Announcing the 2024 Research Sprints program

By UVA Library | May 21, 2024

UVA Library is pleased to announce its 2024 Research Sprints program. Research Sprints provide faculty with the opportunity to partner with a team of expert librarians on a specific project, offering deep interaction and an extended time commitment. During the sprints, faculty work intensively with librarians for one to three full working days to overcome obstacles, explore new research avenues, or test new methods. The 2024 Research Sprints program will be dedicated to the following projects:                                                                                                                                 

Kiera Allison (School of Commerce) and Spyridon Simotas (French, College of Arts & Sciences): “Virtual Dialogic Writing Center”

The Sprint will support Professors Allison and Simotas in developing an AI-powered writing interface that aims to democratize access to high-quality, personalized writing support. Unlike current AI writing assistants that prioritize speed and ease, this platform re-engages students in the critical processes of writing through interactive dialogue centered on generating ideas, identifying errors, and developing a distinct authorial voice. By simulating the experience of conversing with a knowledgeable writing mentor, this virtual writing center scaffolds the development of essential communication skills, bridges gaps in teacher availability, and empowers students of all backgrounds to cultivate their inner editor and confidently approach real-life conversations about writing.

Library team: 

  • Ronda Grizzle, Project Management and Training Specialist (lead)
  • Jeremy Boggs, Head of Research and Development
  • Sherri Brown, Librarian for English
  • Doug Chestnut, Lead User Experience Web Developer
  • Shane Lin, Senior Developer

Coleen Carrigan (Engineering and Society, School of Engineering): “Magic, Traffic and Autocratic Futures: Computers and the Gendered Economy”

The focus of this Sprint is to work on a monograph, “Magic, Traffic and Autocratic Futures: Computers and the Gendered Economy,” a critical ethnography to advance knowledge on epistemic, social, and allocational justice in computer science and engineering. The considerable gap between popular discourses glorifying computer technology and the actual impacts of computing on society requires further attention. This book addresses this pressing need and critically examines the structural inequalities in STEM education and the tech industry through an intersection of gender, race and labor analyses. “Magic, Traffic and Autocratic Futures” provides innovative pathways for justice in STEM worksites and equitable access to knowledge production in computing.

Library team:

  • Christine Slaughter, Social Sciences Research Librarian (lead)
  • Maggie Nunley, Science and Engineering Research Librarian
  • Erin Pappas, Librarian for the Humanities
  • Kristal Sergent, Associate Librarian for African-American and African Studies

Steph Ceraso (English, College and Arts & Sciences): Sound in Relation: Toward a Bodily, Multisensory Approach to Invention”

This Sprint will support research related to a new book project, “Sound in Relation: Toward a Bodily, Multisensory Approach to Invention.” This project aims to reimagine how invention is understood in writing studies — as more than an abstract process grounded in logic and ideas — through an exploration of sonic invention practices in a range of disciplines. The book seeks to expand theoretical and pedagogical frameworks to enrich our knowledge of the invention process for composing digital and multimedia texts. The library team will be identifying and gathering sources to help create bibliographies around key terms for the book.

Library team:

  • Sherri Brown, Librarian for English (lead)
  • Amy Hunsaker, Librarian for Music & the Performing Arts
  • Erin Pappas, Librarian for the Humanities
  • Steven Villereal, Audiovisual Conservator

Gerard Fitzgerald (Engineering and Society, School of Engineering): “The Nature of War: An Environmental History of Industrialization in the United States During World War I, 1898-1929” 

This research project will explore the environmental impact of the U.S. industrial and agricultural growth from the Spanish-American War to World War I. This study, in collaboration with the UVA Library Staff, will analyze historical journals from 1900-1925 to understand shifts in conservation and resource management during wartime. The project aims to deepen our understanding of the complex relationship that nature and the environment can play in the process of industrialization and military mobilization during global war.

Library team:

  • Keith Weimer, Librarian for History and Religious Studies (lead)
  • Scott Ackerman, Associate Director for Organizational Culture, Learning, and Outreach
  • Rachel Cressell, Graduate Student, Arts & Sciences
  • Maggie Nunley, Science and Engineering Research Librarian
  • Erich Purpur, Science and Engineering Research Librarian

Andrew Johnston (Architectural History, School of Architecture): “Giancarlo De Carlo, Built Heritage, and Participatory Design”

This Sprint will focus on a book project based on the Italian architect Giancarlo De Carlo, drawing from De Carlo’s lectures and seminars during his tenure at the University of California, Berkeley, where Johnston served as his assistant. Now collaborating with Professor Simona Salvo from Sapienza University in Rome, the project includes digitizing original recordings and transcripts for use in a new seminar course on participatory design. Alongside developing the course, Johnston and Salvo are focused on revising a grant proposal for the Graham Foundation to support the book’s publication. The Sprint project combines archival research, seminar teaching, discussions on copyright, and explorations into AI research tools, all aiming to enrich architectural education and scholarship through a contemporary analysis of De Carlo’s work.

Library team:

  • Rebecca Coleman, Librarian for Architecture (lead)
  • Brandon Butler, Former Director of Information Policy
  • David Hennigan, Grants and Contracts Administrator
  • Miguel Valladares-Llata, Librarian for Romance Languages and Latin American Studies

Pallavi Rao (Media Studies, College of Arts & Sciences): “Mapping Caste in the Indian Media Industries”

This digital humanities project involves creating a social network graph of media ownership to examine its ties to broader domains of power, such as business, politics, and education. By utilizing a prosopographic approach, this research examines biographical data of high-ranking media executives, including caste, educational backgrounds, and institutional affiliations, to explore how these factors influence India’s media oligopolies and the consolidation of various media sectors. Aimed at revealing the dominance of upper-caste elites in media ownership and their impact on content production, this study develops a broader theory and framework to connect caste and capitalism with class formation among the elites using India’s media industries as a site of exploration.

Library team:

  • Erin Pappas, Librarian for the Humanities (lead)
  • Dimitri Kastritsis, Associate Librarian for Global Studies and Development
  • Jenn Huck, Associate Director, Research Data Services & Social, Natural, and Engineering Sciences
  • With consultation with members of the Scholars’ Lab

David Singerman (History, College of Arts and Sciences): “New Histories of Doping in Sports”

This Sprint will advance a project on new histories of doping in sports, which asks questions that move beyond a moralistic framework of clean heroes and dirty villains. Why are certain substances banned, but not others? Who uses these drugs, where do they get them, and how do users learn what to do? How do actors balance knowledge from the laboratory with the evidence from performances on the field? Singerman and the library Sprint team will focus on laboratory and clinical research about performance-enhancing drugs (specifically EPO, human growth hormone, and steroids). Researchers face an inherent tension: the more they investigate the average physiology’s reactions to doping products, the less they can extrapolate to the extraordinary physiology of elite athletes. The goals of this sprint are to (1) assemble a comprehensive library of the scientific research on these drugs in sports, and (2) learn new tools and methods to analyze this body of research.

Library team:

  • Keith Weimer, Librarian for History and Religious Studies (lead)
  • Jeremy Boggs, Head of Research and Development for the Scholars Lab
  • Jenn Huck, Associate Director, Research Data Services & Social, Natural, and Engineering Sciences
  • Andrea Denton, Research and Data Services Manager, Health Sciences Library