What are digital humanities & digital scholarship? brown-bag feedback

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.]

UT digital humanities & digital scholarship meetup at the Dog & Duck Pub
UT digital humanities & digital scholarship meetup at the Dog & Duck Pub (RIP), Fall 2014.

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!

Fall Conference Roundup

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:

Attendees of the 2014 Zine Librarians (un)Conference at Duke University in July.
Attendees of the 2014 Zine Librarians (un)Conference at Duke University in July.

Zine Librarians (un)Conference

Digital Frontiers

What are digital humanities and digital scholarship?

sticky notes with questions from the brown-bag
At the beginning of the brown-bag, participants were encouraged to write on a sticky note a) what are you expecting &/or hoping for today, b) what you think of when someone says “digital humanities” or “digital scholarship”, and then post it on the whiteboard at the front of the room.


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:

project examples

text analyis


GeoHumanities (maps)

network graphs


examples of academic “centers” of varying scope

toolboxes, training, participation

more information

Introducing TISandbox

This fall, TIS started a new thing we’re calling TISandbox. Every Friday afternoon, anyone who has the time and inclination meets in our conference room and explores a technology topic that we don’t have an opportunity to explore in the normal course of our work. Sometimes the topic is familiar to someone in the group & they lead the session, but sometimes we all explore an unknown area together. In the spring, we plan to invite the Libraries staff to join us occasionally, so keep an eye out for an invitation. So far, we’ve had seven Sandboxes. Here is a list of them, along with links to some of the resources we used/explored/identified for a couple of the sessions. The lists were intended as jumping-off points, so we may not have actually explored every link during the actual session. Additionally, they aren’t comprehensive, and they shouldn’t be taken as endorsements of any kind, but we thought we’d go ahead and share anyway. October 17: Open Refine October 24: Open Street Map November 7: crowdmap.com November 14: software versioning

November 21: exploring the Geology ETD data set with Open Refine December 5: text analysis tools December 12: wireframing tools