What does a DH librarian look like?

Image from page 9 of "Colour : an elementary manual for students" (1891)
“The Three Color Sensations Illustrated”. From” Colour : an elementary manual for students” (1891). Flickr Commons.

There have been a lot of job announcements in the last couple of months from libraries looking for digital humanities professionals. It makes me wonder, what is the background and what are the skills for a DH position in libraries?

I chose five recent postings to examine and compare:
Humanities Data Curator at UC Santa Barbara

Digital Humanities Specialist at University of the Pacific

Humanities and Digital Scholarship Librarian at Grinnell College

Digital Humanities and Web Services Librarian at University of Delaware Library

Lead Developer for Center for Digital Humanities at Princeton University

  • Four of five postings are looking for an MLS/MLIS.
  • Four of the five postings use the word “collaborate” or “collaborative”.
  • Four of the five postings want someone with experience with Omeka.
  • Four of the five postings include traditional librarian duties such as reference, collection development and instruction.
  • Three of the five postings use the word “creative”, and use it in the first sentence.
  • Three of the five postings specify experience with WordPress.
  • Two of the five postings specify experience with metadata standards.
  • Two of the five postings include digital exhibitions in the duties.
  • Two of the five postings reference creating or managing digital collections.
  • Two of the five postings specify working with digital assets.
  • Two of the five postings mention working with archives collections.
  • One of the five postings wants familiarity with database structure.
  • One of the five postings wants experience with digital publishing.
  • One of the five postings specifies information visualization in the job description.
  • One of the five postings specifies working with images or media.
  • One of the five postings asks for management experience.
  • None of the jobs mention cataloging, RDA,  or MARC.
  • How many jobs want which programming skills? XML/XSL (4), HTML (2), CSS (2), PHP (2), Python (2)

Do you find these elements surprising? Do these some of these specifications sound unfamiliar to you or in line with skills you have been developing? Are there skills that a DH professional in an art library or museum would need in particular that aren’t listed here?

DH and Your Job

Round-up for July, 2015 part two

For part two, I will admit that I’m just sharing things with you that I still have open in browser tabs, awaiting time to fully investigate, but seem promising enough to pass along.

Flowingdata.com – What is FlowingData? I’m not quite sure yet. The “About” page says, “FlowingData explores how statisticians, designers, data scientists, and others use analysis, visualization, and exploration to understand data and ourselves.” Scrolling through the site, it seems to collect a variety of visualizations dealing with everything from incarceration rates, beer, and literary road trips.

The good, the bad, and the unstructured… Open data in cultural heritage – Here is a blog post including presentation slides by Mia Ridge, cultural heritage technologist, from a colloquium called Linked Pasts.

Should I do Social Network Analysis? – Marten Düring made a cheat sheet flowchart to help you make the decision whether network analysis would be helpful in your research.

Slides and Lectures from Beyond the Digitized Slide Library workshop – Instead of a week at the beach, spend a week at home working your way through tons of valuable information from the UCLA digital art history workshop covering everything from, “What is digital art history?”, to Omeka, to visualization, and more. It is a tremendously generous resource.

Eyeo Festival – After spending a week with the UCLA content, you could probably spend another week watching presentations from the Eyeo Festival, which was new to me but just wrapped up it’s fifth year. I’ve already enjoyed this presentation about a data drawing project.

MohioMap – Totally new to me, bookmarked after I saw it mentioned on Twitter. “Mohiomap gives you a visual way to navigate through your cloud data. You can cross-reference and group your files using simple drag-and-drop tagging. And Mohiomap lets you search across several cloud storage accounts at once.”

Round-up for July, 2015

It’s been a few weeks since the last post and there are a lot of exciting things to cover.

MoMA on Github
One of the most exciting things that happened in July, as far as the world of art and dh is concerned, is the release of MoMA’s collection data on Github. This data is a complete representation of all accessioned works (the museum’s website only includes half of the 120,000 object collection.) MoMA’s Digital Content and Strategy Manager, Fiona Romeo, wrote on blogging platform/publisher Medium about the motivation to join the ranks of museums with open collection data. And for data and art nerds, as if the release of this information isn’t enough, there has already been an in-gallery performance of the data by the Elevator Repair Service, conceived of by MoMA artists-in-residence, The Office for Creative Research. (Watch the video clip below. Warning: the language, which all comes from the museum’s collection, is not workplace friendly at the beginning.) If you just don’t feel a thrill at the idea of a 120k row .csv document, read this blog post by Jer Thorp of The Office for Creative Research who manages to write about the data release with a real sense of beauty and inspiration.

You may notice that the two blog posts linked in the previous paragraph are on the blogging platform Medium. Started by Twitter founded Evan Williams, Medium is a blog and publishing platform made for writers with a minimal and clean interface and a friendly format for longer articles. As you can see, MoMA is using it, a group of leading muse-tech folks have their own publication there called Code|Words, and Dana Allen-Greil just wrote about using it from inside federal institutions. David Carr wrote about it in the New York Times in May 2014.


Links Round-up June 29, 2015

I know Monday is an odd day for a links round-up, but there were a few big things that came out recently that I wanted to be sure to share.

caa.reviews published its first essay in their new Digital Humanities and Art History coverage. Written by Field Editor Pamela Fletcher, it provides a very gentle introduction and highlights a selection of projects, most of which should be familiar to you if you’ve been keeping up. Perhaps it is a style decision, but since the essay was online and concerning online materials, I would have appreciated inline links to the described projects. That said, there are plenty of links to projects and helpful articles in the end notes. I am curious to see if, in future installments, this coverage sounds less tentative and reflects a studier embrace of the digital. (This is my own opinion. What was your impression?)

-The International Journal for Digital Art History published issue #1 online June 26, 2015. All articles are available for free download and a good place to start might be “Debating Digital Art History” by Anna Bentkowska-Kafel, who asks the question, “Am I a Digital Humanist or a Digital Art Historian or, simply, an Art Historian?” A call for articles for issue #2 has a deadline of August 15, 2015. The exciting theme is Visualizing Big Image Data.

Links Round-up June 15, 2015

  • The latest issue of ARTL@S Bulletin is overflowing with fantastic information about a variety of mapping and spatially-related digital art history. Articles are available for free download.
  • Students of Miriam Posner (@miriamkp on Twitter) examined the Getty Provenance Index for their capstone project in UCLA’s Digital Humanities program. Some of you may remember Getty’s Christian Huemer presenting to ARLIS2013 on his work with the GPI. The student projects and accompanying articles are really interesting and worth exploring.
  • @nypl_labs tweeted about another group of students from UC Berkeley I School who put the NYPL Menu Project through a bunch of data visualizations to great results.
  • It may not meet some definitions of digital humanities, but the case of the Rothko Harvard Murals (1963) gets a good discussion here on greg.org.

Art History DH Summer Institutes

Following the Getty Foundation-supported summer institutes is a great way to increase your exposure to digital humanities tools, projects, and discussion. Use #doingdah15 to follow along on Twitter where posting frequency is sure to be high.

James Cuno, president of the J. Paul Getty Trust, talks about the Getty’s commitment to modernizing research and scholarship in this article from April, 2014.

Getting started

There are so many resources on the internet to help you learn about digital humanities (see the Reading Lists page). This blog hopes to serve as a way finder, pointing you towards new projects and opportunities, and fostering the community of our DH SIG.

For this post, I will share a couple of my favorite resources for getting your thoughts started about digital humanities projects.

The go-to for many, myself certainly included, is Miriam Posner’s How Did They Make That? blog post from 2013. Posner, coordinator of the DH program at UCLA, breaks down some typical project types, identifies what made them possible, and what you need to know. The post spawned a Zotero library and even a video (a master class in DH, if you will).

Another great read that will give you a less technical overview of the big picture of taking on DH projects is Page Morgan’s How to Get a Digital Humanities Project Off the Ground. Morgan gives clear, useful advice that comes from experience.