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March 18, 2015

River Campus Libraries to establish Digital Humanities Institute

The River Campus Libraries has been awarded a $100,672 grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to fund a pilot program designed to strengthen librarians’ competencies in digital scholarship. The “21st Century Skills: Digital Humanities Institute for Mid-Career Librarians” will launch this summer.

“We are very grateful to the Mellon Foundation for its support of this project,” says Mary Ann Mavrinac, vice provost and the Andrew H. and Janet Dayton Neilly Dean of River Campus Libraries. “The University of Rochester is well positioned to design and deliver a successful institute, as much of the scholarly activity around digital humanities is centered in the Rush Rhees Library.”

Advances in scholarly practices in the humanities and social sciences require a new caliber of skill sets to support the research process. The pilot institute will provide a three-day residential immersion experience and a yearlong online component for 20 mid-career librarians. Participants will develop proficiency in three core areas—project management, copyright and fair use, and metadata literacy—while enhancing their technology toolkits and exploring diverse areas of digital humanities scholarship. University faculty, River Campus Libraries staff, UR Mellon fellows in digital humanities, and Council on Library and Information Resources postdoctoral fellows will serve as instructors.

Interested mid-career librarians from across the United States and Canada are invited to apply to the institute through a competitive process.

The Digital Humanities Center in Rush Rhees Library has collaborated on research initiatives with faculty members in the School of Arts & Sciences since 2010. Current projects include Re-Envisioning Japan, which documents Japan’s presence as a foreign destination in visual and material culture; the Seward Family Papers Project, an exploration of digital representations of the letters and diaries written by William Henry Seward and his family; and the Claude Bragdon Train Station Project, an initiative to create an interactive 3-D model of architect Claude Bragdon’s Rochester train station that was demolished in the 1960s.

“This is absolutely the right time for the River Campus Libraries to step into this role stewarding the next generation of digital scholarship librarians,” says Nora Dimmock, assistant dean for IT, research, and digital scholarship at the River Campus Libraries. “We will take full advantage of the expertise we have developed and the outstanding facilities in Rush Rhees Library, Rettner Hall for Media Arts and Innovation, and the VISTA Collaboratory.”

Program managers will evaluate feedback from the pilot institute to guide the development of an expanded program. The full institute is expected to launch in 2016.

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