In their new article in Digital Humanities Quarterly Hélène Huet, Suzan Alteri, and Laurie N. Taylor from the University of Florida reflect on the challenges of engaging in “invisible work and life on the hyphen — between the academy and the library and between the human and the digital.”
“Manifesto: A Life on the Hyphen: Balancing Identities as Librarians, Scholars, and Digital Practitioners” explores the interdisciplinary work of being full-time librarians, fully-fledged scholars and digital humanists. They muse:
“We enjoy our hyphenated lives, and our ability to build bridges between and contribute to fields we love. But we also are tired, overworked and underappreciated, in large part because our split professional identities often fit us nowhere, marking a particular kind of intersection that warrants recognition.”
Their essay is divided into three sections: At the Intersection of Overtaxed and Underevaluated, Splitting Professional Identities, and Realizing the Promise. Like so many digital humanities librarians, they details the numerous demands on their time, noting the difficulties in being perceived as scholarly equals or in performance evaluations.
“Living on the hyphen, we are constantly juggling positionings and identities. When someone asks us what our research is about, we struggle to answer. Do we detail all of the work we do: our research in library science, our area specialty, and digital humanities? Or do we only detail research that will be most relevant to the person with whom we are speaking?”
They conclude their piece with suggestions for faculty and administration that might address some of these challenges, including encouraging visibility and inclusivity in professional venues, revising promotion and tenure guidelines, and pushing for broader cultural change for “librarians-scholars-digital practitioners.”