Digital Futures of Indigenous Studies

Digital Futures of Indigenous Studies

Posted by: on March 18, 2016   |Comments (0)|Digital Humanities

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a fantastic roundtable on Digital Futures of Indigenous Studies in the Digital Scholarship Lab at Brown University’s John D. Rockefeller Library. The event was “part of an ongoing initiative at the JCB to encourage and support a new generation of scholars and community members as they build consciousness about Indigenous issues not only in New England, but also in the United States and internationally”. The discussion centered on “the use of digital media to foster education, research, and outreach within Indigenous communities and studies.” There was a focus on how digital media and tools can help to create connections between people and materials, as well as the importance of relationship-building with Native communities, the ethics surrounding these projects, and project management issues of resource allocation, stewardship, and sustainability.

I was particularly impressed with Tobias Glaza and Paul Grant-Costa’s Yale Indian Papers Project. They focused on the importance of Indigenous communities as stakeholders in the project and collaborating with community members right from the beginning to answer questions like – What’s most important to the community? How do they tell their stories? What information should remain private? How do they want to access and use their digital history? With this approach, they published the New England Indian Papers Series – “a scholarly critical edition of New England Native American primary source materials gathered into one robust virtual collection.” Built on Yale’s Ladybird software and using a Blacklight front-end, the platform is clean and easy-to-use, and includes a document reader, scholarly transcription, and extensive metadata.

An eye-opening takeaway from Alyssa Mt. Pleasant’s presentation on the American Indian Studies (AIS) resources portal that she built at Yale, is the importance of maintaining a project’s stewardship to ensure its longevity. Unfortunately, the AIS portal, which took 3 years to build, wasn’t taken on by anyone else when she left Yale, and consequently, is no longer accessible.

Lisa Brooks from Amherst College gave a fantastic talk on the problem of trying to understand the history of Native spaces when the main existing reference points are colonial maps. She’s worked extensively on creating new historical maps of Indigenous spaces to support her research and is also engaged in the idea of maps as storytelling, often combining her maps with present-day photos of the locations to bring them to life. Her work is included in Amherst’s digital map collection, which was created using Esri’s ArcGIS platform, and is definitely worth checking out.

Another standout was Dana Leibsohn’s project, Vistas, which “seeks to bring an understanding of the visual culture of Spanish America to a broad audience.” Vistas was designed as a non-linear platform, in an effort to encourage multiple pathways between content that would support research in a variety of scholarly disciplines, as well as less formal modes of education and learning. Launched in the late 90’s, Vistas has undergone three major evolutions, from a website hosted by Smith College, to a DVD, and now back to an online version hosted by Fordham University. Dr. Leibsohn’s stewardship of the project over the years has clearly been integral to its longevity, which includes her commitment to tackling the challenges of migrating the platform to keep up with ever-evolving technologies.

There were also a couple of great discussions surrounding endangered Native languages, including a conversation on the power of digital activism to increase online, and particularly social media usage of these languages, as a way of preserving them.

Obviously all of these projects are contributing to content-collection, digital preservation, and scholarship needs, but it was great to hear that so many are focused on supporting Indigenous communities by facilitating access to their histories, preserving them, and ultimately, helping to amplify the voices of these communities.

A couple of weeks ago, I attended a fantastic roundtable on Digital Futures of Indigenous Studies in the Digital Scholarship Lab at... MORE

Engaging Users and Remixing Content: New York Public Library’s Digital Collections

Posted by: on February 12, 2016   |Comments (0)|Facilities and Tools

As I’ve begun settling into Providence after my move from New York, I’m finally having some time to catch up on my library news. I had heard about NYPL’s recent release of more than 180,000 public domain items from their digital collections, including the first known photography by a woman and more than 40,000 stereoscopic views of the U.S., but as I delved deeper, I discovered all of the exciting tools and initiatives that they’ve integrated into the collections to encourage discovery, interaction, sharing, research, and reuse. In particular, I’ve been musing on the fantastic visual browsing tool. Data visualization is still often thought of simply as a graphic, sometimes interactive, representation of statistics and other data, but it also clearly has so much potential as a tool for discovery, by helping users to better understand the scope of the information that they’re searching or exploring.

A thousand skaters, Central Park

Strohmeyer & Wyman, “A thousand skaters, Central Park” (1889), stereoscopic image (via NYPL)

Beyond content visualization, NYPL is championing active user/content engagement with the Digital Collections API, a Remix Residency program and other tools from the creative folks at NYPL Labs, like The Green Book trip planner, which uses “locations extracted from mid-20th century motor guides that listed hotels, restaurants, bars, and other destinations where Black travelers would be welcome.”

For those of us who spend most of our days in the weeds of content management, NYPL’s Digital Collections initiatives are a great reminder to think innovatively about how we can better connect and engage users with digital collections.

For some Friday fun, check out their Stereogranimator and create some 3D images!

As I’ve begun settling into Providence after my move from New York, I’m finally having some time to catch up... MORE

Open Library of Humanities

Posted by: on December 19, 2015   |Comments (0)|Scholarly Communication

From About OLH page:

The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is a charitable organisation dedicated to publishing open access scholarship with no author-facing article processing charges (APCs). We are funded by an international consortium of libraries who have joined us in our mission to make scholarly publishing fairer, more accessible, and rigorously preserved for the digital future.

The OLH publishing platform supports academic journals from across the humanities disciplines, as well as hosting its own multidisciplinary journal. Launched as an international network of scholars, librarians, programmers and publishers in January 2013, the OLH has received two substantial grants from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to date, and has built a sustainable business model with its partner libraries.

All of our academic articles are subject to rigorous peer review and the scholarship we publish showcases some of the most dynamic research taking place in the humanities disciplines today – from classics, modern languages and cultures, philosophy, theology and history, to political theory, sociology, anthropology, film and new media studies, and digital humanities. Our articles benefit from the latest advances in online journal publishing – with high-quality presentation, annotative functionality, robust digital preservation, strong discoverability and easy-to-share social media buttons.

Our mission is to support and extend open access to scholarship in the humanities – for free, for everyone, for ever.


From About OLH page: The Open Library of Humanities (OLH) is a charitable organisation dedicated to publishing open access scholarship... MORE

ACRL Conference 2015: Spacing Out with the Library

Posted by: on May 7, 2015   |Comments (0)|Facilities and Tools


Tomorrow (Friday, May 8th, 2015) is the annual Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) New England Chapter conference, held at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, MA. This year’s theme is “Spacing Out with the Library: An Exploration of Collaboration Across the Physical, Virtual and those Places in Between”. At the heart of this theme will be the questions, “What does it take to expand ‘the library’ beyond its traditional physical space?” and “With whom are we working to expand our services?” Addressing these questions will be keynote speakers Marie S.A. Sorensen (Architects + Planners, Inc.) and David Weinberger (Harvard’s Berkman Center for Internet & Society) as well as numerous regional librarians and library workers.

We at Digital Publishing Services are excited about what conversations the conference might explore, as much of our work relates to creating connections between the physical and the virtual, and exploring the nature of those connections as they proliferate and evolve. Some sessions of interest to DPS, as they relate to our own digital initiatives, include: “Books in e-Space – How Far Do Students Go?”; “New Object Models and APIs: Foregrounding Re-Use in a Digital Repository”, which posed structural questions regarding institutional repositories, and how to best reflect complex objects and relationships digitally; “Federated Open Access: Balancing the Needs of the Many and the Needs of the Few”; and “Strengthening Service through Collaboration: Digital Scholarship at the University of Connecticut Libraries”.

For more information on the 2015 ACRL NEC Conference, visit

Hope to see some of our readers there!

Tomorrow (Friday, May 8th, 2015) is the annual Association of College and Research Libraries (ACRL) New England Chapter conference, held... MORE

Querying the Library Conference Proceedings

Posted by: on February 13, 2015   |Comments (0)|Digital Publishing


As readers of the Digital Publishing Services blog might recall, several of the DPS staff were involved in the Querying the Library: Digitization and Its Impact conference at Rhode Island College two years ago. Their presentation, entitled “Publishing INTI: A Suite of Services Case Study,” detailed the department’s multifaceted digitization and publication support for INTI, a Spanish-language literature journal edited by Providence College faculty member Roger Carmosino.

Following the event, the Adams Library at Rhode Island College requested proceedings from the presenters to document the conference. Most recently, ePub and iBook versions of the proceedings have been developed and published. For those unfamiliar with these formats, ePub and iBook are electronic publication formats that are optimized for mobile use. One benefit of working with these formats is that they can be media-enhanced. As a demonstration of this functionality, video recordings of the presentation have been made available either directly within the proceedings or through them via hyperlink.

We in Digital Publishing Services are grateful for the support Rhode Island College has offered to document this event and excited to see the developing usage of electronic publications within our library consortium.

The Querying the Library: Digitization and Its Impact conference proceedings are freely available for download via Rhode Island College’s Digital Commons at the following URL:

As readers of the Digital Publishing Services blog might recall, several of the DPS staff were involved in the Querying... MORE