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Graduate Assistants Sought for Digital Scholarship Pathways Project this Spring

Graduate Project Assistant (multiple available for Spring semester 2017)


Work as part of a small team to provide research and database support for the Digital Scholarship Pathways Project.

Graduate Student Assistants will be responsible for directed web research, data collection, and record keeping related to the Digital Scholarship Pathways Project, an effort to create new digital scholarship curriculum in the humanities, arts, education, and social sciences. Assistants will be expected to meet regularly with project directors and to participate in occasional outreach activities on campus, while handling on-line data collection and input into a digital scholarship curriculum database. They will also create and update content for the project website.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

* Collect existing course information from university and departmental sources for input into Digital Scholarship database
* Create and update content for Digital Scholarship Pathways website
* Prepare internal reports for Project Directors and collaborating faculty and staff
* Maintain project documentation, including meeting notes, work logs, and progress reports
* Meet weekly with Project Directors
* Participate in occasional outreach events and other meetings on campus
* Performs other duties as assigned

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

* Ability to conduct efficient, independent web research
* Basic knowledge and proficiency in spreadsheet and database applications (such as MS Excel, MS Access, or some equivalent combination).
* Ability to multi-task, prioritize and be detail-oriented
* Possess excellent communication skills (verbal and written)


* Experience and training in one or more fields of digital scholarship in the humanities
* Advanced spreadsheet and database skills
* Knowledge and understanding of university curriculum in the humanities, education, and/or social sciences.

Pay: $15/hr
Hours: 5-10hrs/wk; schedule flexible

To apply: please submit a brief cover letter outlining your relevant skills and experience with a copy of a CV or resume to by noon, February 3rd.

Project Database Developer (Spring 2017)


Database and web developer will design and establish a comprehensive, user-friendly, electronic database of all course data and related documentation collected during the Digital Scholarship Pathways Project. The database will be accessed from a central portal and used for the purposes of tracking information collected and updated from a variety of sources by a team of Graduate Student Assistants and the Project Directors. The database should also include customizable report compilation functionality. With the assistance of the Project Directors, the developer will assist in instructing Graduate Student Assistants in how to use and update the database once it has been developed.

Essential Duties and Responsibilities:

* Design and implement database for detailed course information and supporting documentation (syllabi, course descriptions, notes, etc.)
* Mount database within Digital Scholarship Pathways website
* Create easy-to-use tools for report compilation and basic graphs
* Train Graduate Student Assistants
* Maintain development documentation
* Meet weekly with Project Directors
* Perform other web development duties as assigned

Knowledge, Skills and Abilities:

* Knowledge and proficiency in database administration and web development
* Ability to multi-task, prioritize and be detail-oriented

Pay: $25/hr
Hours: 8-10hrs/wk; schedule flexible

To apply: please submit a brief cover letter outlining your relevant skills and experience with a copy of a CV or resume to by noon, February 3rd.

Participate in Social Media Project focused on the Presidential Election  

Leading up to November 8th, the Techne Institute will be preparing a participatory election-day performance event centered on the individual stories that are told across political divides through text, pictures, video, and sound in social media feeds. Writer and director Eli Commins will lead the project, which will coincide with a performance by the legendary (or infamous) Yes Men.

Through the collaboration of DiSC (the Committee on Digital Scholarship), Interested undergraduate and graduate students are invited to take part in this unique and exciting project, culminating in a live event on campus the day of the election. There are multiple ways in which to participate in the project while learning new digital and multimedia skills. No previous experience required.

To learn more or sign up, contact the DiSC coordinator, Nikolaus Wasmoen (

Michael Jarvis (University of  Rochester) presents Virtual St. George’s

How can we reconstruct the past? The question, while intractably difficult, does not seem quite so abstract after listening to Michael Jarvis describe his work on the Virtual St. George’s project that he directs from the University of Rochester, where he is also Associate Professor of History and Director of Digital Media Studies. Jarvis’ talk surveyed his ongoing efforts to digitally reconstruct St. George’s, the first capital of Bermuda and the oldest town in English America. Building off his many years of archival and archaeological work on the island, as well as the huge collection of historical and geographical data that he amassed along the way, Jarvis has embarked on a massively ambitious effort to synthesize historical, visual, GIS, architectural, and archaeological data into a detailed, immersive 3D model of the town as it existed in 1775, with eventual plans to create additional models for other key points in Bermudan and Caribbean history. Drawing from examples of existing 3D models of historical buildings and places, Jarvis explained that while these models are often of interest as objects in their own right, too many of them fail to really challenge or engage their viewers beyond an initial perusal. To increase the impact of the reconstruction he’s creating with his team, Jarvis appealed not so much to other architectural modelling projects as to the visual realism of contemporary video games, such as Assassin’s Creed. What if the graphics and gaming engines that fueled the loosely-fitted historical cityscapes and implausibly gory missions of such a game were redirected toward a painstaking and archaeologically sound model of a real historical city and actual historical people and events? Could a Virtual St. George’s become a vehicle to explore gender, race, and class from immersed, first-person perspectives for its gamers?

Virtual St. George’s is developing apace. Jarvis and his field team only just returned from their most recent trip to the island to collect additional photography and other data, and the project has already accumulated a huge trove of data that will continue to be stitched together with yet further resources culled from public and commercial sources such as Google Earth. The best place to keep updated for now is Jarvis’ Smiths Island Archaeology Blog or his faculty page, where new links will be added as they become available.

I’d highly recommend continuing to check in online, as well as to join the project’s technical leads tomorrow at the Reconstructing Historical Structures workshop (Clemens Hall. rm. 128, 10am-2pm). Josh Romphf, Blair Tinker, and Jim Barbero of the University of Rochester’s Digital Humanities Center which will give a hands-on sampling of the GIS, visualization, and animation techniques needed to create historically accurate, interactive 3D models.

Micki McGee (Fordham) Talks DH with UB Faculty and Students

Micki McGee of Fordham University joined us for two sessions at Digital Scholarship Week to share some of her personal experiences leading digital projects and a variety of tool and tips related to the kinds of projects that UB faculty and students might be interested in pursuing. She very helpfully aimed her talk to address participants who may be coming from a range of backgrounds or attitudes, which she described as “the beguiled,” “the curious,” and “the wary.” By drawing on her own broad experience and the development of her digital projects, Dr. McGee suggested the multiple trajectories that can land scholars in the terrain of “the digital humanities,” and the various motives and needs that can contribute to the decisions that one has to make at different stages in project planning and execution, as well as what happens after your initial development or publication is over, and you need to secure a viable future for your work.

In describing her own unfolding work, Dr. McGee explained how project cycles, funding cycles and requirements, and the structure of graduate programs or tenure tracks contribute to a shifting calculus, rather than any single equation for success. She encouraged us all, at whatever stage we might be at, to ask “Who’s the community for me and this project?” and to seek out the kinds of advice, precedents, collaboration, and other connections that can embed digital scholarship within the kinds of networks that are required to ensure it is used, valued, and sustained.

Thanks to Dr. McGee for contributing to Digital Scholarship Week!

“The Marianne Moore Digital Archive Notebooks Project, With Reflections on the Future of Digital Scholarship and Funding”

Tuesday afternoon Cristanne Miller, SUNY Distinguished Professor and Edward H. Butler Professor of Literature in the University at Buffalo’s English department, gave a talk on the Marianne Moore Digital Archive. Miller, the director of the project, presented some of the first looks at the archive’s website and its significance while also speaking directly to the groundbreaking work that is being done on the archive, which contains 122 notebooks with a variety of information from reading quotations, to notes and observations on concerts Moore attended, conversations overheard at the circus, comments from her mother, and early drafts of poems. As an example of the innovative techniques being explored, the Moore Archive is currently working with the Center for Unified Bioinformatics and Sensors (CUBS) at UB to develop a handwriting recognition model that will allow for the digital reading and retrieval of the poet’s slanted handwriting in order to better organize and record the archive’s contents. The project received the 2015 IMPACT Award from the Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development.

Throughout her talk, Miller emphasized the changing role of the humanist in digital scholarship, which is one that requires that the keen eye and contemplative insight of the philologist be applied to the intricate networks and capacious potentialities of digital information systems. The presentation posed important and thought-provoking questions about the future of the humanities, publishing, and knowledge production in the twenty-first century. What is the digital equivalent to the university publishing system? How are projects such as the Marianne Moore Archive disseminated and used to create new avenues of interpretation and new junctures of thought? How do the systems of critical thinking and close reading fit into the increasingly digitized structures of the contemporary world? The presentation showed the necessity of thinking hard about how the humanities, always a domain of the historical, can be reimagined for the future.

As a specific and practical illustration of the Moore Archive’s philological utility, Miller demonstrated the toggling motion of the scholar as she mines the truly fascinating particulars from Marianne Moore’s notebooks in order to better understand Moore’s distinctive and confounding poetry. For example, Miller examined “The Buffalo,” first published in a 1934 edition of Poetry magazine, in relation to Moore’s drafted bits of the poem’s beginnings. By reading through the notebooks we can see some of the initial sketches of the poem’s first lines, we can see how the poem developed over time, what lines and ideas made it in to the final draft and what didn’t. In the notebooks we can track the originary traces of Moore’s verse not simply for “The Buffalo” but for a vast majority of her poems. Of course, this kind of information is invaluable not only to the Moore scholar, but to the scholar of modern poetry in general. Scrutinizing any one of the notebooks contained in Moore’s archive—currently held at the Rosenbach Museum and Library in Philadelphia, which is only open 18 hours a week to scholars—could easily prove a life-long project in itself.

Miller quoted, on several occasions, from one of Jerome McGann’s most recent books New Republic of Letters, in which he argues that “[d]igitzing the archive is not about replacing it. It’s about making it usable for the present and the future. To do what we have to understand, as best we can, how it functioned—how it made meanings—in the past.” The project of the present, McGann tells us is to “design a knowledge and information network that integrates, as seamlessly as possible, our paper-based inheritance with the emerging archive of born-digital materials” (22). With the Marianne Moore Digital Archive, Miller shows this in action.

Works Cited: McGann, Jerome. New Republic of Letters: Memory and Scholarship in the Age of Digital Reproduction. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2014.

Brandon Boudreault —


Check out the MMDA-hosted Workshop this Sunday!