HILT2015, iSchools+DH, and deconstructive/critical digital pedagogy.

I’m at HILT right now, and supposed to be involved in a discussion group on pedagogical methods and tools. Instead, I’m racking my brain over the current state of LIS education. Guess you really can’t teach a new dog old tricks. Or whatever.

A while back I heard about this great project, iSchools+DH, which aimed to “develop a robust and sustainable program for placing interns within digital humanities centers.” As far as I can tell, the program was a success, but it continues to haunt me. What’s the point of placing interns in DH centers? Are DH centers still a thing? What is the sustainability/model of this program that could be more broadly applied? And, returning to my age old mantra, are LIS schools actually preparing students for the work that we in libraries are doing or preparing to do?

One outcome that iSchools+DH proposed was to “Generate a syllabus for a digital humanities LIS course that will be taught by one or more of the iSchool faculty participating in the grant in the third year of the program and released widely under a Creative Commons license.” Thus far, I haven’t been able to discover that CC licensed syllabus, and I want to know why. Further, what “opportunities for collaborative research and scholarship” came out of the program?

So, in the spirit of all this critical digital pedagogy I’m imbibing, I decided to turn the micro/macroscope back on LIS programs. How are DH courses being taught in LIS programs and iSchools? Is there any continuity or curricular similarities across programs? Are DH courses at different programs teaching on similar topics? Are we all reading the same things, learning the same tools, gaining the same skills?

I pulled together a quick Zotero library of DH/LIS syllabi (Add more if you got ’em!). Now, I’m not sure where to go next. Did a quick Voyant of the Course Descriptions, but eh… Topic model all the text of the syllabi? Rip the text as data, clean it, then look for patterns? I’d also like to see how courses develop over time… John Walsh at IU might be a good example since a lot of his syllabi are online.

I’d like to argue that if libraries were collaborating more deeply with their iSchools, and vice versa, some of that training could happen practically, hands-on. Especially at schools where there is an iSchool, some DH curriculum in different departments and a library with some experts or expertise in the area. So, I’m probably going to wrangle some colleagues, write a grant proposal, and re-ignite the iSchool+DH+Lib integration project. You want in?