EXCEL student Alena Principato ’15 presented her work on the Easton Library Company Project alongside project creators Professor Chris Phillips of the English department and Eric Luhrs, Director of Skillman Library’s Digital Scholarship Services team, at the first annual Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference this week.
The conference “Collaborating Digitally: Engaging Students in Faculty Research,” was sponsored by Bucknell University in Lewisburg, PA. It brought together a wide range of digital scholars focused on expanding digital projects into the classroom and into the research profiles of both graduate and undergraduate students.
Together the three presented on the panel “Old Records, New Questions, New Collaborations” where Alena was able to share her story as a contributor to the ELC, a project that includes digitizing and transcribing the lending records of the Easton Library Company from 1811-1862. These ledgers contain unique insights into the reading practices of 19th century readers as well as into the local Easton community of the era. From the students’ transcriptions, the DSS team has taken this data and transformed it into a relational database. Once complete, this project will allow users to investigate and visualize this data on their own and discover new relationships between readers, lenders, and the community.
Alena has been active with the project under Professor Phillips’ guidance since her arrival at Lafayette as a freshman. Now three years later, she is an expert on transcribing the records and has trained several other EXCEL students and worked directly with DSS to streamline the transcription process.
The panel also included the team’s colleagues Professor of Public History Kyle Roberts and undergrad Evan Thompson ’15 from Loyola University in Chicago. Their work on the Jesuit Libraries Provenance Project explores the history of Loyola’s original library collection and parallels that of the ELC. Their presentation provided an additional model for integrating faculty scholarship into the undergraduate experience.
To foster student faculty collaborations like this one and to encourage the inclusion of digital methodologies into student research, the Digital Humanities Steering Committee has opened a call for proposals that includes funding for EXCEL students like Alena and for integrating DH methods in the classroom. For more information visit the steering committee’s website at sites.lafayette.edu/dhlaf.
For more information on starting a digital project with DSS or applying for an internship opportunity contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org, or call (610) 330-5796.