In a post on her blog, Amanda Visconti (Purdue University Libraries) shared the job talk she gave when interviewing for her current position as assistant professor & digital humanities specialist. The talk, entitled “Service +/- collaboration for digital humanities in the library,” presents a variety of approaches toward what a DH specialist in a library might be, drawing on different models of collaborative relationships with researchers and library staff.
DH collaborations as service aren’t moving away from the Libraries’ user focus, but rather opening the door for longer and better scholarly relationships, among librarian and students, faculty, and staff. Collaboration lets us serve the campus more widely by offering different levels of collaborative service, from informal consultations through full, grant-funded project collaboration.
So, what does this collaboration-as-service look like on the day-to-day level? The DH Specialist can provide consultations modeled on library reference interviews, where instead of helping the researcher answer a question, the Specialist gives them the tools and map to not only answer their own question efficiently, but to go on to pursue related research.
While outlining these models and approaches, Visconti cautions against a one-size-fits-all model of library DH: “I strongly believe that libraries and the digital humanities per campus have their own flavors, needs, and values.”