The Digital Humanities Incubator is a program intended to help introduce University faculty, staff, and graduate assistants to digital humanities through a series of workshops, tutorials, “office hours,” and project consultations. Participants in the Digital Humanities Incubator are guided through a series of workshops and exercises on the process of developing digital humanities project ideas, finding data, evaluating tools, and crafting a compelling proposal for internal or external funding.
This first phase of the Incubator in 2012-13 concentrated on working with UMD Libraries faculty and staff exclusively. Academic libraries are reinventing themselves in support of teaching, research, and public service, but organizational culture often conspires against meaningful reform. Participating in and supporting digital scholarship is a key strategic need for academic libraries as the materials and analytical practices of many disciplines become increasingly digital. These changes require libraries to develop new skills among staff and to realign roles and work patterns.
Participants in the Digital Humanities Incubator were guided through a series of workshops and exercises. Skills learned in this program were grounded in participants’ own project ideas and interests, supported by brief in-depth lectures. The program offered a model for nurturing digitally engaged, research-intensive librarianship. The Incubator also contributed directly to librarians’ ability to act as subject liaisons with faculty. By understanding the project development process themselves, librarians were able to better communicate the potential of digital projects to faculty, help identify opportunities that integrate library collections, and enlist faculty and student researchers in joint projects.
The four workshops featured 1) an Introduction to Digital Humanities, 2) a workshop on developing your research ideas, 3) a workshop on working with data, and 4) project development best practices. Participants who attended the entire workshop sequence were guided through the process of developing digital humanities project ideas, finding data, evaluating tools, and crafting a compelling proposal for funding support (internal or external).
The second phase of DH Incubator, entitled “Researching Ferguson,” occurred in 2014-15 as a broader campus-wide initiative to provide leadership and training on event-based social media data and network analysis.