Changing Methods, Changing Libraries: Making Digital Literacy Accessible for Undergraduate Researchers

Taylor Rebhan

This project was supported by The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation Scholars Program in the Arts & Humanities at Hope College.


Rooted in research accomplished in the summer of 2013, with a fellowship from the Andrew W. Mellon Scholars Foundation, this project focuses on the rapidly changing landscapes of scholarship and storytelling in the Humanities. These changes have come about as a myriad of digital tools are now available to undergraduate scholars. From showcasing to researching, students now have unprecedented access to and support for these tools. I show through personal experience as an undergraduate Digital Humanities researcher that as these supplements are honed and further developed, they allow student scholars to ask new questions in their research, answer them accordingly, and display their original work in a refreshing and wide-reaching manner. However, these advances in digital methods also raise concerns for sustainability and integration with traditional research. Hope College’s Van Wylen Library is an example of an institution that strives to be on the leading edge of the digital humanities and is seeking to address these concerns. Knowing that collaboration is the backbone of a thriving digital liberal arts community, it has taken steps to create new conversations between communities and individuals. I propose several ways in which Van Wylen has accomplished this, as well as several ways that they can in the future. As digital librarianship shows, though technological advances are shifting the way scholars think about research, storytelling is still the heart of scholarship.