I grew up in a middle-class American household, and I studied classical music. I took private lessons from seventh grade on. I owned my own instrument from eighth grade on. I upgraded to a professional-grade instrument at age 20 (with money saved from a paper route in junior high combined with part-time, minimum-wage income during high school and college). My parents paid for weekly lessons and enough of my needs (and wants) during the academic year that I did not need a part-time job in high school outside the summers, leaving me time to practice and compose. They paid for my youth orchestra tuition, college audition trips, etc.
When I wasn’t studying music, I was often playing around with the family computer. At age 6, my dad bought a Tandy TRS-80 4P, and my life as a hacker began, painstakingly typing in BASIC code from my 3-2-1 Contact magazines and making my own customizations to the programs. In middle school, my dad would go to weekend programming seminars and then give me the books when he got home, so I could teach myself database programming. The web entered the picture in college, where one of my work-study jobs was helping maintain the music conservatory website. And in graduate school, I had the time (and the funding) to teach myself a modern programming language for the purpose of doing computational statistics as part of my dissertation in music analysis.
There’s no mistaking the privileged background I come from. And yet, when I think about the current Western economy, I wonder if someone growing up with my background today could make it. In the context of the modern music industry, even the indie music scene, all those lessons and instruments I had would get me just about to the financial level of indie electronica ― the equivalent of a Mac, a mic, ProTools, and time/space to work. If I had to pay for studio time, edit and mix my own tracks, all the while collaborating with others, I wouldn’t have been able to pursue music.
But that’s where we are with indie rock today. The initial financial onus has shifted from the labels — scouting local music scenes for garage bands with The Sound — to the musicians, producing commercial-grade cuts themselves until they make their big break on the internet.
Web development is in a similar position, as DIY-friendly tools like WordPress, jQuery, and the LAMP stack are in decreasing demand among employers.
Last June, a group of librarians, technologists, and scholars met at Middlebury College in Vermont to think about how to move forward on a proposed network, the Digital Liberal Arts Exchange, that would support digital humanities scholarship and teaching across institutional boundaries. There was much discussion, as we looked out over the Green Mountains on a perfect early summer day, of the particular stresses on library infrastructure when it came to supporting, leading, and engaging with digital projects, in contrast to how libraries support traditional humanities scholarship. At one point, someone noted that the conversation was drifting back toward the tired dichotomy of “hack” and “yack”–that is, DH as coding and making things versus DH as critique of digital culture. I suggested that we might think about a third term–“stack”: the often invisible technological, social, and physical structures within which scholarship is produced and disseminated. Since that meeting, I’ve been considering different concepts of “stack” in relationship to DH as models for these structures of labor. I’ve also found myself having more and more conversations–at work, at conferences, on social media–about how exposing DH infrastructure (in terms of how it supports both making/”hack” and thinking/”yack”) can reveal the conditions that make all kinds of scholarship possible.
I’m curious to explore what these three frames–technological, social, and physical–could offer in terms of different ways to understand and reveal DH labor in the academy.
The DLF community works to advance research, learning, social justice, and the public good through the creative design and wise application of digital library technologies. Our annual Forum (#DLFforum) brings digital library, archives, and museum practitioners together to set ambitious agendas, share new methods and experiments, develop best practices, and better organize our community to accomplish its shared mission. Proposals are encouraged from DLF members and non-members alike. All are welcome at the Forum and warmly encouraged to participate in DLF’s programs year-round.
The National Historical Publications and Records Commission (NHPRC) and the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation invite proposals for Digital Edition Publishing Cooperatives. Working together, the Cooperatives will develop technical and human infrastructures to support the digital publication of documentary and scholarly editions and to provide for their long-term preservation, discovery, and use. This initiative responds to the urgent need of scholars and documentary editors for reliable, sustainable, authoritative, and field-driven outlets for publication and discovery of digital editions. At the same time, we hope to investigate the possibility of creating a federated system or systems for publishing and sustaining digital editions.
The University of Oregon is recruiting a Head of Digital Scholarship Services.
From the ad:
The Head of Digital Scholarship Services (DSS) is charged with developing DSS policies and procedures; coordination and management of DSS projects, budgets, and departmental workflow; and supervision of DSS personnel and Digital Scholarship Center (DSC) operations. The Head collaborates with others to strengthen library programs related to: digital scholarship services, digital collections, open access publishing, the institutional repository, and digital preservation. The incumbent coordinates work of the DSC with other departments and functional areas of the Libraries, including Collections and Metadata Services, Library Systems, Special Collections and University Archives, the Center for Media and Educational Technology, etc., and serves as the primary contact between the department and external organizations involved in digital initiatives.
Trinity College is recruiting a Digital Scholarship Coordinator.
From the ad:
Trinity College, located in Hartford CT, seeks to hire a Digital Scholarship Coordinator with expertise in digital methods, concepts, web-based tools, and project development across the divisions. The Coordinator will work with faculty and students to amplify excellent recent work in digital scholarship, and to develop new research projects.
The University of Mississippi is recruiting a Digital Assets Librarian and Assistant Professor.
From the ad:
The University of Mississippi Libraries seeks applicants for the position of Digital Assets Librarian. The position is a twelve-month, tenure track, assistant professorship to work closely with library personnel to identify and prioritize materials for addition to the library’s digital collections and publications. The successful candidate will have experience in digital collection processing of analog and born-digital materials (digitization and digital curation), familiarity with project management (production, capture, access, description and preservation), familiarity with digital asset management systems, familiarity with library standards (EAD, MARC, Dublin Core, etc.), familiarity with digital preservation, and strong communication skills.
North Carolina State University Libraries is filling the position of Head, Learning Spaces & Services.
From the ad:
The NCSU Libraries invites applications and nominations for the position of Head, Learning Spaces & Services. The Learning Spaces & Services department, part of the Libraries’ newly formed Student Success division, provides dynamic services, spaces, and technologies to enable all forms of learning, discovery, and research. Through its workshops, programs, and activities, students and faculty in all disciplines can explore and apply tools and systems for data visualization, 3D modeling, virtual environments, and digital media creation in their research and study.
UCLA is recruiting a Scholarly Communication Project Coordinator.
From the ad:
Reporting to the Head of Scholarly Communication and Licensing the Scholarly Communication Project Coordinator (SCPC) coordinates and provides paraprofessional support for all scholarly communication activities assumed by the Scholarly Communications and Licensing department.
The George A. Smathers Libraries seeks a Postdoctoral Fellow in Caribbean Studies Data Curation.
From the ad:
The successful candidate will, as part of a dynamic and collaborative team, develop data curation services for Caribbean Studies…The Postdoctoral Fellow will join the existing team that is building a full system (with training, outreach, liaison duties, policies, procedures, technologies, tools, workflows, etc.) of data curation, and will support extending and enriching the team by contributing subject-specific knowledge from Caribbean Studies.