The Co-evolution of Libraries and DH

The emergence of digital humanities from a relatively marginal space in the academy to its recent celebrity has clearly had an impact on libraries. Positions have been created, resources have been reallocated and staff have been re-skilled.

However, it is also true that libraries have shaped the evolution of DH. Some of the best known and longest running projects have been created in partnership with libraries and those projects bear the marks of the librarians who worked on them. While we are always searching for better ways to do it, librarians have insisted that accessibility and sustainability be part of the DH conversation. Librarians have also worked with faculty partners to advocate for Open Access as well as ethical use of materials. This is not to mention the digitized collections, server space and technical expertise that the library often provides.

In this session, I would like to start putting together the history of libraries and DH and remember the projects, people, users and relationships that got us to this point. I would also like to assess what these partnerships have meant; what values have emerged, what traditions have been established and what problems reoccur? Also, what can a look back tell us about the way forward?

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About Stewart Varner

I am a librarian and a bike nerd. As the Digital Scholarship Librarian in the Davis Library at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, I help scholars incorporate technology into their teaching and research. I earned my Ph.D. in American Studies at Emory and my MLIS from North Texas.