Day of DH – Postscript- Getting Started in The Digital Humanities

Written by: Thomas Padilla

Primary Source: Thomas Padilla

When I think about the role that the library can play in supporting Digital Humanities research part of my thinking turns toward emphasizing it as a natural point of confluence for facilitating discussion. And so we organized a panel of DH scholars and asked them a series of questions tied loosely under the heading of “Getting Started in the Digital Humanities: A Multidisciplinary Perspective”. Not the smoothest title but I think it gets the point across. I wanted perspectives on this thing that we do from different intellectual and professional cultures.

The panel included Natalie Philips, Liza Potts, Sean Pue, Dean Rehberger, and Jessica Marie Johnson. Huge thanks to them all.

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The questions I delivered for the first part of the event were most of the following, encoded in t.padilla lefthanded scratch format on a wood pulp substrate.


Im a new librarian (just started in January) so admittedly I had some nerves kicking off our “Getting Started in DH” event in front of new colleagues (where I am that librarian doing some inchoate thing called DH), and a whole bunch of scholars whose worked Id admired before I ever set foot in the mitten.

Nerves led to the following gem.

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I think I can say that it was ultimately a relatively non-grumpy event, so achievement.

It was awesome to hear the various perspectives of the panelists – how they defined DH and realized that definition in the course of research, how they got started and why, what resources they use, and what their objects of inquiry are – giving form to data so to speak. It is my hope that collectively we’ve provided a sense of possibility and promise around DH for those new to DH and maybe even renewed excitement for the more experienced.

Now my thoughts turn toward notes on comments and subtexts heard in remarks from the panelists and the audience. Drawing on that data Ill continue the work of improving MSU Libraries ability to drive forward digital humanities research.

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Thomas Padilla
Thomas Padilla is Digital Humanities Librarian at Michigan State University Libraries. Prior to his move to Michigan he was at the University of Illinois at Urbana Champaign working at the Scholarly Commons and the Preservation Unit of the University Library. Prior to that he was at the Library of Congress doing digital preservation outreach and education. Thomas maintains diverse interests in digital humanities, digital preservation, data curation, archives, History, and interdisciplinarity. His work and projects often map to these areas of interest.