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Blacksburg Electronic Village Collection

Identifier: Ms-2006-018

Scope and Content

This collection contains materials relating to Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV), an experimental online community network connecting individuals, government agencies, businesses and organizations in Blacksburg, Virginia. The collection contains such materials as correspondence, BEV in-house publications (including brochures and fact sheets), presentations (consisting largely of overhead transparencies), clippings from magazines, newspapers, and newsletters; and a few reports issued by external organizations and agencies.


  • 1992 - 2006


Language of Materials

The materials in the collection are in English.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open for research.

Conditions Governing Reproduction and Use

The copyright status of this collection is unknown. Copyright restrictions may apply. Contact Special Collections and University Archives for assistance in determining the use of these materials.

Reproduction or digitization of materials for personal or research use can be requested using our reproduction/digitization form: Reproduction or digitization of materials for publication or exhibit use can be requested using our publication/exhibition form: Please contact Special Collections and University Archives ( or 540-231-6308) if you need assistance with forms or to submit a completed form.

Administrative History

The concept of an online community network for Blacksburg, Virginia originated in 1991. An outreach project of Virginia Tech, the Blacksburg Electronic Village (BEV) would seek to bring Internet access to the entire community. Collaborative efforts during the next two years among Virginia Tech, the town of Blacksburg, and Bell Atlantic of Virginia prepared the town's information infrastructure by installing digital switching equipment and a fiber backbone. The first beta test of BEV software--including Internet, e-mail and gopher clients--occurred in Spring 1993, and BEV was formally launched in October 1993.

Linking individuals, government agencies, commercial enterprises, and community organizations through fiber-optic technology, BEV was among the earliest online community networks and received international attention. By 1997, more than 80 percent of the community's residents had computers--many of them connected to the Internet through Virginia Tech's modem pool--and Blacksburg was dubbed by the press "the most wired town in America."

By 1996, the Virginia Tech modem pool was becoming overloaded, and users not affiliated with Virginia Tech were required to switch to independent Internet providers. BEV continued to work with local individuals, the town of Blacksburg, and non-profit organizations, providing website development and support, e-mail accounts, and civic websites, among other services. However, in the mid-2000s, many options in the private sector became available for website design and hosting in this region, along with many free, user-friendly services for email and group communications. BEV moved to complete its shift away from email and hosting services and to devote resources to new, more forward-looking initiatives. As a result, BEV retired its remaining client services at the end of 2015.


0.7 Cubic Feet (2 boxes)


The collection includes papers, including correspondence, in-house publications, presentations, press clippings, and external reports, relating to Blacksburg Electronic Village, an experimental online community network connecting the town of Blacksburg, Virginia.


The collection is arranged by document type, then chronologically.

Source of Acquisition

The Blacksburg Electronic Village Collection was donated to Special Collections in 2002.

Related Material

See the following items in the Rare Book Collection:

Cohill, Andrew Michael and Andrea L. Kavanaugh, ed., Community networks: lessons from Blacksburg, Virginia (Boston: Artech House, 1997) TK5105.83 C66 1997 Large Spec

Cohill, Andrew Michael and Andrea L. Kavanaugh, ed., Community networks: lessons from Blacksburg, Virginia, 2nd ed. (Boston: Artech House, 2000) TK5105.83 C66 2000 c.2 Large Spec

Separated Material

The following videocassettes were separated to the Rare Book Collection:

  1. BEV in the News [199-?]. Video 2559 Media Spec
  2. BEV on Today, 1995. Video 2566 Media Spec
  3. Blacksburg Electronic Village, 1994. Video 2598 Media Spec
  4. Blacksburg Electronic Village, [199-?]. Video 2569 Media Spec
  5. [Blacksburg Electronic Village on Swiss Television], [1995?]. Video 2568 Media Spec
  6. Epcot Journey to Discovery, 1995. Video 2571 Media Spec
  7. Gateways: Information Superhighway/BEV, 1996. Video 2615 Media Spec
  8. Ireland's Information Age Town, 1997. Video 2575 Media Spec
  9. Microsoft NECC Keynote & Video 1997. Video 2626 Media Spec
  10. Scientia Program 54, [199-?]. Video 2617 Media Spec
  11. The Site: Blacksburg Electronic Village, [1996]. Video 2616 Media Spec

Rights Statement for Archival Description

The guide to the Blacksburg Electronic Village Collection by Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech, is licensed under a CC0 (

Processing Information

The processing, arrangement, and description of the Blacksburg Electronic Village Collection commenced in October 2006 and was completed in November 2006.

Blacksburg Electronic Village Collection, 1992-2006
John M. Jackson, Archivist
2008 (CC0 1.0)
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the Special Collections and University Archives, Virginia Tech Repository

Special Collections and University Archives, University Libraries (0434)
560 Drillfield Drive
Newman Library, Virginia Tech
Blacksburg Virginia 24061 US