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Digital Scholarship

What is digital scholarship?

“Use of digital evidence and method, digital authoring, digital publishing, digital curation and preservation, and digital use and reuse of scholarship.” (Rumsey in Mulligan, p.12 - SPEC Kit 350, May 2016)

  • The digital is an essential element! - scholarship that could not be done at scale without the aid of digital tools
    • Example: Using Microsoft Word to write a paper would likely not be considered digital scholarship, because you could write it by hand. But creating an online publication that is widely available online and embeds links or videos would be considered digital scholarship, because those additional elements would not be possible without the digital component.
    • Example: Reading an online newspaper article and summarizing it would likely not be considered digital scholarship, because you could read a print newspaper and get the same outcome. But using text mining tools to analyze years of newspaper articles in minutes would be considered digital scholarship, because you could not perform such an analysis yourself so quickly, or notice things that would be extremely challenging for a human, like word counts and common patterns.
  • Definitions are contextual and depend on people and equipment available
  • Definitions can gatekeep or be generative (Locke, Introduction to Digital Scholarship)


What is digital humanities?

Also known as humanities computing, digital humanities or DH is also difficult to define! It could be explained in the same way as digital scholarship, but used specifically for humanities disciplines.

How is this relevant at a community college?

  • The Association of American Colleges and Universities High Impact Practices share some of the core principles of digital scholarship:
    • Collaborative assignments & projects - these projects can bring together a group of learners with different talents, allowing them to learn from each other while working toward a shared goal
    • Undergrad research - students can perform original research by using new techniques on traditional texts or topics
    • Diversity/Global learning - students have opportunities to seek topics and sources beyond what they learn in the classroom
    • ePortfolios - digital projects lend themselves very well to online portfolios
    • Capstone projects - these projects can integrate learning from multiple courses or disciplines
  • Experimentation and even failure are expected and okay!
  • Future employer expectations of digital literacy and skills
  • Analyzing and understanding the "back end" of digital tools and resources is a skill that will help students navigate today's digital culture
  • To introduce students to these techniques, have them analyze existing examples of digital scholarship rather than performing techniques themselves

How does the Evelyn S. Field Library support digital scholarship?

  • Help you find the right tools for your project
  • Help you plan your steps and organize your project
  • Help you find, store, and use data

Schedule an appointment with librarian Janelle Bitter to get started!