Student Web Site to Be Part of Library of Congress

What started as a class project for a Mount Holyoke student will now be preserved as a permanent part of the largest library in the world.

For Immediate Release
March 8, 2006

Contact Allison Gillis

SOUTH HADLEY, MA. -- After Rachel Sposato, a junior at Mount Holyoke College, created a Web site on the genocide killings in Darfur, Sudan, for a class in fall 2004, she didn't think much of it. But it turns out the site had a much greater reach than just her World Politics class, taught by Vincent Ferraro, Ruth Lawson Professor of International Politics.

In February, Sposato received an email from the Library of Congress seeking permission to include her Web site in the historic collection of Internet materials related to the crisis in Darfur for the African Section of the African and Middle Eastern Division of the United States Library of Congress.

The class assignment was to create a Web site of personal interest dealing with a problem outside America that the student felt deserved attention. Sposato said she was struggling with finding a topic when she came across an article in Time magazine about the killings in Darfur. "Up until that point, I knew very little about the happenings in Sudan. As soon as I read the article, I immediately knew this was the perfect topic for my Web site. The number of people who have been killed, how they've been killed, the loss of homes and communities, and the length of time this has been going on shocked me. I was even more shocked to learn how little attention was being spent on this issue."

Sposato is now back to researching and updating her Web site and is in contact with the Red Cross to try to set up a donation system for victims in Darfur. She said the experience showed how something started in academia can expand your borders and horizons. "Without taking such a wonderfully insightful class, I would have never been as involved and concerned about the happenings in Darfur, Sudan, as I am today. And I am thankful for that opportunity," she said.

According to the Library of Congress, its traditional functions--acquiring, cataloging, preserving, and serving collection materials of historical importance to the Congress and the American people in order to foster education and scholarship--extend to digital materials, including Web sites.

Rachel Sposato's Web site can be found at: