In the summer of 2016, Gettysburg College’s Musselman Library piloted a student-focused, library-led initiative designed to promote creative undergraduate research: the Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship. The fellowship is a ten-week, paid summer program for rising sophomores and juniors that introduces the student fellows to digital scholarship, exposes them to a range of digital tools, and provides space for them to converse with appropriate partners about research practices and possibilities. Unlike other research fellowship opportunities, the Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship is programmatic, based on a curriculum designed to provide students a broad introduction to digital scholarship. Digital tools, project management, documentation, and the philosophy behind digital scholarship are equally considered. While a student-created, public-facing project is an expected outcome of the fellowship, the process of getting to that point is the primary pedagogical emphasis. Students are encouraged to use materials from Gettysburg College’s Special Collections & College Archives when conceiving their projects. Using our historic collections as the foundation of a digital project strengthens existing connections between the library and the academic curriculum and provides additional exposure to the library’s collections. The fellowship was inspired by digital scholarship initiatives at peer institutions and grew from the library’s position as a campus leader in supporting creative undergraduate research. By combining the best aspects from a variety of sources, we were able to create a new learning experience that allowed our students to start small and dream big.
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Miessler, R. C., & Wertzberger, J. Dreaming Big: Library-led Digital Scholarship for Undergraduates at a Small Institution. In S. Davis-Kahl & M. K. Hensley (Eds.), Undergraduate Research and the Academic Librarian: Case Studies & Best Practices. Chicago: Association of College & Research Libraries, 2017.