In an effort to support the use of new technologies in teaching, learning and research, the University Library launched the Center for Digital Scholarship in 2009. The center will serve as "a focal point … at Brown for digital humanities and digital library methods and tools," according to the CDS Web site.
The CDS is the result of a merger of three existing programs — the Center for Digital Initiatives, the Scholarly Technology Group and the Women Writers Project. The three programs were already collaborating, and "the convergence (was) natural," said Massimo Riva, a professor of Italian studies who has worked closely with the CDS.
Riva worked on a project called "Garibaldi and the Risorgimento," which involved photographing and digitizing a giant panorama of the life of Giuseppe Garibaldi.
In addition to other activities, the CDS provides scholarly grants for faculty members working on a number of different types of projects. This includes endeavors involving digitizing primary source material, making data easily Web-accessible or bringing together research in a digital publication.
CDS grants often serve as a "stepping-off point" for further work or further research, said Elli Mylonas, the center's associate director for projects and research. Faculty given a scholarly grant from the CDS will receive consulting time and work time from the staff and students at the center. These grants are a way of "carving out time for collaboration," Mylonas said.
They are designed to be yearlong collaborations, beginning in the summer, said Patrick Yott, the center's director. The application process for this year's CDS grants is underway.
The CDS is also currently supporting a number of ongoing projects, including the Aravaipa Project, proposed by Professor of History Karl Jacoby. While working on a book about the Camp Grant Massacre of 1871, Jacoby approached the CDS about creating an accompanying Web site that would allow viewers to access letters, deeds, military orders and other primary materials relating to the massacre.
In the future, Yott said, the CDS is excited to set up more formal relationships with other centers on campus, such as the Cogut Center for the Humanities. He said he hopes to be able to set up "a sustainable architecture at Brown for digital humanities" so that the Center will have "a suite of tools" ready to help faculty with new projects.