BH and DH

The topic “Book History and Digital Humanities” is just perfect. The book is a technology, which we must work hard to not take for granted in the ever-changing world of tech and digital things. When the Center for the History of Print and Digital Culture at the University of Wisconsin-Madison announced their BH and DH conference, I knew it would be a great venue to discuss the work of the Publishing Makerspace team–a group of DH-interested folks from universities across North Carolina, who are interested in publishing models for scholarship that exceeds the boundaries of the print monograph.

Along with Sylvia Miller (Duke U) and David Phillips (Wake Forest U), I presented ideas on ways to reconceive of our current scholarly publishing framework. Below you’ll find the abstract for our panel, “Reshaping Publishing – Collaborative Multimodal Approaches to the Humanities Monograph 2.0.”

Proposal: Since first envisioned and piloted at the 2014 Scholarly Communication Institute Workshop, the Publishing Makerspace Working Group has been engaged in workshops and planning sessions to rethink models of scholarly publishing for humanities researchers, combining traditional scholarship with the use of DH tools.  Our premise is straightforward and leads from a broad critique of current ad hoc approaches to publishing research that incorporates DH research:  multimodal tools and formats including visualization tools, metadata tagging, mapping, spatial humanities and oral history projects have typically been treated as “add-ons” to the primary research objectives in creating monographs, and existing book publishing paradigms do not allow for their full integration into evolving scholarly approaches that foreground such research.  In order to successfully enable such a transformation of our approaches to publishing that is seamless and truly integrated, publishing formats and platforms need to change to embrace the potential of DH based research.  Furthermore, a new co-creative relationship needs to develop between the humanities researcher, the publisher, the DH technologist, and librarian in “birthing” publications that, through careful and collaborative planning, effectively combine traditional scholarship with DH scholarship.

Our Publishing Makerspace Group, in its three years of piloting visioning workshops and presentations to assist scholars in exploring the potential of such an approach, has developed a set of strategies that seeks to erase the boundaries between traditional humanities and digital humanities, by inviting scholars to engage in formulating a collaborative model to re-conceptualize ways to think about DH scholarship and its relationship to traditional books and articles.  Rather  than discarding the traditional monograph, or thinking of the scholarly approaches to monograph writing as in opposition to DH, our work encourages scholars to envision publication formats that enhance research and re-shape research objectives by working collaboratively with a DH publishing  team that collaborates in its design of multimodal research projects.  Consequently, rather than conceiving of digital humanities research as in opposition to or antagonistic to traditional research, our approach embraces the exciting possibilities of a Monograph 2.0 that combines the strength of both approaches, and in the process reshapes the relationship between and among humanities scholars, librarians, technologists, and publishers.

We propose the following three presentations in our panel discussion, and ask in each of our presentations for attendees to imagine and envision the Humanities Monograph 2.0.  What are some approaches with which we can experiment to effectively integrate traditional research with DH-based research, and what will the end product look like?  In what new ways can this information be accessed?  Each presentation provides the perspective of each presenter in his or her role as a humanities scholar, a librarian, and a publisher and Humanities Institute coordinator.