This is my third class in the Digital Public Humanities certificate program at George Mason. I enjoyed the foundation in digital humanities that the previous two courses created. For me, my foundation was also helped by attending both Rebuilding the Portfolio: DH for Art Historians through the Center for History and New Media with funding from the Getty Foundation and the Digital Humanities Institute for Mid-Career Librarians through the University of Rochester and Council on Library and Information Resources and funded by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.
My interest in digital humanities began when I started the artists’ books collection at George Mason University almost seven years ago while working as the Art & Art History Librarian. A creative writing professor asked the library to subscribe to the Journal of Artists’ Books, but the English Librarian was not familiar with the publication and asked me about it. We realized that classes about artists’ books were being taught in both English and Art and decided that the library needed to create a teaching collection for faculty and students as well as the community. The books are held in Special Collections for preservation reasons, and all of the titles are listed in the library catalog. However, the books were still not easy to access so we started talking about digitizing the collection. This actually led to incorporating digital humanities tools. We had started by collecting local artists but expanded to a global focus, which inspired us to looking at mapping tools like Google Fusion, the Geolocation Plugin in Omeka, and StoryMap from the Knights Foundation. The original intention what to show the breadth of the collection, but it actually became a collection development tool by showing gaps that needed to be filled in. These books are often collaborative in nature so we also started looking at social networking tools, again using Google Fusion. We wanted to see the connections that developed in this particular community.
In my new position as the Arts & Architecture Librarian at UNC-Charlotte, I am starting an artists’ books collection focused on North Carolina. I intend to incorporate digital humanities tools into the presentation of this collection as well. In particular, this course will help me to integrate teaching and learning methodologies into this project. In general, digital humanities has become a bigger component of my job as a subject/liaison librarian in the arts and humanities. This is on trend with the growing push for librarians to become more involved in areas like DH, Big Data, data visualization, etc.
My original academic background is in art history (specifically Victorian art and design history), and I have a master’s in art history from Florida State. I then earned a master’s in library science from UNC-Chapel Hill, and I have worked in libraries for over 12 years.