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NYPL Labs: Digital Humanities and the Future of Libraries

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June 16, 2011

Program Locations:

Stephen A. Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium

A conversation in honor of Dr. Paul LeClerc with:
Kari Kraus, Jon Orwant, Dot Porter and Doug Reside
Presented by NYPL Labs

A sectional view of the New York Public Library, Digital ID 805999A sectional view of the New York Public Library (1911)

Since the early days of the field, Digital Humanities practitioners have frequently found allies and collaborators in librarians and archivists.  Many early digital humanities projects centered around organizing and making accessible information--two activities at the core of the mission of almost every library.  Perhaps for this reason, many of the largest digital humanities centers are physically situated in and often at least partially funded by University libraries.

Nonetheless, the field has traditionally been led (with a few notable exceptions) by faculty from humanities departments rather than by library staff, and libraries have tended to isolate digital humanities centers as somewhat quarantined departments separate from the daily work of the institution.  However, as both digital humanities and librarianship develop in the 21st century, there are indications that these walls of separation are beginning to erode.  In this panel discussion, NYPL Digital Curator for the Performing Arts, Doug Reside, and three digital humanists from very different backgrounds will discuss the future of libraries and the digital humanities and how these two related, but as yet mostly separate fields, may (or may not) finally converge.

This event is held in honor of outgoing NYPL President Dr. Paul LeClerc, whose vision and passionate advocacy have advanced the frontiers of digital humanities innovation at the Library. The event is sponsored by NYPL Labs, a collaborative team of librarians, curators and technologists developing new ideas and tools for digital research.

Participants

KARI KRAUS is an assistant professor in the College of Information Studies and the Department of English at the University of Maryland. Her research and teaching interests focus on new media and the digital humanities, textual scholarship and print culture, digital preservation, transmedia storytelling, and game studies. Kraus is a local Co-PI on an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant for preserving virtual worlds; a Co-PI on an IMLS Digital Humanities Internship grant; and, with Derek Hansen (iSchool), the Co-Principal Investigator of an NSF grant to study Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and transmedia storytelling in the service of education and design. In addition to the University of Maryland, she has taught at the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music, and in the Art and Visual Technology program at George Mason University.

JON ORWANT is Engineering Manager at Google, where he works on Book Search, Patent Search, visualizations, and the digital humanities, where he recently launched the Google Books Ngram Viewer. He's the author or co-author of several books on programming, including the bestselling Programming Perl, and published an independent computer magazine. Before joining Google he was the CTO of O'Reilly & Associates and Director of Research for France Telecom. He received his doctorate from MIT's Electronic Publishing Group in 1999.

DOT PORTER is currently the Associate Director for Content & Services in the Digital Library Program at Indiana University. Ms. Porter holds an MA in Medieval Studies and an MS in Library Science, although after receiving her MSLS rather than going to work in a library, she took a position in a digital humanities center. Over the next seven years she dedicated herself to working with humanities scholars to undertake faculty-driven digital projects. These projects often involved working closely with librarians, and with other scholars, such as computer scientists, as well, but the driving force behind the projects was always the humanities scholar. In June 2010, Ms. Porter came to work in the Digital Library Program at IU and was immediately stuck with a bit of culture shock. Although the technologies used in DL are very similar to those in DH, the aims and goals can be quite different, and working between the two can be an interesting, educational, and engaging experience.

DOUG RESIDE (moderator) became Digital Curator for the Performing Arts at New York Public Library in January of 2011 after serving for four and a half years on the directorial staff of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) at the University of Maryland in College Park. He holds a BS in Computer Science and a BA, MA, and Ph.D. in English Literature. He has been a PI on three earlier startup grants (The Ajax XML Encoder, Music Theatre Online, and the Collaborative Ajax Modeling Platform) and the co-PI with Tanya Clement on the “Off the Tracks” workshop. Additionally, he is the original project director of the NEH Preservation and Access funded Text Image Linking Environment (TILE) which is scheduled for release in the summer of 2011.

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