Campus News

March 25, 2011

Library gets $695,000 grant for digital humanities center

Robert W. Woodruff library.

A $695,000 grant to the Emory Libraries will establish a cutting-edge, collaborative digital humanities center.

The two-year grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will provide startup funds for the Digital Scholarship Commons (DiSC) in the Robert W. Woodruff Library.

The proposal plan calls for DiSC to establish a site to draw faculty members and graduate students into new collaborative working relationships with librarians. It also proposes launching four large-scale and four smaller-scale seed projects that will use the library's collections and services in new ways.

Rick Luce, vice provost and director of the Emory Libraries, said, “DiSC's most pioneering contribution as a digital scholarship center will be its ability to build new relationships between librarians and scholars, giving them the opportunity to work together on projects in a shared scholarly partnership."

DiSC will be located on the third floor of the Woodruff Library, in the space formerly occupied by the circulation desk.

Joan A. Smith, chief technology strategist at the Emory Libraries, explained the difference in approach Emory's library takes from other digital scholarship centers across the country.

“We're doing an across-the-board, coffeehouse approach where people and ideas can mingle and bear more fruit than in isolation," said Smith, who is principal investigator for the grant. “In the library, we have an environment where people and ideas from all disciplines intermingle. It's that confluence of scholars and scholarship that we hope will enrich the space."

Smith describes DiSC as a place where scholars can collaborate with technologists to build a digital scholarship project, analyze data or explore new ways to combine humanities-based research with information technology.

Because the grant begins April 1, DiSC and its staff will operate from a temporary home in Woodruff Library until its third floor renovations are finished, ideally by early September, Smith said.

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