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Hesburgh Libraries Launch Center for Digital Scholarship

Author: Tara O'Leary

The University of Notre Dame’s Hesburgh Libraries have officially launched the Center for Digital Scholarship, located in the northeast corner on the first floor of its flagship Hesburgh Library building. This launch marks a transformational leap into the future for the Hesburgh Libraries and helps to meet the growing demand for advanced research expertise and digital library services at Notre Dame.

Digital scholarship employs state-of-the-art technologies to transform the ways in which teaching, research, and scholarship are performed and preserved.

“The integrated expertise in the center offers the support needed for the full life cycle of research as we know it in the digital age,” says Tracy Bergstrom, program co-director for Digital Initiatives and Scholarship within Hesburgh Libraries. “The Libraries envision the Center for Digital Scholarship as the place where technology will transform the pursuit of knowledge.”

An opening reception was held in November to introduce the campus community to the center’s resources. The event included demonstrations of services by library faculty and remarks by Thomas G. Burish, provost; Ronald D. Kraemer, vice president for information technology and chief information and digital officer; Elliott Visconsi, chief academic digital officer, associate professor of English, and concurrent associate professor of law; and Diane Parr Walker, Edward H. Arnold University Librarian.

“When our students and faculty look to access new technologies, get expert advice, and learn new digital research skills, they will come to the Center for Digital Scholarship," Burish said. “Our students today and the students of tomorrow, as well as many of our faculty, want and need this resource. It’s an expansion of our academic enterprise that allows us to keep the things that have always been important — including printed books and special collections — and at the same time bring a new dimension to teaching, research and scholarship at Notre Dame.”

“Whether you are a humanist or a scientist, knowledge creation in the 21st century increasingly demands access to state-of-the-art technology, advanced research expertise, and digital library services. The Center for Digital Scholarship was designed in response to these growing campus needs,” Walker said. “The work of the center is changing how we use our library spaces and what expertise and services we offer our faculty and students. Already, it is revolutionizing how we work together to advance teaching, research and scholarship.”

The center features two separate yet synergistic components. The 5,200-square-foot Digital Research Lab is home to a new generation of digital librarians who are experts in areas such as data management planning, geographic information systems, digitization and metadata services, and data use and analysis. It offers an extensive suite of hardware and software and access to a 3-D printer, a large-format color printer, a high-tech conference room and a flipped classroom. The 900-square-foot Digital Production Facility features state-of-the-art digitization equipment and will make a significant impact on the University’s ability to preserve and globally share rare materials that are unique to Notre Dame.

“The word scholarship in the center’s name recalls for us the identity that binds us together as a community,” Visconsi says. “A scholar is a creator of new knowledge — a part of a living intellectual community that stretches across time and space. The expert staff and the digital resources gathered in the center will accelerate knowledge creation by moving students and faculty further into our work, unlocking our creativity and giving our research new force and speed."

“When we think of creating research and scholarship in this digital era that enables the world to be a healthier, happier and more knowledgeable place — it’s a remarkable responsibility and a wonderful opportunity,” Kraemer said. “It took inspirational leadership from the Libraries to build the Center for Digital Scholarship, and every element of the University will play a role in making it successful. In the end, a room like this, with all of this energy, can make a remarkable difference in the world. I feel positive that together, we can make this happen.”

The new Center for Digital Scholarship will serve as a natural research hub for the University’s diverse group of faculty and students with an equally diverse set of needs. The center serves as a place to get started, assists with advanced-level research and functions as a referral service to other digital expertise on campus. Workshops, training and research consultations are ongoing for faculty and students. More information is available at

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