Posted on by & filed under blog.

Logo courtesy of

This past Monday (February 20, 2017) CDS’ newest neighbor, Carla Myers, held a workshop in CDS’ very own workshop space. The workshop, titled Fair Use Fact & Fiction, was in celebration of Fair Use Week. The workshop reviewed the Fair Use statute, as well as dispelled many of the misconceptions and myths that can limit the reuse of third-party works for teaching, research, and scholarship.


Carla is Miami’s Assistant Librarian and Coordinator of Scholarly Communications. Her office is currently located here in the Center for Digital Scholarship.

Posted on by & filed under blog, faculty projects.

The Journal on Centers for Teaching and Learning represents a site through which Centers for Teaching and Learning (CTL) staff can engage in conversations, explore their relevance to their own institutional situations, and imagine new possibilities to take back to these institutions — not to mention new ways of looking at the conversations already at work there. While multiple publications deal with pedagogical issues in specific fields and with issues addressed by CTLs more broadly, JCTL is designed to focus on the operations, achievements, and potentials of CTLs themselves.

homeHeaderTitleImage_en_USJournal on Centers for Teaching & Learning

Posted on by & filed under faculty projects, grants.

The Freedom Summer App (FSApp) is a location-based tour that uses a mobile device and GPS technology to transport you to 1964 to train as a Freedom Summer volunteer … by understanding the struggles of the past, we can reflect on what is at stake in the future. The FSApp project is led by Dr. Ann Elizabeth Armstrong, Associate Professor of Theatre, and the Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) is a co-principal investigator in this NEH grant. Our next two playtests will be on: September 15: Right after the 1st Freedom Summer Dialog, the playtest will start at 5PM at Thomson Hall on the Western campus; and September 26: Playtest will start at 5PM at Thomson Hall; then we will have a brief project discussion and reception at 6PM in Leonard Theatre in Peabody Hall.

The Freedom Summer App is funded by a National Endowment for the Humanities Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant Award.



Posted on by & filed under blog, faculty projects.

Last week, as part of the New Faculty Orientation, we had a mini-presentation about CDS … so in 5 minutes we tried to answer 5 questions:
– What is a center for digital scholarship?
– Why is digital scholarship important?
– How can our center help/work with Miami faculty?
– Where are we located?
– Who are we?

After three years, we are quite proud of what we have accomplished so far, we understand there is still a lot to do and learn … and we hope to continue to work/explore new digital scholarship ideas with Miami faculty and students!

CDS presentation 2016


Please come and see us :-)



Posted on by & filed under faculty projects.

This summer we launched the HARAMBEE CITY Digital Archive, this project is led by Dr. Nishani Frazier, Associate Professor of History and it runs on Omeka. It’s probably one of our best examples of how a project can start with a test instance, where we can test and try things out … and when we’re ready, we migrate to a production instance. In this case, Dr. Frazier started with a free account on, and then we used the Omeka API Import plugin to move her test site into a hosted instance. Also, during her recent lecturer time in North Carolina, she went to the North Carolina State University Libraries and got some excellent help with an Omeka theme by Markus Wust … so YES, this is a truly collaborative initiative.

HARAMBEE CITY Digital Archive


Last but not least, we now have the video trailer for Dr. Katie Johnson’s project:



Posted on by & filed under faculty projects, grants.

Last week, we finished our first full semester in working and testing several virtual machine options and tools for this project.  The IMS203 class Scholarship in the Digital Age: Introduction to the Digital Humanities has helped us in exploring/testing/identifying the possibilities -as well as some limitations- with this cloud-based hosting option.  At first, each student deployed a VM that allowed him/her to run some basic command line instructions; later in the semester, four groups worked collaboratively to plan, develop and create a digital scholarship project using an upgraded VM with Omeka and some plugins.  Below is a screenshot of one of the latest templates:

Scholars Dashboard template

Major activities during the spring semester included:

  • upgraded the VM images from Ubuntu 14.04 to 16.04, which seems to fix an annoying mod_rewrite error in Omeka.
  • upgraded the Omeka VM to 2 CPU and 4 GB of memory, this helped a lot with the IMS203 group final assignment.
  • added MediaWiki to the pre-installed software options, which is also required for the Omeka Scripto plugin.
  • added OJS to the pre-installed software options, one of the next steps in OJS will be to modify/skip some of the many steps in the workflow.
  • added a web-based command line tool that students can use for running and testing command line instructions.
  • tested and deployed (many times) the different VM templates under non-admin accounts.

This project is now entering its final 4-5 moths and our next steps will include three major activities: producing a series of video tutorials for self-help, testing the different VM templates and tutorials with key stakeholders, and developing a project website for publicity and promotion.  And as part of our current and upcoming promotion/demo activities, earlier this month we did a mini demo of the project at the 2016 UC THATCamp and later this summer, we’ll have a poster presentation at the 2016 IFLA Conference.



Posted on by & filed under faculty projects, grants.

This IMLS Sparks’ funded project is well underway and soon we’ll start creating the first video tutorials. The current prototype runs on Amazon Web Services (AWS) and it’s managed using OpenNebula, an open source cloud-computing platform for managing distributed data center environments. Right now, deploying a virtual machine (VM) is as simple as logging in to the Project’s Dashboard, selecting an image, and clicking a button. So far we have 20+ VMs running, most with a basic Ubuntu installation, and a couple with a LAMP stack and other software packages like WordPress and Omeka. The latest template/image, when deployed correctly and after 2-3 minutes, generates a VM that will look something like this:



The more we learn about this project, the more we understand about the potential of cloud-based solutions for faculty and scholars projects, especially in the age of big and open data.


Posted on by & filed under DSpace.

Author profiles can help scholars increase their visibility, help them connect with others, or keep track of their publication statistics.  There is a handful of sites that are providing profile options for scholars at a global level e.g. ORCID, LinkedIn, Academia, ResearchGate, Mendeley, Google Scholar, VIVO, etc.  However, author profiles at the institutional level are still a work in progress.  For instance, DSpace doesn’t have a profile module yet, although the work that @mire did for the World Bank could help with that development.

This week, as Miami University Libraries joins the 2015 International Open Access Week celebration, we are also launching a homegrown solution for author profiles in our Scholarly Commons institutional repository -which looks something like this:

This solution involved 4 major steps:

Modifying login and sidebar options: we modified the login options for authenticated users and customized the sidebar boxes in order to provide a clean (less confusing) interface; the new login options include links to actions like: start a submission, view pending/archived submissions, edit profile.  Most of this work required modifying two theme files: navigation.xsl and page-structure.xsl

Adding profile data in a separate DB: from DSpace users need to login into the profile system using LDAP, which allowed us to pre-populate certain fields e.g. name, title, contact information, etc.; new fields include: research interest and top social and scholarly networking sites like Google Scholar, Research Gate, Twitter, LinkedIn, About Me, and ORCID … and of course an option for uploading a photo.  For this section, we re-used an existing module that runs on PHP and MySQL.

Embedding profile on collection’s page: when someone saves his/her profile, a script checks if there is already a collection associated with that person, if not, then a new collection is created; either way, an ID is added to one of the collection metadata fields in DSpace, which then is used to find/embed an <iframe> with the profile data.  This was probably the most challenging part of the work, in part because we had to learn/use some RESP API commands –which also meant using https and a special port … and some jQuery lines.

Updating author’s collection permissions: a major limitation we found with DSpace’s REST API is that it does not yet support user administration operations (e.g. creating admin groups for new collections); thus, for now when new users save their profile for the very first time, a text file (with the e-person ID and DSpace handle) is generated and a Macro Express script is triggered, which then creates the proper admin_group for the new collection.

Last but not least, other changes we implemented this week are: updated and added custom labels for the stats module, implemented an input-form that includes a citation field and a simplified Creative Commons license option, as well as cover pages for PDFs.

Happy Open Access Week!


Posted on by & filed under grants.

IMLS logoThe Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) has awarded the Miami University Libraries Center for Digital Scholarship a $23,483 Sparks grant.

The on-demand Digital Scholarship Applications dashboard is a collaborative initiative between Miami’s Information Technology Services and the Library’s Center for Digital Scholarship.  The one-year project will prototype and implement an efficient and user-friendly dashboard that will allow faculty and student scholars to easily and quickly choose, configure, deploy, and evaluate any of a set of common web applications in a shared hosting environment.  The envisioned service will be similar to those offered by commercial hosting providers for deployment of popular web applications, but focused on tools relevant to digital scholarship.

Information Technology Services supports and transforms Miami University by providing innovative, reliable and secure technology services for all facets of the University, including teaching, learning, research, student life and administration.

The Center for Digital Scholarship (CDS) was established in April 2013 as a new service for faculty and students working on mid-large size digital projects.  CDS provides facilities and services to support digital initiatives that enhance the research, teaching and learning mission of Miami University.


Posted on by & filed under faculty projects.

“As the preference for accessing research online eclipses the demand for print access, the electronic scholarly monograph, readable on an e-reader and/or searchable on a computer, is coming to play a much more significant role in research and scholarship.”
Libraries, Scholars, and Publishers in Digital Journal and Monograph Publishing.

While many will agree that monographs in digital format can offer far more options for readers and authors, there are also legitimate reasons for sticking to the traditional print format.  But instead of choosing one instead of the other, some presses and authors are actually publishing in a hybrid format … and that’s where companion websites can become the medium for providing others (readers, scholars, students, etc.) with additional and freely accessible content beyond the copyrighted text.  A good example of “why and how” a companion website for print books is probably the Digital Companion for the book How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis by N. Katherine Hayles.

For us at Miami University Libraries, our call for something like this came about a year ago when Dr. Katie Johnson, Associate Professor of English, asked us if we can work with her in creating a companion website for her recent book Sex for Sale: Six Progressive-Era Brothel Dramas (University of Iowa Press, 2015).   Of course, our response was “yes” … mainly because this type of digital and faculty-driven project is a good example of the type of digital scholarship projects we support in the Center for Digital Scholarship.  This project was also unique as it exemplified the potential and benefits of digital publishing and collaborative work among scholars, students, and librarians.

We believe creating companion sites like this one for print publications can truly benefit readers as they get richer/updated/dynamic content, and authors also benefit as they have more options for extending the reach of their research.  We were in charge of the technical side of the project, major activities included: setting up a WordPress site on a library server, installing custom plugins and themes, modifying the WordPress software to produce a clean and user-friendly interface and putting in place an organization structure for the site’s content.


We are extremely proud to be part of this innovative project and were happy to blend our experience in setting up and designing the system with the content expertise and scholarship of Dr. Johnson and her team.  This kind of rich collaboration is an essential part of the services that are offered by the Center for Digital Scholarship and we are very pleased with the creative outcome.