My name is Emily Privott and I am a 2019 graduate of Davidson. And I’m still on campus.
Why you might ask?
Because I work here.
Currently, I am the Archives Assistant in Archives and Special Collections in the library. Interestingly enough, my work here did not start post-graduation, but actually continued. I began working in the library as a student during the summer of 2018 and was fortunate enough to continue my work here during the 2018-2019 academic year. Even more fortunate, I was kept on post-graduation.
Quite honestly, navigating the transition from student (and student-employee) to employee (an employee-employee) has been odd at times. However, my experience as a student has helped me tremendously when approaching my work. To some degree, just by living and breathing Davidson for four years as a student, I have become familiar with the campus lexicon. And having some general knowledge of campus events, people, concerns, and changes has been extremely helpful.
While there are a lot of things I still do not know, one thing I do want to talk about is Davidson Domains and how my exposure to this campus resource has varied from my time as a Davidson student to my time as a Davidson employee.
As a student, I did not have much knowledge of what Davidson Domains was. My courses did not include assignments that involved the creation of domains. I was not involved in any extracurricular activities or initiatives that involved domains. And I, personally, had not considered my own digital presence, what that means, and how I could have some agency over my digital identity.
With Davidson Domains, you can do just that: claim a space where you can develop a web presence of your choosing. From blogs to portfolios, domains are a space for students and faculty to showcase both their personal interests and their professional scholarship.
When I was a student, I took courses that had traditional assignments: papers, reviews, and class discussions. The idea of creating a website for a final project never crossed my mind. However, now as a staff member, I see students doing that. Instead of a final paper of 10-20 pages or a senior thesis or a capstone project, students are doing amazingly creative things. In lieu of a formal research paper, students are creating digital exhibits, online narratives, and films to share their research with a wider audience. They are participating and engaging in an ever-evolving scholarly community.
However, once the work has been posted and shared, then what? How does this work get preserved? Currently, our department collects honors theses and while these still are primarily formal research papers, we have begun thinking about the logistics of preserving digital works: what resources this would require and what issues there might be. Questions of permissions and intellectual property, software available to record websites, and how the design of a website could affect its ability to be preserved are on our mind.
The Archives and Special Collections team and the Digital Learning team are grappling with these questions in an effort to find solutions to preserve the valuable research of students and faculty. If you currently have a domain or are thinking about getting a domain to showcase your research, please don’t hesitate to reach out to us at the library with your questions!
Post by student and staff member Emily Privott ’19