All posts by Elizabeth Milewicz

New Digital Scholarship Fellow: Imani Mosley

Imani Mosley (PhD student, Department of Music)

This fall the Libraries welcome a new graduate student fellow — and fellowship — to help encourage and aid digital humanities research and publishing at Duke. Imani Mosley joins the Digital Scholarship Services team as its first Harsha Murthy Fellow in Digital Scholarship, a position created with funding from Harsha Murthy (T‘81), a longtime member of our Library Advisory Board. The Murthy Fellow helps to raise awareness of and engagement in digital scholarship at Duke, primarily by promoting activities and programs in the Murthy Digital Studio in The Edge.

The Murthy Digital Studio in The/EDGE (Bostock Library Level 1)

Located on the western corner of The/EDGE overlooking Telecom Drive, the Murthy Digital Studio is a light-filled, comfortable space for a range of digital activities, from hands-on workshops and research talks, to discussion groups and project work.

Imani is already helping to organize, promote, and facilitate a number of events and projects, but gamely took a few minutes to answer some questions that would help us get to know her and this new position.

Tell us a little about yourself, what you are doing at Duke and what brought you to the digital humanities.

I’m a North Carolina native and a musicologist, and I’m working on my dissertation on twentieth-century opera entitled “‘The queer things he said’: British Identity, Social History, and Press Reception of Benjamin Britten’s Postwar Operas.” Last year, I joined the Digital Scholarship Services team and oversaw social media and outreach. I have a strong background in technology and social media so working for DSS seemed like a great fit for me.

What was it about the Murthy Fellowship in Digital Scholarship that appealed to you?

For a long time, at least back to when I started grad school at Columbia (which coincidentally is when I first started working for Apple), I’ve been fascinated with making connections between technology and the digital with the scholarly. I was always looking for ways to make my life as a scholar more public, more accessible, and more current. So the idea of being able to coordinate and create events that did just that, for graduate students and faculty, really excited me. I’ve learned so much in the last ten years — from engaging with academic communities online to converting published content to Open Access (and the legal and procedural processes involved) to working with academic software, both specific to my field and more general. Through this work with the Murthy Digital Studio, I can organize events in which I can share that information as well as learn from others who’ve had similar experiences.

What do you think will be some of the major challenges in this new role?

I think there’s no denying how much of it will be logistical. Everyone at Duke deals with a barrage of information about all of the awesome things happening on campus and for me, it’s about finding a way to cut through the din. I recognize that since this is a brand new position, that a lot of it will be about laying the groundwork, but of course I want people to come to events! So trying to be innovative and find a way to stand out that creates (assessable) results is, I think, my foremost challenge.

Something more conceptual that will be challenging in this position is identifying audiences and creating spaces that fit their needs…and finding ways to get different groups working together. I would love for humanists to ponder the possibilities of the digital humanities and digital scholarship just as I would love for those outside of the humanities to come in contact with some of the things we do. Basically, I’m hoping for interdisciplinarity at its finest!

Look for more updates from Imani soon, as she spreads the word about what’s happening in the Studio this fall! You can follow her tweets @murthydigital or subscribe directly to the Studio’s announcement list — murthydigitalstudio@duke.edu

Kick off the fall “Fantasy” season… with art!

fc_title2This fall the source code for Fantasy Collecting, a pedagogical and research tool inspired by Fantasy Football and developed at Duke University, became publicly available on GitHub.

You may think you “know good art when you see it,” but this online art game will test your mettle as a tastemaker. Art fans, hackers, educators, and economists everywhere can now use Fantasy Collecting to both become the proud owners of masterpieces and attempt to mint new ones.

For those new to the notion of “fantasy art collecting” (which likely includes most of us), the Fantasy Collecting game is a classroom teaching and research tool that uses the pulse-pounding, high adrenaline activity of a virtual art market to teach art history and economics. Students try their hands at strategically increasing their collections’ value by promoting, acquiring, and trading works of art while performing micro-scholarship in the process.

Game co-designers Katherine Jentleson (Ph.D. Candidate in the Art, Art History, and Visual Studies department and member of the Duke Art, Law and Markets Initiative) and William Shaw (Duke University Libraries’ Digital Humanities Technology Consultant with the Humanities Writ Large initiative) developed and tested the game with art history and economics classes before preparing the code for public release under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license. Thanks to a collaboration with Duke’s Nasher Museum of Art, students were able to play first with works from the world-renowned contemporary art collection of Duke alumni Jason Rubell and later with the 1,000+ permanent collection works that the Nasher has digitized as part of its eMuseum.

Built as a teaching tool with many potential applications, the game can now be used by others as a supplement to classroom and book learning, as a basis for research studies on topics like art preferences and auction behavior, or even just for casual play. The flexibility of the code allows new users to populate the game with images relevant to his or her teaching or research goals, determine the length of desired rounds of the game, and customize game events that incentivize players to meet challenges like writing “vision statements” about their collections. Documentation and explanatory videos provided along with the code offer instruction on how the game and game play work, and specifically how it was used for art history instruction.

The three videos below explain the concept and purpose behind the Fantasy Collecting game, the rules of game play (including video captures), as well as educational outcomes and student engagement.

Background: http://youtu.be/MQsHH7fnS4c

Game Play: http://youtu.be/i8QG2bexQKM

Outcomes: http://youtu.be/aSNtbcCF3zg