Over the past 2014-2015 academic year the Digital Scholars Institute at the University of Mary Washington held its first series of brown bag talks, the Digital Scholarship Colloquium. This year’s presenters were Bruce O’Brien (History and American Studies); Andrea Smith (Historic Preservation) and Elizabeth Lewis (Modern Languages and Literatures); Zach Whalen (English, Linguistics and Communication); and Krystyn Moon (History and American Studies).

Our first presentation on October 1, 2014 was “Digital editing, Translation, and Publication: The Experience of the Early English Laws Project”  by Dr. Bruce O’Brien.  This project aims to produce new editions of all legal codes and treatises produced in England between the reign of Æthelberht of Kent and Magna Carta (1215), by inviting contributions from researchers in the field, and by developing a uniform and user-friendly method of text encoding. Dr. O’Brien collaborated on this project with the Institute of Historical Research of the University of London and the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London. http://www.earlyenglishlaws.ac.uk/

November 5th Dr. Andrea Smith and Dr. Elizabeth Lewis presented “Digital Hunters and Gatherers: Student-Faculty Web Projects Across Disciplines” on the use of student research and digital tools to collect data for faculty-led projects. Both Smith and Lewis adapted WordPress for data collection in their projects with students in the areas of Historic Preservation/Survey and Preservation Planning (http://survey.umwblogs.org/), and of Spanish Cultural and Literary History (http://mujeresycaridad.umwblogs.org).

Spring semester started with a talk by Dr. Zach Whalen on February 2nd, “What Video Game History Can Teach Us About New Media Futures.” He brought some show-and-tell items from the early days of video game history, and talked about the futures they imagined. Dr. Whalen, in collaboration with Jim Groom and DTLT, recently helped curate the “UMW Console Living Room,” a 1985 living room reconstructed in the ITCC. (http://twitter.com/hashtag/umwconsole?src=hash).

Our series concluded on March 25th, 2015 when Dr. Krystyn Moon presented shared a talk titled “Immigrant Alexandria: Website Construction and Collaboration with Students.”  The presentation was based on her work in an upper-level History seminar in which students collaborated in the construction of a website documenting the history of immigration to Alexandria, Virginia. This site used digital mapping as one of its tools to document patterns in immigration in the city (http://immigrantalexandria.org ).

This was a great start for our series!  Attendance at the events came from across campus, which allowed for some very rich discussions across many disciplines. We look forward to repeating this success next academic year, and encourage faculty and staff working on digital research projects to submit a proposal next year when the call goes out.