Digital Humanities and Scholarship at DLF: Thoughts From a Subject Specialist

<em>Manuel Ostos</em>
Manuel Ostos

This Forum Report was provided by Manuel Ostos, Humanities Librarian for Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese Languages and Literatures, Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina/o Studies, Penn State University & a 2013 ARL/DLF Underrepresented Groups Fellow.

As libraries are moving from a print based environment to a digital one, many disciplines across the humanities are undergoing dramatic transformations. From history to languages, this shift has produced new disciplinary identities and research. As a librarian for Spanish, Italian, and Portuguese, and Latin American, Caribbean, and Latina/o Studies it is my responsibility to provide appropriate support the Penn State Community, and attending this forum represented an extraordinary opportunity. The ARL/DLF Fellowship for Underrepresented Groups allowed me to join a community of scholars and information professionals while engaging in conversations and promoting digital library services for research, teaching, and learning.

David Lankes in his keynote address discussed the importance of librarianship in the process of creating knowledge and building new communities of users. This inspiring introductory speech, along with presentations, workshops, research updates, and working sessions, allowed me learn about the current trends and challenges in several areas of digital librarianship. The DLF Forum introduced me to a variety of new tools and technologies in areas as diverse as geospatial data management, digital publishing, and open access. As I continue to develop my digital toolbox, attending DLF played a crucial part in this process. I was particularly excited about the following sessions on Digital Humanities and Scholarship:

  • Influence of Academic Rank on Faculty Members’ Attitudes Toward Data Management, a panel of experienced librarians from Emory University who shared their research on how academic rank becomes an important factor influencing researchers’ attitudes to data preservation and sharing.
  • Humanities and Data Curation in the Library: The Preservation of Digital Humanities Research Now and to Come, a presentation that examined four case studies of digital humanities projects in academic libraries and analyzes the current curation workflows in order to propose a needs assessment of humanities data curation projects can be sustained by libraries.
  • Digital In Context: Designing a Digital Program for the Humanities, a working session that addressed several topics relevant to DH in academic libraries including infrastructure, policies, sustainability and services.

In addition to these and other formal presentations, the Forum offered me other informal learning opportunities. From conversations with other librarians, I discussed services and challenges that as a subject specialist I have to address.

This invaluable experience would not have been possible without the support provided by the ARL/DLF Forum Fellowship for Underrepresented Groups and the Penn State University Libraries. Without this fellowship, I would have missed a significant experience valuable to my professional development and a key opportunity to explore potential research topics. As I continue to serve the Penn State community, I would like to extend my deepest gratitude to ARL and DLF for the opportunity to be part of the first cohort of librarians receiving the fellowship.

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