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DSPS at IT@Cornell: Where unified research services meets cutting-edge technology

DSPS staff Mickey Casad, Michelle Paolillo, and Jaron Porciello joined 250 Cornellians to listen, learn and present a poster at the June 13 IT@Cornell event: Building our community, together.

Our triptych poster* highlights services, expertise, and emerging collaborative opportunities between DSPS and the broader Cornell community. Services such as digitization, digital repositories and platforms, copyright services, and needs requirements, continue to be available to the entire Cornell community through the department’s cost-recovery service arm, DCAPS. In addition, we are also continually building expertise in emerging areas of digital scholarship, such as text-mining and visualization, in order to support innovative projects such as “Freedom on the Move: A Database of Fugitives from North American Slavery.”  ”Freedom on the Move” is a collaboration between CISER, CUL, and History Professor Ed Baptist that aims to collect, collate and eventually crowdsource for correction and analysis thousands of runway slavery advertisements from 18th and 19th newspapers and pamphlets. Eventually, this will be an interactive public history project that represents the kind of community outreach and serious research that can be seamlessly coupled in today’s digital scholarship arena. 

Many of the people we talked to at IT@Cornell shared a common interest of helping researchers discover new tools in order to both dig deeply and broadly across the mass of scholarship that now digitally available. As the needs of researchers are changing, it is not always the PhD subject experts that have the time or alacrity to become digital scholarship experts. We believe there is a strong service role to provide in this vital and growing sector; one that can be flexible, to allow researchers the freedom to explore, but also offers a framework with just-in-time customized support that is crucial to leveraging and implementing new tools and analysis in scholarship.

We also heard concerns about how to scale and sustain customized service for multiple researchers– and how to provision for research projects with potentially long life-spans. While we may share some of these concerns, DSPS has proven itself to be a nimble partner to many faculty and staff across campus by continually assessing and revising, and sometimes shedding,  digital scholarship services as needs evolve. Library staff have a strong role to play as collaborators alongside faculty and IT communities as digital scholarship and born-digital content continues to flourish. We are delighted to work in this space and provide opportunities for scholars to work alongside the library to increase these opportunities.

– Jaron Porciello, Mickey Casad, Michelle Paolillo

(*Thank you to Carla DeMello, RAU graphic designer, for listening to our ideas and creating a beautiful poster for us to use again and again.)

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