Taylor Dolven, Asst. Campus Editor

The Libraries Center for Digital Scholarship plans to fully launch next month in 303 King Library.

While the tools that the center has provided have always been available to library staff, this transformation into an official center makes them available to faculty and students as well, according to Head of Digital Initiatives John Millard.

“We are willing to work with faculty on digital projects, as well as provide them guidance and access to technology tools we have,” Millard said.

The center had an unofficial soft launch at the beginning of the fall semester and is still putting the services into place, according to Millard.

The digitizing tools at the center have always been there, but faculty were not completely aware of their accessibility. Assistant Dean of Instruction and Emerging Technologies Lisa Santucci said she noticed more and more faculty using the student CIM lab.

“We have all the unique machines upstairs that do amazing things, yet every summer, faculty came in and used the student multimedia facility,” Santucci said. “We thought we should create a space for them to use.”

The center held a focus group of faculty from many different departments across campus and asked them questions about what their needs are regarding digital scholarship.

Santucci is very excited about meeting the needs of the faculty. She said other universities have similar facilities.

“We just wanted to make sure that we were offering services that faculty need,” she said.

Faculty are very concerned about creating digital documents and preserving them, said Santucci.

One of the things that excites the center’s staff most is that the center is made up of only existing materials, according to Millard.

Everything including the tables and chairs were taken from other spaces on campus where they were not needed.

“There is not one new thing up there,” Santucci said. “We have repurposed everything. We are trying to be very sustainable.”

Journalism professor Cheryl Heckler is using the center to digitize research for her next book about White Law Reid.

The center has helped Heckler obtain and digitize documents and Civil War correspondence from the Library of Congress with their permission. All of the materials are on 227 reels of film, which makes manipulating them very difficult.

“I cannot tell you how much this means for researchers on campus,” Heckler said.

In addition to the better quality of the digitized documents, Heckler said they are much easier to manipulate and access.

“This just makes me very excited about working with the material because the access is so much easier,” she said. “I am so incredibly grateful that the library staff decided on the project.”

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