“Out-of-the-Box” Solutions

Not to be confused with the phrase, “thinking outside the box,” of course.

As Laurie Allen (@librlaurie) and I continue to build our support for digital scholarship at Haverford College, we are frequently asked by faculty and staff members to describe exactly what we mean by the phrase “digital scholarship.”  While the both of us are willing to speak theoretically on the topic all day long, we think a more effective strategy in “selling” our services to faculty is to show examples of what we’ve done and what we can do.  To this end, we have begun (with the help of our highly-skilled student workers) to develop templates for several web-based platforms like Omeka and WordPress for various types of digital scholarship projects that can be built quickly and simply.  I often refer to these as our “out-of-the-box solutions.”  Laurie frequently uses the phrase “digital toolboxes,” but whatever moniker we use, we feel that providing some parameters for our services will help encourage faculty to dip their toes into the digital scholarship pool.  Once we’ve worked with faculty members on simpler projects, the door will hopefully be open to more ambitious projects in the near future.

My hope is that our THATCamp@Penn experience will provide exposure to additional platforms or tools that would allow us to expand our suite of “out-of-the-box” solutions, and I would like to discuss the viability of this approach in general.  Does this seem like an effective strategy for building library support for digital scholarship, particularly at a liberal arts college?  Or do we run the risk of severely limiting the types of work we can do in the future?

I look forward to discussing these questions with fellow THATCampers in April!

Categories: Session Proposals |
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About Mike Zarafonetis

I began working as the Digital Scholarship Librarian at Haverford College in December 2011 after a year in Digital Archives at the Hagley Museum and Library in Wilmington, Delaware. I have a computer science degree from Kalamazoo College and a PhD in history from Auburn University, so I have always floated between the technical and academic worlds. I am thrilled to be applying my technical skills in the service of scholarship at Haverford. Working in an academic library for the first time, I am most interested in learning about ways that libraries can support digital scholarship and the tools we can use to do so.