ECDS presents high-level objectives for FY18

Recently, Co-Director of the Emory Center for Digital Scholarship (ECDS), Wayne Morse, presented at the IT Briefing with an overview of what they have planned for FY18.

ECDS was created to sit squarely between IT and the Library as a flexible and innovative division that can enhance digital scholarship by drawing from the resources throughout LITS, allowing them to scale quickly for various project needs without having to add or remove additional headcount. ECDS has 14 full-time employees, 35 graduate students, and is currently engaged in over 40 projects of various sizes.

The major ECDS goals for FY18 are:

  • Evaluating the framework for 3D Unity scholarship projects
  • Exploring new directions in scholarly publishing
  • Enhancing the Atlanta Studies Network

3D Unity Scholarship Projects

3D visualization of downtown Atlanta.

ECDS has hired a PhD in computer science from the University of Georgia to help them use 3D environments, primarily Unity, to visualize data to help uncover new forms of knowledge. Unity is a flexible, open-source platform, and must be integrated with a database containing hundreds of thousands of data records.

Several ECDS projects over the past four years showed the team that they needed a framework for building projects in 3D. One project the team is currently working on is a 3D visualization of downtown Atlanta during the 1920s, complete with valuable city directory information. This interface brings the now-digitized historical data to life in a way that makes it much more accessible. ECDS is also working on a 3D version of 17th century Rome and the Sanctuary of the Greek Gods on the island of Samothrace.

New Directions in Scholarly Publishing

Part of faculty being recognized for their work is when their work is published. As the Center for Digital Scholarship, ECDS helps faculty bring digital elements into their work, making books more than online PDFs but instead adding audio, video, and 3D technology.

The Mellon Foundation has provided a grant to help Emory look at this issue innovatively. ECDS plans to experiment with different types of publishing platforms, including Readux, a tool ECDS recently launched that helps annotate and examine publications. Several entities around campus are partnering in this effort.

Atlanta Studies Network

For the past three years, ECDS has published the multi-institutional Atlanta Studies Journal, which covers scholarship areas of Atlanta, both past and present. This is just one of a series of Atlanta-based  projects and collaborations. A University goal is to create a single location for finding out about Atlanta and the scholarly work being done throughout  the community, not just Emory.

Digital Pedagogy Service Framework 

A carryover ECDS effort from 2016-17 is the Digital Pedagogy Service Framework. Because there are several entities at Emory that assist faculty scholarship, ECDS helped build a digital pedagogy  (a discipline in the theory and practice of teaching) online resource to make it easier for faculty to find points of support. ECDS, in partnership with LITS Academic Technology Services and the Center for Faculty Development and Excellence (CFDE), is working on this framework, called the Scholars Digital Commons, to create a single source where faculty can go for help.

You can learn more about ECDS at

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