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42 Campuses Will Digitize and Catalog Important, Formerly Out-of-View Collections for Public Access

Caldwell University is one of a select group of 42 institutions nationwide chosen by the Council of Independent Colleges (CIC) to participate in a Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Research. The Consortium intends to improve teaching and learning, enhance faculty and student/faculty research, and streamline administrative capabilities through a uniform digital system of cataloging important research material collections.

A $2.2 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will support three years of workshops for librarians and faculty and staff members and will subsidize use of Shared Shelf, Artstor’s digital asset management service already used by institutions such as Harvard and Cornell. With this grant, digital documentation of collections held by Caldwell University and 41 other institutions will now be maintained? and made publicly accessible via the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) through Artstor, the nonprofit organization that provides Shared Shelf and serves as one of DPLA’s content-providing “hubs.”

CIC President Richard Ekman said, “As digitization allows hidden collections to be shared, teachers and scholars all over the country will benefit. These 42 institutions—some of which are in remote locations—are known for their dedication to teaching and for providing life-changing liberal arts education to students from all backgrounds. Through the Consortium, they will be able to gain access to an important national digital resource. Their one-of-a-kind collections will be more visible and more widely used.”

Dr. Nancy Becker, the Artstor project director at Caldwell University, said the university was delighted to be selected for the consortium.   She explained that the resources will be used for Living the Mission: Documenting Student Service Engagement, a collaborative effort between the Offices of Academic Affairs and Student Life designed to record student participation in mission-related service activities.  “Service activities reflect the distinctiveness of a Caldwell University education and foster the transformative learning that is the hallmark of liberal arts education,” says Dr. Becker.   Audio and video recordings, pictures, and journal entries will be archived in Artstor’s Shared Shelf and made available to the Consortium on Digital Resources for Teaching and Learning to facilitate research on the impact of participation in service activities on student learning and engagement.  That these would become available this year is exciting for the university, says Dr. Becker, since the Dominican order is celebrating its 800th anniversary and one of the pillars of their charism is service. “This supports us in carrying forward to future generations our legacy of preparing students to make a difference in the world,” she says.

Artstor President James Shulman said, “The Mellon Foundation’s support will enable important collections—oral histories of the Ottawa people, the Civil Rights movement in Greensboro, 17th century maps—to be managed and cared for. But the collaboration among these CIC colleges also will provide an on-ramp for these collections to flow into an emerging national digital platform. We are delighted to partner with CIC in supporting these projects.”