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The Digital Seed Grant (dsi.mtsu.edu/dsgrant) had an impressive amount of applications for its inaugural year, which launched in 2016 (award period of 2017-2018). Due to the quantity and quality of proposals, the Digital Seed Grant Review Committee and Dean of Libraries decided to award three grants for the 2017 academic year. The awardees were announced on the website at http://dsi.mtsu.edu/dsgrant17-18. Below are brief summaries of the winning projects (in no particular order) and a link to their individual outcomes. A PDF copy of this annoucement is perserved in the institutional repository. Access the PDF by clicking view/open here.


Tennessee Communication Association Journal Digitization Project

Primary Investigator:  Dr. Patrick Richey, Communication Studies & Organizational Communication Dept.

Description: This project digitized the Tennessee Communication Association's (TCA) Annual Journal (previously titled Tennessee Speech Communication Association Journal). The only known copies of the 1975-1988 series are hard copies in the Walker Library stacks. The digital copy now allows the scholarship and history of an important statewide organization to be accessible to a much wider range of researchers, scholars, and citizens. This project is of importance to both the academic and public good because it contains both historical and genealogical information about Tennessee. The 14 journal volumes are now accessible online thanks to the Digital Seed Grant funds that supported the work of an undergraduate student who scanned the materials, added metadata of the journal content, and through assistance of the library’s technical expertise, including its journal hosting platform. In addition to the completed journal, the student worker presented on the seed grant and journal digitization process at national conference in 2017. There are plans to continue the journal online under the new TCA title in the future.

Project Website: http://libjournals.mtsu.edu/index.php/tcaj/about


MTSU Digital Literacy Initiative

Primary Investigator:  Dr. Molly Taylor-Poleskey, History Department

Description: The Digital Seed Grant helped fund the two-event Fake News Series: one faculty workshop and one talk by an award-winning journalist. Through these events, the Fake New Series sought to provide tools for discerning credible sources of news and information by bridging classroom learning and digital media literacy.

Combined, these events drew in 73 attendees, which were open to campus and the public. Feedback suggests faculty on campus are already applying civic online reasoning exercises shared at these events and the interdisciplinary interest at these campus events shows the need for teaching media literacy in the classroom.

Project News: The Lecture Series at http://mtsunews.com/fake-news-lectures-spr2018


Digitizing a Collection of Historic Clothing

Primary Investigator:  Dr. Teresa King, Human Sciences Department

Description: The Historic Clothing Collection (1790-1990) is a project of the Textiles, Merchandising, and Design (TXMD) program. The 750+ piece collection is a “working collection,” consisting of donations made by individuals from MTSU, Rutherford County and from across the country, including but not limited to a gown worn to J.F.K.’s inaugural ball and elite brands donated by prominent fashion institutes. A working collection differs from a museum collection, where items are used, studied, handled, and occasionally displayed and/or worn for educational purposes.  This collection was digitized and funded, in part, by the Department of Human Sciences and the Digital Seed Grant. Now 390 of those items have been photographed, along with detailed metadata for discoverability and research purposes, so they are available worldwide to students, professionals, museums, and consumers with an interest in historic apparel and accessories. The grant enabled TXMD student assistants to photograph the collection, and develop a digital inventory, along with the library’s enhanced technical infrastructure that aids in the discoverability and preservation of the collection since garments can now be previewed online before being removed from storage. The collection can be explored via suggested topics, or by circa date, title, type, or textile content, and images are available for download and side-by-side viewing. It is intended to educate and inspire diverse audiences interested in historic apparel.

Project Website: http://dsi.mtsu.edu/clothing

Read more about the collection via the MTSU News article published October 2, 2018 or the one-page collection summary (PDF) available here.

Funding and Support

The Digital Seed Grant is made possible by generous funding and support from the Dean of Libraries and the Digital Scholarship Initiatives project team. For many, this is a starter grant, which can lead to national grant opportunities in the future and Walker Library wants to encourage and support such creativity activity.

As a competitive grant, evaluation of applications and assessment of digital lifecycles of selected projects takes time. The Digital Seed Grant is indebted to the time of the Review Committee, comprised of digital project experts from Walker Library and the Digital Partners (a rotating member from the Department of History, Center for Historic Preservation, Center for Popular Music, Albert Gore Research Center and the University Archives). The Walker Library also thanks those that help promote the grant and encourage participation.

The 2018-2019 call for proposals closed; and those projects will commence on July 1, 2018 and continue until June 30, 2019. The 2018-2019 awardees have been announced, and as those projects are completed, the following website will be updated: http://dsi.mtsu.edu/dsgrant18-19.