September 05, 2016 by Amanda Visconti

Meta-DH, or Designing and Building a DH Initiative

I’m starting a “meta-DH” series of blog posts to document my work developing a digital humanities initiative here in the Libraries at Purdue University. This work includes

  • figuring out what our DH could and should be
  • creating a DH physical space (center? lab? something else?)
  • the practical considerations of layout and budgeting
  • designing policies and infrastructure for the initiative
  • building DH projects both to test our policies and to model the kinds of scholarship our methods realize

If you’ve been on this blog before, you might have noticed that I enjoy blogging and other user-friendly documentation of DH scholarship. This style of writing helps me think, with the bonus that sometimes that thinking is useful to others. Blogging can also lead to feedback on resources I should check out, potential collaborators, and what I’m doing wrong.

My first year on the job meant writing a lot of GoogleDocs and other semi-private stuff: taking notes on meetings and consultations, recording ideas for projects, and explaining my plans to administration. To communicate more clearly (and use my colleagues’ generous donation of their reading time well), I summarize—meaning I generate a lot of documentation that hasn’t reached anyone else yet. I think the non-condensed versions of these ideas could be useful to someone. Thus, this series of posts!

I’ll probably blog:

  1. ✔️ The job talk that put me in this role (already blogged earlier this year)
  2. Creating the website for our DH initiative
  3. ✔️ What I learned during my first year in this role: doing a campus DH survey
  4. Making good time & resource investments while designing campus DH
  5. How I’ve interpreted my job description
  6. Working with my faculty review committee to receive credit for my various kinds of DHy scholarship
  7. Daily practices (my office setup, software used, consultations, etc.)
  8. DH program identity and choosing what to call our initiative (center? lab? should we even have a physical space?)
  9. My formal DH initiative proposal to department administration
  10. Designing and following through on a DH mission statement
  11. Partnerships and collaboration
  12. Defining DH scope
  13. Designing timelines and funding requests
  14. Creating a DH space: layout, equipment, budget
  15. Grant proposals and sustainable models

If there’s something not on that list you’d like to read about, let me know on Twitter @literature_geek or by email aviscont@purdue.edu.