Published on March 20, 2014
Digital Dissertations: Defining, Architecting, & Sustaining Kathie Gossett, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities Iowa State University email@example.com Liza Potts, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of Digital Humanities Michigan State University firstname.lastname@example.org
Definition Born-digital dissertations rely on complex interactions between media-rich elements to construct their arguments. Figures: Taken from Carrie A. Lamanna’s dissertation “Disciplining Identities: Feminism, New Media, and 21st Century Research Practices,” 2008.
We hypothesize that the reluctance of humanities scholars to fully embrace digital scholarship is not due to its novelty or rapid evolution, but due to a deeply embedded philosophy of knowledge that privileges print-centric ways of knowing and solitary authorship. This hostility towards the digital affects not just those already working in academic positions, but also stifles the creativity of those entering academia— doctoral students. In fact, it is our contention that this moment of disciplinary training, especially the dissertation phase, is precisely where this underlying print-centric philosophy rises to the surface, making it a fruitful area for research. Digital media and computational technologies are radically transforming how knowledge is produced, communicated, and evaluated. The digitalization of scholarly work in the humanities brings new modes of research; new formats of presentation; new networks for communication; and new platforms for organizing knowledge, orchestrating argument, and visualizing intellectual exchange. Doctoral students in the modern languages will increasingly create and use digital archives and invent multimodal forms of scholarly presentation and communication in the next decade. Why should the dissertation remain inflexibly wedded to traditional book-culture formats? ~ S. Smith, Beyond the Dissertation Monograph, 2010 ~ K. Gossett & C. Lamanna, Dissertating Digitally, forthcoming
Dissertating Digitally • A survey of graduate students and faculty in Rhetoric & Composition
How important is it for graduate programs that prepare digital scholars to provide their students with opportunities to learn and practice using various hardware, software, and programming languages? Fairly Important
In what contexts does your program offer opportunities for students to learn digital authoring technologies? [Check all that apply.]
Are students in your program permitted to compose their theses or dissertations entirely in digital form? Unsure Comments Seriously doubt No one has tried PDF with embedded media (maybe)
Are students in your program permitted to compose part of their theses or dissertations in digital form? Unsure Yes PDF (2) Chapter (2) Data Collection Appendix CD Not Encouraged
Which entities beyond the dissertation committee determine the shape of dissertations/theses at your institution? (Check all that apply.) Unsure
Digital Dissertation Depository (D3 ) •A system for born-digital dissertations to be deposited, cross-referenced, & maintained •Open-source & open access •Design workshop conducted in August, 2012 •Supported by an NEH Digital Start Up Grant
Problem • Digital dissertations need a place to be deposited, cross-referenced, and made accessible for years to come. • Current depositories (e.g., Proquest, ETD, etc.) do not meet these requirements Solution • Digital Dissertation Depository (D3 )
The Workshop • 3 days, 14 participants at the MATRIX lab on the Michigan State University campus. http://digidiss.eserver.or g • Participants included: • Kathleen Fitzpatrick, Director of Scholarly Communication at MLA • Shanna Kimball, Director of Digital Collections at the New York Public Library • Quinn Warnick, Asst. Professor, Virginia Tech • Graduate students from iSchools, English/TechComm, Library Studies
D3 : User Experience • Conducted landscape analysis of current tools
D3 : User Experience • Conducted landscape analysis of current tools • Identified key stakeholders • Graduate Students • Dissertation Chair • Department Chair • Dean • Provost • Librarian • Funding Agencies
D3 : User Experience • Conducted landscape analysis of current tools • Identified key stakeholders • Created personas/use cases
D3 : User Experience • Conducted landscape analysis of current tools • Identified key stakeholders • Created personas/use cases • Gathered requirements
Digital Dissertations: Next Steps • Build partnerships • Build Digital Dissertation Directory • Build Digital Dissertation Depository • NEH Implementation Grant • Seek other funding opportunities http://digidiss.eserver.org | http://digidiss.org | #digidiss
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