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What I’m Reading This Summer: Bobby Smiley

Note: As the dh+lib Review editors work behind the scenes this summer, we have invited a few members of our community to step in as guest editors and share with us what they are reading and why the dh+lib audience might want to read it too. This post is from Bobby Smiley, Interim Director of the Divinity Library and the Religion & Theology Librarian at Vanderbilt University.

Mixing theoretical and professional, this summer’s reading has traversed everything from Stranger Things and white nostalgia to mathematics and critical theory, with stops on the history and state of librarianship and digital humanities in between. Months away from starting my research for a Ph.D. in digital humanities at University of London (School of Advanced Study) and just over a week into a new position (Interim Director of the Divinity Library at Vanderbilt starting July 1), I’ve been concentrating on ways to nuance theoretically my ideas about data, while also casting a critical eye on my profession’s own complicity in histories and current practices of exclusion and marginalization.

Greenhall, M (2019). Digital Scholarship and the Role of the Research Library. Research Libraries UK (RLUK) Report.

When I was first “on the market” in 2013, I looked to the Research Libraries UK (RLUK) report Re-skilling for Research as a resource to help me identify and cultivate skills useful for digital scholarship. And while I’m no longer involved departmentally with digital scholarship, I’m still engaged in library efforts to promote digital scholarship (specifically in the humanities), whether through pedagogy, workshops, boot-camps, or guest lectures, as well as project consultation or collaboration. So when one of my future thesis advisors, Jane Winters, sent me a link to this latest report, I was keen to get a comparative perspective. As it turns out, there are few, if any, areas of marked divergence, and the report’s findings reminded me in many ways of the 2014 Ithaka S+R report, Sustaining the Digital Humanities, despite being sourced from surveys and interviews conducted from January to April of this year. Based on I conversations I’ve had with colleagues in the U.S., many of the new RLUK’s report key takeaways echo similar features we’ve observed here as well: the growing import of digital collections and curation, the ambiguity and elasticity of “digital scholarship,” project driven scholarship complicating sustainability, consolidation of library resources, infrastructure, or professional staff working in digital scholarship, or what the report terms “the mixed economy of support,” with various stakeholders across campus and different departments within the library. Of that mixed economy, one point of departure between ARL libraries and those surveyed by RLUK is the greater role played by non-librarian library staff in collaborations on digital projects. Among librarians, however, digital scholarship remained firmly within the ambit of “digital” staff in similarly branded departments. (As a shameless plug, I write about this in my chapter for Debates in Digital Humanities 2019.)

Zeffiro, A. (2019). “Towards A Queer Futurity of Data,” Journal of Cultural Analytics. doi: 10.31235/ [PDF]

Currently, all my friends seem to be posting digitally enhanced, artificially aged pictures of their future faces, and I’m wondering what Andrea Zeffiro might think of this latest trend. Zeffiro’s article offers a critique of current data cultures, as well as an alternative framework for reconsideration. Looking to the work of Lee Edelman,  Zeffiro argues that the logic undergirding data culture can be read through “reproductive data futurism”; that is,

[a] [f]uture in reproductive data futurism is outlined by a technosocial order that must be preserved and defended because it is the space in which data will be anchored to reaffirm [or reproduce] the logic of the present. Data, much like the figure of the child evoked by Edelman, is a political trope through which we are coerced into the promise that more data collected now will lead to a better and brighter future.

Zeffiro examines Facebook apps, Mark Zuckerburg’s 2017 post on corporate responsibility and his initiatives for wider internet access, as well as Google’s smart cities efforts and suite of educational tools to unpack this logic, tracking how these tools and networks have been transformed into infrastructure. For Zeffiro, the constructive counternarrative project wold involve “working through” and “working toward” reading reproductive data futurism by embracing a “queer politic that begins with a rejection of ‘straight time’, what José Estebon Muñoz describes as … ‘the only futurity promised is that of reproductive majoritarian heterosexuality’”—which, Zeffiro contends, “inscribes contemporary data cultures.” In turning to queer theory, Zeffiro helps make manifest the heteronormative reproductive futurity that animates popularly received ideas about data and its uses, and offers us a way to trouble and reconceive that logic.

Hernandez Linares, R., & Cunningham, S.J. (2018). “Small Brown Faces in Large White Spaces.” In Chou, R. & Pho, A. (Eds.), Pushing the Margins: Women of Color and Intersectionality in LIS (pp. 253-271). Sacramento: Library Juice Press.

I was recently researching academic library diversity residency programs when I came across Rosalinda Hernandez Linares’s and Sojourna J. Cunningham’s “Small Brown Faces in Large White Spaces,” which is a chapter in Rose L. Chou’s and Annie Pho’s truly excellent and trenchantly powerful edited collection, Pushing the Margins. Linares’s and Cunningham’s chapter should be mandatory reading for any library administrator already overseeing or exploring diversity residency programs. Using grounded theory and interviews with women of color librarians, Linares and Cunningham illustrate how the rhetoric of multiculturalism has silenced and constrained librarians of color even as it was designed to empower. By muting or ignoring the voices of librarians of color, pipeline residency programs have gestured at diversity without furnishing a supportive environment or a sustainable way to foster diversity in the profession. As someone who has worked with library administration on efforts for greater diversity and inclusion, “Small Brown Faces in Large White Spaces” enjoins all librarians to pause, and take seriously what libraries are really trying to accomplish through these initiatives, and begin the process of revaluation and critical reflection. “If we consider our current bodily presence in the field in light of these failed projects,” Linares and Cunningham write in their conclusion, “turning towards the lived, intersectional experiences of women of color librarians can help us work through the ways in which our present is informed by our past.”

DLF Review Update

An update on the DLF program review from consultant Joanne Kossuth:

I hope everyone is enjoying the summer—ideally some time off and nice weather! The review of the Digital Library Federation (DLF) is well underway, and I’d like to provide a progress update. Since February, I’ve been working with CLIR and DLF staff and the community in numerous ways, including:

  • conversing with the DLF working group leaders to gain a better understanding of what their groups do, where they think additional potential areas for collaboration and innovation lie, and how they’d like to see their initiatives evolve and grow over the next several years;
  • assessing and making recommendations on the program’s website, communication and collaboration platforms, and tools, based on feedback from the working groups, staff, and community members;
  • considering how to best continue expanding outreach and engaging the community in our ongoing efforts to ensure all voices are included and heard;
  • participating in the Learn@DLF and Forum program planning activities with staff and the Program Committee;
  • holding weekly virtual working sessions with the DLF team focused on the 2019 Forum in all its parts; and
  • working in partnership with CLIR and DLF staff to evaluate the program’s staffing needs.

It has been a busy time and the review work continues!

We’re looking forward to seeing many of you in Tampa this October at the Forum and Learn@DLF, and I’d welcome the opportunity to speak either one-on-one or in group conversations with you that week. DLF could not exist without its vibrant, dedicated community, and it’s vital I hear from you. The purpose of these conversations is to gather your input and hear your comments regarding DLF’s future direction.  

Based on the feedback to date from working groups and representatives from member institutions, we have developed a number of working ideas, and I’d like to hear from you on these, or any other thoughts you may have:

  • expanded year-round programming;
  • increased international focus, including stronger ties to events held by organizations with similar missions and goals;
  • more coherent integration with other CLIR initiatives, such as the Leading Change/Frye Leadership Institute, the Postdoctoral and Mellon Dissertation fellowship programs, and the Hidden Collections and Recordings at Risk projects; and
  • support for large collaborative projects under CLIR’s wider umbrella, such as the long-term sustainability of important community resources and projects beyond their initial funding phase; the risks facing collections and their caretakers in areas affected by climate change; advances in machine learning/artificial intelligence and attendant considerations; the need to thoughtfully, respectfully, and inclusively protect and ensure access to our collective cultural heritage.     

You can contact me anytime at joanne.kossuth [@], and I’m also looking forward to seeing many of you at the Forum in October. I’ll be available onsite all that week for those of you who would like to meet and talk in person; please book a meeting via this link (password Forum2019). Any discussions will be entirely confidential, unless we mutually agree otherwise, and I’m eager to converse with you about the exciting future of DLF.

-Joanne Kossuth


Joanne Kossuth is the founding director of 1Mountain Road and has served as dean of the CLIR/EDUCAUSE Leading Change Institute since 2012. She is working with CLIR to review and assess the Digital Library Federation as the program approaches its 25th year; the review will conclude in early 2020.

The post DLF Review Update appeared first on DLF.

What I’m Reading This Summer: Andy Boyles Petersen

Note: As the dh+lib Review editors work behind the scenes this summer, we have invited a few members of our community to step in as guest editors and share with us what they are reading and why the dh+lib audience might want to read it too. This post is from Andy Boyles Petersen, Digital Scholarship Librarian at Michigan State University Libraries.

After returning from another year of terrific conversations at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute’s Surveillance and the Critical Digital Humanities course, my summer reading list continues our discussions on surveillance of the marginalized. In particular, I am drawn to the ways in which recent texts in critical surveillance studies are making visible the structures that underpin our current digital identities, ranging from exposés on human interactions with the surveillance machine to explorations of racialized surveillance systems. As I delve into preparations for the upcoming year, these readings provide theories and strategies that will continue to inform and enrich my understandings of surveillance culture and its implications for both my research and teaching.

Roberts, S. T. (2019). Behind the screen: Content moderation in the shadows of social media. New Haven: Yale University Press.

Since its recent release, I’ve been eagerly devouring Sarah Roberts’ Behind the Screen, which focuses on the workers responsible for social media content moderation by bringing them “out of the shadows, out from behind the screen, and into the light” (222). In doing so, it challenges the invisibility often leveraged on this work by social media sites and their governing bodies. Historical discussions, interviews with workers, and future speculations about content moderation pair to paint a scene fraught with dehumanization, obfuscation, and marginalization. In an interview with The New Yorker, Roberts states, “It’s worrisome to see those kinds of colonial traditions and practices picked up again, especially in this digital marketplace, this marketplace of the mind that was supposed to be deliverance from so many of the difficult working conditions of the twentieth century.” For those of us who are actively embroiled in social media and the platform economy, this text asks us to reexamine the ways we engage with technology—both in our personal lives as well as in the classroom. As such, it helps make visible many of the underlying mechanisms that control our daily interactions, offering a gateway into discussions about new social structures and speculative surveillance futures.

Zuboff, S. (2019). The age of surveillance capitalism: The fight for a human future at the new frontier of power. New York: PublicAffairs.

After glowing review from several of our students at DHSI, I’ve also settled down to read Shoshana Zuboff’s text on the capitalist foundations of our modern surveillance economy. Written in an accessible, quasi-journalistic style, The Age of Surveillance Capitalism weaves surveillance theory and scholarship with personal anecdotes, grounding the inequities and dehumanization inherent to surveillance capitalism in our lived experiences. Zuboff details how consumer convenience technologies, when paired with the monetization of aggregated personal data, markedly blur personal and private lives. This focus lends an urgency to the text, particularly when Zuboff notes: “if industrial civilization flourished at the expense of nature and now threatens to cost us the Earth, an information civilization shaped by surveillance capitalism will thrive at the expense of human nature and threatens to cost us our humanity” (347). Most importantly, Zuboff carefully traces the path of surveillance capitalism to its logical end—increased marginalization, indifference for morality, and the centralization of power. As a final call to action, Zuboff states “friction, courage, and bearings are the resources we require” to fight back against surveillance capitalism, asking readers to intervene in harmful surveillance structures and defend social and communal values (524).

Browne, S. (2015). Dark matters: on the surveillance of blackness. Durham: Duke University Press.

Browne’s foundational text explores the long history of surveillance mechanisms used against black bodies, from lantern laws to the Book of Negroes to biometric technologies. Through these examples, Browne introduces us to racializing surveillance, “a technology of social control where surveillance practices, policies, and performances concern the production of norms pertaining to race and exercise a ‘power to define what is in or out of place’” (16). This work shifts the field of surveillance studies by providing a new frame with which to understand and analyze the surveillance experiences of marginalized groups. For the past few years, Dark Matters has been a cornerstone of both our DHSI course and my work in surveillance studies, particularly in regards to Browne’s discussions of biometric technology, sousveillance, and security theater. I’m eager to once again return to Browne’s text this summer, fresh with new ideas, theories, and strategies, in order to consider them through her focus on racialized surveillance and dark sousveillance.

Petty, T., Saba, M., Lewis, T., Gangadharan, S. P., Eubanks, V. (2018). Our data bodies: reclaiming our data.

Last on my summer reading list is the Our Data Bodies project’s 2018 interim report. This project provides an excellent entry point into the lived experiences of marginalized communities most heavily impacted by surveillance culture, investigating the effect of data collection and data-driven systems on their livelihoods. In particular, Petty, include real stories from individuals across the United States who describe the difficulty in acquiring fair access to housing, social services, and employment. Interviewing residents of communities in Detroit, Los Angeles, and Charlotte highlights that these injustices are systemic, affecting marginalized communities across the U.S. Moreover, the Our Data Bodies project encourages readers to think carefully about their own data stories and the many ways in which surveillance culture—with admittedly different contexts and outcomes—affects us all. Overall, this text serves as a great introduction to critical surveillance studies and offers models of data storytelling and ethical community engagement to our students and colleagues.

**For those interested in exploring these themes further, Michele Gilman and Rebecca Green’s The Surveillance Gap: The Harms of Extreme Privacy and Data Marginalization is a fantastic companion resource to this article. Additionally, as the Our Data Bodies project is ongoing, be sure to keep an eye on their site for further developments.

Full Programs NOW LIVE for DLF Forum, Learn@DLF, and NDSA’s Digital Preservation!

We are thrilled to announce the release of the full program for our 2019 DLF Forum, Learn@DLF, and Digital Preservation 2019: Critical Junctures, taking place October 13-17 in Tampa, Florida. This year’s program is remarkable, and you won’t want to miss it. 


Browse the programs!


We are especially grateful to our volunteer Reviewers and Program Committee, without whom this fabulous program would not have come together. And, thank you to all who submitted proposals. This year’s field was especially competitive, and it shows in the strong program we’re sharing today.


Registration remains open for all events, but hurry, tickets for the DLF Forum are going quickly! We expect to go on the waitlist in the coming month, so secure your spot now. (Presenting at the Forum? You’re in! But please register now, since we’re holding spots for you.)


What are the DLF Forum, Learn@DLF, and Digital Preservation?


  • The DLF Forum (#DLFforum, October 14-16), our signature event, welcomes digital library practitioners and others from member institutions and the broader community, for whom it serves as a meeting place, marketplace, and congress. The event is a chance for attendees to , present work, meet with other DLF working group members, and share experiences, practices and information. Learn more here:


  • Learn@DLF (#learnatdlf, October 13) is our dedicated pre-conference workshop day for digging into tools, techniques, workflows, and concepts. Through engaging, hands-on sessions, attendees will gain experience with new tools and resources, exchange ideas, and develop and share expertise with fellow community members. Learn more here: 


  • Digital Preservation (#digipres19, October 16-17), the major annual meeting of the National Digital Stewardship Alliance, will help to chart future directions for both the NDSA and digital stewardship, and is a crucial venue for intellectual exchange, community-building, development of best practices, and national-level agenda-setting in the field. Learn more about this year’s event, whose theme is ‘Critical Junctures,’ here: 


As you can see, we have an exciting week planned. Don’t delay – register now to secure your spot. 

The post Full Programs NOW LIVE for DLF Forum, Learn@DLF, and NDSA’s Digital Preservation! appeared first on DLF.

Fellow Reflection: Sarah Mainville

This  reflection on the 2019 annual meeting of the American Institute for Conservation (AIC) was written by Sarah Mainville, who attended with support from a  DLF GLAM Cross-Pollinator Registration Award.

Sarah is the Media Preservation Librarian at Michigan State University Libraries. In this role she supports efforts to preserve both analog and digital media within the Library as well as develop policy around digital preservation. She received her MSI from the University of Michigan’s School of Information. After school she was the Registrar at the audiovisual digitization vendor, George Blood LP. Her interests include digital preservation advocacy, magnetic tape care, and ethics in preservation.



Last month I had the honor of attending the American Institute of Conservation’s 47th annual meeting with the support of DLF+AIC’s Cross-Pollinator grant. It was an excellent experience to be surrounded by people doing preservation/conservation work of all flavors. A theme that I noticed through the programming and sessions I attended was the significance of learning through failure and how failure can strengthen collaboration. This resonated with me as it helped break the cycle of imposter syndrome where successful people don’t fail. Meaningful lessons/skills come at the end of a head v. wall banging session. Sharing these moments normalizes it while opening ourselves to other’s expertise which may be the missing piece.

This sharing and collaboration was exemplified in the “Towards Best Practices in Disk-Imaging: Cross-Institutional Approach” session paneled by Eddy Colloton (Time Based Media Preservation Specialist at the Hirshhorn Museum and Sculpture Garden), Jonathan Farbowitz (Fellow in the Conservation of Computer-based Art at the Guggenheim Museum), Flaminia Fortunato, and Caroline Gil (both Mellon Fellows in Media Conservation at the Museum of Modern Art in New York). The panel shared their findings from a year-long collaborative project of creating and implementing disk-imaging workflows and policies in their respective institutions. The four members had scheduled video conference calls throughout the year to share progress and issues. While the panelists were creating a custom process for their institutions they were also able to draw on the knowledge and support of their colleagues in different institutions. As a professional with a unique job in a large institution, having a group of peers undergoing similar work for which I can turn to when things don’t go as expected would be powerful.

The session was organized into three parts: pre-imaging and documentation, disk-imaging acquisition, and post-imaging.  The panelists got into the details of the process, specs, tools, etc. I especially appreciated the comparisons across the institutions and discussion around why certain choices were made. It was interesting to hear about documentation collection and creation from the art and museums world as it differs from my work in an academic library. This gave me a fresh perspective as to whether we are collecting the right elements for the future. Documents like a risk assessment for computer-based works can have a strong impact on how libraries and archives accept gifts as well as how we prepare for the preservation of these types of materials. The entire session displayed an openness with shared tools, tips, documentation and questions to consider when starting out.

A final thought that really hit home for me was that digital forensics tools are not neutral and how GLAM professionals should consider the complex ethical implications of using something primarily serviced by law enforcement. How do the tools and their infrastructures align themselves with the goals of GLAM institutions? This conversation had started before the conference on Twitter by Colloton, was brought to the conference session and now extends into our practice at our institutions. As we move toward creating best practices in our fields we must consider these questions and conversations to be sure we are aware of the implications of our choices.


The post Fellow Reflection: Sarah Mainville appeared first on DLF.

Registration NOW OPEN for DLF Forum, Learn@DLF, and NDSA’s Digital Preservation!

The time has come! We are delighted to announce the opening of registration for the 2019 DLF Forum, Learn@DLF, and Digital Preservation 2019: Critical Junctures, taking place October 13-17 in Tampa, Florida. Be among the first to secure the early bird rate and start planning for yet another memorable week with DLF.


Register today! (button)


  • The DLF Forum (#DLFforum, October 14-16), our signature event, welcomes digital library practitioners and others from member institutions and the broader community, for whom it serves as a meeting place, marketplace, and congress. The event is a chance for attendees to , present work, meet with other DLF working group members, and share experiences, practices and information. Learn more here:


  • Learn@DLF (#learnatdlf, October 13) is our dedicated pre-conference workshop day for digging into tools, techniques, workflows, and concepts. Through engaging, hands-on sessions, attendees will gain experience with new tools and resources, exchange ideas, and develop and share expertise with fellow community members. Learn more here:



The full program for the DLF Forum and DigiPres will be released in the coming weeks, but we are delighted to share the Learn@DLF schedule today. Check it out, and consider attending our fabulous pre-conference workshop day, now in its second year.


Need some assistance getting to the DLF Forum? Our Fellowship Application is open for just a few more days. Check out all of the different opportunities we are offering this year and submit your application by our approaching deadline Monday, June 10.


It’s never too early. Register now to join us!


The post Registration NOW OPEN for DLF Forum, Learn@DLF, and NDSA’s Digital Preservation! appeared first on DLF.

DHNow is on Summer Break!

Digital Humanities Now will be taking a break until September. On behalf of the DHNow staff, thank you for another great semester! A very big thank you goes to our dedicated community of volunteer editors-at-large for being so generous with their time and expertise. This semester’s editors-at-large included: Jessica Dauterive, LaQuanda Walters Cooper, Greta Swain, Jajwalya Karajgikar, R. J. Lambert, Corey Sparks, Annie Dy Xu, Elizabeth Wawrzyniak, Sarah Ames, Vlad Jecan, and Anne Turner. Whether you volunteered for a single week or throughout the semester, your participation is vital to DHNow‘s success.

We hope you’ll join us again in the fall for more digital humanities news and scholarship. Until then, if you have an account, please feel free to keep yourself up to date by logging in and browsing All Content.

We would love to start the new school year with an updated set of feeds, so please keep submitting feeds over the summer:


Nominate an RSS Feed


Best wishes for an enjoyable summer!

Funding: Humanities Collections and Reference Resources, NEH

About the funding:

The Humanities Collections and Reference Resources (HCRR) program supports projects that provide an essential underpinning for scholarship, education, and public programming in the humanities. Thousands of libraries, archives, museums, and historical organizations across the country maintain important collections of books and manuscripts, photographs, sound recordings and moving images, archaeological and ethnographic artifacts, art and material culture, and digital objects. Funding from this program strengthens efforts to extend the life of such materials and make their intellectual content widely accessible, often through the use of digital technology. Awards are also made to create various reference resources that facilitate use of cultural materials, from works that provide basic information quickly to tools that synthesize and codify knowledge of a subject for in-depth investigation.

Read more here.

Report: Progressive Pedagogy On the Road

From the report:

Last week, we took Progressive Pedagogy on the road to two conferences in Vancouver: Digital Democracies at Simon Fraser University (SFU) and HASTAC’s Decolonizing Technologies, Reprogramming Education at the University of British Columbia (UBC).

On Thursday, May 16, Cathy N. Davidson, Erin Rose Glass, Christina Katopodis, Danica Savonick, and Siqi Tu led a workshop at SFU called, “The Classroom as Training Ground for Digital Democracy.”

Professor Cathy N. Davidson (GC CUNY) introduced the topic of the panel and gave a brief history of education in the U.S., which is largely still based on the 19th-century industrial education complex. Professor Davidson asked us to imagine a different classroom structure, one that could be a training ground for digital democracy. View her slides here.

Read the full post here.

Job: Full Stack Developer – Digital History, University of Luxembourg

From the ad:

The Luxembourg Centre for Contemporary and Digital History (C²DH) is looking for a full stack developer with a special interest in building a new data driven open access journal in digital history focusing on transmedia storytelling.

Appropriate candidates will show a demonstrated capability in developing complex web applications using different technology stacks such as Node.js. You will work tightly with a diverse group of historians, a designer and a technical team of seasoned developers to bring the new platform to life. As part of this mission you will build a backend that supports the creation and storage of media rich publications, organizes the authoring and review process in an online environment and supports interfacing with current and future repositories for data and code (e.g. GitHub, GitLab, EUDAT etc.) as well as long term storage.

Read the full ad here.

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