University of Southern California. Japanese Studies Librarian and Director, Special Projects
Adapting to Digital Trends: Cross-Institutional Collaboration to Build a Digital Exhibit on the 53 Stations of the Tōkaidō
Digital Exhibitions and Projects are becoming more and more common as institutions seek to go beyond merely providing digitized materials and look to provide scholarly context around them. Here, I will introduce a digital project tentatively titled Off the Beaten Path: Alternative Views of the Fifty-Three Tōkaidō Stations. Typically, digital projects created by librarians focus on resources at their own institution, however, in this project librarians from three schools with small- to mid-sized collections for Japanese Studies (Duke University, University of Southern California, and the Ohio State University) are collaborating to bring together materials in their collections and develop a dynamic interpretive lens around them. We hope that by putting these materials in conversation with one other, in the digital environment, they can be made more meaningful than if studied in isolation. Perhaps this can also be a model for other institutions with small- to mid-sized collections of Japanese materials, or for topics where primary sources are scattered across a continent or around the world. Yet, cross-institutional collaborations also bring with them certain challenges, such as different digitization capacities and timelines, varying institutional priorities or policies around accessibility standards, and less administrative support than for a single-institution project. As the project team works around such challenges and looks to launch the site in coming months, we would like to take this opportunity to discuss our work with other Japanese Studies Resource Specialists.