I’ve been writing quite a bit this week, and still need to complete this blog entry, so I’m going to cheat a bit and steal repurpose the title and much of the content from a presentation proposal that Associate Archivist Caitlin Christian-Lamb, College Archivist Jan Blodgett, and I have been working on. As part of our preparation, we have been looking back at the history of the participation of the archives in Digital Humanities/Studies projects. Hard to believe, but we can trace the archives’ first, and still active digital project, the Davidson Encyclopedia, all the way back to 1998, well before the term Digital Humanities became widely used (which can be traced back to 2004.)
As we have reflected on the history of DH in the archives, it became clear that while the archives initial efforts were project and data based, the emphasis has evolved organically toward class-based projects integrated with the curriculum. The potential synergy between the archives’ current emphasis on the curriculum and Davidson’s more recent intentional efforts to create curricular initiatives around DH, including the current planning for a concentration in Digital Studies, isn’t lost on us. As members of the archives team participate in both the curricular and broader digital studies discussions on campus we will be interested to see if our experiences bring value to the process.
If you are interested in the history of the archives in digital projects please have a look at the descriptions of some of our digital projects below. If you’d like to learn more about these or other projects, you are welcome to come over the library and visit us. Better yet, if you can think of a way we can use our assets and/or skills to help with new class or research projects we would love the opportunity to participate.
Davidson Encyclopedia (1998):
The first web-based project undertaken by Davidson College’s library was the creation of the Davidson Encyclopedia. Still in existence today, the Encyclopedia was originally created by archives staff and intended to provide short articles regarding campus history.
ACS Information Fluency Project (2001-2002) and English Project(2002-2003):
Students from Professor Shireen Campbell’s English 101 courses investigated the causes and/or effects of major historic events at Davidson College. Their investigations resulted in a series of group projects from 2001 and 2003 that are still accessible on the archives and special collections website.
Class Projects Based on the Original Davidson Encyclopedia (2010-2012)
Since the Davidson Encyclopedia was established 13 years ago, classes have continued creating articles for contribution, as part of coursed based learning on writing for the web and conducting primary source research. In the course of these projects much of the content was moved from HTML and Asp pages to WordPress in an attempt to make them more sustainable and to use a platform students were exposed to in other curricular initiatives.
Under Lake Norman (2012 to present)
Our “Under Lake Norman“ community crowdsourcing project, conceived as a learning experience for staff members and as community outreach, chronicles the history what is beneath the waters of the lake, originally flooded in 1963. The Duke Energy Foundation has provided funding to the Environmental Studies program and archives to enable unique student research around the lake as part of the senior capstone course. This research is to be presented to the public as part of the project website and will also be used to create course guides (produced by Davidson students) for local educators interested in using the research for further educational purposes.