Matrix, the Center for Digital Humanities and Social Sciences at Michigan State University, is devoted to the application of new technologies for teaching, research, and outreach. As one of the premier humanities computing centers in the United States, Matrix creates and maintains online resources, provides training in computing and new teaching technologies, and creates forums for the exchange of ideas and expertise in the field.
Matrix houses major digital library repositories including to the African Online Digital Library (AODL), Detroit Public Television’s American Black Journal video archives, Historical Voices, and the Quilt Index.
Matrix partners with many units at Michigan State University and with external organizations such as museums, libraries and archives that hold collections of cultural resources important for public access and humanities research, teaching and learning. Matrix works with these partners to digitize collections, preserve digital resources and present them online for teaching and research purposes. Matrix has been involved in a range of training initiatives, notably with teachers in the Great Lakes region and with diverse groups in Western and South Africa.
In pursuing this research portfolio, Matrix’s academic staff has been guided by basic principles that have positioned the center as a national and international leader. First, we have been committed to the best practices of the academic digital community. Matrix staff members are directly engaged in wide-reaching national and international discussions of best practices and are pioneering the application of such practices to digital collections and projects. Second, our work reflects a commitment to collaboration with developing countries and poorly resourced partners. Matrix’s solutions are built upon open-source, inexpensive hardware and software and backed by our commitment to train and prepare partners for sustained use of these resources. Third, as scholars, publishers, and teachers we are both producers and consumers of digital objects; we are committed to the free flow of ideas and to respect for intellectual property. As a result, Matrix has developed a solid technological and organizational infrastructure that facilitates collaboration, project development and further research.
Matrix’s work is funded by Michigan State University and by external funding from many sources, including the National Science Foundation, the National Endowment for the Humanities, the Institute of Museum and Library Services, the U. S. Department of Education, U.S. Department of State Office of Citizen’s Exchange, USAID, and the Ford and Mellon foundations.
Matrix now has fifteen full time employees. The staff includes a Director, three Associate Directors, five academic specialists, six administrative professionals, one clerical-technical staff member, and an annual budget of close to $200,000 for graduate and undergraduate student researchers and trainees.
A strong professional staff, a solid technological base, a proven track record for raising and managing research funds, and a project portfolio that stretches ahead for five years, all place us at the forefront of an exciting new field.