Digital Humanities as a Trend in Academic Libraries
Each year, College and Reseach Library News publishes a "top ten trends" impacting academic libraries. In 2014, one of the top trends was Digital Humanities, and they have been frequently mentioned in various contexts ever since. The CRLN article states that “DH (digital humanities) can be understood as the place where traditional humanities research methodologies and media/digital technologies intersect.” The article states that in order to stay relevant, libraries and librarians will have to play a key role in "supporting humanities faculty in their research by creating partnerships and collaborations and helping to connect with other campus units needed to implement and carry out digital humanities research." This will include identifying and organizing key resources and "partnering with humanities faculty to teach undergraduates the skills necessary for effective humanities research." This article also states that libraries are a perfect fit in terms of collaboration because they:
Ontario College and University Library Association - Tip Sheet on Digital Humanities
In 2015, OCULA put out a brief on the Digital Humanities, defining it as "a relatively new and evolving multi-disciplinary model of engaging in humanistic scholarship, teaching, and lifelong learning."
Additionally, it states that "DH projects encourage a new model of learning, which places collaboration above isolated individual effort." It is therefore important for librarians to understand this new approach to research methods, as it will have an impact on the type of projects and questions that they are seeing in the library.
How does it work?
Who is doing it:
Where is it going?
DH is maturing and growing, and becoming a more common methodology for the humanities, and is becoming a reality in the context of the typical career of a humanist. After initial enthusiasm, there is now a more tempered view of the place of DH within humanities scholarship. It is expected that this new research methodology will be a commonality with humanities scholarship, and thus librarians will need to be familiar with its approaches.
What are the implications for libraries?
It is anticipated that on-going support from library operation budgets will be needed for dedicated IT staff, digital humanities specialists, computing and digitization equipment, servers and specialized software, and conversion of analog to digital content within the academic library setting. Additionally, there will likely be an increase in funding availability from granting bodies in this realm, and thus it may be the case that librarians will be involved in grant writing on a wider scale. There will likely be more pressure put on libraries to use traditional librarian skills such as cataloging, preservation and subject expertise in order to support and execute DH projects.
Please see "Information Brief: Digital Humanities," OCULA, https://www.accessola.org/web/Documents/OLA/Divisions/OCULA/2015/Digital%20Humanities%20Information%20Brief%20June%202015%20copy.pdf
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