GC Digital Initiatives Wins Third Consecutive NEH Start-Up Grant

March 23, 2016

'Beyond Citation,' a project that is part of GC Digital Initiatives, has been awarded a highly competitive National Endowment for the Humanities grant.

"Beyond Citation: Critical Thinking About Digital Research," a project that is part of GC Digital Initiatives, has been awarded a highly competitive National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) grant.

It is the GC's third consecutive student-generated NEH Digital Start-Up Grant winner, and the second to begin in the Digital Praxis Seminar, a course focused on introducing Graduate Center students to digital scholarship.

Beyond Citation" is a research platform that will function as the 'missing manual' for the profusion of research databases now available online. Its purpose is to assist novice and advanced researchers alike with the online databases that have fundamentally transformed the ways research is conducted in a range of academic disciplines.

The NEH Office of Digital Humanities awarded the project a grant of nearly $64,000. The grants support the planning stages of innovative projects that are intended to benefit the humanities.

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"Beyond Citation" began in the 2013 Digital Praxis Seminar, a two-semester course open to both doctoral and master's students and co-taught by Professors Stephen Brier (left) and Matthew Gold. The project was conceived by Eileen Clancy/node/2872, an archivist and a Digital Humanities student in the GC's Master of Arts in Liberal Studies (MALS) program.

A team of students - Clancy, Rebecca Federman, Genevieve Johnson, David Naranjo, and Marisa Plumb - implemented the pilot version of the project in May 2014.

From its initial stages, Beyond Citation also benefited from expert advice from GC librarians Alycia Sellie, Jill Cirasella, Stephen Klein, Steve Zweibel, and Chief Librarian Polly Thistlethwaite.
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Underlying the project's creation was Clancy's own extensive experience as a film and video archivist. She is the founder of I-Witness Video, an archive that pioneered the systematic acquisition of digital video of political demonstrations; her work for I-Witness Video was featured in the New York Times and on CNN.

In addition, Clancy led a 10-year project documenting human rights abuses in Northern Ireland. Earlier, she held curatorial roles at the Andy Warhol Foundation, first as director of film and video collections and then as director of literary properties. She has also been an editor and researcher for Carnegie Fellow and New York Times Op-Ed contributor Zeynep Tufekci.

"I was primed by my independent video work to question the structure of commercial and proprietary humanities databases that 'Beyond Citation' is seeking to make more transparent," she said.

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"Beyond Citation" will be based at the GC's New Media Lab (co-directed by Professor Brier) and co-sponsored by the GC Digital Scholarship lab (directed by Professor Gold), which is staffed by 11 Digital Fellows. All will provide technical advisement and support to the project, as will the GC Library, which will also perform user testing. Professor Brier will serve as Project Director and Clancy as Project Coordinator.

"The NEH grant recognizes the Graduate Center's commitment to foster innovative digital research and teaching work through a series of interconnected academic programs and initiatives," Professor Brier said. "'Beyond Citation' joins a growing list of Graduate Center faculty- and student-driven digital projects that have thrust the GC to the forefront of Digital Humanities work nationally."

The GC's previous project winners were 'DH Box' (2015) and " Social Paper" (2014).

Read more about GC Digital Initiatives.