[Humanist] 31.303 physical space

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu Sep 14 20:49:35 CEST 2017

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 31, No. 303.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Markus Wust <mgwust at ncsu.edu>                             (15)
        Subject: Re:  Physical Space for Digital Humanities Center

  [2]   From:    Lorraine Janzen <ljanzen at english.ryerson.ca>              (11)
        Subject: Re:  Physical Space for DH Center

        Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2017 19:50:14 +0000
        From: Markus Wust <mgwust at ncsu.edu>
        Subject: Re:  Physical Space for Digital Humanities Center
        In-Reply-To: <006f01d3295d$86899fe0$939cdfa0$@com>


Another useful resource may be the Learning Space Toolkit (https://learningspacetoolkit.org/) which was developed by staff at North Carolina State University and consultants from brightspot strategy and AECOM Strategy Plus.


On Sat, Sep 9, 2017 at 7:19 AM, Billl Newmiller <bill at newmiller.com<mailto:bill at newmiller.com>> wrote:
Hello Everyone,

I’d really appreciate any insights you can provide me regarding physical space for a Digital Humanities Center. I expect that during the next few months, we’ll be examining options for such a space at the Air Force Academy, and I’d greatly value hearing about the thoughts and experiences anyone is willing to share with me.

Bill Newmiller

Markus Wust
Digital Research and Scholarship Librarian
North Carolina State University Libraries
Raleigh, NC
ORCID: 0000-0001-5958-2058

        Date: Tue, 12 Sep 2017 19:52:19 +0000
        From: Lorraine Janzen <ljanzen at english.ryerson.ca>
        Subject: Re:  Physical Space for DH Center
        In-Reply-To: <4C749C0B-86B3-4705-9099-E423F11601C5 at gmail.com>

Dear Bill

For years, our Centre for Digital Humanities was centred in a group of rooms in a distant building of campus, in a part of the city that required the building be locked and inaccessible except by swipe card. Our main studio space (as we called it) was thus very difficult for folks outside the working group to access, but it was otherwise serviceable, with workstations, windows, and an alcove where we kept our reference books and documents. We worked happily in this space for a long time, but wished for greater accessibility and exposure. 

Fast forward to January 2017 and the opening of our new CDH, as part  a planned renovation and refurbishment of our Library's fourth floor, which now houses Special Collections and Archives and the CDH. We share a Digitization Suite and a Meeting Room (with white board, digital projector, computer, etc), as well as access to a large open space (wired) for symposia and booked classes. The CDH also has its own dedicated room with 6 workstations (3 MAC, 3 PC), a small round table for small team meetings, a wall of shelving for  our own material collections, two display cases, and an alcove for storage. One flight below us is the Library IT "Maker Space" for faculty projects, so our location could not be better. 

The furniture we cobbled together over the years from cast-offs, and brought with us. The computers came from CDH members' funding or are cast-offs from the English Department. The physical space itself, however, is what's crucial. The location puts the CDH and its activities at the heart of the university and its activities. We are now able to collaborate easily with both the folks and the material collections in Spec Coll, and with the folks and other librarians in the Maker Space. We are visible, accessible, invitational, as a result of our location, and already interest and traffic have increased. We've introduced a Tuesday Drop In as a result. And this semester, at least three courses in my department are bringing students to work with Special Collections material with the object of curating it in digital exhibits of various kinds. 

So: I echo Matt when he says, keep the library in mind when you think about your location. We have been fortunate in that the Chief Librarian worked tirelessly with us, our Dean, and upper admin, to bring our physical location in the library about. Years of collaboration between the CDH and the Library made our presence seem like a good idea to all concerned. 

Good luck!

Dr. Lorraine Janzen Kooistra
Professor of English, Ryerson University
Co-Director, Centre for Digital Humanities
Toronto, ON Canada

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