Digital in Context: Designing a Digital Program for the Humanities

Session Type: Working Session

Session Description
Collectively, we have all been working on the digital aspects of libraries for well over 20 years. We have digitized and made accessible hundreds of millions of objects, collected and published faculty outputs through institutional repositories, and are increasingly working closely with faculty members on digital research projects which often involve visualizing data, and creative digital outputs from otherwise ‘traditional’ research.

Most of this work, however, has been reactive – designed in response to funding calls, private donors, or urgent needs such as responding to government guidelines. As a result, we have collected a very large and rapidly expanding set of project outputs—collections and websites—many of which are unsustainable. Now is a good time to step back from our activities and think programmatically. Looking just at the Humanities, this working session will be a focused, purpose-led discussion of how we go about building a coherent digital library program to support the Humanities. Using Oxford’s Bodleian Libraries as one example of many – but with input from all participants welcome – the session will focus on the key characteristics needed to build a sustainable and coherent digital program to support the humanities.

Specific topics will include:

  • Characteristics of successful programs
  • Practicalities of building programs
  • The Evolution of a program

Much of the session will be informal and focused on discussion, but the group will be tasked with coming up with real outputs in each of these areas. Working session attendees will, for example, be asked to consider how their work fits into the mission and strategic aims of their institutions and how these considerations can make for a stronger program.

Session Leader
Christine Madsen, Oxford University

View the community reporting Google doc for this session.