NITLE webinar – Chuck Henry on the Future of the Liberal Arts College Library

While the webinar was titled, “Chuck Henry on the Future of the Liberal Arts Colleges Library,” the talk was focused on the CLIR Committee on Coherence at Scale for Higher Education.

The Committee on Coherence [may I stop right here and propose we start up a Claremont Colleges Committee on Coherence – “C4”] is made up of mostly larger research institutions (there is one liberal arts college in the list) and the talk referenced these larger institutions’ projects and issues. I interpret the intention of the webinar was to reach out to smaller liberal arts colleges to bring them into the fold to look at these issues and begin acting on them.

Issues such as:

Cataloging Hidden Special Collections and Archives. Our Special Collections is well aware of this and has been making inroads.

Data Curation. Our library administration is aware of this need and while we do not have the infrastructure to support the colleges data just yet, we are looking to provide resources and education opportunities.

Henry discussed the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) and Global Digital Library Collaborative as examples of coherence.

Henry spoke about CLIR’s Mellon grant for designing a professional cohort for data curation in medieval studies. What? There is medieval data? No, data produced out of medieval studies scholars and programs is in need of curation.

Examples of data producers and use:
Michigan State University GLQC – images of quilts that are mined for patterns, colors, composition.

University of Illinois, Urbana-Champagne Mapping the Great Lakes – 17th and 18th C maps of the Great Lakes, comparing British and French cartography over a span of time for change and consistency.

University of Suffolk – mining 14th century French manuscripts to determine what imagery has lasted, what gestures were used, what scripts survived.

In terms of digital preservation, HATHI Trust was mentioned, as was the Digital Preservation Network (DPN). DPN is used as a secure network for all digital objects in the DPLA.

Other buzzwords and phrases that liberal arts colleges should learn about are:
Linked Open Data.
Semantic Web.
Data Curation as a up and coming profession.
[hint: the library wants one]
New publishing models: be the new publishing model, be a catalyst not a press, support new forms of scholarship. example: ANVIL Henry gave Middlebury and Amherst as examples.

The Coherence Committee recommends Areas of Responsibility:
Research (technical specs, platform)
Modeling (integration of programs)
Benefits of transformative aspects

While we like to talk about the effects of digital based pedagogy, data curation, etc. on the collective and cultural legacy, Henry states we should speak to what the provosts want to know – how much are we going to save. Henry believes the savings could be in the billions of dollars annually. He also believes that the tradition of funding and competing institutions is something to re-imagine.

In the Q & A, it was posited that working with faculty at the curriculum level is key to success and Henry agreed that there needed to be an invigorated focus on pedagogy. Digitally based pedagogy needed to be supported and promoted. Here, here.

Notes by Allegra Swift Gonzalez | Digital Initiatives Librarian | Claremont Colleges Library

Professional Development Opportunities for Digital Humanities

Sent to the NITLE list by Rebecca Frost Davis, Ph.D.
Program Officer for the Humanities
National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE)

The Office of Digital Humanities of the National Endowment for the Humanities sponsors Institutes for Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities. The calendar of upcoming institutes is available here:

While some institutes are only open to humanities researchers, others include opportunities for information technology, library staff and others.

Upcoming institutes include:

Early Modern Digital Agendas
Early Modern Digital Agendas is a three-week summer institute to be hosted by the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library in July 2013. Jonathan Hope, Professor of Literary Linguistics at the University of Strathclyde, will direct a survey of the most current resources and methods in digital research in early modern studies.

Project Director: Owen Williams
Location: To be held at the Folger Shakespeare Library in Washington, DC.
Dates: July 8, 2013 – July 26, 2013
Application Information: Website

Humanities Heritage 3D Visualizations: Theory and Practice
A training institute in practical and theoretical approaches to 3D real-time visualization of cultural heritage sites for twenty humanities scholars jointed hosted by Arkansas State University and the University of Arkansas.

Project Director: Alyson Gill and David Frederick
Location: Arkansas State University, Jonesboro campus in northeast Arkansas in the Mississippi Delta region, and the Center for Advanced Spatial Technologies at the University of Arkansas, Fayetteville (UAF), located in northwest Arkansas
Dates: June 17, 2013 – July 6, 2013
Application Information: Website

Linked Ancient World Data Institute
A two-year series of summer seminars, hosted by New York University and Drew University, for humanities scholars, library and museum professionals, and advanced graduate students on the possibilities of the Linked Open Data model for use in humanities scholarship with a particular focus on Ancient Mediterranean and Near East studies.

Project Director: Tom Elliott
Location: The 2013 opportunity will be held at the Drew University campus in New Jersey
Dates: May 30, 2013 – June 1, 2013
Application Information: Website

Digital Humanities Data Curation
As the materials and analytical practices of humanities research become increasingly digital, the theoretical knowledge and practical skills of information science, librarianship, and archival science — which come together in the research, and practice of data curation – will become more vital to humanists.

The three-day workshop will provide a strong introductory grounding in data curation concepts and practices, focusing on the special issues and challenges of data curation in the digital humanities. Learning will be largely case-based, supplemented by short lectures, guest presentations, and practical exercises.

Project Director: Trevor Muñoz
Location: The first workshop will be held at the Graduate School of Library and Information Science, University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. Additional institutes will be hosted by Brown University and the University of Maryland, College Park.
Dates: Various dates in 2013 and 2014. The first one will be June 24-26, 2013.
Application Information: Website

High Performance Sound Technologies for Access and Scholarship (HiPSTAS)
A four-day institute at the University of Texas, Austin’s School of Information, with a follow-up workshop for humanities scholars, librarians, archivists, and advanced graduate students on the use of analytical tools to study digital audio collections of spoken word, such as oral histories, poetry, and Native American oral traditions.

Project Director: Tanya Clement
Location: The first institute (the “A-Side”) will be hosted by the University of Texas, Austin’s School of Information with a follow-up (the “B-Side”) meeting in May 2014.
Dates: The institute will be held May 29-June 1, 2013 with a follow-up meeting in May 2014.
Application Information: Website

Taking TEI Further: Teaching and Publication
A series of workshops to be held at Brown University for humanities faculty, related staff, and graduate students to explore advanced uses of digital text encoding for use in humanities scholarship and teaching.

Project Director: Julia Flanders
Location: To be held at Brown University in Providence, RI.
Dates: Various Dates in 2012 – 2015
Application Information: Website

One Week | One Tool: A Digital Humanities Barn Raising
A one week institute for twelve participants on the principles of humanities-centered tool design, development, and implementation, followed by a year of development support and evaluation.

Project Director: Tom Scheinfeldt
Location: George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia.
Dates: July 28, 2013 – August 3, 2013
Application Information: Website

Evaluating Digital Scholarship recap

~ Allegra Swift Gonzalez

The NITLE seminar on Evaluating Digital Scholarship held on October 10, 2012 is a must hear/read for those “who work in digital media and faculty members or administrators from Network colleges who are charged with evaluating the digital scholarship produced by colleagues.”

Access to the recording is only available to the colleges participating in NITLE, so if you are from Scripps College, Pomona College or Harvey Mudd College , please contact Mary McMahon at Pomona ITS. The slides can be accessed here.

Alison Byerly, College Professor at Middlebury College, Visiting Scholar in Literature, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, and seminar leader for digital scholarship and digital humanities

Byerly spoke about the digital humanities as being new on the radar screen of many who hold responsibility for tenure review and course support. In this new-ish area of study, Byerly has found that there is a need for people to hear more about evaluation from the evaluators’ side.

Slide credit: Alison Byerly

For those faculty working in the field, you will need to educate your colleagues. Continuously. This could be a daily job but not something that can what until the tenure review process is in full swing.

Early education = greater margin of success (really, this applies to just about everything):

  • define and engage
  • document your specific role and who has collaborated/assisted
  • explain the significance
  • look for opportunities – define and explain how DH fits into greater context


  • Educate yourself
  • Review and assess any project in the medium in which it was created (example: don’t print out pages of a website) – this is already happening in the already sciences
  • Recognize that the collaborative nature of DH should be seen as a positive. Not being single author should not diminish stature of the contribution
  • Consult specialists in relevant disciplines
  • Assess candidate’s work in relation to overall institutional expectations

Different examples of works in new presentations and publication format:

New-ish concepts:

  • Complex TV: the poetics contemporary television storytelling by Jason Mitchell
  • “blogging for tenure”
  • databases or programming
  • Docuscope: a text analysis environment with interactive visualization tools
  • Anvil academic – scholarly publishing outside the traditional realm, “an open-access, post-monograph publisher of new, complex forms of scholarly argument.”
  • alternative citation measurements

On the tenure track?

  • seek letters from outside reviewers
  • save and document the feed back on contribution to academic trajectory
  • be sure to clear with with those who give feedback that you’d like to use it as part of tenure file

Drew University Library was approached by deans office about faculty electronic portfolios – this concept is gaining ground

More advice:

  • The tenure process as is is not very good at understanding work in process such as ongoing websites.
  • Document efforts
  • This is something that is changes
  • Look at language for promotion and tenure reviews
  • Just our framing of our works rely on stricts terms don’t work for this flexible arena
  • * Get buy-in before starting or submitting the work. Begin advocacy work early and sustain it.

I highly recommend taking a look at the slides and picking up the standard for DH acceptance and understanding.

Stories of the Susquehanna: Digital Humanities, Spatial Thinking, and Telling the historia of the Environment recap

Stories of the Susquehanna: Digital Humanities, Spatial Thinking, and Telling the historia of the Environment, 2012-10-09

~ Allegra Swift Gonzalez

Access is only available to the colleges participating in NITLE, so if you are from Scripps College, Pomona College or Harvey Mudd College and you are interested in viewing the slides and recording, please contact Mary McMahon at Pomona ITS.

Katherine Faull, professor of German and humanities, Bucknell University, and seminar leader
Alf Siewers, associate professor of English, Bucknell University, and seminar leader

“Collaborative student-faculty research projects centered in the locale of residential liberal arts colleges let students engage in a variety of learning experiences and high impact practices including undergraduate research, civic engagement, and multidisciplinary approaches to complex problems. Students at Bucknell University, as part of the Stories of the Susquehanna Valley Project, gathered stories from the Marcellus Shale region in the Susquehanna watershed of how the boom in natural gas drilling is transforming communities and cultural landscapes.” NITLE announcement.

Professors Fauli and Siewers spoke about the successful course they devised with considerations of institutional administrative requirements and engaging interdisciplinary undergraduates. In building the course, the professors were aware that this course was only fulfilling a requirement for some students and that it did not necessarily credit their major. They also took into account the politics of introducing a course to administration and the necessities required for continued support. The structure and support systems for this intensive course helped to engage the students and ended up benefiting the community, the students, and the aligned researchers.

Instead of making this an online course or maybe in reaction to, this course was designed to accentuate outdoor regional based instruction.

The course required 5 hours a week + a “running reading and reaction journal”

  • 1 hour discussion on T-TH
  • 3 hour lab on W
  • field trips (40 students, outside funding and residential college funds)

In addition, there were workshops on using tools and methods:

  • ArcGIS
  • video essay
  • Final Cut Pro
  • blogging
  • Arcmap and google map – kmz files and embed images

Collaborations included support from faculty and staff with English, Environmental Science, Geography, and GIS specialties.

Fauli and Siewers were able to motivate students who are coming from multiple disciplinary backgrounds from sciences to humanities  by engaging them with collaborative problems solving, outdoor and cultural adventure including kayaking and entre to Native American communities. Outreach to Native American communities was mentioned as having enriched faculty research and student experience as well as garnered relationships built on mutual trust and respect.


  • became agents of change
  • learned new ways of thinking of cause and effect
  • related primary sources as spatial constructs
  • won internships with National Geographic and the National Parks due to relationships built by projects
  • contributed to the studied area being registered as protected historic place

Scholarly student output included:

  • narrative maps
  • critical cartography and GIS layers map produced
  • database of historical GiS layers
  • work from precious year informs the next
  • interest in careers in historic preservation, local and national conservancies.

Funding was garnered from multiple sources and looked to be quite the endeavor in itself. I was curious to know if they had help with gathering the financial support. Some f the funding aspects mentioned were a NEH collaborative research grant, a foundation for summer writers, and the Mellon Foundation.

The Stories of the Susquehanna Valley Project is really well organized and thought out course model that brought about many levels of benefits and engagement.

Image credit:

Attribution Some rights reserved by Nicholas_T

Upcoming NITLE seminars: Spatial thinking and evaluating digital scholarship

Please RSVP to 

Stories of the Susquehanna:  Digital Humanities, Spatial Thinking, and Telling the historia of the Environment

Tuesday, October 9, 2012, 11-12 pm

Hosted online via NITLE’s videoconferencing platform

In the Claremont Colleges Library – Seminar Room in Library Administration

Collaborative student-faculty research projects centered in the locale of residential liberal arts colleges let students engage in a variety of learning experiences and high impact practices including undergraduate research, civic engagement, and multidisciplinary approaches to complex problems. Students at Bucknell University, as part of the Stories of the Susquehanna Valley Project, gathered stories integrated with mapping from the Marcellus Shale region in the Susquehanna watershed of how the boom in natural gas drilling is transforming communities and cultural landscapes. Seminar leaders will provide examples and lead discussion of how students’ digital learning may foster cooperation between universities, public agencies (local, regional and national) and NGOs in successful efforts to raise environmental awareness. For details see:


Evaluating Digital Scholarship

Wednesday, October 10, 2012, 1-2 pm

Hosted online via NITLE’s videoconferencing platform

In the Claremont Colleges Library – Honnold Conference Room

How to evaluate digital scholarship represents an important challenge for tenure and promotion committees, administrators, digital scholars and their colleagues.  In this upcoming NITLE seminar, Alison Byerly, College Professor and former Provost and Executive Vice President at Middlebury College, who has co-led workshops on evaluating digital scholarship at the MLA convention, will review major issues to be considered in the evaluation of digital work, such as: presentation of medium-specific materials, documentation of multiple roles in collaborative work, changing forms of peer review, and identification of appropriate reviewers. For details see: