Grants create digital collections of plaster casts and more

Digital scholarship is only as effective and innovative as the quality of digital content available, so the College of Arts and Sciences, in cooperation with Cornell Library, has awarded five grants from their Grants Program for Digital Collections in Arts and Sciences to improve the resources available to the Cornell community and scholarship at large.

"Visual resources are critical in teaching and learning in the humanities and arts disciplines," said Walter Cohen, associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and professor of comparative literature.

The annual grants program supports collaborative and creative use of resources through the creation of digital content of enduring value. The program was developed by the Arts and Sciences Visual Resources Advisory Group, co-chaired by Eric Rebillard, associate professor of classics and history, and Oya Rieger, associate university librarian for digital scholarship services. The group is tasked with assessing and addressing the College of Arts and Sciences' current and emerging needs for a usable and sustainable digitization service, as well as overseeing the grants program.

The 2010 grant recipients include:

  • David Bathrick, the Jacob Gould Schurman Professor of theater, film and dance and professor emeritus of German studies, to digitize interviews between West German writer and filmmaker Alexander Kluge and the East German playwright Heiner Müller;
  • Kathryn March, professor of anthropology; Asian studies; and feminist, gender and sexuality studies, and Bronwen Bledsoe, curator of the library's South Asia Collection, to collaborate on the digitization and online delivery of 25,000 pages of Nepali texts;
  • Janice Kanemitsu, assistant professor of Japanese literature, and Dan McKee, assistant librarian for the Charles W. Wason Collection on East Asia, to digitize 1,600 pages of 19th-century, woodblock-printed, heavily illustrated books on Japanese theater;
  • Annetta Alexandridis, assistant professor of art history, to create an online collection of Cornell's extensive plaster cast collection, and
  • Howard Howland, representing the Cornell Association of Professors Emeriti, to digitize and deliver online "Contributions to Cornell History," an inventory of objects of artistic and historical interest located on the Cornell campus.

"The library plays a significant role in offering digitization services, and visual images created through collaborations such as this one create possibilities for interactive and visual learning that can inspire students of the arts and humanities," Rieger said.

The grants program emphasizes building a library of resources to support a range of scholarly activities rather than creating teaching applications or custom-designed websites for a specific course. The digital collections created through this grants program will become a part of Cornell Library's digital library for global discovery and access.

To apply for a 2011 grant, initial interest must be expressed by January 2011, with proposals due in March 2011. Awards will be announced in May 2011.


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