Digital Scholarship Week explores ways of adapting new technologies to research

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Release Date: February 25, 2016 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. – The University at Buffalo’s Humanities Institute and the Committee on Digital Scholarship and Cultures (DiSC) will take a week-long look at how digital technologies are influencing scholarship with a series of programs to be held Feb. 29 to March 4 on the UB North Campus.

“Digital Scholarship Week” is both an introduction for the digitally curious to see how emerging technologies can enrich scholarship and an opportunity for scholars already using digital methods to share their work and experiences.

Digital scholarship is a blanket term for research methods and scholarly pursuits that use digital media or Internet technologies to approach scholarship and research in ways that can’t be done through traditional methods, such as manually searching an archive.

Examples include everything from trends identified by analyzing Big Data to platform integration that presents multiple information sources simultaneously to quick links to sources that help scholars make connections and gain insights.

“The programs throughout this week will appeal to faculty and students in the humanities and social sciences,” says Libby Otto, associate professor of modern and contemporary art and executive director of the Humanities Institute. “We also want to engage participants from across the university, in particular, faculty, staff and students in education, engineering, the libraries and related areas.”

All the events are free and most are open to the public, but some sessions are reserved for faculty and graduates students and require attendees to RSVP.

“Digital Scholarship Week” begins at 2 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 29, with UB faculty members delivering five-minute lightning talks that present their digital scholarship work, followed by an open discussion about supporting future digital scholarship opportunities.

On March 1 Venu Govindaraju, vice president for research and economic development (OVPRED) will introduce Edward H. Butler Professor of Literature Cristanne Miller’s discussion of the Marianne Moore Digital Archive.

Miller leads a team of UB scholars making digital images of the American modernist poet’s notebooks accessible with facing-page transcriptions, annotation, search capacity and supporting materials.

A complete event schedule is available online.

“Our main goal is to have a broader, extended conversation around these issues, as we look to the future of digital scholarship,” says Otto.

Digital scholarship has come of age, according to Otto.  And while early introductions to these methods occasionally smacked of novelty, she says today’s technologies and platforms provide researchers with fundamentally new insights into their fields that are producing often groundbreaking results.

For instance, Michael Jarvis, an associate professor of history at the University of Rochester, will discuss on March 4 how he has digitally reconstructed St. George’s, Bermuda, the oldest town in English America, by combining historical, visual and geographical information systems with architectural and archaeological data into an interactive three-dimensional model of the town as it existed in 1775.

“He’s not only exploring issues of gender, race, politics and trade in his research, but making visualizations that allow observers to enter and move around in this world as avatars,” says Otto.  “This makes the work come alive for students.”

Micki McGee, an associate professor of sociology and chair of the Digital Humanities Working Group at Fordham University, will lead a faculty-only session on March 2 for those just getting involved with digital technologies and what platforms, apps and other media can be helpful to particular scholars.  A second session on March 3, identical to the previous day’s workshop, will be open to both faculty and graduate students.

“Digital Scholarship Week” is made possible by DiSC and the Humanities Institute, with support from the OVPRED and the College of Arts and Sciences.

“Chitra Rajan, director of OVPRED, was instrumental in bringing up the idea of ‘Digital Scholarship Week,’” says Otto. “She pointed out that many research universities are doing significant initiatives around the digital humanities, and that such programming could do a lot of good here at UB, where we have some faculty members already doing significant digital work and others who want to know more about what digital scholarship could offer them.”

“We at the Humanities Institute have been pleased to work with Jeff Good, associate professor in UB’s Department of Linguistics and chair of DiSC, to put together a diverse program that will serve both of these audiences.”

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