forging new roles for themselves and other librarians. Their roles have extended
well beyond what we would have expected from even our most adventurous
and innovative librarians a few short years ago. They are deeply integrated into
the research fabric of the university and are engaged in a profound manner with
the mission of the university.
The best way I can demonstrate my premise is to give you two examples
from my own institution, Indiana University (IU). The first example is Angela
Courtney, Head of Arts and Humanities at IU Bloomington, as I share the story
of one particular project that richly illustrates how she is (to paraphrase the ARL
Strategic Plan) supporting, enabling, and enriching the transformations affecting
our university.
The Victorian Women Writers Project (VWWP), an Indiana University digital
text project, was last updated in 2003. In its heyday in the late 1990s it was
groundbreaking, but it had become dated and needed dedicated work to return
this once groundbreaking initiative to its rightful place in the digital library
community. At the end of 2008, Angela submitted a successful proposal to
expand and enhance the VWWP in three directions: to move beyond British
women to include women writing in English regardless of national borders,
to broaden genres included, and to span the long 19th century rather than the
Victorian era. A major goal of this endeavor was to have the VWWP accepted
as part of the Networked Infrastructure for Nineteenth-Century Electronic
Scholarship (NINES) and this upgrade was the first step.10
Then Angela took another important step. Angela began what became many
extensive conversations with individual faculty members and faculty groups in
the English Department and together they agreed to develop a digital
humanities class that would incorporate VWWP and text encoding. Angela met
with graduate students who were initially interested in restarting this project
because they needed a resource where they could find texts that they wanted to
use in teaching and research. They agreed that it would be useful to be involved
in encoding and developing contextual materials, but they also felt that, in order
to justify the time commitment, these activities would have to be connected to a
class. After discussions between Angela and the Victorianists on the faculty, they
agreed that this is an important endeavor, but that it should really be a new class
rather than an added element in a current class. The English Department Head
also agreed, and gave the go-ahead for Angela to work with a faculty member to
develop a syllabus.
RLI 272
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Transforming Roles for Academic Librarians: Leading and Participating in New Partnerships
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C O N T I N U E D
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OCTOBER 2010 RESEARCH LIBRARY ISSUES: A BIMONTHLY REPORT FROM ARL, CNI, AND SPARC
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