Joan Wang CAS Project Presentation

Joan Wang will present her CAS project "Collaborations of Subject Librarians in Digital Humanities Initiatives on Campus: A Case of Visualization of Social Connections and Geographic Movement of Xie Lansheng." Her committee includes Professor Emerita Linda C. Smith; Daniel Tracy, Head, Scholarly Communication & Publishing, University Library; and Harriett Green, Associate University Librarian for the Digital Scholarship and Technology Services Division, Washington University Libraries.

Abstract: Digital humanities have transformed humanistic pedagogy and research by the application of a variety of computer technologies under the umbrella term of “digital”. As an essential campus hub to support the educational and research activities of their parent institutions, academic libraries naturally extend their services to support the digital humanities initiatives with a partnership of faculty and students. This case study reports a collaborative digital humanities project of a Chinese Studies Librarian with a PhD student and a faculty member from the History Department, Washington University in Saint Louis. The project is a visualization of social connections and geographic movement of Xie Lansheng, a well-known litterateur in the Qing dynasty, China, respectively using Gephi and ArcGIS. The major contributions of the subject librarian involved project design, metadata, controlled vocabularies, data transcription and encoding, and a connection to the GIS librarian in terms of project consultation and software training. The major challenges encountered involved a grasp of digital tools and time investment. The study suggests that library science expertise is very useful and librarians can play an important role in the partnership of digital humanities initiatives on campus. However, institutional and administrative factors, such as a holistic program, needs assessment, permanent staffing, and institution-level motivations and training, need to be in place to provide a sustainable partnership and services.

For a Zoom link to attend, contact Linda Smith