Humanities, Luce Library to launch digital scholarship initiative

Monday, June 05, 2017

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Humanities, Luce Library to launch digital scholarship initiative

SUNY Maritime College houses an extensive archive of materials documenting maritime history and the maritime industry. Both paint a comprehensive picture of the maritime world and especially its significance to New York City.

Thanks to an Innovative Instruction Technology Grant from the State University of New York Research Foundation, students at the college will begin to curate the collection of both resources, and explore digital scholarship opportunities to create maps, timelines and interactive exhibits.

“The Luce Library archives and special collections are a largely untapped treasure trove of documents telling the story of New York City maritime heritage,” said library director Kristin Hart. “This grant will fund the creation of a customized, openly accessible, flexible digital platform that can serve as the foundation for future digital initiatives and also include artifacts from our partner, the Maritime Industry Museum at Fort Schuyler.”

Faculty who participate in the grant will commit to incorporating digital projects into their courses.

The $40,000 grant, with additional support from the college, will allow for the creation of a digital platform with tools and web hosting; help faculty in the humanities, science and other academic departments to integrate the tools into their classes; and build out a digital scholarship and research lab, complete with space for training and collaboration, computers, a museum-quality scanner and mobile scan kit for photographing artifacts.

The grant will crystallize support around digital humanities projects on campus, which have already begun in a partnership between the humanities department, the college Center for Teaching Excellence and the library.

“So much cross-campus collaboration is already happening and it is becoming more and more vital to our courses, students and program learning outcomes,” said Dr. John Rocco, humanities professor and the grant’s principal investigator. “We recognize the need to formalize our efforts into a true, sustainable digital scholarship initiative.”

The projects will start with graduate students in the college’s Maritime and Naval Studies program. Students will develop capstone projects curating and exploring existing information and collections from the college and museum.

Maritime faculty and staff say they hope the project will allow other colleges within the SUNY system to adopt similar initiatives.

“Through cross-disciplinary cohort learning, evaluation and implementation, our ultimate goal is to create an innovative ‘digital scholarship playbook’ that can serve as a model for larger collaborations as well as a cross-campus model for other SUNY campuses,” Rocco said.