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University of Maryland selected as host site for National Digital Stewardship Residency

The University of Maryland has been selected by the Library of Congress to serve as an elite training ground in a new residency program for professionals who work with digital collections.

As one of 10 host sites for the National Digital Stewardship Residency program, the university joins other institutions in the Washington, D.C., area, including the Folger Shakespeare Library, The National Library of Medicine, the Library of Congress and the Smithsonian Institution Archives.

The University Libraries and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) will partner to offer the nine-month residency which begins in September 2013.  

“This honor shows not only the maturity of our partnership, but also our value to the national library community,” says Patricia Steele, dean of University of Maryland Libraries. “We’re proud to share our expertise in this innovative program that’s helping to define the future of libraries.”

The residency program aims to advance the nation’s capabilities in managing, preserving and making accessible the digital record of human achievement. At Maryland, the focus will be on “born-digital” materials, or materials that are electronic in form from inception and often  cannot easily be recreated in print form.  Email, images from digital cameras, word processing documents and video games are examples of material that would be considered "born-digital."

The survival of such collections depends on their discoverability, accessibility, and usability by diverse constituencies. As more institutions add born-digital materials to their collections, they will need individuals capable of developing and implementing policies and access models where none existed previously.

The University of Maryland will help provide the necessary background to articulate issues surrounding access of born-digital archival collections and the expertise to provide solutions. The resident will contribute important research and be well positioned to provide leadership on issues that librarians and archivists will confront in the coming years.

Matt Kirschenbaum, associate director of MITH and associate professor in the Department of English at the University of Maryland, and Joanne Archer, special collections librarian at the University of Maryland Libraries, along with staff from MITH, the Human-Computer Interaction Lab of the University of Maryland iSchool, and the University of Maryland Libraries will work with the resident to gain experience with reference models, user-centered design, and prototyping.

The National Digital Stewardship Residency is a new program created by the Library of Congress in partnership with the Institute of Museum and Library Services.

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The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) is a leading digital humanities center that pursues disciplinary innovation and institutional transformation through applied research, public programming, and educational opportunities. MITH has been a partner and MITH directors have served as PI or co-PI for a range of projects on born-digital cultural heritage, digital forensics, digital curation, and the preservation of computer games, interactive literature, and virtual worlds.

The University of Maryland Libraries conduct a broad range of digital projects including digitization of materials from the UMD Libraries’ special collections and archives as well as digital preservation programs and planning. The Libraries take an active part in usability analysis and design activities pertaining to accessibility and findability of our digital collections and our Web content.  For a complete list of past and ongoing projects, please consult http://digital.lib.umd.edu/.

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