Spotlight

Introducing Madelynn Dickerson, UCI's new Digital Humanities Librarian

In this interview with Matt Knutson, graduate researcher for the Digital Humanities Working Group, Madelynn talks about her experience as a librarian and with the digital humanities.

Highlights from Matt Knutson's interview with Madelynn Dickersion.  Read the full transcript of the interview on the Digital Humanities Working Group's website.

On her career path:

"Throughout it all I’ve had different perspectives on librarianship, from the public services aspect and reference to research support to pretty data-heavy work in collection assessment and management, which is what I just was doing. What was really wonderful about my opportunity at the Claremont Colleges Library was that I participated in an extensive internal digital humanities training developed by Ashley Sanders, who’s now the Vice Chair of the digital humanities program at UCLA."

On her particular questions about digital humanities:

"I feel like there’s an area – and this is an area I’m particularly interested in – that is more critical frameworks for DH in terms of critical theory. There is (and I’m thinking about this from the library perspective) quite a bit of literature in library science and information studies that’s coming from a social sciences perspective, but there’s a lot of un-probed overlap with humanities thinking in critical theory. Digital Humanities fits into and has a role in helping us understand the sort of theoretical underpinnings of digital humanities from the library’s perspective. And I’d like to explore that."

On the future of humanities research and the digital:

"I do think that digital research is the future – there’s no going back, we can’t pretend that there’s no such thing as digital research. But that doesn’t mean that it has to be at the forefront of *every kind* of research. It’s true, these methods are here, but we shouldn’t force them down everybody’s throat either. There’s a right time and a right place, and I think that’s part of the learning about digital humanities: when is it appropriate and when is it not. And also, specific types of tools: some people want to be making a Scalar book when really they should be making a Wix website. So there’s all sorts of scalability issues to talk about and trying to fit the right experiences to the right projects."

On working in the Digital Humanities:

"Any opinions that I have, I’m open to changing them. I am eager to see how things develop and how things change and how culture shifts and how technology changes, and I think that’s what’s exciting about digital humanities and digital scholarship in general: it’s the bleeding edge and nothing is static. So I think we’ll be in a sort of perpetual beta all the time, and I love being in perpetual beta."