The "City of Lit" Digital Library - A Case Study of Interdisciplinary Research and Collaboration
Haowei Hsieh; Bridget Draxler; Nicole Dudley; Jon Winet

In 2008, Iowa City was designated as one of only five “Cities of Literature” worldwide by UNESCO. To take advantage of our rich local literary history, an interdisciplinary research team from the University of Iowa collaborated to develop a digital library featuring Iowa City authors and locations. The UNESCO City of Literature digital library (referred to internally as “City of Lit”) consists of a mobile application for the general public to access the database and a set of web-based interfaces for researcher and content creators to contribute to the database. Members of the research team have developed undergraduate literature courses to study the feasibility of using young scholars for digital content creation, and the pedagogical effect of including digital research in traditional literary courses. Students in the courses were trained to conduct scholarly research and generate a variety of digital resources to be included in the digital collection. This paper reports our experience building the City of Lit digital library and the results from evaluations and studies of the students in the courses. We also outline the implementation and development of the digi-tal library, its framework, and the client-side mobile application.


Student Researchers, Citizen Scholars and the Trillion Word Library    
Gregory Crane; Bridget Almas; Alison Babeu

The surviving corpora of Greek and Latin are relatively compact but the shift from books and written objects to digitized texts has already challenged students of these languages to move away from books as organizing metaphors and to ask, instead, what do you do with a billion, or even a trillion, words? We need a new culture of intellectual production in which student researchers and citizen scholars play a central role. And we need as a consequence to reorganize the education that we provide in the humanities, stressing participatory learning, and supporting a virtuous cycle where students contribute data as they learn and learn in order to contribute knowledge. We report on five strategies that we have implemented to further this virtuous cycle: (1) reading environments by which learners can work with languages that they have not studied, (2) feedback for those who choose to internalize knowledge about a particular language, (3) methods whereby those with knowledge of different languages can collaborate to develop interpretations and to produce new annotations, (4) dynamic reading lists that allow learners to assess and to document what they have mastered, and (5) general e-portfolios in which learners can track what they have accomplished and document what they have contributed and learned to the public or to particular groups.