FSU Libraries Calendar
November 17 and 18, 2016
Robert B. Bradley Reading Room, Strozier Library
Digital Humanities projects that involve content specialists and scholars working alongside digital experts and technologists frequently proceed under the assumption that the participants in these collaborative endeavors share common goals. But is this really true?
Imagine, for example, a typical project between a professor of history and a university digital scholarship center. Is the digital scholarship center simply providing a service, or are they considered an equal partner in the work? If so, do both partners share a common goal, or do they have (unintentionally) hidden sub-goals that could influence the outcomes of the project? The historian, for instance, might be primarily focused on building an online repository, but could also be thinking about the impact of such a repository on the field, how others might add to it, and how to materialize several years’ worth of research. Similarly, the digital scholarship center might be thinking about recycling the resulting code for use in other projects, contributing to broader digital scholarly efforts, and so on.
On the surface, none of these goals is inherently contradictory, but in practice, subtle differences emerge that may influence, perhaps even stymie, these partnerships if they go unnoticed. Unpacking these issues for digital humanities scholars, researchers, and professionals is critical for helping digital humanities experts identify and think carefully about the invisible work underlying their projects, yet it is a topic that has received too little attention in our curriculum, our journals, and our seminars. This two-day symposium at Florida State University will attempt to identify the unspoken assumptions surrounding collaborative work in the digital humanities by exploring questions about diverging expectations, unequal labor, and invisible work.
Does everyone working on the same project share the same goals? Is it practically or ethically necessary that they do? Where is the value in helping project participants become more aware of each other's stated or unstated goals? What happens when expectations about the purpose of the project diverge? How can we anticipate the factors contributing to such divergence? What should be done when it occurs? How can projects continue even after goals diverge?
Not everyone working on a collaborative project contributes equally to the overall work, but how well understood are these labor inequalities? Are there people working on the project whose efforts are insufficiently credited? What is the nature of the relationships between the participants? Are there true partnerships, or are some necessarily more service-oriented? Is their articulation detrimental to a project’s success? relationships between the participants? Are there true partnerships, or are some necessarily more service-oriented? Is their articulation detrimental to a project’s success?
With so much work happening behind the scenes, how do we know who is doing what? How do we make invisible work visible? Do these hidden efforts exacerbate differences between technology work and scholarly work? Who is benefiting from whom, and whose agenda is driving research and development efforts? How do these delineations make it more difficult to secure resources or funded support for a range of Digital Humanities work?
The results of this Symposium on Invisible Work in the Digital Humanities will be disseminated in two ways: (1) through a white paper that illustrates how symposium participants took up and extended conversations from each session; and (2) in a co-edited special issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly dedicated to “Invisible Work in the Digital Humanities” (2017:11.4). A CFP for this special issue will circulate in early 2017.Category: Academic Department: University Libraries Contact Person: Paul Marty, Tarez Graban, Allen Romano or Micah Vandegrift