Humanities majors and tech training
December 28, 2017
I respect the people who are excited, but at the same time, I feel like I need to push back, a bit.
Please don't call me a miracle worker.
December 17, 2017
Last week, a new Digital Libraries Federation working group was announced for “miracle workers,” Thanks to Alex Gil and Leigh Bonds for their work in getting the group started and off the ground and running; and their willingness to accept feedback from members on the name. The iterative nature of DH is likewise something that I value. And to be clear: using the label jokingly is one thing; formalizing it in any sort of institutional context has different effects. i.e. digital humanities and digital scholarship librarians who are often tasked with accomplishing monumental goals with minimal support. The miracle worker label emerged (as I understand it — others may have experienced it differently) during the start of the current wave of DH, around 2007-2010. As universities (administrators, deans, chairs, professors, etc.) became more aware of digital humanities and interested being able to say that they were “doing it,” people made some monumental requests of folks (often folks in libraries) to make DH happen — and various people stepped up, and broke new ground — and in doing so, helped to lay the ground for the community of practice that constitutes digital humanities and digital scholarship today. The community of library-based people doing DH that emerged during those years has always been alert to labor issues, As evidenced by still-relevant pieces like the Collaborators’ Bill of Rights and Miriam Posner’s commentary on the ‘make DH happen postdoc’ role, among too many other pieces to name, and more ephemeral commentary in social media spheres. and indeed, my own career has been shaped by their work in positive ways, and for that, I am immensely grateful.
While I understand the tongue-in-cheek use of the “miracle workers” label and Alex and Leigh’s intentions in invoking it, and while I fully support the creation of a DLF working group in order to have more formal discussions of the labor and support for library people doing DH I feel strongly enough about it that I think it’s worth explaining my discomfort publicly. Setting aside the name of the group entirely, my reasons for resisting the term are fairly central to my practice as a librarian and as someone working to build and support digital humanities & scholarship infrastructure. The situations I describe below recur in mentoring conversations, consultations, and informational interviews, and it seems useful to articulate them here because I continue to think through them in the course of my work, and expect to continue discussing them with my colleagues.
This talk doesn't have a name.
July 21, 2017
This is a lightly edited version of a talk that I gave to junior and senior high school students who were attending the University of Miami’s Center for Computational Sciences Data Scholars Summer Immersion Program on July 20th. My goals for the talk were to give them a bit of an intro to textual data — but also to touch on the stakes of data work, and on the fact that there are significant ways to participate in data work that aren’t just about programming. I wanted to say more than just ‘working with textual data is cool, y’all!’ Many thanks to Athena Hadjixenofontos for giving me the opportunity.
The title of this talk isn’t actually an error, or just a placeholder that I forgot to get rid of when I was making my slides. We’ll come back to the reason for it near the end of this talk.
Hi, I’m Paige, and I work in Richter Library, in an area called Digital Humanities. That area often involves working with various sorts of data. As a librarian, sometimes I do my own research, but a lot of the time, I’m helping other people with their research; helping them figure out what kind of data they have, or can create, and what to do with it. Several months ago, someone asked me if I was a data scientist, and I was completely caught off guard. And they said “well, you work with data, right?” And I replied “yeah, but…” I really didn’t know what to say. And that, too, is something that we’ll come back to later.
A new blogging space.
July 20, 2017
I started playing around with the idea of moving to a Jekyll blog in spring 2016, and I’ve finally settled on this one. I’ve opted not to move over the posts from my older WordPress blog, though, because reformatting them for this particular Jekyll theme and its capabilities was more work than was worthwhile (as was dealing with the URL redirects.)