The Five Colleges of Ohio, Inc., a higher learning consortium consisting of Oberlin College, Denison University, Kenyon College, Ohio Wesleyan University, and The College of Wooster, has been awarded a three-year $775,000 grant by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to strengthen the digital capabilities of their libraries and embed the use of digital scholarship practices into the liberal arts curriculum.
The grant, titled “Digital Collections: from Projects to Pedagogy and Scholarship,” is a continuation of the three-year “Next Steps in the Next Generation Library” grant, which enabled librarians, faculty, and students to produce more than 50 digitization projects in a wide range of disciplines. Many are showcased in a public portal.
Both faculty and students will be able to take advantage of the grant. Collaboratively developed by the Ohio Five libraries, the initiative focuses on creating digital resources to enhance faculty and student research, teaching, and learning using emerging aspects of media literacy, scholarly communication, information literacy, information management, and digital publishing. An additional priority of the grant is to make the scholarship of Ohio Five faculty and students more visible and accessible.
With the grant, the Five Colleges consortium has hired a digital scholar, Jacob Heil, to work with faculty and develop projects. In this role, Heil will connect the right people with the right project, facilitate ideas, and build up the infrastructure of the digital collections. He will meet with library directors or liaisons from the Ohio Five schools to discuss projects—pre-existing or new—that could grow into Mellon grant projects. The calls for proposal will begin later this fall semester.
In addition to hiring a digital scholar, the grant is based on several objectives:
To provide the libraries with resources to foster development of curriculum-driven digital collections in partnership with students and faculty while expanding the scope of the projects whenever possible to include digital scholarship practices;
To mount additional efforts to capture and provide open access to student and faculty scholarship;
To support continued professional staff development and collaboration within and across the Ohio Five library organizations to best address the needs of faculty researchers;
To facilitate the creation of new collaborations with similar institutions, particularly those focused on the digital humanities, and broadly disseminate the products and processes developed under the grant.
“The initial Mellon grant significantly accelerated the Ohio Five libraries’ abilities to support digital initiatives and demonstrated the efficiencies realized when five outstanding colleges work together,” said Mark Christel, director of libraries at Wooster and project director for the consortium grant. “Under the new grant, we hope to become even more ambitious in the size and scope of the projects we undertake.”
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