Digital Maine

Digital Maine

Lead PI: John Muthyala, English

Co-PIs: Jan Piribeck, Art; and Matthew Bampton, Geography & Anthropology

USM Team Members:

David Nutty, USM Libraries

Stephen Houser, Computer Science


Project Abstract:

This research project brings together computer science, information, and geospacial technology experts from USM and southern Maine companies with faculty and students in the College of Arts, Humanities, and Social Sciences, whose research, scholarship, and creative activity focus on Maine history, art, and culture. The project will collect, analyze, and disseminate data and information about Maine's geographically diverse communities, culture, socioeconomic conditions, and history; with particular focus on studying how places eveolve over time and shape regional identity and culture.

The intention is to build upon USM's Digital Commons to create a digital platform that will serve as a virtual repository for research and scholarship about Maine and an interactive site to share information, ideas, and tools for further collaboration. To this end, we will adapt metadata standards to create searchable databases. The project will also develop innovative software applications and technologies that can be used for academic, commercial, and cultural purposes.

Our start-up projects, to assess proof of concept in three areas, include examining and visually representing sea rise levels in coastal Maine, using geospatial technologies to digitize the history and evolution of paper mills and small town cultures, and creating digital applications for walking trails designed to highlight women's and minorities' contributions to the growth of Portland and southern Maine. We will draw upon diverse expertise as we design and build solutions to manage the many different types of data needed - numerical, images, archival records, audio-visual recordings, and geospatial representations. The creation and maintenance of such large data sets will be used for data mining and macro level analysis.

Digital Maine will directly enhance student learning and expand community engagement at USM. It will also create community partnerships by networking with local businesses, cultural organizations, and tourist sectors to leverage the creative resources at USM to serve the needs of Maine communities. Digital Maine offers the potential for unique synergies and continuing cross-fertilization among the humanities, arts, social sciences, urban planning, computer and geospatial sciences.