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Digital Field Scholarship Initiative

Overview | Recent Examples

Lewis & Clark’s College of Arts & Sciences prides itself on cultivating cutting-edge scholarly approaches and engagement in the world beyond campus. To these ends, faculty and staff serving all three divisions of the College began exploring a new initiative in digital field scholarship in 2011. See here for early examples of digital field scholarship in the College of Arts & Sciences, including our 2012-13 NITLE-sponsored DFS sandbox; if questions, feel free to contact Prof. Jim Proctor, who is heading up the initiative.

From service in the local community to a wide array of overseas programs, our students and faculty already pursue learning opportunities in a variety of geographical settings, with areas of focus spanning the physical and life sciences, social sciences, and arts and humanities. Similarly, a number of innovative experiments are currently underway on campus that enhance field scholarship via digital means, such as capture and communication of geolocated data, web discovery and sharing of field-applicable resources, creative projects built on particular locations and shared as digital narratives, and place-based student-faculty research projects documented online from start to finish.

The digital field scholarship initiative would further develop, implement, assess, and disseminate these efforts, placing a priority on the process and products of scholarly activity across the sciences and humanities grounded in one or more parts of the world, and cultivating means of readily capturing, sharing, discussing, and documenting this scholarship via geolocation, metadata, and a user-friendly interface supporting multiple media (e.g., text, imagery, data, documents), in a manner potentially applicable to other liberal arts institutions. The initiative would connect actual work in the field with field-related preparatory and followup work on campus, such as literature research, project formulation, preliminary GIS analysis, documentary video production, website authoring, and production and editing of a campus online publication.

Status

Here is a DFS Sandbox website where we collaborated with institutions across the U.S. in 2012-13, culminating in a national webinar featuring our Lewis & Clark students among others. During 2013-14 and 2014-15, we are building on seed funding from our regional NW5C consortium to cultivate a regional platform and initiative titled Imagining the Global.

One key current opportunity at Lewis & Clark lies in conjunction with our ongoing strategic planning efforts. Digital field scholarship complements, and draws together, the four primary threads of these efforts, including international education and global reach; student-faculty collaborative research; innovative environmental scholarship; and full spectrum liberal education.