The view from the ref desk, Sterling Memorial Library, Yale University
In 2010, I applied to be a part of THATCamp New England. In addition to processing the Whitney papers, I sat on the reference desk in Manuscripts and Archives. I often found myself with spare time on the desk to do other things. I stayed away from aimless web wandering and instead often logged back into my computer via VPN to work on future plans and career oriented stuff. I was still thick into Twitter and began to look for digital humanities communities in that space.
- what do you do?
Presently, I am the John Hay Whitney Family Papers processing archivist at the Yale University Library. I am responsible for arranging, describing, and encoding these family papers, in addition to serving as a reference archivist and research education instructor for Yale College courses.
Generally speaking, my research interests focus on instruction and special collections, digital and informational literacy, as well as commemoration practices and collective memory. I am also active in promoting and sustaining meaningful intellectual and practical collaboration between librarians and archivists. I am particularly interested in investigating the intersections between these issues and how technology can more effectively reach today’s undergraduates and broaden the reach of today’s library, archives, and humanities practitioners.
I have a strong background in both the humanities and technology and I am excited about the possibility of bringing these interests closer together though participation in That Camp New England. My humanities background comes from an undergraduate degree in history from Smith College and a master’s degree in history from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst. My history concentrations are in public history and commemoration, United States history since 1865, and the history of science, technology, and medicine. My experiences teaching undergraduates as well as my work in the UMass archives inspired me to attend graduate school in library and information science at Simmons College. My master’s work there focused on archives, technology, and knowledge management practices. My training in both the humanities and technology coalesces nicely with the work that I do in my current position at Yale University.
- Why that camp new england?
I am eager to attend both Boot Camp and That Camp New England to bolster my understanding and practice of the digital humanities. That Camp can provide a unique opportunity for professional development that will enhance my work at Yale, and also better prepare me to one day be a thought leader in the field. I also know that this unconfrence represents a great opportunity for me to network with other digitally inclined colleagues, and such networking will positively challenge my own practices and help me evolve during this early stage of my career. I want to learn more the practicalities of digital humanities practice and brainstorm about how I integrate what I learn at That Camp into my intellectual and practical work. I want to discuss the challenges and opportunities of practicing the humanities in our digital era, and how to re-imagine studying history and the arts with diminished budgets, but with renewed energy to remodel the academy to fit the demands and opportunities that the digital age affords us. I also want to initiate discussions about strategic partnerships that can exist between digital humanities, libraries, and archives, to see how we can invigorate and support one another’s work.
- support from the mellon foundation. how would the fellowship and bootcamp help my scholarship?
I believe that support form the Mellon Foundation to attend That Camp New England would make a significant impact upon my scholarship and practice as an archivist-librarian. As an emerging professional fresh out of graduate school, I am eager to expand upon my research interests to learn about practical as well as theoretical tools and ideas to more effectively teach students and provide better access to the archival collections with which I work. Attending the Boot Camp sessions would provide me with much needed hands-on instruction for skills I am eager to obtain and use at work. Attending the unconference would provide me not only with revolutionary programming, but also with vital networking opportunities to meet other like-minded practitioners. This unconference would provide a remarkable opportunity for me to learn more about digital humanities in theory as well as in practice, knowledge that will empower me to become a versatile librarian-archivist who will be better able to teach the humanities and research education in our digital age. The generous support of the Mellon Foundation would allow me to engage further with my own work in the present, while empowering me to give back to others and continue the collaborative process in the future.