Current projects

DCAPS is currently engaged in the following projects, a hybrid of Library, faculty, and staff collaborations to build dynamic digital collections. For more information about a specific project, contact us at

A red ribbon denotes an Arts & Sciences grant project. You may also see a complete list of recent A&S projects on our Arts & Sciences awards page.

Updated February 2015

Africana Studies and Research Center Lectures

Eric Acree, Africana Library

Website | Description [+]

The project will digitize a significant portion of lectures recorded at the Africana Studies and Research Center,​ dating from the early 1980's and currently in VHS format. This collection is paramount to the history and teaching mission of the Center, and provides researchers with insight into the development and the interdisciplinary nature of Africana Studies. The tapes cover Black Studies from a diaspora perspective, addressing issues in Africa, America and the African-Caribbean.​

Archive of Field Recordings

Bonna Boettcher, Music Library

Description [+]

The Archive of Field Recordings comprises around 193 hours of audio recordings made in Indonesia, on some 210 reels of quarter-inch tape. The majority of the recordings are of gamelan music from Central Java; a smaller number, accounting for about 30 hours, are from Lombok. The recordings from Central Java were made by some of the first researchers to reach a high level of competence in learning to play gamelan, realizing the ideal of “bi-musicality” advocated by Mantle Hood. Most of the recordings were made between 1975 and 1977; a smaller number were made by Marty Hatch in 1970 and 1971. The choice of what and whom to record was thus very well informed, and the researchers had established relationships with the leading musicians of the time. The smaller portion of the archive is significant in a different way, documenting the music and rituals of the Sasak people of the island of Lombok, who have received comparatively little scholarly attention. The recordings were made by Judith Ecklund in the 1970s in conjunction with the research for her dissertation in anthropology, which she completed at Cornell in 1977.  Both collections are owned by the Sidney Cox Library of Music and Dance.

Bill Adler Hip Hop Archives

Bill Adler, Katherine Reagan, Ben Ortiz

Description [+]

Digitize and make available portions of the Bill Adler Hip Hop Archives, consisting of over 500 vinyl records, an impressive collection of books in several languages and roughly 100,000 newspaper and magazine articles about rap and hip-hop.

Collective Bargaining Agreement, Catherwood Library, Kheel Center

Cheryl Beredo
Collaborator: Barbara Morley

Description [+]

In collaboration with Catherwood Library, DCAPS will digitize upwards of 2000 Collective Bargaining Agreements from the archive, representing contracts from the American educational services and retail industries. The series selected range in length from two pages to two hundred, and span from the 1930s to the 1980s. Funded by the National Historical Publications and Records Commission.

Cornell Lecture Tapes Collection

Boris Michev, Map & Media Library

Description [+]

This project aims to digitize a subset of the Cornell Lecture Tapes Collection. Taken individually or as a group, the recorded presentations exist as historical documents, important to the study of political and cultural life in the late‐twentieth century. The Cornell Lecture Tapes Collection documents the ideas and policies of remarkable thinkers. It is a large archive of public lectures and symposia in which speakers articulate their ideas, clarify theories, debate issues, and respond to questions. Umberto Eco, Henry Louis Gates, Nikki Giovanni, Jürgen Habermas, Alex Haley, Timothy Leary, Edward Said, Isaac Bashevis Singer, W. D. Snodgrass, Nancy Spero and Eudora Welty are just a few of the presenters whose voices and ideas are preserved in this collection.

Cornell Yao Project

Greg Green, Echols Collection, Kroch Library

Description [+]

The material for this proposal comes from a Cornell project in Thailand in the 1970’s called the “Cornell Yao Project.” The project was run by Richard Cushman and Herbert Purnell, and focused on the Yao, now known as Mien, people in Thailand. The collection consists of over one hundred unique reel-to-reel audio recordings of the three primary Mien languages: ritual language, everyday language and song language. The recordings are of great historical, cultural, and linguistic value, and are absolutely unique.

Digital Tamang

Kathryn March, Anthropology

Description [+]

The goal is developing a Digital Tamang Study Center by creating an online archive for both original and secondary source materials, organized in such a way that it is accessible to members of the local Tamang village community. Initial contents will include field research material, based upon 37 years of research among the Tamang of central highland Nepal. The project will address important cultural heritage issues pertaining to privacy and rights of access by identifying public access materials and those which remain restricted to Tamang community.

Global Literary Networks

Tom McEnaney, Comparative Literature

Description [+]

The Global Literary Networks project aims to create a digital collection of Latin American vanguard literary journals in support of multiple goals. Currently, related journals exist in partial form at a number of universities and research libraries including Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, Princeton, Yale and the NYPL. Consolidating a digital collection of publications that feature Latin American poetry, stories, essays, and visual art will transform existing scholarship in a number of ways. In addition to making these otherwise difficult to access print digitized journals digitally available in support of global scholarship, the project will support Professor McEnaney's ongoing digital humanities collaboration with a group of colleagues from the University of Chicago. One of the project goals is to support the "mining" of textual information with applications such as topic modeling, natural language processing, information retrieval, stylometrics, and network analysis in order to reconsider questions of style, genre, and literary influence. The digitization of this archive would also benefit students interested in experimenting with such 'distant reading' tools and methodologies at Cornell. The grant will help to scale up Cornell's database of Latin American journals in order to better understand the actual shape of the literary network, rather than accept presumed canons of importance. In the classroom, it will contribute to the curriculum in Professor McEnaney's will use it for his "Cuba: Technology and Literature" course.

Historic Glacial Images of Alaska and Greenland

Matt Pritchard, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences; Aaron Sachs, History; and Julie Elliott, Purdue University

Website | Description [+]

Enhancing our understanding of glacier behavior and how it relates to climate change requires long time series of observations to establish glacier evolution over many decades. In support of this goal, this project aims to create a digital library of historic images of glaciers in Alaska and Greenland from Cornell's R. S. Tarr and O. D. von Engeln collections. Tarr, a former professor of geology and geography at Cornell, and von Engeln, a student and later professor of geology at Cornell, conducted several field expeditions to Alaska in the early 20th century and used pioneering photographic techniques to document their findings. During a recent campus visit, Alaskan historical glacier photography expert Bruce Molnia of the US Geological Survey stated that the R. S. Tarr collection is the photographic collection most likely to reveal important new observations of glacier change over the past 100 years in Alaska because it has been so little studied. Thus, the images are of scientific interest for understanding glacier dynamics, of public policy interest for documenting climate change, and of artistic interest as the images could be put on public display. A number of researchers from institutions around the country have expressed great interest in using the images in their work, and the new collection will support teaching and learning activities in various fields not limited to environmental history, climate change, and visual culture. For example, Sachs often uses historical photographs in his lecture courses to help students become more fluent in reading and analyzing the visual culture in which they're steeped, and also to help them get in touch with the texture of the past. One goal of this project is to determine the precise location of the glacier photographs and use them to construct a three dimensional model. Another scientific objective is to quantify the retreat and advance of the individual glaciers to better understand the relative effects of regional climate change and the complex response of the glaciers. This goal is well aligned with the existing research program of Elliott and Pritchard who use GPS and remote sensing observations to quantify glacier change in Alaska. As an outreach activity, there are plans for an exhibit in Fall 2014 using photos from the test scans to celebrate the centennial of the 1914 ³Alaskan Glacier Studies² book by Tarr and Lawrence Martin.

John Reps Collection: Bastides

John W. Reps, Department of City and Regional Planning

Description [+]

We are beginning development on an interacti​ve portal to explore the architectural evolution of Bastides in the South of France. Professor Emeritus John W. Reps explored urban landscapes and developments worldwide. His spirit of discovery and the breadth of his travels made him not only a pioneering scholar in American urban planning history, but also a quintessential urban explorer.​

Leuenberger Israel/Palestine Map Collection

Christine Leuenberger

Description [+]

Digitize and make locally available maps produced by various Israeli, Palestinian and international cartographicinstitutions that represent the territory of Israel and the Palestinian Territories in often varied ways. They also reveal the varied ways the Separation barrier is cartographically represented in line with map-producers assumptions about the function of the barrier, as either increasing Israeli security or as negatively impacting Palestinian land-claims and human rights. Funded by the Arts & Sciences Imaging for Teaching program.

Lowentheil Collection of African-American Photographs

Cheryl Finley, Art History
Collaborator: Katherine Reagan, Cornell University Library

Description [+]

This collection of African-American photographs stands to make a major impact on the study of African American visual culture in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries as they reveal volumes about black life and struggles in uncommonly rare photographs. Through digitization this resource will be widely available to scholars of African American Studies, Art History, American Studies and the History of Photography. These materials complement already existing Cornell collections, including the May Anti-Slavery, Hip Hop, Noyes and Rudin materials.

PJ Mode Persuasive Map Collection

PJ Mode, Katherine Reagan

Description [+]

This project digitizes and makes available a collection of “persuasive cartography,” maps primarily intended to send a message, to influence the opinion of the viewer, rather than to communicate “objective” geographic information (Tyner 1974). Maps of this sort have also been described as “suggestive cartography,” “rhetorical cartography” and “propaganda maps” (a less apt term, because the word “propaganda” has become a pejorative).

Ragamala Paintings

Iftikhar Dadi, History of Art and Visual Studies and Bronwen Bledsoe, Cornell University Library

Description [+]

The project involves photographing and digitizing a slide collection of Indian Raga Mala paintings, which were recently gifted to Cornell and are perhaps the world’s greatest collection of images in this genre. The collection will be used in teaching South Asian art history classes at Cornell and elsewhere, supporting global scholarship activities. The paintings will also be useful for research into Indic regional histories, courts, and cultures. For instance, scholar at Columbia University who are working on premodern Indian courtly culture are particularly eager to have the Ragamala collection at their fingertips.