Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Digital Humanities in the Library

dhlibraryLast March, the Catholic University of America embarked on a voyage of digital humanities discovery. We had our first DH cross campus inaugural meeting, involving faculty, students, librarians, archivists, curators, and administrators. We outlined our individual and institutional challenges and focused on our needs going forward. Consequently, in the fall 2015 semester, we will begin having workshops on collaborating on our projects, exploring new software, and in general, getting to know each other. Stay tuned!

Our roles as librarians has changed rapidly over the past few years. Once just keepers of print warehouses and guides for library tours, we have now become harbingers of change agents across the entire scholarly communication paradigm. Subject (or liaison) librarians that have experience and knowledge in subject expertise, information literacy and research skills, collection management skills, and collection development, have a foundation on which to make contributions to digital humanities scholarship. The big question is, ‘Where to begin?’

Digital Humanities in the Library: Challenges and Opportunities for Subject Specialists is a long overdue addition to the burgeoning interest in digital humanities by librarians. Edited by Arianne Hartsell-Gundy, Laura Braunstein, and Liorah Golomb–all humanities librarians in their own right–the work is designed specifically for subject/liaison humanities librarians who are seeking ways to collaborate with scholars and students on a wide variety of projects, and it provides an overview of the challenges and opportunities that abound at any institution, whether at a two-year college or at a research institution. The book is divided into four parts: 1) the first part discusses why librarians should acquire DH skills, 2) ways one can get involved, 3) the issues of collaboration, spaces, and instruction, and last, 4) conceiving, implementing, and maintaining a DH project.  The fourteen chapters have been written by a variety of specialists: DH librarians, social science librarians, archivists, editors, faculty, graduate students, and others. The chapters range from practical advice (e.g. a checklist for DH scholarship), to case studies (e.g. librarians teaching DH in the classroom) to theoretical/philosophical discussions (e.g. literary critical theory as it pertains to DH). Continue reading “Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Digital Humanities in the Library”

Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Humanities or Sciences?

Crossroads image between liberal arts and technology
From: http://www.seekingintellect.com/2014/11/15/walter-isaacson-on-innovation-and-the-collaboration-of-geniuses.html

Are we worried about too much Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) or the death of the humanities – or both? At many universities, including ours, we are having the conversations about making science more accessible to undergraduates in exploratory courses; and we are having the conversations about how science researchers can be better at communicating and creativity. We are also having a troubling conversation about how often a web site needs to be redesigned – yes, six years is way too long!

The following articles from many perspectives highlight the dichotomy between the humanities and sciences in higher education today that, hopefully, will inform higher education in the future.

Two excellent articles outline out the case for the importance of both humanities and sciences.

“A broad general education helps foster critical thinking and creativity. Exposure to a variety of fields produces synergy and cross fertilization. Yes, science and technology are crucial components of this education, but so are English and philosophy.”

“Turning to events internal to the intellectual world, we notice that during the last 150 years the humanities became radically eclipsed, even delegitimized, by the phenomenal success of their great intellectual rival, the hard sciences. The latter have rapidly built up an unprecedented edifice of knowledge. It is not only intellectually or theoretically superior to everything before — precise, systematic, and empirically verifiable — but also superior in its practical utility, generating unimagined new technologies for the improvement of human life. Today scientific knowledge is equated with real knowledge, all the rest seeming like folklore. All modern intellectuals suffer from physics envy. But even the extraordinary rise of modern science cannot adequately explain the current fate of the humanities. Empirical science is competent in the realm of measurable facts, but not in the realm of values. The wisdom of life and knowledge of the self that we desperately need come, not from scientific data, but from reflective accounts of the inner experience of being alive as a human being, and especially of being most fully, intensely, and authentically alive. The sciences eclipse the humanities in one way, but render them more necessary in another. By vastly expanding our power for good and ill, the rise of modern science greatly increases our need for self-­knowledge and moral clarity.” Continue reading “Digital Scholarship @ CUA: Humanities or Sciences?”

New Research Guide for Digital Humanities

The librarians in Religious Studies and Humanities Services have created a new research guide for studying Digital Humanities. The guide includes resources available through CUA Libraries as well as recommendations for useful websites, blogs, and  tools.

The guide was created by Jennifer Adams. Jennifer was a member of the Archimedes Palimpsest Project where she transcribed parts of the original text into digital format using TEI guidelines.

We welcome suggestions and comments.  Please contact Kevin Gunn at gunn@cua.edu or 202-319-5088.

Father Robert Busa, Creator of Index Thomisticus, dead at 97

Father Robert Busa, creator of the Index Thomisticus, has died at the age of 97.  Father Busa is considered the pioneer of Humanities Computing or Digital Humanities.  For obituaries, see L’Osservatore Romano and Corriere del Veneto.  Background information on the creation of the Index Thomisticus can be found in the foreword of A Companion to Digital Humanities, ed. Susan Schreibman, Ray Siemens, John Unsworth. Oxford: Blackwell, 2004, written by Father Busa.

Digital Humanities 2009 at the University of Maryland

The 2009 Conference on the Digital Humanities will be happening in our backyard this June 22-25, 2009 at the University of Maryland, College Park.  This conference is the annual meeting of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing, and the Society for Digital Humanities / Société pour l’étude des médias interactifs.   The conference will be hosted by the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH).  Keynote speakers will be Lev Manovich and Christine Borgmann.