OCLC Research has released a new report, “Does every research library need a digital humanities center?” [PDF]. Written by Jennifer Schaffner and Ricky Erway, it:
[I]s intended to prepare research library directors and other decision-makers to respond to questions from deans or provosts who may ask what the library is doing about the digital humanities. It discusses specific concerns of digital humanists and ties these to decisions that might be made by directors, in hopes of bridging the gap between how library directors and DH researchers think about the library’s role in digital humanities.
The report has already generated significant discussion on Twitter, and because of the topic’s relevance to this site, dh+lib will be featuring additional responses to the report later this week.
Some initial responses on the report are listed below. We will continue to add to this list as we discover new posts.
- Bethany Nowviskie (University of Virginia), “Asking for It,” (February 8, 2014). Nowviskie examines the constantly evolving nature of DH centers and how librarians can actively shape them.
- Elijah Meeks (Stanford University), “Digital Humanities Curio Cabinet” Stanford Digital Humanities website (February 9, 2014). Responding to both the OCLC report and Nowviskie’s post, Meeks argues that DH centers – preferably “centralized units with base funding” – are essential for research libraries today.
- Dot Porter (University of Pennsylvania), “What if we do, in fact, know best?: A Response to the OCLC Report on DH and Research Libraries,” dh+lib (February 12, 2014). Porter critiques the report’s positioning of “DH academics” and “DH librarians” as an us/them, asserting that the distinctions are diverse and fluid: “It doesn’t make sense to measure the digital humanist-ness of someone based on their current post.”
- Trevor Owens (Library of Congress), “Redefining the ‘Life of the Mind’ and the Infrastructure of Knowledge in the Digital Humanities Center,” (February 12, 2014). Owens offers a brief response to some of the issues raised by the report, noting that DH centers can serve as “a kind of scholarly middle ground,” and are helping redefine not just the role of the research library in humanities scholarship but “what scholarship itself is.”