Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities

On 1 September, 2015 in a preview issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly Alix Keener published “The Arrival Fallacy: Collaborative Research Relationships in the Digital Humanities”. The article, based on the results of semi-structured interviews with 11 personnel — faculty, researchers and librarians — within the Center for Institutional Cooperation, explores the collaborative relationship between faculty and academic librarians in the conduct of digital humanities research. The findings are discussed in five sections: I), the best model for engaging DH scholars, II), what domain expertise is needed, III), the areas in which faculty and librarians agree, IV), the areas in which they disagree (tensions), and finally, V), where the two groups have a perceptual disconnect. Below is the article’s abstract:

As discussion and debates on the digital humanities continue among scholars, so too does discussion about how academic libraries can and should support this scholarship. Through interviews with digital humanities scholars and academic librarians within the Center for Institutional Cooperation, this study aims to explore some points of common perspective and underlying tensions in research relationships. Qualitative interviews revealed that, while both groups are enthusiastic about the future of faculty-librarian collaboration on digital scholarship, there remain certain tensions about the role of the library and the librarian. Scholars appreciate the specialized expertise of librarians, especially in metadata and special collections, but they can take a more active stance in utilizing current library resources or vocalizing their needs for other resources. This expertise and these services can be leveraged to make the library an active and equal partner in research. Additionally, libraries should address internal issues, such as training and re-skilling librarians as necessary; better-coordinated outreach to academic departments is also needed.