Romance Languages Discussion Group Minutes - 2010 Annual

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Convenors: outgoing: Deb Raftus 2009-2010; incoming: Heidi Madden for 2010 – 2011

Minutes: Heidi Madden (.pdf)


• The meeting marked the 20th anniversary of the Romance Languages discussion group.


• The group discussed ideas on keeping up with “New Publications of Note.” Since Jeffry retired, the Romance Languages section receives few submissions. Attendees expressed a strong interest in keeping this up. Some questions to consider: how do we solicit review copies? How did Jeffry keep up? Perhaps we could divide the list by country, and take turns reviewing Reference sources.

Program: Digital Humanities: Are We Getting It?

"...the humanities have to take ownership of and explicate the cultural products of their day; and those products are now inherently digital." ~ Lou Bernard, in response to The Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0
• Deb Raftus gave a brief overview of the Digital Humanities. In the spirit of our 20th anniversary, she researched “Humanities Computing” in 1990, and followed up with writings from today. She presented a few existing digital projects in Romance Languages and facilitated small-group discussions around issues of launching and managing or supporting digital humanities projects in the library. The discussion group participants split up into groups to consider the following questions:

Role of the subject librarian and launching and management of digital projects:
  • We have “subject and language” expertise and a close connection to the department. This has helped the library do its job better and more efficiently – especially in providing collection development tailored to needs. How do we switch gears to be of use to faculty who take on heavy projects – other than refer them to the various IT, cataloging, database management and multimedia experts?
  • Folks who are involved in “computers in the humanities” and we, the traditional Librarians, have difficulties talking to each other. How do we bridge this gap? What training do we need? How do we foster an open dialogue?
  • If a faculty member proposes a project, how can the subject librarian get involved?
  • How can libraries facilitate the following components to the project: creating, sharing, analyzing and exploring?
  • What happens when the faculty member leaves or retires?
  • How could proposals for projects be evaluated and prioritized?
  • What are some ideas on engaging the public (outside the university)?
  • Small groups spent time talking about the challenges of identifying needs for support, opportunities to liaise between researchers and various library departments, and identifying skills that librarians need to add to their portfolio to be of help.

    This detailed definition of digital humanities provides a good overview of opportunities and challenges:
    “A digital humanities center is an entity where new media and technologies are used for humanities-based research, teaching, and intellectual engagement and experimentation. The goals of the center are to further humanities scholarship, create new forms of knowledge, and explore technology’s impact on humanities based disciplines. To accomplish these goals, a digital humanities center undertakes some or all of the following activities:
    • builds digital collections as scholarly or teaching resources;
    • creates tools for
    >authoring (i.e., creating multimedia products and applications with minimal technical knowledge or training)
    >building digital collections
    analyzing humanities collections, data, or research processes
    >managing the research process;
    • uses digital collections and analytical tools to generate new intellectual products;
    • offers digital humanities training (in the form of workshops, courses, academic degree programs, postgraduate and faculty training, fellowships, and internships);
    • offers lectures, programs, conferences, or seminars on digital humanities topics for general or academic audiences;
    • has its own academic appointments and staffing (i.e., staff does not rely solely on faculty located in another academic department);
    • provides collegial support for, and collaboration with, members of other academic departments within the DHC’s home institution (e.g., offers free or fee-based consultation services; enters into collaborative projects with other campus departments);
    • provides collegial support for, and collaboration with, members of other academic departments, organizations, or projects outside the DHC’s home institution (e.g., offers free or fee-based consultation to outside groups; enters into collaborative projects with external groups);
    • conducts research in humanities and humanities computing (digital scholarship);
    • creates a zone of experimentation and innovation for humanists;
    • serves as an information portal for a particular humanities discipline;
    • serves as a repository for humanities-based digital collections (e.g., Web sites, electronic text projects, QuickTime movie clips);
    • provides technology solutions to humanities departments (e.g., serves an information”
    Diane M. Zorich “A Survey of Digital Humanities Centers in the United States.” November 2008. Pages 4-5. CLIR Reports

    Exchange about existing Digital Humanities Centers:

    1. Describe you centers’ experiences, practices, services, and staffing/collaboration models.
    2. What is the library’s involvement? (What can the library contribute?)
    3. What are some strategies for library outreach to the center?

    Participants exchanged information about existing projects – with an emphasis on Digital Humanities/Scholarship centers located in the library or supported by the library – please add to this list if you library supports such a center (email: []):

    Some suggestions for further reading:


    ADHOAlliance of Digital Humanities Organizations
    •The Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing (ALLC)
    •The Association for Computers in the Humanities (ACH)
    •The Society for Digital Humanities / Société pour l'étude des médias interactifs (SDH-SEMI)
    DARIAH Digital Research Infrastructure for the Arts and Humanities
    ESFRI European Commission Research Infrastructures
    Project Bamboo

    Peer reviewed journals (ADHO):

    Literary and Linguistic Computing, a print journal Oxford University Press
    Digital Studies / Le champ numérique, a new open-access peer reviewed electronic journal from SDH/SEMI
    DHQ (Digital Humanities Quarterly, a new open-access peer-reviewed electronic journal from ADHO
    Computers in the Humanities Working Papers, an online preprint publication
    Text Technology, a free electronic journal published by McMaster University
    Digiversity Webmagazin

    Books and book series (ADHO):

    Blackwell's Companion to Digital Humanities
    Blackwell's Companion to Digital Literary Studies
    OHC monograph series
    Topics in the Digital Humanities, a new book series coming soon from the University of Illinois Press
    Digital Research in the Arts and Humanities, a book series focusing on issues of technology in Arts and Humanities research, published by Ashgate Publishing
    • The Ninch Guide to Good Practice in the Digital Representation and Management of Cultural Heritage Materials


    NEH Office of Digital Humanities


    Digital Humanities 2010
    Virtual conference
    Digital Humanities Talks at MLA 2009
    THATCamp. A Digital Humanities Unconference
    Digital Humanities Summer Institute


    Dan Cohen Digital humanities
    Day in the Life of Digital Humanities
    Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities

    Sources from Deb’s Introduction

    • Borgman, Christine L. "The Digital Future is Now: A Call to Action for the Humanities." DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly 3.4 (Fall 2009). Web.
    • Miall, David S. Rethinking English Studies: The Role of the Computer. In: Humanities and the Computer. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1990.
    • Pannapacker, William. "The MLA and the Digital Humanities" Chronicle of Higher Education 28 Dec 2009. Web.
    • Unsworth, John. “The State of the Digital Humanities, 2010 (ripped from the blogosphere and twitterverse)." Digital Humanities Summer Institute, June 2010. Web.
    • Zorich, Diane M. “Digital Humanities Centers: Loci for Digital Scholarship.” In: Digital Humanities Centers in the United States. Washington, D.C.: Council on Library and Information Resources, 2008.
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