November 25, 2018 by Amanda Visconti

Designing a digital humanities initiative at Purdue: all my notes

Some time back, I started a series of “meta-dh” posts documenting digital humanities and digital scholarship infrastructure: the hows and whys of making DH go. Treating a project team, lab, department, or campus as itself a DH project, if you will.

I kicked the series off with an introductory post, and got two posts in before life (including a career change from Purdue to UVA!) intervened:

  1. “Designing a Digital Humanities Initiative: Background & Campus DH Survey” covers basic questions you might ask when starting a DH or digital scholarship initiative at your school, and an analysis of Purdue’s (circa 2015-2016) campus strengths and needs
  2. “Buying digital humanities hardware (a proposal for an archival DH 3D scanner and 3D printer”) shares one (successful!) model for asking your unit to fund something expensive. The actual proposal I submitted is attached, and the post covers a short skimmable summary of what I was asking for (and technical terms critical to understanding budget asks, e.g. what filament is), expected audiences for and example projects we could pursue with the equipment, expected IT support and maintenance needs, the budget, and a discussion of why the existing local options didn’t meet my needs (the Engineering Library had a 3D printer already, but we wanted one for dedicated use with the Purdue Archives)

Today, I’m releasing 7 new posts, completing the series on designing DH infrastructure at Purdue Libraries; a table of contents listing all these posts in one place is below.

Please note that these posts consist of notes taken during my former DH Librarian role at Purdue (2015-2017), rather than my latest thinking at Scholars’ Lab. I’ll be sharing that updated thinking here soon!

Notes from my time at Purdue as their first DH Librarian (2015-2017)

Previously released:

  • The job talk for my role at Purdue (DH Librarian, a tenure-track faculty role 2015-2017; see also the job talk for my current role co-directing the UVA Library’s Scholars’ Lab, 2017-current)
  • What I learned about DH at Purdue during my first year in this role, doing a campus DH/DS survey
  • Proposing a significant expense: analysis a successful request to fund a DH-specific 3D scanning and printing setup

7 new posts!:

  1. Workflows to consider before opening a DH lab: What workflows should I think through before the Libraries DH Lab can open its doors?

  2. A mission statement for digital humanities at Purdue Libraries

  3. Following up on the mission statement post, a post on what that mission would look like in practice: defining what would and wouldn’t be in scope for the initative, and what long-term success might look like

  4. DH lab hiring, writing good job ads, & HR policy

  5. Planning a DH lab’s physical location: basic setup needs & rationale, thinking toward an eventual DH Lab physically paired with the Archives & Special Collections space

  6. Thinking through the DH initiative’s relation to the existing Libraries IT team

  7. Ideas for wise management of DH initiative resources

That’s a wrap on my notes from Purdue DH, I think! My future posts in this meta-DH series will be about my current work at the UVA Library’s Scholars’ Lab.