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Aiding Digital Scholarship through UCI Libraries

Rather than thinking of libraries as static, paper repositories of knowledge, the UCI Libraries Digital Scholarship Service facilitates the exporting and discovery of all formats of intellectual content. Researchers can see new relationships among them, then reshape and inform new scholarship. Through this new initiative, the Libraries is creating and promoting symposia, publications, and collections that might never have been possible.

Last spring, a symposium inspired by the work of philosopher and critical theorist Richard Rorty, Time Will Tell, But Epistemology Won't, explored the implications for discovering, reinterpreting and revisioning scholarship, thanks to worldwide online access. The symposium was based on the word-processed collections of papers and other digital ephemera recently donated to UCI Libraries. The source material differed from most archival material because it came directly from floppy discs rather than documents or handwritten notes. The Libraries created descriptive data and a searchable interface which allows for new discovery; as a result, finding the material via widely used search engines, such as Google, continues to generate great interest in Rorty's work.

Another project in the works that will make good use of the Libraries Digital Scholarship Service is the Hugh Everett III Manuscripts on Quantum Physics, selected by Jeff Barrett, Chair of the Department of Logic and Philosophy of Science. Hugh Everett III's work on the idea of parallel worlds has often been showcased in science and in fiction. Everett's collection of online materials will include transcripts and commentary by Barrett's research team and act as a permanent record and dynamic extension of Barrett's book (to be issued in 2011 from Princeton University Press).

Through the coordinated efforts of scholars and UCI Libraries, Digital Scholarship Services can improve the depth and breadth of knowledge. It only requires that we work together to create such a synergistic effect.

For more information, please contact Dana Peterman, Research Librarian for Education, Psychology and Social Behavior, and Cognitive Sciences (dpeterma@uci.edu or x40607).

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