Stewart Varner, digital scholarship coordinator for DiSC, and graduate students Robyn Pariser (standing) and Sarah Melton view DiSC's introductory page of one of its first four projects, Commonwealth: A Postcolonial Studies Community.
Maureen McGavin

What if Google Maps could zoom in on an Atlanta street—in 1930?

An Emory Libraries team is creating an application similar to the one used by the popular search engine that will bring old Atlanta maps to life with history.

The project is part of the Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC), a center for collaborative research created with start-up funds from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. DiSC is the flagship tenant of Emory’s new 4,500-square-foot Research Commons on the third floor of Robert W. Woodruff Library.

DiSC helps scholars harness digital tools and resources to create engaging scholarship. In the past two years, DiSC hosted two postdoctoral fellows, five graduate student fellows, three guest speakers, a yearlong workshop series, and a symposium on technology and disabilities.

For the maps project, Stewart Varner, the library’s digital scholarship coordinator, and two colleagues are developing software that can, for example, map all of the city’s 250,000 building footprints in 1930. Other scholars then can add layers and tag attributes to addresses in the city.

Current projects also include an interactive website exploring the Belfast Group, a 1960s-era poets’ workshop; a digital analysis of fifty-seven sermons memorializing President Abraham Lincoln after his assassination; a database for recording discoveries made during archeological excavations; and an archive of ten million tweets about Occupy Wall Street.

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