Hosted by the St. Thomas University Main Library, DERL was started with the help of a Library Services & Technology Act grant. This federally funded and State of Florida administered award allowed the library to send collection development staff to the Miami-Dade Department of Environmental Resources Management (DERM). With the assistance of DERM employees, documents were located and delivered to St. Thomas for scanning, electronic cataloging, and placement on the web.
At the end of the grant period (September 30, 2000), the database held approximately 600 digital documents. Current and future collection development strategy includes developing a collection characterized by its breadth, including: basic environmental information useful to the public; material relevant to county businesses adhering to local, state, and federal environmental laws; technical reports that will support scholarly research; material supporting student projects in diverse fields; and, in many cases, multi-lingual publications reflecting a nexus between urban environmental concerns and the rich cultural heritage of Miami-Dade County.
Besides DERM departments, documents also originate from the State of Florida and federal agencies, including the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). There are also documents from other municipalities. In some cases, private organizations have allowed us to scan their documents. Please read our to understand your obligations and limitations based on US Copyright Law and Fair Use standards.
While using the database, it also is helpful to remember that the digital copies serve as surrogates to originals. In every possible case DERL images were scanned from original first generation documents. However, in some cases, second or third generation copies were the only available source with a resulting decline in appearance. In all cases though, images are scanned in high resolution (archive) files, and then rescaled to lower resolutions that serve as a compromise addressing sufficient computer screen appearance, sufficiently legible printer output, and the need to keep file sizes down in order to allow Internet access from home dial-up connections. (File sizes for multi-page documents will be kept to a maximum of 500 to 600K, allowing for average download times of 2-3 minutes at 44kbs.)
If you have any questions, or would like to make a recommendation for material that could be included in this digital collection, please contact us.