Digital Library Federation (DLF) (2015)

Supporting DH/DS at liberal arts colleges : organizing for sustainability; The institution and communal project development; No limits? Paul, Jason; Tompkins, Heather; Heil, Jacob; Chamberlain, Daniel


Supporting DH/DS at Liberal Arts Colleges: Organizing for Sustainability -- As digital humanities (DH) and digital scholarship (DS) proliferate at liberal arts colleges (LACs), librarians have become engaged with DH/DS projects on their campuses. As such, now is a good time to reflect on our varied roles and ask questions about the efficacy of our organizations for DH/DS. This presentation will explore the tensions between the organizational structures of LAC libraries and the myriad ways that DH/DS is currently supported at LACs. Drawing from a survey and analysis of models among LAC libraries, the presenters will explore the considerations that can inform a successful DH/DS framework. While the mission and values of LACs present unique opportunities to engage with innovative scholarship and pedagogy, our infrastructures present some specific challenges to supporting and providing leadership for team-based, labor-intensive projects. Among other issues, we will consider how perennial challenges facing LAC libraries -- the evolution of the librarian’s role from narrowly defined to expansive and fluid, technological and infrastructural limitations, the roles of undergraduate students in supporting faculty research and teaching -- translate into the realm of DH/DS support. Further, the traditional organizational models of libraries generally create barriers for fostering a robust DH/DS program. While the prospect for changing organizational structures may seem remote, we argue that librarians have the experience and perspective to optimize support for DH/DS, especially given the relationship-driven nature of LAC culture. Finally, we raise questions about how collaborations based on factors besides geography may be particularly fruitful for addressing skill and infrastructure gaps on LAC campuses. Presenters: Jason Paul, Heather Tompkins. The Institution and Communal Project Development -- Liberal arts colleges that are engaged in digital scholarship, be it aspirationally or actually, have an opportunity to reframe what we have come to recognize as "collaborative" digital scholarship. Because their campuses and populations (spatially speaking) are generally more condensed, the opportunities are greater (probabilistically speaking) for serendipitous interdisciplinary and interdepartmental exchange of ideas. As many practitioners and pedagogues will attest, however, the answers to our questions both technological and theoretical are rarely found in this way. I want to suggest that we might usefully reconsider "collaborative" work on digital projects as, instead, "communal" work. Presenter: Jacob Heil. No Limits? -- What are the limits of digital scholarship centers in the liberal arts college environment? From the past few years of conversation we know that our organizations are consulting on the use of digital scholarly tools, developing new learning spaces, advancing forms of scholarly communication, creating and managing digital resources, and defining information and media literacies. In this session I will ask whether it is strategically wise to tackle all of these challenges simultaneously, if there is a “natural order” for development, and if there are limits to the role that centers may play in a liberal arts context. Presenter: Daniel Chamberlain

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