Earlier this month, I participated in my third Day of DH, an international project designed to have digital humanists share what they do for a day.
I felt like I had even less time this year to live blog/tweet my day, and to read about others’ activities – April is definitely the cruellest month in academia, and as you’ll see in my Day of DH 2016 site, this was a particularly full day for me. You can read my Day of DH 2016 blog here (and see more about my Day of DH’s in 2014 and 2015), or peruse the #DayofDH2016 Twitter feed here.
Earlier this week, I participated in my second Day of DH, an international project designed to have digital humanists share what they do for a day (in answer to the perennial “What exactly is digital humanities, anyway?”).
Although the constant blogging and tweeting can be time-consuming, I really enjoyed the opportunity to hear more about other DH-ers’ work and share my own. You can read my Day of DH 2015 blog here (and see more about my Day of DH in 2014 here), or peruse the #DayofDH2015 Twitter feed here.
Last week marked my one year anniversary of moving to North Carolina and taking up my position as the Associate Archivist of Davidson College. I’ve written a bit in here before about all of the Big Life Changes that have occurred over the past year and half or so (completing two graduate degrees, moving 900 miles, etc.), but anniversaries always seem like particularly apropos times to reflect, so, here’s a few of the things I’ve done over the past year (get ready for a long-ish post!):
Probably the most enjoyable part of my job is that I get to work on a vast array of different projects and initiatives – there’s always something happening in the small (three FTE) Archives & Special Collections working group. We’re a constant hub of energy and ideas, and much of that is down to the amazing people I work with – the College Archivist & Records Management Coordinator (Jan) and the Special Collections Outreach Librarian (Sharon) have a combined 55 years of Davidson work experience, so their institutional memories and knowledge are invaluable. But even more important (to me, at least!) is their total willingness to try new things, play around with ideas, and listen to the new person in the room. Though I work most closely with Jan and Sharon, my larger department at the library (Discovery Systems) is similarly inventive and friendly, and I’ve met and begun collaborating with lots of amazing people around campus and around the state. I love working in such a supportive unit, AND they frequently bring in snacks to share – I’m living the dream, you guys.
When I came into work last Wednesday, Jan and Sharon had placed this incredibly heartwarming whiteboard in front of my office:
My duties in the Davidson College Archives & Special Collections include supervising student workers, and this summer we had a bevy of them – five total! I’ve been in supervisory roles before – I was in charge of an office as an undergrad, and I had an intern work under me for a summer when I served as the archivist of the Nichols House Museum. However, this summer was my first experience with student workers in an academic library/ archives setting, and my first time supervising so many at once.
All in all, I think the summer ended up being incredibly productive, and our student workers were all amazing! I learned a lot by working with them this summer – it was challenging (in a good way) for me to train a new corps of students, and although I tried to balance out work I knew would most likely be tedious (scanning for hours) with some more exciting or creative projects, I’m aware that some of the tasks might not have been enjoyable. However, these five women handled every assignment with good grace, and I enjoyed getting to know all of them (as did the rest of the archives staff!). All of our students did some digitization work (primarily scanning, uploading, and entering metadata for student publications), although each had a variety of projects and assignments.
Here’s a roundup of the blogs the students wrote to summarize their experiences:
Obviously, this list will be biased as to what I consider “digitally-inflected” – for instance, I’m not including any of the pre-conference workshops, although these definitely include options that have a strong digital component, nor am I including sessions/ events that appear to be standards-based (if I did, the list would be almost entirely standards!). This list includes five of the 70 sessions, which means that 7.14% of this year’s sessions are DH-inflected; however, that does not account for day-long events (like the Research Forum or THATCamp SAA), posters, roundtables, or committee meetings, some of which I did include on this list.
Please do let me know if you think I’ve missed a session/ event, or included one that shouldn’t be on the list. As someone whose professional personal interests certainly cross the (perhaps occasionally siloed) archivist-librarian-digital humanist borders, I’m looking forward to discussing DH and plenty of other topics with the crowd at SAA’s largest meeting yet!
Professional development is integral to all of the library staff here at Davidson College, so with that in mind, the Discovery Systems team sent three of its members to the Society of North Carolina Archivists (SNCA) annual conference last week – myself, Jan Blodgett, and Susan Kerr. While we all often attend meetings, conferences, and other trainings, we usually reserve our discussion of takeways, thoughts, and interesting ideas to in-person weekly departmental meetings. We thought that my first SNCA meeting would be a great opportunity to compare and contrast what the Davidson attendees got out of the meeting. So, first up: my takeaways!
To start off the morning, Jan moderated the “Publishing and Managing Digital Collections without CONTENTdm” session, which I presented at. The session was a great opportunity to talk about our ongoing development and roll-out of our institutional repository, as well as to hear about how two other institutions are dealing with increasingly larger and larger digital collections.
Day of DH seeks to help define what digital humanists DO, since that’s an oft-asked question, by having people who work in DH document one day of their work-lives. I had meant to participate in the 2013 iteration of Day of DH, but last April 8th I was stuck deep into a full thesis draft hole (plus working on a deadline for my digital libraries class, and ended up feeling sick that day to boot), so the thought of blogging about how stressed I was didn’t appeal to me at all.
One year later, I realized that Day of DH would fall on the same day as the SNCA meeting, which was definitely a day I anticipated being very busy – attending a conference takes up a good deal of attention, plus I knew I was presenting on a panel first thing in the morning and was up for election to SNCA’s exceutive board (as member at large), which would be voted on during the lunch-time business meeting. Add driving across the state and back to all that, and I thought I had a pretty full plate – but that’s exactly what made it an interesting day to document, in my opinion. DH-ers do a lot of different things, and some us happen to be conference-ing while liveblogging, as it turns out!
My reflections on the grad school experience was actually the first post in their Student Experience series (and the second was an old colleague of mine from my intern days at the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum, Sami Norling) – check it out here!
Astute readers may have noticed a new name join Jan (the College Archivist and Records Management Coordinator) and Sharon (the Special Collections Outreach Librarian) here on Around the D – mine, as a matter of fact! I joined the staff of E.H. Little Library as the Associate Archivist back in October, and inspired by my old graduate school colleague Stephanie Bennett‘s recent post on what archival processing is all about, I decided to write about what I do on a day-to-day basis. So, notes and highlights on what each day of the first week of classes for the Spring 2014 semester held for the Associate Archivist of Davidson College:
MONDAY (January 13)
Generally, the first thing I do when I get into the office each morning is make a cup of tea and catch up with my inbox. On Monday mornings, there’s usually several dozen unread emails – in part because I subscribe to an assortment of professional listservs.
Post-email-checking, I updated the Archives & Special Collections Twitter, and then went to a Discovery Systems departmental meeting on student workers (possible projects, how many summer students, etc.). I spent the rest of the morning preparing for a class visit to the archives later in the day (including selecting documents and setting up their display with Jan), and working on the Around the D entry to post on Wednesday morning. Sharon and I nailed down a few details related the illumination live demonstration event (set for January 28th, from 11 AM to 12 PM).
After taking a late lunch (1:30 PM to 2:30 PM is my standard), I drafted a short news blurb related to the blog topic for the library’s homepage and updated the Archives & Special Collections Facebook. Then Jan and I hosted the first archives class visit of the semester, Dr. Anelise Shrout‘s HIS 458: American Environments to 1893.