Hi! I’m Caro Pinto and I’m the Critical Social Inquiry Librarian at Hampshire College in Amherst Massachusetts. I think of myself as a five-tool librarian (a baseball metaphor there – go Red Sox!) who oversees collections, teaches research education classes, pushes the boundaries of technology in libraries, wrangles workflows, and meets with rad students. I’m also a digital humanities (DH) enthusiast who is committed to bringing DH ideas and practices into the classrooms at Hampshire College. As a faculty-staff associate, I have the opportunity to teach semester long courses at the College; this semester, I have the pleasure of co-teaching Hampshire’s Intro to Digital Humanities course with history professor Jim Wald. It’s a unique set-up having a librarian/technologist collaborating with a faculty member, a model worth considering as classes move out of the seminar/lecture model. Throughout the semester, I’ll be sharing dispatches from CSI-267, starting with these reflections from our first session on Wednesday 23 January:
1. Paper Syllabus? Jim and I worked from a draft document that included themes, readings, links, and assignments. However, we did not come to class on the first day with a paper syllabus to give to students. Moodle is our battle station for the semester; the place where students will find readings and assignments week to week. And since DH is anything but static, why commit to readings in January to be discussed in May when something awesome might pop up in April? This might seem obvious, but having been a student in the age of the syllabus, this is a welcome departure. As much as I like clear expectations in classrooms, I also really like the idea of adding current readings as they come up during the semester and having the flexibility to add or adjust items as needed.
2. Sideways, but Flipped One of the things that attracted me to co-teaching this course at Hampshire is the student factor. At Hampshire, we work hard to instill in students the skills they need to go off and undertake their own projects, so we expect our students to push back in class, suggest readings, or propose their own possible directions to pursue in class. DH is what we make of it and I am really interested in why students are coming to this class, what they want from it, and what they will contribute to our understanding of marrying the digital with the humanities. I expect to learn as much from them as they learn from me.
3. #pdftribute Aaron Schwartz’s death was a topic of discussion during our first class and we will return to him again later when we tackle the subject of scholarly communication. Beyond encouraging our faculty to publish openly, I think we are trying at Hampshire to craft our own practices around scholarly communication and open access. And I’m excited that we are going to tackle that with the help of our awesome Interdisciplinary Sciences Librarian, Thea Atwood. But I also think that our students can help inform our directions and be solid collaborators as we decide how to chart our course at Hampshire around open access and scholarly communication. A few of the students explicitly said that publishing was what drew them to our course.
Week 1 was fun: an introduction to our goals this semester, some of the concepts, and a rudimentary definition of DH. I look forward to sharing more dispatches of CSI-0267, Intro to DH as the semester progresses!