Texas A&M’s College of Liberal Arts to house digital literary research consortium

Laura Mandell

The Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture at Texas A&M University is now housing a new research consortium called the Advanced Research Consortium (ARC), according to the initiative’s director, Laura Mandell. Its purpose is to expand the online research capabilities for literary scholars worldwide.

Other groups participating in ARC include the Networked infrastructure for 19th-century Electronic Scholarship (NINES) at the University of Virginia, 18thConnect in Texas A&M University’s Department of English, and the newly organized Medieval Electronic Scholarly Alliance (MESA) at North Carolina State University. ARC will work to advance two current online programs and develop new ones.

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation supported MESA’s initial start-up with an organizational meeting held May 2011. Medieval studies scholars, digital practitioners, librarians, and representatives from numerous digital medieval projects discussed tactics to develop and continue digital research environments. MESA is directed by Dot Porter from Indiana University and Timothy Stinson at North Carolina State University.

“ARC is participating in the Mellon-funded Bamboo Project, which is designed to help Humanities scholars work together in developing tools for digital research so that we are not always reinventing the wheel’” said Mandell. “ARC and Bamboo are interested in getting people to share what they know and what they have built as Humanities work moves into the digital age.”

MESA will be coming to Texas A&M University on Sep. 22-23 to meet with the Advanced Research Consortium and to launch its website.

ARC held its first meeting in 2010 at the University of Virginia and used NINES as its model to begin addressing how to improve other modern technologies and improve online databases.

Jerome McGann, John Stewart Bryan professor at the University of Virginia, created NINES, which is an online database that stores primarily 19th century literary scholarship, in 2003. It has proved to be a reliable source for research development via the Internet, thus creating a digital environment in literary studies.

In 2009 Mandell, who is the associate director of NINES, used the site as a model to develop 18thConnect, an online community for 18th century literary scholars.

Through the Advanced Research Consortium, Texas A&M University has committed to improve the research on other groups through interfaces, indexes, search engines, and tools that could support NINES and 18thConnect.

Contact: Laura Mandell, here or 979-845-8345