Hybrid Cyber-Librarians: The CLIR Post-Doctoral Fellowship in Scholarly Information Resources for Humanists

panel / roundtable
  1. 1. Amanda French

    North Carolina State University

  2. 2. John Unsworth

    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

  3. 3. Susan Nutter

    Libraries - North Carolina State University

  4. 4. Sarah Michalak

    Libraries - North Carolina State University

  5. 5. Patricia Hswe

    University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign

  6. 6. Daphnée Rentfrow

    Yale University

Work text
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The Council on Library and Information Resources ( <http:
//www.clir.org/> ) has developed a unique new program
of crucial interest to the membership of the Association for
Computers and the Humanities: the CLIR Post-Doctoral
Fellowship in Scholarly Information Resources for Humanists.
The stated purpose of this program, now in its first year at ten
U.S. academic libraries, is "to establish a new kind of scholarly
information professional" by offering individuals with a recent
Ph.D. in a humanities field a chance to acquire the experience
of the academic librarian in the digital age (CLIR , <http:/
.html> , "Information"). ACH is one of the few professional
associations in which scholars, librarians, and technology
specialists come together as a coherent community; every one
of its members is no doubt aware that communication in other
venues between these three professions is highly problematic.
Moreover, people who undertake humanities computing projects
are frequently frustrated by the fact that their professions lack
a structure that allows new-model collaborative work to be
recognized and rewarded.
Successful humanities computing initiatives such as the Institute
for Advanced Technology in the Humanities ( <http://ww
w.iath.virginia.edu/> ) at the University of Virginia
could not have been possible without the enthusiastic
collaboration of scholars, librarians, and technology specialists.
Those involved in these initiatives understand that the nature
of the work often goes beyond the collaborative or even the
interdisciplinary to become what we might call the
'interprofessional'. On humanities computing projects, it is rare
to find individuals rigidly adhering to their own professional
skills and duties as though on an assembly line. Usually, those
who participate develop into information professionals who
possess various proportions of expertise in scholarship, library
science, and technology.
Such interprofessional work is not credentialed, however, nor
is it generally practiced outside the humanities computing
community. This creates serious problems not only for
individuals whose work has been interprofessional but also for
the whole enterprise of digital scholarship. Scholars who have
been involved in humanities computing projects are far more
likely than other scholars to understand the challenges facing
academic librarians in the digital age — but all scholars are
beginning to expect high-level digital services from their
libraries. CLIR frames this problem thus:
Libraries digitize primary resources to respond to the demands of
individual scholars, but scholars don't recognize the complexity
of carrying out this task nor do they understand the demands placed
on librarians who need to improve access and ensure preservation...
Scholars are increasingly accepting of digital publication, while
librarians are finding that the contract law that controls access to
such publications makes preservation impossible and access
(CLIR , <http://www.clir.org/fellowships/post
doc/detail.html> , "Program")
But is the creation of a new hybrid professional the answer to
problems such as these, or does a program such as the CLIR
post-doctoral fellowship threaten to undermine the valuable
discrete professional knowledge of librarians, scholars, and
technology specialists? A recent Library Journal article on the CLIR Post-Doctoral Fellowship takes the latter position,
declaring that "It weakens our profession when we open it to
Ph.D.'s without established library credentials" ( <http://w
ww.libraryjournal.com/article/CA474993> ,
Crowley) This perspective emphasizes the unique skills
belonging to a particular profession, a perspective that might
well be shared by some scholarly professionals and some
technology professionals. Is the specialized knowledge of these
professions endangered or diluted by the collaborations that
are so common on humanities computing projects? Should
interprofessional credentialization be encouraged?
We suspect that the membership of ACH has much to contribute
to this discussion, and we believe that the first year of the CLIR
Post-Doctoral Fellowship is the ideal time to discuss the
professionalization issues faced by information professionals
engaged in humanities computing projects. We therefore
propose a ninety-minute session in which panelists will engage
in debate about the CLIR Post-Doctoral Fellowship and related
professionalization and specialization issues. We invite the
members of ACH to engage in this discussion of the principles
behind—and future of—this attempt to credential a new species
of digital scholar-librarian.
Council on Library and Information Resources. Post-Doctoral
Fellowship in Scholarly Information Resources for Humanists:
Information for Applicants. Accessed 2005-03-23. <http:
Council on Library and Information Resources. Post-Doctoral
Fellowship in Scholarly Information Resources for Humanists:
Program Background. Accessed 2005-03-23. <http://ww
Crowley, Bill. "Just Another Field?" Library Journal 129.18
(2004): 44-6. Accessed 2005-03-23. <http://www.libr
Oder, Norman. "New Movement for Ph.D.'s To Work in
Academic Libraries." Library Journal 128.11 (2003): 16-17.
Accessed 2005-03-23. <http://www.libraryjourna

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Conference Info

In review


Hosted at University of Victoria

Victoria, British Columbia, Canada

June 15, 2005 - June 18, 2005

139 works by 236 authors indexed

Affiliations need to be double checked.

Conference website: http://web.archive.org/web/20071215042001/http://web.uvic.ca/hrd/achallc2005/

Series: ACH/ICCH (25), ALLC/EADH (32), ACH/ALLC (17)

Organizers: ACH, ALLC

  • Keywords: None
  • Language: English
  • Topics: None