Digital scholarship at CMU is not a field or discipline, but rather a collection of research practices using web-facing tools and methods that generate research products with online interaction or consumption as required modes of use. Digital scholarship may be born-digital content, depend on digitized content, or use materials and data taken from online interaction and asynchronous activity, networked information, or digitally native interpretation. Methods can include, and are not limited to: data visualization and analysis, GIS data and digital mapping, text encoding and computational analysis, 3-D modeling, curating digital collections and exhibits, or adapting and creating custom digital tools. The affordances of datasets and digital tools can increase access far beyond traditional print publications and generate new possibilities for interactive use and reuse: they allow for hybrid scholarship that uses multiple channels to present research and that can combine print and web-based text, video, audio, and still images, as well as interactive annotations and new modes of multithreaded, nonlinear discourse that can exist only online.
Digital scholarship often involves multidisciplinary teamwork and collaboration to craft tools and systems, as well as its argument, narrative, and scholarly discourse environment. This work requires an iterative process that increasingly turns to library expertise, subject matter experts, and similar resources throughout the research lifecycle. While CMU is known for its computer science and engineering programs, it has fostered the creation of digital tools in numerous departments and interdisciplinary programs including DocuScope (text analysis) and the User Experience Lab of the Department of English and the Knowledge Accelerator (crowd sourcing) of the Human-Computer Interface Institute (HCII) provides information processing support. The Entertainment Technology Center and HCII focus on crossing college and disciplinary boundaries to combine the humanities, arts, and computer technology; models that the library can emulate and expand upon to foster a digital scholarship community at CMU.
Through dSHARP, the University Libraries and the Dietrich College of Humanities and Social Sciences are working to support and enlarge the digital sphere of activity at CMU: digital humanities, research product and data management, and scholarly communications and digital publishing, all of which intersect with digital scholarship. Over the coming months, we hope to explore more of these methods, tools, and projects as examples along different points of research lifecycles.