Skip to Content

Hybrid and Fluid by Design: Collective Capacity Building for the Digital Humanities at Penn State Public

This presentation will detail the ways in which The Pennsylvania State University (Penn State) Libraries have implemented new organizational collaborations, departmental models, and positions for advancing a rich program of digital scholarship services, with particular attention to support for the digital humanities (DH). One example is the department of Publishing and Curation Services (PCS). In developing a digital scholarship services program that mindfully engages participation from liaison librarians, PCS has taken a three-pronged approach: it is building capacity and depth for multidisciplinary, cohesive support and collaboration in data curation, scholarly publishing, and digital projects. A key programmatic area for the university, the department, and the libraries has been DH, in which humanities librarians at Penn State have been strategically active. A variety of funding, partnership, and hiring strategies continue to build growth and commitment in DH. These include the libraries’ alliance with the College of Liberal Arts in the university’s “Humanities in a Digital Age” initiative, a partnership that created the new, jointly funded position of Digital Humanities Research Designer (DHRD). The DHRD reports to PCS yet intentionally works outward, in collaboration with liaison librarians and technologists, and thus across organizational lines and structures in the libraries and at the university as a whole. The permeable boundaries of PCS as an “undepartment” kind of department translate to those of the positions it engages, like the DHRD, to achieve its programmatic and service goals, including revisiting and revising approaches to technology and other infrastructure support. A cornerstone of this project briefing will be an overview of the kinds of collaborations, both scholarly and pedagogical, in which the DHRD is engaged within the College of Liberal Arts community. They model DH project development as hybrid, inclusive, and iterative. The presentation will outline how the DHRD and liaison librarians partner with learners, both student and faculty, as collaborators, so that projects become pedagogical mechanisms as much as scholarly objectives, and how this model feeds into a community-of-praxis approach, toward the development of a sustainable DH infrastructure. The presentation will demonstrate how these activities are informing a collective, “de-siloized” understanding of services for DH.