There’s some renovations starting to happen in REL this summer — we’re transforming the Department library into an REL digital lab (RELdl) that Prof. Jeri Wieringa (who joined REL a year ago and who works directly in this area) will direct and under whose auspices all digital work in REL can take place.
From using digital tools as part of the MA program’s public humanities initiative and the new one credit hour REL 503 course on digital humanities basics (offered every semester, with different topics) to our BA course in digital humanities as well as the ongoing research of a variety of faculty, REL already has a considerable emphasis in this broad and newer area. The RELdl is meant as a resource to help focus and also promote this work, doing so in a collaborative fashion that benefits faculty and students.
The Department library was last renovated in 2005, with extra shelves and cupboards going in; the days of holding very small seminars in the room are long behind us, and so the space is ripe for reinvention. We’ve already removed the shelving under the windows (which we’ll use elsewhere), the large conference table was inherited by Prof. Loewen, and we await the painters; some new furniture will arrive this summer, additional network connections will be installed, and new desktop and wireless technology will soon be ordered.
The reference books will remain and the lab will likely have weekly drop-in hours for anyone in REL with some questions or looking for some practical assistance. A web site is now being developed, outlining our new initiative, with faculty already involved in this research specialty providing input.
The RELdl will touch on many aspects of life in the department, from work done in research and classes to our podcast and even hosting some events. So we have high hopes that the new RELdl will help lead our field in this new and exciting direction.
Our goal is to have this all completed and in place
for the start of classes in the Fall.