THATCamp session/topic ideas: librarian-faculty collaboration

Okay, so, two (related) things:

1) Digital humanities projects—and really most kinds of pedagogical innovations—work best when they’re supported by faculty and librarians who understand each other’s aims and abilities. But we often … don’t. I have an odd and rich perspective on the faculty-library relationship because I’m currently a reference & instruction librarian at a SLAC where I’ve worked previously in a faculty role … and where I’ll be resuming a faculty role next year. The worlds of scholarship, pedagogy, and librarianship are deeply interdependent but rarely communicate and collaborate as effectively as I’d hope. I would love to contribute to a conversation about faculty-librarian collaboration and communication. It might also be helpful to talk about how faculty and librarians imagine each other—how we think about each other’s and our own jobs, skills, limitations, quirks, and roles in teaching/learning/scholarship.

2) As the library’s liaison to the history department, I often find myself teaching students strategies for finding primary sources. I am delighted with the increasing accessibility of these cultural materials. But of course it’s more complicated than that. What I’m seeing in classrooms and at the reference desk is a major shift in pedagogical practice within history—a shift toward substantial primary research and primary source analysis in undergraduate (even first-year) courses—which springs from the ongoing digitization of so many materials and which has important implications for students, librarians, faculty-library dynamics, and librarians’ roles in student research. Any historians or other primary-source-teaching folk want to work through some of those implications together?

Categories: Panels |

9 Responses to THATCamp session/topic ideas: librarian-faculty collaboration

  1. B”H

    #2 is very interesting to me because I teach English in a cross-curricular program with History, and I have also noticed a trend toward primary source analysis–which is not always successful. Most of the students, despite all of our teaching, still think research=Wikipedia.

    The greatest thing these students lack (besides gumption) is context, and context is exactly what they need in order to do primary artifact analysis. I think it would be important to look at some of the technological support available for historical research that is a bit more user friendly than slogging through JSTOR.

  2. I’m in! I think this is a great topic. I also want to think through not just how to find sources but how to really work with them given that students start out with so little scaffolding to make sense of what they are looking at.

    I sometimes think using CommentPress to annotate a primary source would be interesting – or perhaps some other way that an entire class could contribute notes, links, and commentary. (Chances are there are some great reference books in the library that provide context at a level higher than Wikipedia but less overwhelming than research articles.)

    Oh, and gumption-ometer, yeah, I want one of those, too.

  3. I’m ready to jump into working with digitized primary sources, as my own research to date has been fully supported by traditional stacks…. In the classroom, I’d like to start out with collaborative research that students and I pursue together – gives me the experience, as well as them, and facilitates the faculty-student research I’m hoping to initiate. I’m a theologian, working a good bit on popular culture, which makes online primary source work a natural.

    Any other religious studies folks coming to THATCamp, btw?

  4. B”H

    Wow, Sally! It sounds a lot like Gerald Graff’s wonderful philosophy of “teaching the conflict.” I always thought this was a wonderful way to pull some seriously critical thought from my students.

    And, Barabara–what is this wonderful tool you speak of?. . . CommentPress? I think I am going to see if I can find it and check it out! Thanks!!

  5. Dick Brown says:

    I have a particular interest in collaborative research with undergraduates at my SLAC. I have done some of this both within and outside of the classroom in my field (computer science), often on problems involving other disciplines. Although those other disciplines have generally resided in the natural and social sciences up to now, I can’t see why that kind of collaboration couldn’t also take place in humanities fields. Would it broaden the theme proposed for this panel too much to include computer science as well as library science as a collaborating field?

    I should clarify that my approach would lend itself more to designing new computations for supporting particular research investigations than to using either standard software systems or various forms of media.

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