Reflections on running a collaborative digital humanities center: a libraries-academic partnership to advance DH teaching, research and community building

This presentation will explore the role of academic libraries in supporting digital humanities research and teaching through a case study of the Institute for Digital Research in the Humanities (IDRH) at the University of Kansas (KU). 


Established in 2010, IDRH was a collaborative venture from the beginning. It is administered under the financial support and guidance of three campus entities--the Hall Center for the Humanities, The College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, and the Libraries--and led by two co-directors. From the perspective of the Libraries, the collaborative model has been an effective framework for connecting with faculty, students and the rest of the campus community in their roles as researchers, teachers and authors. Via IDRH, librarians play a role in teaching and training, grant proposal development and review, digital humanities consulting, course development, and student mentoring. In addition, IDRH provides the Libraries a direct channel for participation in other initiatives on campus, such as the development of proposals for external faculty hires. IDRH's major programs include an annual conference, seed grants, hands-on workshops, monthly DH seminars, course development grants for teaching faculty, sponsorship of HASTAC scholars, and consulting on digital humanities projects or ideas. This presentation will describe these programs and the roles of the stakeholders and co-directors, and discuss some of the benefits and challenges of this collaborative model. In particular, we will discuss the challenges and outcomes of developing and teaching KU's first  cross-departmental introduction to digital humanities class held in the 2015-16 semesters. Finally, we will outline how the digital humanities landscape has changed at KU over the six years since IDRH's founding, and how we envision our role evolving to more effectively integrate teaching, research, information literacy, data curation, and library collections.