In a thoughtful post, Elijah Meeks (Stanford University Libraries) considers the role of the librarian in digital humanities projects, touching on the question of academic hierarchies, alt-ac, and the professional designation of librarians as “staff”:
Anyone who has worked with undergraduate and graduate research assistants knows that their effort and engagement is not demanded but negotiated. Such is obviously the case with faculty working with other faculty. Staff, on the other hand, with their various layers of management and leadership, are service providers embedded in a more formal hierarchy. This distinction can be the source of tension in situations where faculty, students, and staff are working together to advance digital humanities scholarship.
Meeks goes on to present a case for peer collaboration based on practical considerations of the research agenda, the life of a project, and professional benefits.