Research Library Issues: A Report from ARL, CNI, and SPARC 2013
Sue Baughman, Deputy Executive Director, Association of Research Libraries
T knowledge that is born digital. Journals and associations are dedicated to the topic and studyhe debate over the meaning of the term “digital humanities” has taken place as long as the fieldof humanities computing has been evolving in the production, curation, and interaction with
of digital humanities. Research centers at a number of academic institutions support research agendas
around digital tools, text mining and visualization, and the creation and preservation of electronic
literature. Colleges of information studies are creating curricula that teach librarians the skills needed to
participate in digital humanities research activities. Libraries are creating positions in this area as they
build new initiatives and partnerships for humanistic research and teaching.
To lend clarity to the topic, Donald J. Waters, program officer for scholarly communications and
information technology at the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, has built on a presentation given at ARL’s
May 2013 Membership Meeting, and graciously agreed to publish his paper in Research Library Issues.
His treatise, “An Overview of the Digital Humanities,” encourages
readers to consider the defining feature of the digital humanities
as the “application of digital resources and methods to humanistic In This Issue
inquiry.” Waters questions why digital humanities require a “special
An Overview of the Digital
marker” or special attention when other forms of humanistic inquiry
do not. Through examples he shares his observations about the
future trajectory of the digital humanities and investments that Library Space Assessment:
universities and libraries might consider.
Focusing on Learning 12
Readers might also find two other ARL publications helpful:
• Digital Humanities, SPEC Kit 326 (November 2011), by Tim Bryson, Miriam Posner, Alain St. Pierre,
and Stewart Varner, http://publications.arl.org/Digital-Humanities-SPEC-Kit-326/
• New Roles for New Times: Transforming Liaison Roles in Research Libraries (August 2013), by Janice M.
Jaguszewski and Karen Williams, http://www.arl.org/nrnt-liaisons
As the digital humanities are capturing the virtual space of humanistic inquiry, library physical spaces
are capturing the interests of incoming students and are incubating learning for future scholars and
Spaces as they are tied to library roles, collections, and services are of great interest to libraries. As roles,
collections, and services have changed, the configuration of library space has evolved to more effectively
meet these needs. New and different types of spaces are becoming more prevalent in libraries and new