Center for Digital Scholarship turns big ideas into digital realities

Miami University – Top Stories

By Vince Frieden, strategic communications coordinator, University Libraries
From websites to digital archiving and geospatial analysis, the digital age has ushered in a new era of possibilities for creating, analyzing and sharing scholarship, but tapping into those opportunities takes the right team.
“Digital humanities projects are collaborative and can thus be quite expensive,” said Tim Melley, director of The Humanities Center. “Who’s going to make it look pretty, code it, maintain it and store it? Digital scholarship requires many skill sets. Good digital humanities work requires both intellectual and technical virtuosity.”
Launched in 2013, Miami’s Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) bridges the chasm between big ideas and digital realities, offering the staff expertise, services and facilities to support, develop and enhance digital scholarship and research projects. By bringing faculty- and student-scholars together with librarians and technologists, CDS has rounded out a number of winning teams, supporting projects ranging from digital exhibits and e-books to storytelling apps, websites and digital archives.
Connecting the past and the future
Kathy McMahon-Klosterman, professor emerita of educational psychology, stumbled across the center four years ago while working with community member Joanne McQueen to archive materials from the early days of Butler County’s National Organization of Women (NOW) chapter.
“We just wanted to scan some things — didn’t even know that was called digitizing,” McMahon-Klosterman recalled. “The CDS was brand new at the time, and Jody [Perkins, digital scholarship librarian and metadata specialist], showed us the value of digitizing, cataloging and sharing those materials so people from around the world can access them 24/7.”
The resulting digital archive, described as a “jewel” by McMahon-Klosterman, includes scrapbooks, a pop culture collection and a multimedia collection. The collections draw striking parallels between the climates of the 1970s and today and became the basis for a women’s, gender and sexuality studies capstone course led by Anne Fuehrer, …

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