Associate Executive Director
Coalition for Networked Information
An increasing number of institutions, from liberal arts colleges to research universities, are creating digital scholarship centers. CNI wanted to understand better the types of projects in which these centers are involved, the skill sets of staff associated with centers, the relationship to teaching and learning as well as to research, and the range of services offered in the centers. We convened a workshop following the spring CNI Membership Meeting in April, 2014, and participants were chosen after reviewing their responses to a call for participation. Twenty-four institutions were represented at the workshop; most participants were library staff with a wide range of titles, and others included information technologists, faculty, academic staff, and a graduate student.
Digital scholarship centers or labs are most frequently located in libraries and usually offer consultation on such topics as digital technologies, preservation/curation, project management, and intellectual property. While many people assume that they provide support for digital humanities projects, most of the centers represented provide support for most if not all disciplines in their institution. The centers host workshops, provide one-on-one assistance, offer specialized hardware and software, participate in grant writing, and offer internships or fellowships. Staff are often involved as partners in faculty research or teaching and learning initiatives. Participants engaged in a lively discussion of what, exactly, constitutes a digital scholarship center, and did not come to a clear conclusion; there were many variations among institutional perspectives.
Participants in this briefing will learn about the findings from these leading programs and then will be asked to suggest topics for a workshop that CNI will offer next year, in partnership with the Association of Research Libraries, for institutions that would like to develop such a center or are in the early planning stages.