SAH Archipedia Now Online

The University of Virginia Press announces this week the launch of Rotunda’s SAH Archipedia, an online resource developed in collaboration with the Society of Architectural Historians. A richly illustrated, peer-reviewed database, SAH Archipedia offers a comprehensive view of some of the most notable architecture in the United States. This new resource examines thousands of buildings in the context of their communities and landscapes, explores all the forces that shaped them—from the aesthetic to the historical, economic, and geographical—and presents them in a fully searchable XML-based environment.

Drawn from the award-winning Buildings of the United States (BUS) series, SAH Archipedia includes histories and thematic essays on Massachusetts (Metropolitan Boston), Rhode Island, Pennsylvania (Eastern and Western), the District of Columbia, Virginia (Tidewater and Piedmont), West Virginia, Michigan, Iowa, Colorado, Nevada, and Alaska. This cross-section of the country demonstrates the richness and diversity of architecture and building practice across many centuries, from mud brick to steel, from ancient cliff dwellings to contemporary office towers.

“SAH Archipedia is an innovative new online publication that we hope will be used by everyone who is interested in exploring the history of American architecture,” said Pauline Saliga, Executive Director of the Society of Architectural Historians. “The University of Virginia Press has once again shown why it is considered the leading university press in pursuit of innovation in the digital humanities.”

Published by Rotunda—the digital imprint of the University of Virginia Press— SAH Archipedia contains more than 8,500 building entries, 6,000 photographs and drawings, 4,300 individual architects and firms, 1,300 unique building types, and hundreds of periods, styles, and building materials, each tagged as a search facet for discovery. All search results and individual entries appear on dynamically generated maps. The site also includes the interpretive introductions from the first twelve volumes published in print. This legacy material from the BUS volumes will be supplemented with original digital content created and edited in an online authoring environment, yielding entries that will ultimately encompass all 50 states.

“SAH Archipedia incorporates the spatial turn in digital humanities for the first time in a Rotunda publication,” said Mark Saunders, Interim Director of the University of Virginia Press. “As a collaboration between a university press and a scholarly society, it represents a new chapter in scholarly communications. From a publishing perspective, the project will be released in a hybrid model, blending licensed and free material, with a commitment to open metadata.”

SAH Archipedia will be released in two complementary versions: a scholars edition for license to libraries, and a free website, SAH Archipedia Classic Buildings, which features over 100 open-access entries on the most important buildings for each state.

“The launch of SAH Archipedia is another step in the development of online scholarly resources that incorporates peer review, contextual information such as maps and satellite images, and tagging that provides further historical context,” said Ann Whiteside, Librarian and Assistant Dean for Information Resources, Frances Loeb Library, Harvard Graduate School of Design. “SAH Archipedia has the potential to transform how architectural history is studied because of the way in which it marries imagery, scholarly rigor, and database searchability within a single resource.”

Libraries interested in acquiring SAH Archipedia for long-term access, please contact Jason Coleman at jcoleman@virginia.edu or 434-924-1450. Press inquiries, please contact Emily Grandstaff at egrandstaff@virginia.edu or 434-982-2932.