One of our favorite types of collections in Digital Commons is research materials that are cited in published articles and monographs. Why? Because any reader can now easily access these supporting materials to get more context for the scholarship. This was virtually impossible under traditional publishing models, but digital formats make it easy—and more and more librarians are using repositories to support their faculty’s scholarship in this way.
A great example is the “Cities, Suburbs, and Schools Project” collection in the Trinity College Digital Repository. As part of his research into the interaction between private housing and public schooling in Hartford, CT, Jack Dougherty, Associate Professor of Educational Studies at Trinity, has been collecting articles, maps, oral interviews, and archival documents. His research has led to an NEH-supported online book, On the Line: How Schooling, Housing, and Civil Rights Shaped Hartford and Its Suburbs, as well as the development of a course at Trinity.
Professor Dougherty wanted readers of On the Line, and the students in his course, to be able to access the primary and secondary materials on which his book is based, so when Trinity launched their IR, he approached IR administrator Amy Harrell about including his research materials in Trinity’s repository. Not only does the collection in the repository link out to the online book; the book also links back to the supporting data in the repository. Now, readers can easily navigate back and forth between the research and the final product.
For more on capturing primary and secondary source materials in repositories, see “Building Content by Building Community: Engaging Faculty at Cornell’s ILR School,” by Jim DelRosso.