Main Library Humanities Hub Team
Wednesday, October 17, 2012
Present: Sarah Shreeves, Mark Wardecker, Harriett Green, Marek Sroka, J. P. Mathy, Kirk Sanders, Charlie Wright, JoAnn Jabocy, John Wagstaff. Tom Teper in attendance for second half of meeting.
The business of today’s meeting was (a) Digital Humanities, and the Scholarly Commons (presentations by Harriett and Sarah); and (b) Library Stacks space.
Before Harriett and Sarah’s presentations, John mentioned that he had invited Jen-Chen Yu, the library’s new Assessment Coordinator, to a future meeting of the team. Jen’s presence should help us with point 8 of our charge, i.e. “Recommend a plan for the ongoing assessment of collections and services, focusing on impacts and outcomes and including metrics and other means of identifying whether the desired outcomes have been achieved”.
Harriett’s comments: Digital Humanities exists to assist with large-scale digital humanities projects (as well as some smaller ones), by making expertise available and by helping researchers find the best people and resources to help them. A Digital Humanities symposium a couple of weeks ago attracted some 40 people and was a great success. Do we need a specific physical presence, such as an office or similar space, for Digital Humanities in any new Humanities Hub? Harriett wasn’t sure that that specifically was necessary.
Sarah’s comments: The Scholarly Commons has been open for around two years, and is currently based on the 3rd floor of Main Library. It offers consultation services, mainly to graduate students and Faculty. Its resources include statistical analysis tools, which are important to some humanities projects; but the Scholarly Commons can also offer advice on issues such as software training, and on copyright. The library does not currently offer facilities to store project data generated by humanities scholars, but Sarah and Harriett are able to point researchers requiring these facilities to other university resources.
Harriett and Sarah already have a close working relationship, and the Scholarly Commons/Digital Humanities service seems to have a good mix of subject and functional specialisms.
In answer to the question of how the Team might help improve things for Digital Humanities and/or the Scholarly Commons, Sarah pointed out that the Commons needs some consulting space such as a collaborative consultation room. There is always room for better, and more, technology. Joint appointments of Grad Assistants, to be shared between the two units, would be a good way to further integrate their work. Finally, although it’s understandable that recent technology hires have concentrated on the long-underresourced Library IT department, Scholarly Commons/Digital Humanities could certainly also make use of more staff members.
Report from Tom Teper (Associate University Librarian for Collections)
Tom began by noting that overcrowding problems in Stacks have now largely been fixed, and the days of 120% occupancy are over. However, large-scale moves of material into Stacks may still be difficult because of the requirement to move lots of other material to make space in the right place.
In regard to the particular issue of moving Classics material to Stacks, Tom noted that we can get around 12 years of circulation records for Classics material, and also recommended that material available via – for example – JSTOR could perhaps be moved out to Oak Street. Mark has already done quite a lot of work on this.
Sarah raised the question of whether Stacks could eventually be completely given over to Humanities and Social Sciences material. Tom said that the Stacks Services Group had discussed this several years ago, and he personally had been in favour of it. It might well be possible as a medium to long term project.
Charlie made several points, as follows:
Dates of future meetings:
John suggested the following dates for our next few meetings:
No meeting on November 21 (Thanksgiving). Whether we need a meeting on November 28 or December 5 will depend on progress in our next few meetings. John asked the Team to keep November 28 and December 5 in reserve. Our final report is due December 14.