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Friday, May 29 • 9:00am - 10:15am
Labs as a Locus of Scholarly Content Production

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The International Directory of Digital Humanities Centers lists and extraordinary range of organizational models under the concept of the “Center.” A noticeable trend over the past five years has been the emergence of laboratory environments focused on the production of digital content oriented toward digital humanities scholarship. Sometimes these laboratories are an integral part of a “bricks and mortar” DH center, established as a physical focal point on campus. However, other organizational and structural models are emerging that respond to the need for sustainable, yet agile infrastructure for humanities scholarship. A 2014 report from OCLC sparked controversy in the DH community by presuming that such an agile infrastructure might belong in campus library environments, not as formal centers, as such, but rather as an amalgamation of services and programs focused on faculty needs. Julia Flanders’s forthcoming reflection on digital collections highlights the centrality and the troubling aspects of creating digital collections for scholarly purposes.

This curated panel features three brief but targeted case studies and a semi-structured conversation around the issues of content production for digital humanities scholarship. The point of departure is the richness of the idea of the collection, but the focus is on the terms and conditions of content production in support of humanities scholarship. “Content production” in this context encompasses the purposeful assembly of a collections (an archive?) of digital data and metadata, organized in specific ways to support some combination of machine processing and/or humanist interpretation. Although the content is always digital at its heart, the conversion from analog to digital may also be accompanied by the integration of born digital sources.

The case studies highlight three distinctive models for digital content production in the context of scholarly production. Katherine Walter outlines the many developments at the well-established Center for Digital Research in the Humanities designed to expand and deepen its roots at the University of Nebraska. Tom Wilson, the co-director of the Alabama Digital Humanities Center will describe the deep collaboration between faculty and librarians in the development of digital projects. Paul Conway reports on a newly emerging distributed model of support for content production as a collaboration between humanities faculty, the university library, and the University of Michigan School of Information. A curated panel discussion will then explore the metes and bounds of content production activities.


CenterNet. International Directory of Digital Humanities Centers. http://digitalhumanities.org/centernet/centers
Schaffner, Jennifer and Erway, Ricky. Does Every Research Library Need a Digital Humanities Center? Dublin, OH: OCLC, 2014.
Flanders, Julia. “Rethinking Collections.” In Repurposing the Digital Humanities, ed. Katherine Bode and Paul Arthur. Forthcoming: Palgrave MacMillan, 2015.

avatar for Paul Conway

Paul Conway

Associate Professor of Information, University of Michigan School of Information
Paul Conway is associate professor in the School of Information at the University of Michigan. He holds a Ph.D. from the University of Michigan. His research encompasses the digitization of cultural heritage resources, particularly photographic archives, the use of digitized resources... Read More →
avatar for Thomas Wilson

Thomas Wilson

Associate Dean, The University of Alabama

Friday May 29, 2015 9:00am - 10:15am EDT
Willy Conference Room Kellogg Center

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