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Projects & Initiatives

Museum and Library Collaboration Planning Grant

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant to Smith College Libraries and Museum of Art

The grant was developed by Susan Fliss, Dean of Libraries, and Jessica Nicoll, Director and Chief Curator of the Smith College Museum of Art, in close collaboration with Samantha Earp, Vice President for Information Technology.  The 18-month planning grant of $164,950 will be used to develop a collaborative, college-wide strategy to promote preservation, discovery and use of our campus cultural collections. This process will identify the parameters that will inform the design of a new digital asset management ecosystem, including technological infrastructure,  shared practices, staffing, user needs, and curricular applications.

The strategic outcomes include: creating clearer research pathways for students and faculty; providing coordinated support for college-wide creation and use of digital learning objects; and ensuring digital preservation of our unique collections and digital scholarship.  Over the course of the grant, with the assistance of a dedicated project manager, good counsel from an information integration architecture consultant, and the contributions of a cadre of peer higher education information experts, we expect to identify shared platforms that would enable us to ensure resources are preserved and discoverable so that faculty and students are able to make creative use of our assets. In addition, through this pilot grant period, we expect to identify ways in which library, museum and information technology positions will need to evolve in order to build a collaborative and sustainable team that will support the needs of students and faculty in the coming decades.

Team: Elizabeth Myers (Libraries), Deborah Diemente (SCMA) and Charlene Shang Miller (SCMA) are the grant project co-leads. Adrienne Figus is the grant Project Manager.


Please note: Due to safety restrictions, campus study spaces are closed and SmithScape is unavailable. 

SmithScape is an app for students to find places to study across campus that meet specific criteria, such as lighting and ambient noise, as well as amenities like printers, whiteboards, outlets, and vending machines. The app is free and is available via the Libraries’ website, as well as via the App Store for iOS and and soon at the Google Play Store for Android. The app was officially released to the Smith campus community in Fall 2017.

Nuts and Bolts: A Smith instance was created using Scout, an open source campus wayfinding app developed by the University of Washington.

Team: Abby Baines, Jessica Pérez Blasko, Tristan Chambers, Elizabeth Sheirer, with support from Common Media, a digital agency.

Five College Compass: Digital Collections

Compass brings together digital scholarship with cultural and historical materials contributed by Hampshire, Mount Holyoke, and Smith Colleges. It provides a single point of discovery and establishes a platform that contributes to the stewardship of our digital collections. Compass supports our institutional missions of teaching and research excellence through improved access to unique materials, and creates a resource to engage both scholars and the general public.

Nuts and Bolts: Developed using the Islandora/Fedora Commons repository framework.  A single shared instance of the repository is hosted at Hampshire College. We are exploring the development of a module that would allow metadata in Islandora to be managed in ArchivesSpace.

Team: Christie Petersen (contact), Elizabeth Myers, Tristan Chambers and Michelle Paquette, in collaboration with Hampshire and Mount Holyoke College teams with support from Common Media, a digital agency.

New Discover

The Discover search tab on the Libraries' homepage is an optimized discovery experience interface with expanded functionality that makes it easier for you to scan search results, connect to online content, and refine your searches. New Discover provides access to millions of resources in the library catalog, journal-article databases, and local primary-source collections.

Nuts and Bolts: Developed using a bento box discovery framework.

Team: Rob O’Connell (contact person), Tristan Chambers, Barbara Polowy, Rose Reynolds

Beyond Bento: a new Discovery Experence for Smith College

Visual Browse

Visual Browse offers an alternate way to explore and discover library materials in the Five College Library Catalog. It pulls in content from outside services including book previews and reviews, descriptions, author bios, movie trailers, and more. Like the traditional catalog, you can search across all five colleges or limit your search to one institution.

Nuts and Bolts: 

Team: Rob O’Connell (contact person)

Smith ScholarWorks

Smith ScholarWorks is a repository of digital scholarship and research materials created and curated by faculty, students, and staff at Smith College. ScholarWorks is sponsored by the Office of the Provost/Dean of the Faculty and administered by the Smith College Libraries.

Nuts and Bolts: A Smith instance of Bepress Digital Commons

Team: Sadie Menchen (contact), Jessica Ryan


The KnowledgeLab is interpretive, experiential, and generative in character, offering a range of media and materials for the Smith community to interact with as we design new ways of conceptualizing and engaging with the library and all things related to books, the technology of reading and writing, and the creation of knowledge.

The KnowledgeLab is located in Seelye Hall B4.

Nuts and Bolts: Equipped with rolling tables, beanbag chairs, Apple Airplay mobile TVs chairs, whiteboards, a typewriter and more!

Team: Brendan O’Connell (contact)

New Neilson Library

The intellectual heart of the campus, the New Neilson Library advances and celebrates learning, benefitting all who come to Smith. In October 2016 Maya Lin unveiled designs for a New Neilson Library, incorporating the original 1909 structure and reimagining the complex as an intellectual commons. The project will begin in summer 2017 and will be completed for the fall semester of 2020.

Nuts and Bolts: Learn more about the project from documents and reports of the planning process along with participating community committees.

Team: Susan Fliss (contact)