Long live the digital projects librarian! Irwin, Rebekah; Nash, Katie; Shepherd, Kelcy; Weintraub, Jennifer
Once upon a time, the day-to-day duties of the average Digital Projects Librarian were fairly straight forward: develop standards, digitize, apply metadata, repeat. It didn’t take long before those duties expanded to include social networking, online exhibitions, digital preservation, born-digital archives, digital humanities projects, faculty and student collaborations, scholarly communication, and data curation. At larger research institutions, these duties typically increased in size to the point where they required additional staff. Digitization is being outsourced or centralized in conservation and preservation facilities, metadata librarians are replacing traditional catalogers in technical services units, committees oversee social networking, programmers manage repositories and platforms, digital humanities librarians “do” digital humanities, data librarians manage data, and digital archivists rule over born-digital archives. At small liberal arts colleges, where a surplus of specialized staff is quite rare, librarians formerly known as “digital projects librarians” have generally seen their portfolios expand over time without an increase in staff or resources. In this panel, four librarians will start out by sharing identical data points: Who am I? How did I get here? What have been my points of connection to digital projects? After this data-sharing, the panelists will challenge their audience to think about ways to effectively change the role of the digital projects librarian, particularly in small liberal arts colleges, but not exclusively. Pre-conference attendees should come prepared to briefly reflect on the evolution of digital projects and to think critically about the future of the field.
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