2013: The Third Degree: Joint Programs in Languages, Literature, and Libraries

The MLA Libraries and Research in Languages and Literatures and Computer Studies in Language and Literature discussion groups will offer a joint session at MLA 2013 on “The Third Degree: Joint Programs in Languages, Literature, and Libraries.”

Paul Fyfe (Florida State Univ) will preside with Robert H. Kieft (Occidental College) as co-presider.

This collaborative session aims to extend conversations about reforming graduate training to a burgeoning field of disciplinary crossover. “The Third Degree: Joint Programs in Languages, Literature, and Libraries” assembles representatives of innovative training programs and collaborative projects at the intersections of modern language departments, the digital humanities, and library schools or iSchools. This session is also designed to link to the Computer Studies in Language and Literature discussion group’s session on “Rebooting Graduate Training,” by offering a roundtable discussion on emerging opportunities for graduate training from the unique perspective of the library.

Recent conversations about the digital humanities and alternate academic or “alt-ac” careers have brought into focus important institutional connections between humanities departments and libraries, particularly in terms of the collaborative work and hybrid professional training required in rapidly changing media and professional landscapes. This roundtable moves this discussion into the increasingly urgent context of reforming graduate training across the disciplines — a topic which in the last year alone has received significant attention from major professional organizations including the AHA and the MLA. Beyond encouraging new forms of graduate training within disciplines, how can we also formalize and support opportunities across them? What kinds of programs might best prepare graduate students for the interdisciplinary and multimodal demands of knowledge work in the immediate future? “The Third Degree” investigates the emerging opportunities of joint degree programs connecting language and literature programs with library schools or iSchools. In recent years, libraries have been conceptualized as a “third space,” open and configurable, for encouraging new and creative usages. “The Third Degree” argues that graduate training can be similarly conceived to better accommodate the new configurations of our professions. Furthermore, this panel explores the multiplicity of degree types that can be overlooked in calls to reform the dissertation, including masters-level, terminal masters, and certificate programs.

Our roundtable discussion features program directors (Unsworth, Walsh), involved faculty (Clement, Kraus), and active students (Donahue) exploring how such joint-degree programs are preparing graduates for careers in the ongoing transformation of academic research, libraries and archives, and scholarly communication. Presenters will offer short 5-7 minute introductory statements to guarantee ample time for group and audience discussion.

About the speakers

Tanya Clement is an Assistant Professor in the School of Information at the University of Texas at Austin. She has a PhD in English Literature and Language and an MFA in fiction. Her primary area of research is the role of scholarly information infrastructure as it impacts academic research libraries and digital collections, research tools and (re)sources in the context of future applications, humanities informatics, and humanities data curation. She has published pieces on digital humanities and digital literacies in several books and several articles on digital scholarly editing, text mining and modernist literature. She is the co-director of the Modernist Versioning Project (http://modernistversions.com/), the Associate Editor of the Versioning Machine (http://v-machine.org), and the editor of “In Transition: Selected Poems by the Baroness Elsa von Freytag-Loringhoven” (http://www.lib.umd.edu/digital/transition/).

Rachel Donahue is a doctoral candidate at the University of Maryland iSchool. Her research interests include digital preservation, electronic records management, and intellectual property. She holds an undergraduate degree in English and Illustration and a Master of Library Science with an archives specialization. Rachel is a Research Assistant at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), currently supporting the second phase of the Preserving Virtual Worlds (PVW) project, funded by the IMLS. In the past she worked on the first phase of PVW and the Mellon Foundation funded Computer Forensics and Born-Digital Content in Cultural Heritage Collections projects at MITH and had a three year internship with the National Archives and Records Administration’s Center for Advanced Systems and Technologies (NCAST), an internal organization created to bridge the gap between advanced research and NARA operations. From 2009 to 2012, she served on the steering committee of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) Electronic Records Section.

Kari Kraus is an Assistant Professor in the College of Information Studies and the Department of English at the University of Maryland. Her research and teaching interests focus on digital preservation, Alternate Reality Games and transmedia storytelling, and textual scholarship and print culture. Kraus is a local Co-PI on an Institute of Museum and Library Services grant for preserving virtual worlds; a Co-PI on an IMLS Digital Humanities Internship grant; and the co-Principal Investigator of an NSF grant to study Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) and transmedia fiction in the service of education and design. Her work has received coverage in the New York Times, the Atlantic, Wired, Huffington Post, Baltimore Public Radio, and the Long Now Foundation. In addition to the University of Maryland, she has taught at the University of Rochester and the Eastman School of Music, and in the Art and Visual Technology program at George Mason University.

John Unsworth was recently appointed Vice-Provost for Library & Technology Services and Chief Information Officer at Brandeis University, where he also has an appointment in the English Department. For the previous 8.5 years, he served as Dean of the Graduate School of Library and Information Science at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. For the decade prior to that, he was a faculty member in English and the first Director of the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities at the University of Virginia. His teaching focuses on digital humanities, and his current research is on the application of text-mining methods to research questions in literary studies, using humanities digital libraries. He has co-founded Postmodern Culture (the first peer-reviewed electronic journal in the humanities), co-edited the Blackwell Companion to Digital Humanities, led the Text Encoding Initiative Consortium, the Association for Computers and the Humanities, and the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations. In 2004, while he was chair of the Committee on Scholarly Editions, he co-edited the MLA publicationElectronic Textual Editing, and in 2006 he chaired the ACLS commission on cyberinfrastructure for humanities and social sciences, the final report from which was “Our Cultural Commonwealth.”

John A. Walsh is an Assistant Professor of Library and Information Science and Adjunct Assistant Professor of English at Indiana University, where he teaches and conducts research in the areas of digital humanities and digital libraries. Current research projects include the Swinburne Project , the Chymistry of Isaac Newton , and Comic Book Markup Language . The School of Library and Information Science at Indiana offers a number of dual-degree programs in conjunction with disciplines in the humanities, including African Studies, Comparative Literature, English, Folklore and Ethnomusicology, Russian and East European Studies, and more. Walsh advises many dual-degree students and directs many student-led digital projects in his Digital Humanities and Digital Libraries courses.

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