Digital scholarship

Increasingly, collections are physical and digital. There are a range of ways that our museums and collections support digital scholarship, in the wider academic community and via the University of Reading’s Digital Humanities Hub. Our particular emphasis is on infrastructure and sustainability.

We support digital scholarship by providing collections based expertise, access to collections and engagement channels, acting as a repository and as a partner in research in to collections based practice.

Finalist Ribbon Digital Preservation Coalition 2022
Finalist Ribbon Digital Preservation Awards 2022

Here are some of the methods by which we support digital scholarship.

  • Digitisation: During the Wellcome funded project, Field, 1500 images were digitised, alongside 350 films from the Ministry of Agriculture’s film library which were made available on our Virtual Reading Room
  • Metadata: Staging Beckett saw the creation of a searchable database of professional productions of Samuel Beckett’s stage plays in the UK and Ireland, adhering to metadata standards. The Staging Beckett project, a collaboration between the University of Reading, University of Chester and the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, received substantial AHRC funding (ÂŁ668,144) from 2012 – 2015. The data providers for the Performing Arts Database are UK Theatre Web, The Royal National Theatre, Royal Opera House and Shakespeare Library.
  • Collaboration: MAPP (Modern Archives Publishing Project) hosts thousands of rare twentieth century publishers’ materials: everything from fragile dust jackets; to author’s correspondence; to advertising brochures; to financial papers. These items come from dispersed archives and special collections, partnering with libraries in the UK, Canada, and the USA who hold the physical copies and host digital replicas in their own collections. MAPP seeks to digitise, collate, and share these beautiful and obscure objects with the wider public.
  • Preservation: The Dwoskin project includes work to preserve and make available the contents of 20 hard drives that encompass experimental filmmaker Dwoskin’s digital legacy. The project was a finalist for the Award for Safeguarding the Digital Legacy at the Digital Preservation Awards 2022.
  • Research: The Location Register is a database of the literary manuscript holdings of British and Irish repositories, researched by the Reading Research Projects team.
  • 3D scanning and accessibility: The Ure Museum created 3D scans of their collections to use in digital teaching sessions, while the University of Reading Special Collections made their collections discoverable to a global audience via Google Arts & Culture.
  • Innovation: curating internet memes based on our social media content, with the National Science and Media Museum.