DSS: A model for digital scholarship in new report

cni_logo_pantone_exactSkillman Library’s Digital Scholarship Services (DSS) features prominently in the Coalition for Networked Information (CNI)’s latest report “Digital Scholarship Centers: Trends & Good Practice.” The report is the result of an invitational workshop held at CNI’s spring meeting in St. Louis this past April. There, participants from digital scholarship teams representing 24 institutions including Lafayette met to discuss their own experiences in conceptualizing a digital scholarship center and in defining best practices in the field.

From this conversation along with a survey issued prior to the conference, CNI identified Lafayette’s DSS as a model for creating and promoting the growth of digital scholarship at a small liberal arts college. According to the report, “liberal arts colleges are committed to having students learn by doing, and to providing ways for students to engage with faculty doing research; [DSS] lends itself to the interplay of teaching and research that, in part, define institutions like Lafayette.” Placed alongside of much larger research institutions, DSS has earned a reputation for innovation and ingenuity in the digital scholarship community.

At CNI’s fall meeting held in Washington D.C. earlier this month, Executive Director Clifford Lynch, provided a review of this report and announced that CNI will follow up these findings with a new workshop this spring. There institutions will draw on the knowledge gained from models like Lafayette to build their own Digital Scholarship Centers. Lafayette’s librarians are pleased to have such opportunities to share their experience in the company of other leading colleges and universities and look forward to participating in the continued development of digital scholarship in higher education.

For more information on starting a digital project with DSS or applying for an internship opportunity contact us at digital@lafayette.edu, or call (610) 330-5796.

DSS represents Lafayette at Digital Library Federation Conference

DLFrev1BL_notag_200Eric Luhrs, Head of the Library’s Digital Scholarship Services, delivered a presentation at this year’s Digital Library Federation conference in Atlanta this week. The DLF is the premiere venue for digital scholarship in libraries. The yearly conference brings together librarians, scholars, and digital experts to discuss the role of the library and librarians in the evolving landscape of digital scholarship and preservation. Luhrs presented on the panel “Catastrophic Success: The Challenges and Opportunities of Supporting Digital Scholarship at Liberal Arts Colleges” alongside of his colleagues Kelcy Shepherd (Amherst College), Laurie Allen (Haverford College), Gina Siesing (Bryn Mawr College) and
Jennifer Vinopal (New York University).

This panel, which emerged from a Liberal Arts College working group organized by Lafayette at last year’s DLF conference, has written a Manifesto on Digital Scholarship at Liberal Arts Colleges that articulates the members’ commitment to developing a strong foundation for digital methods and research no matter the size of the school or perceived limitations.

Luhrs highlighted the strengths of the DSS team in building customized research environments and the flexibility they have in their autonomy, while calling attention to the limitations of resources and time endemic to digital scholarship at small liberal arts colleges when compared to the collaboratories, scholars’  labs, and digital centers at high profile research universities.


DSS team members James Griffin, Eric Luhrs, and Thom Goodnow at DLF.

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DSS poster

Luhrs along with James Griffin, Digital Library Developer, and Thom Goodnow, Integrated Technologies Librarian, showcased these possibilities in a poster presentation describing how this small team has been able to streamline DSS’ project development processes.  By migrating from a multiplicity of platforms onto Islandora and adopting methodologies and workflows inspired by agile software development practices, the team can now develop a greater variety of digital tools and virtual research environments than previously possible. Their dedication and hard work has allowed the team to expand services and support innovation in scholarly research and digital scholarship across campus.

For more information on starting a digital project with DSS or applying for an internship opportunity contact us at digital@lafayette.edu, or call (610) 330-5796.