summertime sojourns

Well, I vowed that summer 2015 would be free and clear so that I could focus on finalizing my P&T papers, but that didn’t quite happen….

It all began with a quick jaunt up to East Lansing for HASTAC 2015, where Anita Chan and I discussed our work in digital pedagogy:


I then spent two weeks in Canada: The first week was in lovely Ottawa at Congress 2015, where I presented a research paper on my Emblematica Online user research for the inaugural CSDH/SCHN and ACH Joint Conference:

I then flew to the left coast and spent a week in Victoria at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute learning how to analyze authorial attribution and writing styles in the “Stylometry with R” workshop. (I had an unexpected thrill just a month later, when my DHSI instructors were featured in the Wall Street Journal about their analysis on Harper Lee’s writing style!)

After an obligatory couple days in San Francisco for good ole’ ALA Annual business, the culmination of my travels was a July journey Down Under to Sydney, Australia to present on the Virtual Verse in the Library research findings at the DH2015 conference:


DH2015 also saw the launch of the brand new Libraries and Digital Humanities Special Interest Group in ADHO: All interested people can sign up for the SIG at this link and keep an eye out for some exciting new initiatives from this long awaited SIG!

So while a second summer of touring world airports was nearly as wearying as last year, I also can say that I’ve again had some incredibly enriching experiences with all of the new people I’ve met, the amazing sights I’ve seen, and the thought-provoking research insights I’ve learned from colleagues.

Now my suitcases are finally back in the closet, and I’ll be spending these final weeks of summer in hermit mode to work on dossier revisions and to transform these conference presentations into legit journal articles. See everyone in September….

engaging with the profession

Last week I presented and participated in ACRL 2015, the biennial national conference of the Association for College and Research Libraries.  As always, even though I stress out for weeks about my presentations, the ACRL Conference was an incredibly stimulating experience where somehow everything comes together and I learn so much.

This time around, I gave my very first short Contributed Paper, which was about my user study for Emblematica Online:


I also presented a research poster on the Virtual Verse in the Library IMLS project I co-led with Dr. Rachel Fleming May at the University of Tennessee.

Altogether, I have to admit that ACRL conference often ends up as a “mountaintop” experience: I get excited about others’ inspired projects and initiatives, I LOVE catching up with old friends and former students, and the keynote speakers always send our spirits soaring with messages that we academic librarians are the linchpins in the world of knowledge. And then you come back home…. a bit more refreshed and ready to tackle the challenges once again.

I actually didn’t go straight home, though, but rather flew over to Michigan for the HathiTrust Research Center (HTRC) UnCamp at the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.  There I met a host of scholars, computer programmers, and librarians who came together to learn about the HTRC’s newest tools and services for data mining content in the HathiTrust Digital Library.  It was an interesting 2 days of discussion and exploration, all with the aim of building up a community of researchers and users around the HTRC.  Hopefully the coming months will see a sustained community around the HTRC, as well as advancements in the tools put out by the HTRC.

In any case, I’m ready to take a break from traveling for the rest of the spring, and instead focus on the final stretch of P&T. . . .

MLA 2015 and Virtual Verse

Last week, I presented at the MLA 2015 conference for the panel hosted by the MLA Advisory Committee for the MLA International Bibliography, “What Does It Mean to Publish?: New Forms of Scholarly Communication.” My paper was on our recently completed project supported by an IMLS National Leadership Planning Grant, “Virtual Verse in the Library“:


MLA 2015 was a very receptive and stimulating environment to talk about our work, and I really enjoyed all the useful comments and feedback! And I think it highlighted how this research project, which I pursued with co-Investigator Professor Rachel Fleming-May from the University of Tennessee, reveals an area of humanities data curation that still needs significant attention: documentation and preservation of online-only literature.

Our research focused on online-only poetry because  A) we needed to scope our project to reasonable parameters, and B) poetry is among the most prolific genres published on the web today.  Rachel and I learned a great deal from the publishers, poets/creative writing faculty, and librarians we surveyed and interviewed about the role of online-only poetry in their writing practices,  the needs for digital preservation, scholarly communication networks in creative writing, and the evolution of literary publishing for not only poetry but all genres. Moreover, our research work and presentations on this project have sparked immensely enriching conversations with a host of colleagues, including journal publishers, electronic literature scholars from ELO and ELMCIP, and Columbia and Cornell libraries’ project on eJournal preservation.

So what’s next?  MLA was likely the conclusion of our conference tour (unless we get an invitation in a couple weeks to visit Down Under this summer…) and now it’s all about the writing:

In addition  to our IMLS white paper report, our forthcoming paper in JASIST will detail the impact of online literary publishing and digital literature on writers in the academy and literary publishing, and we’re finishing up another manuscript about the role of humanities librarians in new areas of scholarly activity such as online literary publishing. And we’re considering potential avenues to pursue for the next stage of the project, which would entail  building a tool–whether an index, metadata schema, or repository–to facilitate comprehensive documentation of online literature.  Our project website,, will have the latest updates and papers as they come out, so stay posted….

Avalanche of autumn research

With the end of the semester approaching, I’ve begun to reflect on my research work and presentations I’ve focused on this fall. One of my main areas of focus has been digital pedagogy.  I gave a paper at  the Library Research Seminar VI on potential methods of assessment for student-generated digital projects:



The next month at the 2014 DLF Forum, I co-presented with Christine D’Arpa and Sarah Shreeves on our collaborative teaching of for Chris’s Public History course, as part of a larger panel on Digital Public History:  



Then a few weeks ago, I gave a presentation with Professor Anita Chan for the European Union Center at UIUC on our collaborative teaching with digital platforms for her Media and Cinema Studies courses. (I’ll update this with the embedded video when it’s posted.)

I’m now working on finishing up a book chapter for the forthcoming Data Driven: Digital Humanities in the Library volume that will pull much of this material together and then some into a piece on collaborative digital pedagogy between librarians and faculty, and potential assessment strategies for digital literacies.

My other focus has been continuing to build the user study with Emblematica Online.  In October, I gave a lightning talk at the DLF Forum on early analysis drawn from my summer interviews:  


And most recently, I gave another brief presentation on this work for our Library Research Showcase at UIUC:


I’ll be continuing my user study this winter with observational user testing of the newly revised Emblematica portal, and will be presenting a paper on the final results at ACRL 2015.

So it’s been a busy fall and there’s much more to come this winter, all with the aim of squeezing a few last citations on my final P & T dossier….

The refreshment of the fall

Hello 1.25 readers, I’m back with a long overdue update. . . . The year of 2014 has been quite a whirlwind of traveling, research, and teaching from Stockholm to Sandycove!  But I’m back in the C-U for the time being and ready to settle in for my favorite season of all, autumn.  Here’s an overview of some of my summer research adventures:

“Libraries and Digital Pedagogy,” given at the Data Driven: Digital Humanities in the Library conference, College of Charleston:


“The Role of the Librarian in Digital Humanities,” given at 2014 ALA Annual Meeting, Las Vegas, Nevada:  


“Digital Humanities and the Academic Librarian,” invited lecture to the HAB Wolfenbuettel, Wolfenbuettel, Germany:


“Enhancing User Services in the Emblematica Online Portal,” paper presented at the 2014 Society for Emblem Studies meeting, Kiel, Germany:  



“Collaborative Digital Pedagogy: Teaching Digital Humanities in the Classrooms through Faculty-Librarian Collaborations,” given at the 2014 IFLA Information Literacy Section Satellite Meeting, Limerick, Ireland:


I’m going to be in my hermit cave of writing this fall, but look forward to working with students and faculty again and exploring new avenues of research!

review of 2013

The year of 2013 ended in a manner similar to the Indy 500, as I survived a whirlwind of November and December conference presentations and papers, and skidded into Winter Break. I’m now ready and refreshed for a new term, but here’s a quick overview of what I did this past fall:

NFAIS Humanities Roundtable XII guest talk:


University of Michigan Libraries Emergent Research series guest talk (watch the video here):


DLF Forum 2013:
“Building the Archive of DH Research” paper presentation:

“Digital Libraries on International Campuses” poster presentation:


ANADP II Action Assembly poster presentation, “Virtual Verse in the Library:


CNI 2013 project briefing, “Hathi Trust Scholarly Inquiry”:


As you might guess, all of these presentations kept me quite busy! But I met tons of great people and learned a lot from others as well. Now onward to 2014 and what it may hold, and I intend to chronicle far more of the coming year on these pages!

Digital Literacy and DH

I just wrote a new post on the “DH + Lib” blog of the ACRL Digital Humanities Discussion Group on how libraries can promote digital literacy through TEI:

This is a topic that I’ve become rather interested in lately:  How can digital humanities tools such as TEI help promote digital literacy?  Libraries have long had a mission toward promoting information literacy and are now starting to collaborate on digital humanities initiatives as well.  Thus, I seek to explore how these two areas might intersect for libraries and open an additional new role for libraries on their campuses. I’m working on a full paper that should be “leaving Columbus” (inside joke among my writing group) soon, and as I continue to work with students in Omeka, I feel this will become an increasingly larger research focus for me as well.