[Humanist] 27.97 skills, scholars and scholar-librarians

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Wed Jun 5 23:56:05 CEST 2013

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 27, No. 97.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Thu, 06 Jun 2013 07:45:47 +1000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: skills needed in projects: librarians

Melissa Terras' note on librarians as scholars (Humanist 27.93) draws 
attention to an old problem: their status within universities, which I 
suspect is often in conflict with their scholarly inclinations and 
accomplishments. In some places the post of University or College 
Librarian is given to major scholars -- Robert Darnton at Harvard, David 
McKitterick at Trinity College Cambridge come to mind. In others 
librarians are appointed to academic positions and move into them 
without a ripple. In many others, however, librarian-scholars are not so 
well treated. For a time the situation of librarians at Toronto, where I 
had a non-academic appointment in a non-academic centre, seemed better 
than mine; e.g. sabbaticals were possible for them, not for me. How are 
things now?

Digital humanities has a special and quite close relationship to 
librarianship, library and information science and related 
configurations. I would suppose that the closer digital humanities gets 
to collaborative research in lab-based projects the more like 
librarians' disciplinary practice it becomes. And there's the question 
of how service to others is integrated into an autonomous scholarly 
life. I suspect librarians could teach others quite a bit about that.

Institutions are hard to change but not impossibly so. What would we 
like to aim at? What do librarian-scholars regard as desirable which is 
within the realm of possibility? How would the academic world be improved?


Willard McCarty, FRAI / Professor of Humanities Computing & Director of
the Doctoral Programme, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
London; Professor, Research Group in Digital Humanities, University of
Western Sydney; Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews
(www.isr-journal.org); Editor, Humanist (dhhumanist.org);

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