DHi's Goals

Goals from Phase Two, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Grant

Goal I. Continue to institutionalize DHi’s work at Hamilton through research projects, curricular integration, and Culture, Liberal Arts and Society Scholars Program (CLASS).

The “Research and Curriculum Timeline” chart provides a fully articulated trajectory with expected outcomes for this next phase of the grant period.

  1. Students are the backbone of all DHi research projects (details of ongoing projects appear here) and as such are involved from brainstorming through dissemination. Each project is approached and developed within a four-phase framework:

    Phase I: Start-Up – supports the initial planning and development stages of newly forming digital projects; encourages collaboration with scholars at Hamilton (exploring cross-disciplinary collaborations); and facilitates collaborations across institutions as we draw on a network of scholars.

    Phase II: Collection Development and Digital Workspace Manipulation – includes acquisition or pattern analysis of artifacts with digital manipulation to elucidate relationships. It will also highlight creation of new collections of objects reflecting multiple perspectives.

    Phase III: Prototype/Proof of Concept – supports more fully-developed projects that are ready to begin either implementation or creation of working prototypes for future funding opportunities.

    Phase IV: Project “Completion” and Dissemination – supports digital media scholarship presentations to peer communities, and includes interactive components for immediate feedback and sustained scholarly investigation. DHi has led development of a model for preservation and publication of faculty/student digital research in the humanities. DHi has been collaborating with faculty and students to create digital objects (ex: oral histories, images, video and audio files, maps, text files in multiple formats including Text Encoding Initiative) and developing faculty digital research collections with associated tools/features to interact with these collections for the past three years. The model for these collaborations is based on an experimental but highly efficient technical infrastructure (not one-off faculty web pages or websites) to maintain on-going digital publication in an open-source environment. In the last three years, we have developed faculty collections of digital objects following library standards that allow them to both grow and be preserved, and also have their publication features updated online with long term career research agendas. The underlying digital research collection is preserved according to national and international library standards. The interface for audience interaction and knowledge development is potentially limitless.

  2. As we build on the curricular integration (details of courses appear below) achieved in our first three years, DHi will delve more deeply into new models for teaching information management, metadata schema, and collection development in the liberal arts through a series of short term hands-on workshops and integration of assignments in existing courses.

    Leveraging the liberal arts tradition, our goals include promoting interdisciplinarity through student assignments in courses and independent projects using digital humanities research approaches in combination with traditional disciplinary methods. Beyond the initial goal of discussing and providing examples of information literacies (Information Literacy Competency Standards for Higher Education), we will work to weave into the curriculum an understanding of digital research approaches and their effects on information storage, retrieval, fair use, and digital publication over time. We will continue our efforts to partner with HILLgroup and other administrative/academic units to provide learning experiences that directly involve students in all aspects of digital scholarship.

    Students involved in digital scholarship are expected to develop broad-based humanities research questions in collaboration with faculty through either individual classroom assignments or through long-term projects. Discussions are ongoing with program and department chairs and the Committee on Academic Programs to incorporate multiple literacies across the curriculum with connections to multimodal digital scholarship in a liberal arts environment.

  3. Culture, Liberal Arts, and Society Scholars (CLASS) is an undergraduate research and fellowship program in the digital humanities awarded to student scholars at Hamilton College’s Digital Humanities Initiative. CLASS is made possible by Mellon’s Mid- Career Presidential Discretionary Award (Grant # 21100648). Basic digital literacies are critical skillsets for students entering the professional world in the twenty-first century. DHi (http://www.dhinitiative.org/projects/class/) provides new opportunities for students in the humanities to become fully engaged citizens in this ongoing digital revolution.

    Seven undergraduate students have participated in CLASS since the summer of 2011. Two CLASS Scholars will secure off campus internships for summer, 2013. Possible internship sites include WGBH, the Brooklyn Navy Yard/Steiner Studios, the New York Public Library (42nd Street Branch), the City University of Hong Kong, and DH centers at the University of Nebraska, Michigan State University, University of California, Los Angeles, and the City University of New York (CUNY).

Goal II. Develop an Innovation Lab for interdisciplinary digital scholarship.

The DHi Collaboratory acts as an incubator for innovation in digital approaches to interdisciplinary research across the liberal arts and a showcase for new forms of creativity across the humanities. We are dedicated to deep exploration of connections in digital research approaches. Among our first innovative efforts are a broadened speaker and applied workshop series, topical faculty working groups on unique aspects of digital scholarship, and a game development studio. Specifically these are:

  1. Invited speaker events, followed by workshops and/or guided discussions of innovations in digital approaches with both academic and industry leaders from across the US and abroad. For example, speakers from the Modern Language Association, Google Labs, Facebook, Microsoft Research, and Intel, along with leading practitioners in the DH-community including UVA Scholars’ Lab, the University of Nebraska’s Center for Digital Research in the Humanities, and UCLA’s Center for Digital Humanities will bring applied experience and digital innovation to campus.
  2. Working Groups based on current faculty, staff and student collaborations. Areas of local expertise have emerged at DHi that will provide faculty, staff and students with a way of organizing common interests, discussions, and training. Over the course of the academic year, each Hamilton faculty fellow will be required to lead a working group discussion about his/her current research project, will bring an eminent speaker(s) in the field to address the role of digital scholarship in a particular area of research, and will work to create a community of students and scholars to discuss and develop special skills, as groups, for DHi to retain and promote past the end of the researcher’s fellowship. Proposed groups include:
    1. Information & Interactive Visualization Theories and Methods Working Group
    2. Spatial Humanities, GIS and Geospatial Technologies Working Group
    3. Digital Witness, Ethnography & Testimony Working Group (Humanities Corridor & NY6 Collaboration)
    4. 3D Modeling, Virtual Realities, and Cultural Heritage Working Group
    5. Digital Technologies and Social Justice Working Group

3. Game Development Studio (GDS). In the near future, DHi hopes to create a student-driven laboratory and project development space that focuses on gaming and interactive media as tools to help Hamilton’s students and scholars explore a range of academic projects including simulation and virtualization, diversity and social issues, and narrative and creative expression.

Following academic institutions such as Dartmouth’s Tiltfactor Studio (an “interdisciplinary innovation studio dedicated to designing & studying games for social impact” led by Dr. Mary Flanagan), DHi hopes to create a community of technologically- minded students and faculty to come together and explore the ways that new tools and technologies allow for expression and experimentation in games and simulations.

We feel strongly that this area of study holds incredible creative power – and strong student interest – as a means of taking on a vast range of academic projects that would not be possible in any other medium.

Goal III. Provide leadership on the ways of integrating digital scholarship into the Appointment, Promotion and Tenure Review process at the College and Department levels. Connect and engage Hamilton faculty, students, and administrators to current and ongoing efforts in the larger academic community to establish guidelines for the evaluation of digital scholarship. After early meetings between college presidents, provosts and senior academic officers at liberal arts colleges (including the NY6 Consortium), all involved recognized that there was an immediate need to develop a committee of senior faculty who could review digital scholarship, broadly defined, for future tenure and promotion cases. Current Hamilton VPAA/Dean of Faculty, Patrick Reynolds, has agreed to help organize discussions among senior academic officers from each of the NY6 Consortium institutions beginning in the fall of 2014. A strategic plan for implementing guidelines will be developed as a result of future meetings.

Goal IV. Build an open source digital scholarship/humanities consortium of Liberal Arts Colleges (LACs). DHi is currently collaborating with several peer institutions (Grinnell, Vassar, Williams) in developing models for sustainable digital collections and scholarly publications built within open source architecture. Our goal is to develop and implement a model in which three to six LACs gain efficiencies through collaboration in the development and maintenance of digital scholarship infrastructures with interdisciplinary focus.

Goal V. Develop international digital scholarship communities in the liberal arts to include, specifically, undergraduate research. By leveraging DHi collaborations with peer and R1 institutions nationally and internationally, undergraduates will interact and learn from expert scholars and other undergraduate researchers. Creating a network of activities among communities with similar research interests connects our scholars with other institutions and creates a “pipeline” for our students to graduate programs and post- baccalaureate fellowships.

Almost all of the current DHi research projects are international in scope. This is largely due to the research interests but is also important as many of the advances in graduate programs, digital approaches, and technology developments are happening on the international front. Kings College in England has the first Ph.D. in Digital Humanities. Virtual Kyoto at Ritsumeikan University in Kyoto, Japan led the development of large- scale interactive mapping and 3D virtual reality humanities experiences. Our existing collaborations with Ritsumeikan and Doshisha Universities bring language, cultural heritage, and advanced digital humanities approaches to the undergraduate experience.

Goal VI. Develop a Liberal Arts Colleges (LAC) Digital Scholarship/Humanities Training Institute for faculty, staff and students. After conversations with Davidson, Williams, Vassar, Bucknell, Grinnell, and The College of Wooster, DHi has decided to collaborate in the development of a yearly Summer Institute (2-3 weeks in length) structured similarly to the NEH Summer Institutes for Humanities but targeted at research teams consisting of faculty/student/ librarian/technologist working on an interdisciplinary digital humanities research project with digital publication goals. DHi is proposing the Summer Institute as a line item in the next series of Mellon proposals and other grants.

Goal VII. Develop increasing connections to art and social justice-based activities between DHi digital scholarship and local and international communities. Beginning with cross campus connections to Hamilton’s Wellin Museum and the Levitt Public Affairs Centers, DHi will collaborate to introduce digital approaches to oral history recording, video documenting, and scholarly interpretation as components of humanist- based inquiry.

Each of the goals outlined above is addressed in various ways through existing and proposed courses.

In the course of this grant we may create new applications and digital products. Examples might include: multimedia interfaces, text analysis tools, extensions to existing geospatial tools, etc. Any such creations will be governed by the Mellon Foundation's Policy on Intellectual Property (http://www.mellon.org/about_foundation/.../AWMF-IP- October-2011.pdf).