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Funding: Collections as Data – Part to Whole

About the funding:

A growing number of cultural heritage organizations have invested in the creation of collections that are amenable to computational use. Increasingly, the concept of collections as data is used to align efforts of this kind. In 2016, Always Already Computational: Collections as Data, supported by the Institute of Museum and Library Services, began developing the idea that digital collections could be more than digital surrogates of physical items and born digital objects; that digital collections could and should be offered as machine actionable data that are ready for computational research methods. Always Already Computational: Collections as Data demonstrated that librarians, archivists, and museum professionals readily understood the value of this work and were eager to expand the potential use of their collections. While interest is broad, the project found that cultural heritage professionals desired opportunities to further develop approaches to integrating and sustaining collections as data implementation and use as a core organizational activity. Collections as Data: Part to Whole aims to meet this challenge by supporting the development of broadly viable models that support implementation and use of collections as data (see grant narrative)…

With support from the Andrew W. Mellon foundation, we will fund 12 teams. 6 teams will be funded in cohort 1. Each team can apply for $30,000 – $80,000. To ensure that project results will be valuable to scholars and sustainable within libraries, we are seeking proposals from collaborative teams jointly led by a librarian with senior administrative responsibilities, a disciplinary scholar, and a project lead.

Read more here.

CFP: International Journal for Digital Art History

From the CFP:

For the upcoming issue of the DAH­Journal we ask for contributions on the following topics:

–How are analog institutions transforming and which digital tools steer this transformation? What practices persist, which one are eliminated?

–What nascent digital methodologies do museums and archives utilize to engage visitors, organize metadata, and document collections?

–How might digital publishing, art making, and experimentation challenge and change art­-historical research?

– What are digital opportunities to develop and document archives of underrepresented, neglected, or ephemeral traditions of image­making?

Read the full CFP here.

Job: Digital Scholarship & Open Educational Resources Librarian, SUNY Maritime College

From the ad:

The Digital Scholarship and Open Educational Resources Librarian supports the service portfolio of the Library by providing client service, technical expertise, training, and support for tools and practices used by faculty, researchers, students, librarians, and other partners engaged with digital scholarship and publishing. The position also coordinates the College’s Open Educational Resource initiatives as a way to reduce the cost of higher education and improve student success. The Digital Scholarship and Open Educational Resources Librarian will contribute towards the vision and development of forthcoming initiatives, including a center to support digital scholarship, and provide a more cohesive and holistic service environment for scholars.

Read the full ad here.

Job: History Post-Doctoral Research Associate, Living with Machines Project

From the ad:

As a Post-Doctoral Research Associate (RA) on the Living with Machines Project you will work closely with the project PI (Dr Ruth Ahnert), Co-Is (Prof. Emma Griffin and Prof. Jon Lawrence) and the wider inter-disciplinary team based at the Institute and the British Library in the construction and historical interrogation of the project’s ambitious digitized source base. You will have the opportunity to develop your digital skills and play an active part in all aspects of research from data collection, through analysis to writing up and publication. This is a collaborative research role and there is an expectation that you will play an active part in the team based at the Alan Turing Institute. Your appointment will be until April 2021, with the possibility of renewal for a further two years (funding permitting).

Read the full ad here.

Fellow Reflection: Jennifer Nichols

Jennifer Nichols (@jennytnichols) is the Digital Scholarship Librarian and interim Department Head for the Office of Digital Innovation and Stewardship at the University of Arizona Libraries, and Co-Director for the iSpace, the libraries’ innovation and maker space. She attended the Digital Humanities Summer Institute and the DLFxDHSI unconference in Victoria, BC with support from a Cross-Pollinator Tuition Award. Learn more about Jennifer, or read on for her reflection on her experience.

Thank you to DLF for the generous support to attend DHSI and the first ever DLFxDHSI unconference.

It goes without saying that 10 days in the Pacific Northwest, in the beautiful city of Victoria, is a gift that anyone could appreciate. Verdant green landscapes accented with bold floral displays are a sensory delight, and do wonders to restore my sense of connection to this earth, and to my work here upon it. Now, coming into this inviting environment from the Sonoran desert in early June is like transporting unto another planet. I joked that I would be the only one sporting a down coat. Though I hesitated, I’m glad I brought it for those two chilly, rainy days.

As an academic librarian, I often struggle to maintain my identity as a scholar. I am consumed with the entirety of my role–building partnerships, running programs, consulting with students and faculty, managing staff. Though scholarship is a part of my job, it is a small part (5-10% in fact, depending on the year). I know I’m not alone in that, and one of the most meaningful experiences for me at DHSI was the opportunity to connect with others in similar roles as my own.

Jennifer’s Web API class at DHSI.

I participated in week one of DHSI and attended the Web APIs and Python class taught by CUNY Grad Center librarian Stephen Zweibel and grad students Jojo Karlin, Patrick Smyth, and Jonathan Reeve (of Columbia University). I chose this class because I wanted to learn a new, tangible skill, and Python is one of those things that I have struggled to apply, and thus never made any progress. I wanted to come away having built something, so naturally, I used my time and the expertise of my instructors, to create a database of superhero stats to examine the sexism (duh) inherent in the design of their skills and talents. Stay tuned for part two, the Twitter bot that faces off male and female superheroes…

So many dynamic and relevant conversations were happening at the Institute, and when I listened to the courses (and unconferences and brown bags) described in lively and inviting ways during the welcome session, I was impressed. As anyone who has attended DHSI will tell you, you cannot possibly do it all, and though you may be tempted, it is not recommended. Take comfort that these conversations are happening, and know that there are many ways to jump in. The Race and DH course was one such conversation that encouraged me. As the conversation spilled out into the whole group, and flowed into each classroom and over Twitter, I was relieved. These are essential to our DH pedagogy work and should not be confined to one course.

Opening reception poster session with (L-R) Jojo Karlin, Param Ajmera, Dana Johnson, and Jennifer Nichols.

In my time at DHSI, I also wanted to connect with others, and my final day at the DLFxDHSI unconference on Social Justice and Digital Libraries was the perfect way to end my experience. After a week of learning Python with mostly grad students and scholars, I was so happy to be reunited with my library tribe! I reflected and applied learning from the week with like-minded professionals, met new people who shared my work, who wanted to think about alternative ways of doing and being together. The conversations we cultivated were enlightening and pertinent. We asked questions like How can we advance social justice on faculty projects that are “not yours”? Is there a difference between Environmental Justice and Climate Justice? In what ways are we still not valuing indigenous discourse? We considered ways to dismantle racists, sexist, and ableist constructions and how to interrogate the power that archivists hold.

What else can I say? The week was dynamic and full, and I am so grateful to have spent this time as a student, a learner and a colleague. Thanks DLF, for bringing me here, and for bringing the two communities together. Without you, I may never have seen myself as belonging here.

The post Fellow Reflection: Jennifer Nichols appeared first on DLF.

Resource: Getting Ready for Teaching this Fall

From the resource:

I just got back from Digital Pedagogy Lab, a week full of people sharing resources that can be implemented in our classes, if we start thinking about it [looks at calendar – weeps] now. But in order of ease, here are some things to get you started thinking about your teaching in the (sigh) fall.


Do your students do public, digital projects? Ever thought of thought of having them sign a release? You should, and Jade Davis explains why and shares her model.

Sara Goldrick-Rab shares her syllabus statement on Basic Needs Security and why it’s important to include.

Read the full resource here.

Announcement: More Web Archives, Less Process

From the announcement:

The Library of Congress Digital Content Management Section is excited to announce the release of 4,240 new web archives across 43 event and thematic collections on, our largest single release of web archives to date! Web archives such as Slate Magazine from 2002 to present, Elizabeth Mesa’s Iraq War blog, and Sri Lanka’s current president Maithripala Sirisena’s campaign website (no longer live on the web) are now waiting to be discovered alongside millions of other Library items. Keep watching The Signal for deeper dives into the unique collections with web archives now available on The Web Archiving Team sends its deepest gratitude to all involved in this significant achievement for the Library.

Read the full announcement here.

What I’m Reading This Summer: Kristen Mapes

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 Kristen Mapes, Assistant Director of Digital Humanities in the College of Arts and Letters at Michigan State University.

As summer shifts into fall planning, I find my reading oriented toward articles that I may assign to my students alongside writings that speak to the DH values I try to put at the center of my work as a practitioner. After reading these three articles and providing a bit of a summary, I have noticed a common thread: we are still working out what DH really means in practice. What rhetoric do we use to frame our relationships to each other, or how we introduce people to our practices? What infrastructures shape what is possible and how we carry things out? And truly at the center of it all: how can we avoid being spread too thinly, whether on committees, in consultations, or across methodologies?

Morgan, P.C. (2018). The consequences of framing digital humanities tools as easy to use. College and Undergraduate Libraries, DOI: 10.1080/10691316.2018.1480440 (Pre-print available at

Morgan challenges librarians working in digital humanities to look closely at the way we teach and frame DH tools when giving workshops, presenting in classrooms, and conducting consultations. Too often, we characterize DH tools as ‘easy’ without thinking through what is ‘easy’ about them and forgetting that ‘easiness’ is a relative concept for each learner we encounter. By framing a tool as ‘easy’, we hide the challenging data modeling and methodological work that underlies the work behind the tool.

Morgan posits that librarians rely on ‘easy’ DH tools due to issues of scalability in DH infrastructure. By placing the burden of learning to the learner and relying on the ‘easiness’ of the tool and pre-existing documentation for it (often created by the tool-creators themselves), we are doing two things: making up for the lack of time and support we can give to each person or project, and shifting the risk of success or failure to the learner. This shift of responsibility leads learners to blame themselves if they have trouble with the tool. Morgan points out that this decision to shift risk and rely on ‘easy tools’ is understandable in the labor contexts in which librarians operate, and it is often necessary considering the non-scalability of humanities projects due to the humanities’ complicated relationship to data.

If we want to grow participation in DH, we need to think carefully about how we frame introductions to its methods and tools by keeping in mind the situatedness of “ease” and the future infrastructures available to support nonscalable DH projects.

Risam, R. (2018) Diversity work and digital carework in higher education. First Monday 23.3 doi:

In this article, Risam critiques the academic environment, in the form of the neoliberal university, by applying the theoretical frameworks of affective labor and digital carework to the field of digital humanities. Risam argues that diversity work is a form of affective labor that is disproportionately taken on—willingly or unwillingly—by women, people of color, LGBTQ individuals, and others whose labor writ large has been traditionally unseen and undervalued. Affective labor is baked into DH through expectations of ‘niceness’ and interdisciplinary collegiality. Digital carework—“a form of affective labor that relies on the deployment of affect through digital media to remediate inequalities within higher education”—is also baked into DH through expectations of community building, mentoring, and collaboration.

DH is seen as an opportunity to expand the archive and provide inclusivity by breaking canon, and yet the work of challenging the archive and challenging systems of oppression is itself disruptive and not “nice.” The promise of DH as functioning to support diversifying the archive and/or the academy is in direct odds with the rhetoric around DH as “nice” and the expectation that people performing DH work take on the affective labor of building community and being “friendly” and “supportive.” Risam returns several times to the critique that diversity initiatives in academic settings expect inclusion to be “visible but not transformational,” that diversity and inclusion are seen as boxes to check but that the academy has no real interest in shifting academic culture to live out those values. Risam centers her concern around the people undertaking this labor, asking us to consider at what point the labor of community building and visible representation venture into exploitation and where the balance between waged and unwaged labor lies in the academic context.

Caplan, L. (2016) Method without methodology: Data and the digital humanities. E-flux 72

This article is a critique of the Selfiecity project, and while not particularly new, something I just discovered. Caplan pushes against the tendency of digital and/or statistical projects to prioritize experimentation and visualization over analysis. Referring to Borges’ warning against creating a map the size of the place it is intended to represent, Caplan shares the context of Durkheim’s introduction of statistics into sociology and the revolution (albeit flawed) in method that followed. Big data, which at once provides granular, detailed data about individuals and operates on an unprecedented scale, tempts researchers into projects that seek to create such a doomed map.

The critique of Selfiecity focuses on the scale of data explored in the project. Caplan makes a strong point about the role of Amazon’s Mechanical Turk in the data processing from a labor ethics and humanistic perspective.

While Caplan discusses Selfiecity (as well as Phototrails) in particular, the caution against projects that lack methodological grounding and focus could be applied to many DH projects, large or small. This critique touches on a tension around the field of DH, as most practitioners find themselves encountering and embarking upon new methodologies which require new training and backgrounds before they can be fully engaged with.

Announcement: Announcing New ODH Awards (August 2018)

From the announcement:

The Office of Digital Humanities is pleased to announce 18 awards through our Digital Humanities Advancement Grants and our Institutes for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities programs. These projects are part of a larger slate of 218 awards just announced by the NEH. Congratulations to all the award recipients as they begin these exciting new projects!

Read the full announcement here.

Job: Instruction + Research Specialist for the Arts and Humanities, Occidental College

From the ad:

The CDLA [Center for Digital Liberal Arts] supports textual, visual, and archival modes of inquiry across the arts and humanities through a focus on resource curation, sharing, and analysis.  The Specialist is a two-year limited term position with possibility of renewal. We seek a Specialist who will:

Collaborate directly with arts and humanities faculty to realize student learning goals, participate in related grant and funding opportunities, and inform assessments of student learning.

Research and implement best practices in digital pedagogy and instructional design in the arts and humanities with a focus on visual, music, and other media resources, humanities databases, archival resources, and digital humanities practices…

Read the full ad here.

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