Time to read: 2.45 minutes
The UD Library, Museums and Press is thrilled to welcome three new colleagues, Alex Galarza and Kayla Abner, Digital Scholarship Librarians, and Paige Morgan, Digital Publishing and Copyright Librarian. Here are a few things that the team wants you to know about what’s to come.
1. What do scholarship librarians do?
A digital scholarship librarian might do a lot of different things, depending on their own skill set and the needs of the person who is consulting them. We help people (faculty or students) use digital methods or tools in their research, teaching, and learning. This could mean help with digital methods like text mining, data visualization, machine learning, data publishing, or using mapping software. Our roles in projects can be fluid which means we sometimes work as any combination of project managers, technical support, web developers, server admins, designers of pedagogy, and intellectual partners. It can also mean helping faculty figure out the scope and scale of their proposed projects – balancing the need for projects to be big enough to accomplish their goals, and small enough to fit into folks’ complex schedules. Digital scholarship librarians also can help people think through “platform choice” – figuring out what tool(s) will allow them to be successful in presenting materials or analysis and reaching the audience(s) they hope to connect with. One of the main tasks of Digital Scholarship librarians is to keep up with current technologies and trends in the field.
2. What drew you to this line of work?
Kayla: I get excited about enabling researchers to use digital methods and educating people on the possibilities! I think a lot of people get put off by digital scholarship because they see it taking the place of traditional research, but it just adds new dimensions to research and offers potential for new interpretations.
Paige: In 2009, shortly after I’d started work on my PhD dissertation in English, I heard about this new thing called “digital humanities,” frequently shortened to “DH.” I went to a digital humanities unconference – an event that’s oriented more towards generating group discussion rather than formal presentations. I ended up with an idea for a DH project, and started trying to figure out what I needed to learn to build it. As I learned, I also learned more about the work that librarians do in building support and strategy for digital scholarship, and was more and more drawn to that, and the rest is history, really.
Alex: I’m passionate about collaboration and storytelling, so the opportunity to work as part of a team and create public-facing digital scholarship drew me into libraries.
3. What are you most excited about as this service takes shape?
Kayla: I’m excited to help shape UD’s digital scholarship services. My previous work at the University of Illinois Library’s Scholarly Commons has given me lots of ideas, and I’m excited to help create a digital scholarship program that works for the UD community.
Paige: Without a doubt, I’m excited to learn more about the research community around UDel, and their ideas – and finding ways to integrate the new unit into the work that other parts of the Library, Museums & Press are already doing; and of course, working with the Colored Conventions Projects, which I’ve admired from afar for years.
Alex: I’m excited to learn about all of the interdisciplinary work happening at UD and to build relationships with students and faculty.
4. What are a few things that faculty members might want to chat with you about when they attend your mini-session on digital scholarship support or run into you at the resource fair at the Summer Institute on Teaching?
Kayla: I’ve done some research on factors that prevent people from engaging with digital scholarship, so let me know what concerns you have. If you teach undergrads and want to integrate digital scholarship into your course, I’d love to talk to you!
Paige: I’m always excited to hear from faculty members about their own research areas, and in particular digital work that they’ve seen or read that’s been exciting or inspiring. Hopefully there’ll be lots of opportunities to sit down with folks over coffee – either during the summer, or as people come back for the fall semester.
Alex: People may be interested in my most recent work leading a digitization project with a human rights group in Guatemala City to build a digital archive of cases of forced disappearance during the Guatemalan Civil War. I am always excited to talk about my scholarship on soccer and urban politics in Buenos Aires and on all things relating to Latin American studies, urban history, and sports history.