dh+lib at MLA 2017

Many of our readers may remember (and miss!) the annual list of digital humanities sessions at the Modern Language Association (MLA) conference created by Mark Sample (Davidson College). This year, we’re fortunate to have at our disposal a community-sourced spreadsheet, created by Carrie Johnston (Wake Forest University) and containing 52 sessions relevant to digital humanities.

A few sessions of particular interest to librarians and archivists engaged with DH are included below. The full conference program is also available online.



3. Digital Humanities Tools and Training for Early Career Academics, Faculty Members, Librarians, and Administrators
Thursday, 5 January, 8:30–11:30 a.m., 203A, Pennsylvania Convention Center

Program arranged by the MLA Strategic Initiatives Workshops

Presiding: Raymond G. Siemens, Univ. of Victoria

Speakers: Melissa A. Dalgleish, York Univ.; Rebecca Dowson, Simon Fraser Univ.; Diane Jakacki, Bucknell Univ.; Aaron Mauro, Penn State Univ., Erie-Behrend; Daniel Powell, King’s Coll. London; Lynne Siemens, Univ. of Victoria

For abstracts, visit dhsi.org/events.php.

This workshop offers participants both theoretical and hands-on considerations of digital humanities (DH) tools, software methodology, context, and theory; professionalization for early-career scholars; DH for academic administrators; DH and the dissertation; and scholarly communication as public engagement. Preregistration required.



347. Acknowledging Boundary Conditions: Opening the Black Box of Creating Access to Digitized Collections
Friday, 6 January, 3:30–4:45 p.m., 405, Philadelphia Marriott

Program arranged by the forum TM Libraries and Research

Presiding: Brian Rosenblum, Univ. of Kansas Libraries

Speakers: Hannah Alpert-Abrams, Univ. of Texas, Austin; Rachel Buurma, Swarthmore Coll.; Amy Earhart, Texas A&M Univ., College Station; Amanda Licastro, Stevenson Univ.; Shannon Mattern, New School; Dot Porter, Univ. of Pennsylvania

Session Description:
Creating access to collections through digitization shapes scholarship and teaching. Panelists open the black box of digitization workflows by discussing how collections are selected for digitization; the process of creating OCR (optical character recognition) transcripts, databases, and metadata for searchability; and the development of user interfaces and open-access policies.



453. Recovery Work: Digital Approaches to the Archive
Saturday, 7 January, 8:30–9:45 a.m., 112B, Pennsylvania Convention Center

Program arranged by the forum TM Bibliography and Scholarly Editing and the American Literature Society

Presiding: Anna Mae Duane, Univ. of Connecticut, Storrs

Speakers: Sigrid Anderson Cordell, Univ. of Michigan, Ann Arbor; Jim Casey, Univ. of Delaware, Newark; Melissa Dinsman, York Coll., City Univ. of New York; Amy Earhart, Texas A&M Univ., College Station; P. Gabrielle Foreman, Univ. of Delaware, Newark; Jessica Gordon-Burroughs, Hamilton Coll.; Carrie Johnston, Wake Forest Univ.; Elizabeth Rodrigues, Grinnell Coll.

For abstracts, visit www.als-mla.org/als/.

Panelists explore the intersection of digital humanities and the recovery of forgotten, lost, or disintegrating texts and archives. Considering the volume of digital materials now available and the emergence of new tools, how has DH altered both the archive and the project of recovery? What work needs to be done to guard against future gaps in the record?



649. Histories of Digital Labor
Saturday, 7 January, 5:15–6:30 p.m., Franklin 5, Philadelphia Marriott

Program arranged by the MLA Committee on Information Technology

Presiding: Shawna Ross, Texas A&M Univ., College Station

1. “The Human Computer Project: African American Women at NASA, 1943–70,” Duchess Harris, Macalester Coll.; Francena Turner, Univ. of Illinois, Urbana
2. “Early Histories of OCR (Optical Character Recognition): Mary Jameson and Reading Optophones,” Tiffany Chan, Univ. of Victoria; Jentery Sayers, Univ. of Victoria
3. “Pan-American Made: Archival Work at the University of the Air,” David Squires, Washington State Univ., Pullman
4. “Vital Work: Information Science and Invisible Labor in The Infernal Desire Machines of Doctor Hoffman,” Madeleine Monson-Rosen, Loyola Univ., Baltimore

For abstracts, visit www.shawnaross.com/digitallabor.



798. Archival Boundaries
Sunday, 8 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., 303, Philadelphia Marriott

A special session

Presiding: Lauren Coats, Louisiana State Univ., Baton Rouge

Speakers: Gabrielle Dean, Johns Hopkins Univ., MD; Katherine D. Harris, San José State Univ.; Melanie Micir, Washington Univ. in St. Louis; Charlotte Nunes, Lafayette Coll.; Ivy Schweitzer, Dartmouth Coll.

Session Description:

Panelists present specific archival dilemmas or experiments as a means of identifying and exploring archival boundaries as sites of transformation in teaching and scholarship.



Finally, if you’re an information professional attending the MLA conference, consider writing up your experience for us! Email dhandlib.acrl (AT) gmail (DOT) com to send us a pitch. And say hello to Patrick Williams, our Lead Editor for the dh+lib Review while you’re there.