Digital Humanities: New Roles for Librarians

I recently participated in an MLIS Colloquium Speaker Series panel, “Digital Humanities: New Roles for Librarians.” The talk, which was organized by Nancy Kranich of Rutgers University Libraries and sponsored by ACRL-NJ, centered on how libraries and librarians are becoming involved in digital humanities efforts at colleges and universities, and some of the challenges and opportunities in doing so.

Also on the panel were:

  • Monica McCormick, Program Officer for Digital Scholarly Publishing at New York University Libraries and NYU Press
  • Zach Coble, Digital Scholarship Specialist at New York University Libraries and co-editor of dh+lib
  • Kayo Denda, Head of Margery Somers Foster Center and Women’s Studies Librarian, Rutgers University Libraries, and Douglass Alumnae Oral History Project Organizer
  • Krista White, Digital Humanities Librarian, Rutgers University Libraries-Newark

My portion of the discussion centered on how students, who were the primary audience of the talk, can get involved with DH efforts. My answer, in short, was that very rarely would anyone approach them out of the blue to say, “Hey, you look like a promising young librarian. Would you like to work on this DH project?” It’s important to be interested, to learn about it on their own, and then to find the people who are doing DH projects and ask to help (or be entrepreneurial and start a project). And the good news is that people in the field are usually enthusiastic about sharing what they know and bringing people into the fold.

If you missed the panel, you can watch it here.

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