Creating Value and Impact in the Digital Age Through Translational Humanities

Author:Rumsey, Abby SmithScholarly Communication Institute

Following the completion in July 2011 of our last planned summer session, SCI entered a new phase of work (1 January 2012 to 31 August 2013) focusing on the following program areas:

• Scholarly Production
• Graduate Education
• The Value of the Humanities in the Digital Age

SCI undertook concentrated work in these three areas, with continued generous support from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. Our goals for this period included fostering further development of new-model scholarly authoring and production processes; rethinking and redesigning the methodological training of humanities scholars and scholarly communication professionals for the digital age; and building support for the humanities by articulating their value in and for the digital age.

These program areas evolved from conversation at recent SCI institutes. Participants’ attention reflected a growing sense of urgency felt by scholars and their scholarly societies, by presses and academic publishers, and by research libraries. The urgency is not only to understand the rapidly evolving landscape of scholarly communication, but to shape it by enacting a clear vision for scholarly communication in and for the digital age, a vision that carries forward centuries-long traditions of humanities scholarship.

At the final session of the Scholarly Communication Institute, participants spoke urgently of the need to articulate the value of humanities in and for the digital age. For some, such a “case statement” would be an important tool for raising research funds. For others, it would be a way to share the value of the humanistic enterprise with colleagues outside the humanities and begin conversations that might lead to collaborations. For others still, such a statement of value would be indispensable in engaging communities outside the academy in shared humanistic activities. In response to these calls for a fresh articulation of the value of humanities for the present age, Abby Smith Rumsey offers a new way of thinking about expanding the footprint of the humanities through translational activities. Much as translational work in the sciences aims to increase research impact by moving toward greater convergence of basic and clinical research, I propose that translational humanities can take advantage of the public platforms provided by the Web to share humanities expertise broadly and engage more communities in the creation and curation of human culture.

humanities, digital, translational, public humanities, careers
All rights reserved (no additional license for public reuse)
Source Citation:

Rumsey, Abby Smith. "Creating Value and Impact in the Digital Age Through Translational Humanities." CLIR Ruminations i03 (2013). Available:

Council on Library and Information Resources
Published Date:
April 2013
Sponsoring Agency:
Andrew W. Mellon FoundationUniversity of Virginia Library

Additional SCI materials are available at the following links:

Scholarly Communication Institute Reports, 2004 – 2011:

Reports on Scholarly Production and Authoring:

Reports on Rethinking Humanities Graduate Education:

“Humanities Unbound”: Report, Executive Summary, and Slides on Survey on Humanities Graduate Education and Alternative Academic Careers:

Datasets from Survey on Humanities Graduate Education and Alternative Academic Careers