Overcoming Challenges and Breaking Down Barriers: Digital Scholarship Support Within and Beyond the University


This session takes the following questions as its focus: What are the major challenges to building and sustaining digital scholarship (DS) support infrastructures across and beyond universities? How do factors such as institutional hierarchies, multiple campuses, and library/departmental resources impact the needs and effectiveness of DS networks? Are there barriers to supporting digital research and pedagogy that transcend institutional context, and how are we engaging audiences beyond the walls of the university?

The session follows a roundtable format, beginning with brief introductions by six panelists who will share some challenges and opportunities they have witnessed for different types of institutional infrastructures supporting DS in North America, before opening the conversation to the audience. Presenters include early career digital scholars whose perspectives as recent PhDs inform their experiences across a wide range of institutions, from academic libraries to humanities institutes and non-profits. The majority of presenters are currently based at research universities where scaling support for DS poses a major challenge, and all bring a concern for labor equity and social justice to this discussion, as public humanities and contingent labor have become critical issues in this field. The conversation will draw on the diverse experiences of participants in supporting digital work in different institutional contexts and will be enhanced by the contribution of audience members’ perspectives. The session’s primary goal is to highlight strategies for overcoming the challenges inherent to the work of building networks, communicating with diverse audiences, and fostering interdisciplinary collaboration. We anticipate that issues such as researcher silos, diversity and accessibility, and working across multiple physical and disciplinary spaces arise regardless of institutional context, and we hope this conversation will raise awareness of potential resources for supporting DS across higher education.

Round table with Drs. Rachel L. Starry, Heidi Dodson, Chris J. Young, Alex Wermer-Colan and Emma Slayton.