The Library’s digital heritage repository, SUNDigital Collections, which currently hosts 12 861 individual items in 30 collections, recently underwent an essential system upgrade. This upgrade resulted in a new look and feel for the repository, as well as enhanced features for easier navigation. These features include opening images and documents in separate windows and a multi-level hierarchical structure, which allows for more granular indexing of larger collections.
A few new collections were also added to SUNDigital Collections this year, most notably a collection of plates with original botanical illustrations and handwritten notes from the Rudolf Marloth Collection. In keeping with the spirit of the University’s centenary year, the Victoria College and Stellenbosch University photograph collection has been augmented with the addition of several new images, including photographs picturing student life through the years.
The collection of journalist August de Villiers (Gus) Cluver, who was a student at Stellenbosch University between 1932 and 1935, has also recently been digitised and uploaded to SUNDigital Collections. Cluver was a student cheerleader and editor of the liberal “Pro Libertate” student publication of which the fragile original is kept in the Africana section of Special Collections. A next step to complete the digital collection would be to digitise these scarce original copies.
In addition to the substantial growth SUNDigital Collections has shown since its inception in 2013, it appears as if the repository is also being widely accessed and used. Recent usage statistics show approximately 1300 visits and 890 downloads in the month up to the 29 May, including international visits from the USA, UK, Russia, Australia, the Netherlands, New Zealand and Canada. The most popular downloads are from collections featuring examples of South African vernacular architecture, such as the André Pretorius collection.