The National Park Service (NPS) Fellows Program
The National Park Service Fellows Program, under the direction of Dr. Diana Marsh, immerses a team of students in the process of curating a National Park Service online exhibition. Students are working with NPS curators and the iSchool project lead throughout the 2020-2021 academic year to create an online exhibit highlighting NPS sites and materials in the National Capital Region related to the history of civil rights. The current exhibition title is Civil Disobedience & Civil Rights in the National Capital Region: Exploring Manifestations of Advocacy, Community, and Action and will launch online in Summer 2021.
National Park Service (NPS) CESU Archives Program
The National Park Service (NPS) CESU Archives Program, a partnership with the NPS Museum Resource Center (MRCE) and Chesapeake Watershed Cooperative Ecosystem Studies Unit (CHWA CESU), employs a team of iSchool graduate students and recent graduates to support, as well as gain significant professional experience from the agency’s archives program. At MRCE, students process official NPS resource management records as well as donated archival and manuscript collections from the National Capital Area Regional Office, Mary McLeod Bethune Council House National Historic Site, Antietam National Battlefield, Rock Creek Park, and many other local NPS sites. In turn, the program supports the CHWA CESU’s mission to foster stewardship and facilitate research about the region’s natural and cultural resources.
The Digital Curation Fellows program, under the direction of Dr. Katrina Fenlon, is a partnership with the National Agricultural Library (NAL) to provide students from across all iSchool programs with research and practical experience solving real-world digital curation challenges. Digital curation fellows have contributed to numerous research initiatives during this program’s several-year history, including: addressing gaps in NAL’s archives and digital curation capacity through rigorously developed digital preservation plans and evaluations; researching user experience to improve the outreach and impact of digital collections; conducting systematic evaluations of metadata quality, of diversity and equity of representation in digital collections, and of software platforms for undergirding data repositories; building new web archives and digital collections, conducting physical archival processing, and creating collection development policies; evaluating predatory publishers and indexing journals for the AGRICOLA database; and leveraging visualization and machine learning techniques to create dashboards for analytics and impact data, including a new data dashboard for ARS research on coronavirus. A growing collection of project outcomes is available here.
The CLL Digital Archive is a medical history community archive founded by practicing physician-scientist Dr. Gerald Marti in February 2020 with help from CAFe’s predecessor, the Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC), and recent MLIS graduate Jenelle Clark. The CLL Digital Archive collects materials related to the history of scholarship on chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL), from early case studies and observations to contemporary research on diagnosis and treatment. Our collections cover scientific contributions of prominent researchers from around the world, with oral histories, medical consulting letters, peer-reviewed articles, books, and more available for researchers to study.
Today’s search engines are designed principally to help people find what they want to see. Paradoxically, the fact that search engines do this well means that there are many collections that can’t be searched. Citizens can not yet search some government records because of intermixed information that may need to be protected. Scholars are not yet allowed to see much of the growing backlog of unprocessed archival collections for similar reasons. These limitations, and many more, are direct consequences of the fact that current search engines can only protect sensitive content if that sensitive content has been marked in advance. As the volume of digital content continues to increase, current approaches based on manually finding and marking all of the sensitive content in a collection simply cannot affordably accommodate the scale of the challenge. This project will address that challenge by creating a new class of search algorithms that are designed to balance the searcher’s interest in finding relevant content with the content provider’s interest in protecting sensitive content.
DocNow responds to the public’s use of social media for chronicling historically significant events as well as demand from scholars, students, and archivists, among others, seeking a user-friendly means of collecting and preserving this type of digital content. Documenting the Now has a strong commitment to prioritizing ethical practices when working with social media content, especially in terms of collection and long-term preservation. This commitment extends to platforms notion of honoring user intent and the rights of content creators. The project is a collaborative effort between Shift Collective, the University of Maryland, and the University of Virginia.
David C. Driskell was an internationally renowned and beloved African American artist, educator, and activist who served as a Professor of Art at UMD from 1977 to 1998. He died due to complications from Covid-19 on April 1, 2020. As a practicing artist and educator at UMD and HBCUs such as Talladega, Fisk, and Howard University, Driskell defined the field of African American art by fighting against systematic racial oppression, and carving out space to exhibit and celebrate the work of Black artists such as Romare Bearden and Mary Lovelace O’Neal. Throughout his life, Driskell shared his talent and passion by mentoring students and building lifelong relationships with fellow artists and peers.
After a distinguished career, Driskell was honored by colleagues at UMD after his retirement with the foundation of the David C. Driskell Center on our campus. Driskell and many of his students contributed their archives and art to the Center, to promote ongoing research and focus on Black artistic production. Dr. Victoria Van Hyning partnered with colleagues in the Driskell Center, and her MLIS students in her “Outreach, Inclusion, and Crowdsourcing” MLIS course (Fall, 2020), to create a new crowdsourcing transcription project featuring a curated set of Driskell’s personal papers. The David C. Driskell Papers Project invites virtual volunteers to transcribe, review, and read Driskell’s papers. Transcriptions will make Driskell’s words more accessible and discoverable for researchers of many kinds, and provide a reusable dataset for future CAFe research projects into archival systems architecture. The data will also be available for practitioners in other domains, including art, art history, linguistics, literary analysis, machine learning, and more. The project is hosted on the From the Page platform where anyone interested can participate in this and other text transcription crowdsourcing projects.
The mission is fourfold: