In a post on her Planned Obsolescence blog, Kathleen Fitzpatrick (Michigan State University) reflects on a visit to the MLA, where she formerly served as Director of Scholarly Communication during the development of Humanities Commons. In the post Fitzpatrick considers common challenges for the future of such projects.
A huge part of the problem is that the most shared of the shared challenges is budgetary: everybody’s underresourced and understaffed; everybody is trying to figure out how to do more with less. Scholarly societies need to provide their members with more, and more compelling, services in order to keep those members involved and invested, but doing so often involves new systems and platforms, and supporting (much less developing) those systems and platforms is often beyond those societies’ capacity. Similarly, colleges and universities need to provide their faculty members and students with compelling ways to develop their research and make it available to and discoverable by the world, but they face similar challenges in developing the infrastructure — not just technical but crucially human — to facilitate that work.
Fitzpatrick goes on to to challenge the notion of ed-tech solutionism, instead presenting such solutions as things which must be sustained—by shared interests, by collaboration, and through collective action.
This post will resonate with the many among the dh+lib audience who are engaged in projects that extend beyond traditional institutional boundaries and who participate in scholarly societies and other groups supporting our community as a whole.