Jen Grayburn, Assistant Director of Digital & Open Scholarship: Q&A
Before joining Princeton University Library as the Assistant Director of Digital & Open Scholarship, Dr. Jennifer Grayburn worked as the Director of Digital Scholarship & Public Services at Union College. Jennifer also worked as a Council on Library & Information Resources (CLIR) postdoctoral fellow at Temple University’s Digital Scholarship Center and as a Praxis Fellow and Makerspace Technologist at the University of Virginia’s Scholars’ Lab. Her research interests include immersive and makerspace technologies, especially within library and museum contexts. She has contributed to publications on 3D printing, immersive technologies, and digital humanities labs within libraries. Jennifer has an M.A. and Ph.D. in the History of Art and Architecture from the University of Virginia and an M.A. in Medieval Icelandic Studies from the University of Iceland.
What is Digital Scholarship?
Digital scholarship (DS) is scholarship that leverages the unique properties of digital tools and infrastructure to create and share research. This kind of scholarship can vary greatly by research topic and discipline, including dataset or corpus creation, data analysis and visualization, and digital publications. Examples of common DS projects include text analysis, mapping and GIS, 3D and immersive technologies, and digital exhibitions. In addition to requiring new expertise and skill sets, DS often requires a different approach to scholarship intended to appear in print books and journals. Depending on the project, DS may require strategic thinking about project management, data privacy, audience engagement, and sustainability; decisions made early in a project’s life cycle regarding software used, file formats created, and equipment needed may greatly impact to whom and for how long a digital project is accessible. The Library can help researchers identify scope and audience for their projects, create datasets and corpora from Library collections, and select open file formats and software that do not lock a project into proprietary systems.
What trends in academic research prompted the creation of digital scholarship services in the Library?
DS is a vital part of scholarly discourse, and many professional organizations have crafted criteria around its production and evaluation. The internet and digital modes of publication allow scholars to make their scholarship multimodal, interactive, free, and accessible to the public; the use of technology, though, presents challenges in regard to accessibility and sustainability of that research long-term. Libraries have focused not only on how to sustain and archive significant digital research, but also how to support researchers making decisions that can affect their project at various stages.
Princeton University Library already supports a variety of DS activities and has supported DS projects such as the Digital Cicognara Library and the Princeton Geniza Project. We have robust expertise and services in the Library dedicated to topics such as geospatial information systems, digital collections, open publishing, and data management, analysis, and visualization. Our aim in DS is to help researchers develop a comprehensive project plan that takes into account the full lifecycle of their project and navigate this complex landscape of Library and campus resources so they can find the right support at the right time. The opportunities of DS are especially exciting within the context of our digitized special and general collections, which can be leveraged and transformed to create new datasets for visualization and analysis.
Who is the intended audience for this service?
DS can vary based on a researcher’s project, discipline, field, and experience, and the DS unit will support researchers as they navigate this new scholarly ecosystem with a focus on the full project lifecycle. Inroads to DS should be accessible to all interested researchers, regardless of digital expertise, and we aim to support researchers as they grow, sustain, and sunset their projects in ways that are intentional and appropriate for their particular objectives. In addition to hosting workshops and providing consultations on a suite of DS tools and methods, we will help Princeton researchers think through the management of their projects and connect with other departments and expertise at the right point in the project.
What is your role in developing this service?
Digital & Open Scholarship is part of the Research Data & Open Scholarship department within Princeton University Library and includes the new DS unit, the Maps & Geospatial Information Center, and the Scholarly Communications Office. My role is to develop and manage a robust and flexible DS program that builds upon and connects to the resources already available on campus. I will be connecting with staff, liaisons, and departments with expertise in DS areas to explore opportunities to collaborate. I also look forward to recruiting and training a team of digital scholarship specialists to integrate new scholarly technologies and to support a spectrum of DS resources with an emphasis on open scholarly practices and open-source tools.
If you would like to know more about digital scholarship, Jennifer Grayburn can be reached at email@example.com.
Published on October 31, 2022
Media Contact: Barbara Valenza, Director of Library Communications