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Grant number: PR-234292-16

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University of Pittsburgh (Pittsburgh, PA 15260-6133)
Alison Langmead (Project Director: June 2015 to present)

Sustaining MedArt: The Impact of Socio-Technical Factors on Digital Preservation Strategies

A case study investigating the sustainability of digital humanities projects by conducting user surveys and oral histories related to the developmental history of an online image collection created in the mid-1990s of medieval architecture and artifacts known as MedArt.  The research will lead to the publication of a Web-based “Socio-Technical Digital Preservation Roadmap” that documents and guides digital humanists and preservation professionals through the preservation planning process.

Questions of sustainability are becoming increasingly central to the work of digital humanists as early digital projects age and as new projects proliferate across disciplines—many of which involve scholars and practitioners who lack a shared knowledge base when it comes to addressing digital preservation needs. Sustaining the work of the digital humanities is clearly a critical task, but there is a lack of meaningful empirical data about the long-term effects of technological and staffing decisions made during project creation processes and over the course of project lifespans. This research, organized as a case study into a landmark and pioneering digital humanities initiative, will provide insight into the ways in which a digital project's sustainability can hinge on accreted decisions over time as well as on complex interactions between human, technological and administrative infrastructures.

Project fields:
Interdisciplinary Studies, General; Media Studies; Medieval Studies

Research and Development

Preservation and Access

Total amounts:
$69,041 (approved)
$67,982 (awarded)

Grant period:
5/1/2016 – 12/31/2017