Florida State University presents a symposium on “Invisible Work in the Digital Humanities,” held November 17 and 18, 2016, in the Robert B. Bradley Reading Room of Strozier Library.
Digital Humanities projects that involve content specialists and scholars working alongside digital experts and technologists frequently proceed under the assumption that the participants in these collaborative endeavors share common goals. But is this really true?
Imagine, for example, a typical project between a professor of history and a university digital scholarship center. Is the digital scholarship center simply providing a service, or are they considered an equal partner in the work? If so, do both partners necessarily share common expectations or goals, or do they have (unintentionally) hidden sub-goals that could influence the outcomes of the project? The historian, for instance, might be primarily focused on building an online repository, but could also be thinking about the impact of such a repository on the field, how others might add to it, and how to materialize several years’ worth of research. Similarly, the digital scholarship center might be thinking about recycling the resulting code for use in other projects, contributing to broader digital scholarly efforts, and so on.
On the surface, none of these goals is inherently contradictory, but in practice, subtle differences emerge that may influence, perhaps even stymie, these partnerships if they go unnoticed. Unpacking these issues for digital humanities scholars, researchers, and professionals is critical for helping digital humanities experts identify and think carefully about the invisible work underlying their projects, yet it is a topic that has received too little attention in our curriculum, our journals, and our seminars.
This two-day symposium, featuring three keynote speakers from universities across the country, will attempt to identify the unspoken assumptions surrounding collaborative work in the digital humanities by exploring questions about diverging expectations, unequal labor, and invisible work. The event is organized in conjunction with the iSchool, the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship, the Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities, and the Rhetoric and Composition Graduate Program. Funding is being generously provided by the Department of English, the iSchool, the Office of Research, the Program in Interdisciplinary Humanities, the Provost’s Office, and the University Libraries.