I teach at a SLAC (a small liberal arts college) with limited resources for strategic curricular development. Designing an introductory digital humanities course on one’s own is hard enough. Supporting undergraduate projects and research related to DH is next to impossible without experienced staff and appropriate space. I would like to discuss what it would take to build a collaboratory among SLACs and similar institutions to support teaching and research for undergraduates. Adeline Koh proposed this a year ago. One way to start might be to set up a Commons In a Box for SLAC DH where contributors could highlight their projects, document how to do things, and answer each other’s questions.
One specific project I would be interested in developing through the collaboratory is an inter-institutional collection of digitized student newspapers. Each college and university has archives of its student newspaper, and these archives are relatively inexpensive to digitize. An online edition of the student newspaper would be a valuable resource for many constituencies. Students can study the newspaper as a primary source for the history of their school, and they can learn about creating digital resources through text encoding and web design. Alumni would love to be able to reread the issues that were published when they were students. An online student newspaper could help build the affinity of students for their institution (thus improving retention) and reaffirm the alumni’s relationship with the institution (potentially increasing gifts). Institutions could share data from their digitized newspapers and build a resource for they study of undergraduate life in the US during the 20th century.
I know very little about organizing projects such as the one described above, so I would welcome the advice of anyone who has ideas about how something like this could be done.