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Only two years after the launch of The American Soldier in World War II transcription project on the Zooniverse site, 65,000 pages of digitized survey responses have been transcribed and the first phase of the project is coming to a close. After a large amount of work done by project partners and citizen archivists, those involved on the project are ready to commemorate and celebrate these achievements on May 8th, VE Day. 

The American Soldier in World War II project started on Zooniverse in May 2018, after Virginia Tech Professor Dr. Ed Gitre discovered the collection of first hand survey responses from soldiers at the National Archives in 2009. He then worked to have these records digitized and transcribed, so that they can one day be part of a searchable database.

These records have been transcribed online by participants who are connected to the project in various ways, some as Virginia Tech students, faculty, and staff. Some participants are veterans, and some have worked on transcribing just because they felt connected to the process or to the war, most often because they had a relative who had served in some capacity.

To encourage transcription, Virginia Tech Publishing has utilized its Athenaeum space to host “Transcribathons” where people can transcribe together online while listening to music from the era, learning fun facts, and earning prizes for transcribing. An in-person transcribathon which was planned for VE day has moved entirely online and will take place via zoom, now as a celebration.

The zoom event will start with an interview with the project director, Ed Gitre, then feature interviews with students and citizen archivists who have transcribed online throughout the project and contributed a large amount of completed transcriptions. 

Later on, Digital Humanities Coordinator Joe Forte will host a discussion with historians about the social issues present in the survey responses, women in the war and the civil rights movement. Many of the survey responses contain insights into the attitude towards race during the war, and the feelings of black soldiers during the time period. 

The project’s contribution towards World War II scholarship, along with the contribution of the public to the humanities and preservation will also be discussed. 

Learn more about the American Soldier project here, and plan to listen in on May 8th.

You are invited to join the University Libraries for Fall 2018 Reading Day activities in conjunction with the 2018 NLI Computer Showcase.

Thursday, December 6th – Torgerson Hall, 1st Floor

Open Textbook Adoption Workshop: Review to Adapt

Thursday, December 6th 1-2pm Torgerson 1050

Register here: or here:

This workshop is for faculty who wish to discuss and explore textbook and curriculum-related issues and options for their courses. The workshop covers research on student responses to textbook costs at Virginia Tech, emerging open textbook publication and adaptation models, copyright and Creative Commons licenses, and provides an invitation to review an open textbook, A $200 stipend is available for faculty who register, attend the workshop and review an open textbook within six weeks.

OER & Open Education: Exploring Philosophy, Potential & Practices

Thursday, December 6th  12-1pm Torgerson 1050

Register here:

This presentation is an invitation to explore the topic of open education. With its emphasis on free content access and permissions, the open education movement has generated a flurry of activity around scholarly and teaching activities involving innovative pedagogies, open textbooks, open educational resources (OER), Creative Commons licensing, and open policies. This presentation explores philosophies, motivations, and emerging practices of the open education movement with an eye toward identifying opportunities for administrators, faculty, students, librarians and instructional designers.

Where Can I Post My Publications?

Thursday, December 6th  10-11am Torgerson 1050 (also via Zoom)

Register here:

This presentation explores multiple tools, platforms and workflows for making your publications or other works available for other researchers to read and use.

Tell Your Story: Find and Distinguish Your Online Scholarly Presence

Thursday, December 6th  2:30-4pm Torgerson 1120 (also via Zoom)

Register here:

In this session, you will explore researcher profiles and other useful scholarly tools to learn how to improve your scholarly presence and boost the impact of your work. You will be introduced to essential researcher profiles, such as ORCID iD, that are crucial to ensuring you get all the credit you deserve for all your scholarly works. This interactive session also covers a suite of research impact metrics, such as citation-based metrics and altmetrics, and guidance regarding how to accurately and properly track and assess your impact and engagement in academic and public spheres.

Attending the NLI computer showcase? Visit our table (9am-4pm) Torgerson, 1st floor

Librarians and colleagues will be available to discuss library support available for projects, courses, and research. Drop by to pick up information on grant opportunities, upcoming programs, or to see the latest open educational resources created at VT and beyond.

Upcoming 2019 Programs:

  • January 15th – “Get Noticed: Managing your Scholarly Career in an Age of Metrics, Social Media, and Open Research” (January 15)
  • March 4 & 5 – Open Education Symposium

Funding opportunities:

VT Publishing and Virginia Tech Libraries are excited to share a new Digital Humanities project, Redlining Virginia. The project is based on a physical exhibit that was held in the Newman Library at Virginia Tech from December 7, 2016 to February 17, 2017 and is part of a larger project, Mapping Inequality, a collaboration of three teams at four universities, including the University of Richmond, the University of Maryland, Johns Hopkins University, and Virginia Tech.

Screenshot of Redlining Virginia project site showing a map of Roanoke =

Mapping Inequality provides access to a collection of “security maps” and descriptions created by the Home Owners’ Loan Corporation (HOLC) between 1935 and 1940. These maps and their corresponding descriptions used a color-coding system to assign risk levels to different areas within a city which were often based on racial lines. As a result, they changed the course of real-estate practice for over a century.

Redlining Virginia was created using Omeka by LaDale Winling, in the History Department, with Eleanor Boggs and Nicholas Bolin. It pulls together HOLC maps from popular areas in Virginia to show the impact on Virginia Cities over time.

For more information on Mapping Inequality, please see this VT News Story.