Last fall we conducted an internal survey of staff to find out what kinds of digital scholarship activities are happening around the Libraries and what kinds of requests folks are getting from faculty, students & staff. The survey has been analyzed and it indicated that a wide range of activities are already happening in the Libraries, but that many scholarly needs are still not being met. This is primarily due to a lack of resources and established workflows.
Medievalist metadata workshop
On May 11-12, 2015, UT Libraries will host a CLIR-Mellon-sponsored workshop, “Linking the Middle Ages,” which will pull together an expert group of medieval scholars and librarians. The goals of the workshop are:
A clear definition of medievalists’ scholarly and technological needs.
A clear definition of the scholarly and technological limits and parameters of what is possible to achieve.
Come to an agreement about a set of vocabularies that define basic/essential medieval data fields.
Come to an agreement about Linked Data formats and common reference points (e.g. what gazetteers to use), and get feedback on ways to represent those data sets online so that they can be connected to each other via reused APIs.
TxDHC’s “Introduction to OpenRefine” webinar
Jennifer Hecker recently collaborated with Liz Grumbach of Texas A&M University’s Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media and Culture to present the first training webinar in what we hope will become a series coordinated by the newly-formed Texas Digital Humanities Consortium. The session offered an overview of the “tool for working with messy data” and a live demo. If you missed it, check out this blog post, where you can access the slides, sample data set, and a recording of the webcast.
Next DH/DS meetup
If you’re interested in this digital humanities/scholarship stuff, this month’s campus-wide meetup will be from 4-6pm on March 3rd at the Cactus Cafe in the Student Union Building here on campus. Join us!
I thought I’d share a couple of themes that emerged while I was reading through the survey responses from yesterday’s brown-bag.
First, a number of people were relieved to know that they aren’t alone in struggling with some of these topics – especially what is and isn’t digital humanities and how it is different from digital scholarship.
A number of participants think this is exciting and important work, and that the Libraries should be talking about what our role is and how we can catch up with what our many peers are doing and become more involved in what is already going on here at UT.
Several other participants were interested to learn how much knowledge and expertise the Libraries already has scattered throughout the staff.
In our short time, not everyone’s questions were addressed. For example, one respondent left unclear about how digital scholarship work fits into the Library’s responsibilities. [Ed. Note: I’d answer that many parts of the scholarship lifecycle have always been and continue to be part of library work, including preservation of and increasing access to information, whether analog or digital.]
If you are interested in joining in the DH/DS conversation at UT, consider joining the Digital Humanities Discussion List. Since last fall, monthly networking meetups have been providing a space for folks involved in or curious about DH/DS work to come together. Collaborations have already been born there and, as I think about the Library’s role, I’ve found it very helpful to hear what’s already happening around campus and what challenges students and faculty are facing. The next one is 4-6pm on February 5th at the Hole in the Wall / East Side King. Join us!
The Library Staff Council presented a wonderful Fall Conference Roundup today and several of our colleagues discussed conferences they attended in 2014. For my part, I focused on two of the more unusual conferences I attended last year. Here’s some selected information about these two conferences:
Zine Librarians (un)Conference
This community started having in-person conferences in 2009.
ZL(u)C 2014 was at Duke University, Austin is a contender to host the 2015 conference.
Today, we had a lively & well-attended lunchtime discussion exploring digital humanities and digital scholarship. We looked at some examples of DH/DS projects and then discussed some of the questions folks had like
What’s the difference between digital humanities and digital scholarship?
What about open access and copyright?
Can you talk about DH/DS without using jargon?
What is and isn’t digital scholarship?
Here are some links to some of the projects and resources we looked at, along with some additional information to help you continue exploring the topic:
MappaMundi is a digital portal for teaching and learning in global medieval studies. Ece “pronounced AJ” Turnator, CLIR-Mellon post-doc working in TIS, has been collaborating with scholars working on disparate projects – a 3D virtual representation of a Spanish town, and of rituals in the city of Cahokia, East Africa’s connections with the Far East, and a database of manuscripts about an imaginary king across five centuries, to name a few – to bring them together into one cohesive digital resource and revisioning of the existing interface.
The MappaMundi project has also spawned a grant-funded workshop on linked open data for use by scholars of the medieval period (aka 500-1500 AD), which will take place at UT Libraries in May 2015.
In an effort to explore UT Libraries’ capacity to support digital humanities/digital scholarship (much vagueness over these terms has led us to use them both), Jennifer and Ece have attended several digital humanities conferences. Many other folks here in the Libraries are already involved or interested in the topic, and we have collectively decided to pull everyone together to have a formal conversation about what the Libraries’ place is/should be. Stay tuned!
We have also revitalized the campus-wide UT Digital Humanities Discussion List, and used it to promote two gatherings of folks who are doing, or are interested in, digital humanities or digital scholarship. The September 5th gathering drew 20 faculty, students, and staff. The second gathering on October 2nd drew about 15 people from various departments, and even other area universities. The seeds for several interdisciplinary collaborations were planted, and future monthly gatherings are planned. Join the DH Discussion List here if you are interested in these conversations.