As I mentioned in a previous post, this is the inaugural year of the Gale Digital Studies Prize. The prize is one of the fruits of the library’s partnership with Gale, a part of Cengage Learning and a leading publisher of research and reference sources for libraries; the library and Gale established the prize in order to recognize students’ contributions and innovations in the broad field of digital studies.
In this first year of the prize, we were delighted to receive a great — and diverse — pool of entries. The prize committee was impressed by students’ creativity, innovations, and adaptations of digital tools, methods, and resources. It was difficult to select winners. There is definitely strong student interest in “digital” at Davidson!
Because the students’ projects were so diverse, we decided to award two prizes this year: one for a critical work and one for a creative work.
The winners are:
Tomas Husted (’15)
“The Phraseology of the Boko Haram Crisis in Northern Nigeria“
Tomas used Voyant and the text of news sources from library databases in order to analyze the different terms used by northern and southern Nigerian journalists reporting on the Boko Haram insurgency and the Nigerian government’s counter-insurgency. As part of his content analysis, he gathered word counts, created chronological frequency tables and visualizations, and analyzed keywords.
The committee really liked the ways that Tomas applied textual analysis and data visualization techniques in order to tackle a political science hypothesis.
Nick McGuire (’14)
“Lost on Gilligan’s Island“
As part of an assignment for Digital Studies 401, “Hacking, Remixing, and Design” (Fall 2013), Nick created a mashup video that is part parody and part cultural critique. By mixing audio and visual elements from Gilligan’s Island and Lost, he underscores the similarities and differences between the televisions series and the sociocultural context of each time period.
Committee members liked how Nick used visual and audio rhetorical techniques to move beyond simple parody and praised his technical skills.
Thanks to the generosity of Gale, each student received $500. We thank Gale very much for this support.
Tomas and Nick received their awards at a special ceremony and reception held in the library on April 15th. Faculty and staff from across campus attended, and we were delighted to have Matt Hancox from Gale as well. After the ceremony, Tomas and Nick gave short presentations on their work and answered questions from the audience.
We plan to offer another set of prizes in the spring of 2015 and encourage Davidson students to consider submitting spring and fall 2014 projects. Both individual and group projects are welcome. Check out the current eligibility requirements, watch for an announcement in the fall, and let us know if you have any questions in the meantime.
We look forward to seeing — and celebrating — the fine work that Davidson students are doing in digital studies!