[Humanist] 22.575 disciplinary standards in the digital humanities?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Feb 28 08:52:08 CET 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 575.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Brent Nelson <brent.nelson at usask.ca>                      (25)
        Subject: disciplinary standards in digital humanities

  [2]   From:    Allison Muri <allison.muri at usask.ca>                      (37)
        Subject: Re: disciplinary standards in digital humanities

        Date: Fri, 27 Feb 2009 23:48:10 +0000
        From: Brent Nelson <brent.nelson at usask.ca>
        Subject: disciplinary standards in digital humanities

I am drafting language for our departmental standards document that will 
explain the nature of digital humanities projects, describe their 
particular nature and value, and establish some guidelines for 
evaluating and establishing merit, all of this over against the more 
standard forms of publication in our discipline.

I know this comes up again and again in discussions at digital 
humanities conference, and I know the MLA has tried to tackle this issue 
in their 2006 report.  But does anyone know of any particular 
documentation that has been put together for departmental, college, or 
university standards documents?   Or is there a forum where these sort 
of standards have been discussed?

Sincerely hoping for answers,

Brent Nelson

Dr. Brent Nelson, Associate Professor
Department of English
9 Campus Dr.
University of Saskatchewan
Saskatoon, SK S7N 5A5
my office ph.: (306) 966-1820
main office ph.: (306) 966-5486
fax.: (306) 966-5951
e-mail: nelson at arts.usask.ca

        Date: Sat, 28 Feb 2009 00:49:20 +0000
        From: Allison Muri <allison.muri at usask.ca>
        Subject: Re: disciplinary standards in digital humanities
        In-Reply-To: <49A87B90.6070302 at usask.ca>

Hi Brent,

There are some pretty good guidelines approved by UVic
"Report On Academic Computing Recognition"

See also: "Evaluating Digital Humanities Resources: The LAIRAH Project Checklist and the Internet Shakespeare Editions Project" at http://eprints.ucl.ac.uk/4806/.

The University of Virginia Office of the Dean document on "Evaluating Digital Scholarship, Promotion & Tenure Cases"

This site provides a link to Mount Holyoke College's "Guidelines for Evaluating Faculty Research, Teaching and Community Service in the Digital Age"

Also, University of Nebraska, Lincoln's Center for Digital Research in the Humanities has a great page with helpful links, "Promotion & Tenure Criteria for Assessing Digital Research in the Humanities"

The American Associaton for History and Computing has done some work in this area. See:

"Suggested Guidelines for Evaluating Digital Media Activities in
Tenure, Review, and Promotion
Introduction" posting


...and the book Digital Scholarship in the Tenure, Promotion, and Review Process, Edited by Deborah Lines Andersen, State University of New York, Albany (2004)

It can also be previewed on Google Books:

The bibliography in this book is pretty helpful.

The report 'Our Cultural Commonwealth: The Report of the ACLS Commission on Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences" notes that

"policies for tenure and promotion that recognize and reward digital scholarship and scholarly communication; recognition should be given not only to scholarship that uses the humanities and social science cyberinfrastructure but also to scholarship that contributes to its design, construction, and growth."

I think this is a very important point to include in language re. tenure and promotion: design, construction, and maintenance of digital projects is rarely considered -- at least in my experience -- as part of the academic merit of a digital humanities project, especially by those who do not do this kind of work. It's invisible.

See also:
"Tenure, Promotion and Digital Publication" by Joseph Raben in Digital Humanities Quarterly (2007)


Allison Muri

Department of English
University of Saskatchewan
9 Campus Drive
Saskatoon, SK, Canada  S7N 5A5
ph: 306.966.5503

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