Citizens for Maryland Libraries awards the DCIC

Citizens for Maryland Libraries’ 2019 Davis McCarn Award for Innovative Technology: Digital Curation Innovation Center

The DCIC is very honored to be the recipient of the Citizens for Maryland Libraries (CML)’s 2019 Davis McCarn Award  for Innovative Technology to Enhance Library Service.  Noah Dibert, assistant director of the DCIC is seen accepting the McCarn Award.  Mr. Dibert has a background in program management, communications, graphic art, web design, and digital forensics. At the DCIC he oversees eight projects, coordinating the efforts of 60 volunteers, faculty and staff, and maintaining communication with external affiliates.    Mr. Dibert also presented a Poster Session at the MLA & DLA Joint Conferenceon May 2, 2019, highlighting the work of DCIC students on the WHCA Pool Report project

Since its inception in 2015, the Digital Curation Innovation Center (DCIC) (http://dcic.umd.edu)  at the College of Information Studies (iSchool), University of Maryland has worked to generate new forms of historical research, particularly in the areas of social justice, human rights, and cultural heritage, while pioneering advances in computational treatment of archival and cultural content, which is helping to foster understanding of our cultural heritage and educating students in the use of technology to bring history alive.

To highlight one project, the DCIC is partnering with the Maryland State Archives on the Legacy of Slavery in Maryland Project. The program seeks to preserve and promote experiences that shaped the lives of Maryland’s African American population. As part of the project, students are working with two types of documents held by the Archives – Manumission documents that provide a record of enslaved persons who were freed by slave holders, and Certificates of Freedom that record proof of African Americans born free.  These documents contain vital information about those who were enslaved; however, research of old records, whether in print or scanned is a very difficult task.

Other DCIC projects include:

  • Japanese American WWII Camps: Citizen Incarceration (Faculty Advisors: Richard Marciano & Bill Underwood)
  • Managing White House Correspondents Association (WHCA) Pool Reports: Presidential Transparency (Faculty Advisors: Bill Underwood & Richard Marciano)
  • The Human Face of Big Data: Community Displacement (Faculty Advisor: Myeong Lee)
  • St. Louis Voyage: Refugee Narratives (Faculty Advisors: Mary Kendig)
  • Mapping Inequality: Racial Zoning in US Cities (Faculty Advisor: Richard Marciano)
  • Global Journeys, Local Communities: Movement of People
  • International Research Portal Project (IRP2): Identifying Nazi-Era Looted Art

Not only is the DCIC compiling and making historical records more accessible through “contact mapping” and other visual representations, but also, it is training students how to identify and collect descriptive metadata, how to link documents from different sources and formats, how to create datasets and searchable indexes, and how to develop products tailored to specific user groups.  The DCIC has also launched a professional certificate in digital curation: the DCIP (Digital Curation for Information Professionals).

Dr. Richard Marciano, director of DCIC adds, “The DCIC is also pioneering a new field of study called Computational Archival Science (CAS) [see: https://dcicblog.umd.edu/cas/], and has held over 20 international workshops on this topic over the last three years, with the launch of a recent UK/US international network [see: https://dcic.umd.edu/cas_network_launch/]. The large-scale digitization of analog archives, the emerging diverse forms of born-digital archives, and the new ways in which researchers across disciplines (as well as the public) wish to engage with archival material, are disrupting traditional archival theories and practices, and are presenting challenges for practitioners and researchers who work with archival material. They also offer enhanced possibilities for scholarship, through the application of computational methods and tools to the archival problem space, and, more fundamentally, through the integration of ‘computational thinking’ with ‘archival thinking’, as exemplified in a current IMLS-funded projects [see: https://dcicblog.umd.edu/ComputationalFrameworkForArchivalEducation/].