material is digitized. In addition, the American Founding Era presents an unparalleled view into the thoughts of America’s Founders through a single unified web interface. This allows users to search and retrieve this valuable information from the entire collection and seamlessly navigate through this authoritative content.

With Rotunda’s modularized system built on MarkLogic Server, UVaP can drop in new marked-up content without a lot of customized work. Users can search a person’s life in letters by name, date, author, and recipient. For example, since Thomas Jefferson used French in his correspondence, Rotunda incorporated the French language module to further enrich users’ search experiences. By designing and building on the right platform, UVaP is able to program more applications and add new digital information products rapidly and effectively and still maintain ease-of-use.

MarkLogic Server enables Rotunda to support the continual addition of new volumes to existing projects, speeding the process of bringing this material to a wider audience. Plans are in place to add 120 new letters in the coming months. In addition, the next new product planned is the Documentary History of the Ratification of the Constitution, which is expected to be online soon. The Papers of James Madison, the Papers of Alexander Hamilton, the John Jay Papers, and the Papers of John Marshall are also in the works and will be available in one searchable online catalog.

“When you design and build on the right platform, it becomes possible for publishers to offer new information products like Rotunda and the American Founding Era collection,” said Tracy Eiler, vice president of marketing, MarkLogic Corporation. “These digital editions do an amazing job of pulling together original works, comprising hundreds of thousands of important historical documents in a fully searchable and user-friendly online environment.”

About the University of Virginia Press

The University of Virginia Press was founded in 1963 to advance the intellectual interests not only of the University of Virginia, but of institutions of higher learning throughout the state. A member of the Association of American University Presses, UVaP currently publishes fifty to sixty new titles annually. New titles are approved by the Board of Directors after a rigorous process of peer review. The UVaP editorial program focuses primarily on the humanities and social sciences with special concentrations in American history, African American studies, southern studies, literature, ecocriticism, and regional books. While it continuously pursues new titles, UVaP also maintains a backlist of over 1,000 titles in print.

Active series include the Papers of George Washington; the Papers of James Madison; the Victorian Literature and Culture Series; CARAF Books (translations of Francophone literature); New World Studies; Cultural Frames, Framing Culture; the Carter G. Woodson Institute Series in Black Studies; Under the Sign of Nature: Explorations in Ecocriticism; The American South Series; A Nation Divided: New Studies in the Civil War; Constitutionalism and Democracy; Race, Ethnicity, and Politics; Reconsiderations in Southern African History; Studies in Early Modern German History; Studies in Religion and Culture; Southern Texts Society; and the Virginia Bookshelf series of regional reprints. For more information please visit

Rotunda is published by the Press’ Electronic Imprint, which is made possible by generous grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the President’s Office of the University of Virginia.