Final Reflections on Digital Scholarship

When I applied for the digital scholarship summer fellowship in the spring of my sophomore year, I had just started honing my academic interests. Looking back, I don’t remember having a distinct sense of self yet, or a feeling that I fit into the larger Gettysburg College community. Participating in the digital scholarship program that first summer, and over the course of the past two years, taught me the value of putting scholarship into practice and engaging with communities, and shaped many of my core values.

Some of the irony of digital scholarship is that digital scholars constantly struggle to define the field, even as they work to produce answers that are accessible to a general public. This is not to say that ambiguity is negative–dwelling in different theories and questions helps a person think more broadly, and consider perspectives they otherwise wouldn’t have. However, it’s important to know when to leave this space, decide on an answer, and create work from what you’ve learned (to “get it on the site,” one might say). Digital scholarship taught me to balance theory and practice. While my theoretical and historical work on activism was (and is) important, I realized that I had to back it up by taking action myself. Digital scholarship provided me with the groundwork I needed to be involved in the Gettysburg community–to take the intersectional frameworks I learned about as a student in the classroom and apply it to my daily life. Learning does not stop at evaluating another person’s ideas, it involves contributing your own to the discussion.

In my future, I see myself using digital tools and my digital literacy to encourage others to take action. Digital scholarship taught me to value accessibility. For me, this is not only about making information easily available and understandable, but also about inviting people to take action themselves. When I submitted my initial application to be a DSSF, I wasn’t certain that I had the capacity to complete a project. Being a part of the program showed me the I could, in fact, conduct research, present it to others, form communities, and lead. Wherever my future leads me, I’d like to use digital tools to create narratives that engage people’s ideas and encourage them to take action themselves.

By far, the most important thing I learned as a member of the digital scholarship team at Musselman Library was the importance of engaging with communities. All of the work I’ve done over the past two years came to fruition because I had help and support from a strong network of mentors and co-workers. Oftentimes, it can be difficult to approach or engage with social justice issues because they seem so infeasible. However, coming together to critically engage with discourse creates the potential for productive change. I know that I will take this lesson into the rest of my future life.

In Celebration of Digital Scholarship/Digital Humanities


The opportunities afforded to me by the Digital Scholarship office have shaped my time here at Gettysburg college so far. Having the opportunity to create a scholarship project for a digital audience over the past summer showed me how my work could reach a larger audience. It inspired me to be a better scholar and gave me the tools to do so.

The skills taught by Digital Humanities are easily translatable to an academic and professional setting. DH is public facing and requires communication skills. Writing for the web and a general audience means that text must be concise, easy to follow, and visually guide the reader through the ideas of the piece. Basic digital skills like simple coding and web design are also useful in designing projects, whether they are for public use or internal presentations.

Yet Digital Humanities is not all about digital work. The final product must be well designed and user friendly, with the information presented in an engaging way. That information must come from reputable sources and be well researched. A great deal of work must be done before the project can even be placed in its final digital format. Research skills are essential to the field of Digital Scholarship to promote further scholarship and accurately attribute the sources and media used to create engaging projects. 

These skills have served me well in my classes. While not all assignments have a digital component, the classes I take are humanities based. The basics skills of DH are humanities skills used in a new way to promote the accessibility of scholarship for all.

One thing that should be made clear about DH is that it does not exist to make projects digital for the sake of modernization. DH can enhance scholarship through its format, not make scholarship more difficult by adding hurdles for scholars to jump over. I have had opportunities to make some class projects digital, but DH has taught me that not every project warrants digitization. DH is a goal to strive for, but not a requirement. 

Digital literacy is increasingly important in the workplace and life in general. It should become more important in our classrooms as well. Before I worked as a DSSF this past summer, I had no experience with coding or building a project on a digital platform. Now, I am comfortable doing so. I want to continue to improve in these skills. I will continue to work in DH and promote digital literacy on campus. In the future, these skills will be useful in communicating as wall as workplace settings. DH is not a niche skill set. It is increasingly applicable in our digitized world, and will only become more relevant.

I love working in the Digital Scholarship Office. It has taught me new skills, exposed me to new sources of knowledge, and given me new and engaging ways to create scholarship. Working in the Digital Scholarship Office has been a pleasure. I encourage all to stop by our offices for advice on how to use DH in the future. And be sure to keep an eye out for the upcoming #DSSF18. I am sure their projects will be incredible.