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577. Evaluating Digital Scholarship: Candidate Success Stories

Saturday, 11 January, 1:45–3:00 p.m., Chicago VIII, Sheraton Chicago

Program arranged by the MLA Committee on Information Technology

Session Description:

In an electronic roundtable, candidates from various institutions and backgrounds share work and describe successful navigation of appointment, tenure, and promotion. MLA guidelines on evaluating digital scholarship serve as context. Discussion of how shifting definitions of academic success may include interdisciplinary collaboration, public engagement, hybrid teaching/research, alt-ac.

Presiding: Victoria E. Szabo, Duke Univ.

Speakers: Cheryl E. Ball, Illinois State Univ.; Alexander Gil,Columbia Univ.; Matthew K. Gold, New York City Coll. of Tech., City Univ. of New York; Adeline Koh, Richard Stockton Coll. of New Jersey; Kari M. Kraus, Univ. of Maryland, College Park

Responding: N. Katherine Hayles, Duke Univ.


Part 1: Presenter project sharing at workstations around the room (20 minutes)

Part 2: Candidate Experiences (roundtable discussion; 30 minutes)

Preliminary Questions Provided to the Panelists (based on the MLA Guidelines for Evaluating Work in Digital Humanities and Digital Media)

  1. What is your position and title? Was digital scholarship understood as an integral part of your work when you were hired? How was that framed and acknowledged?
  2. Are different kinds of digital work understood differently in terms of evaluation? Teaching/research/service or some combination? Examples of distinctions: writing a tool vs. creating a database/web resource/app vs exploring new pedagogical approaches vs writing a scholarly essay that relied on digital research tools...
  3. How was your role in doing digital work negotiated and documented? Is there a significant collaborative component, and how was that addressed?
  4. To what extent did you need to document and explain your work to make it understandable? Did you need to tell people how to understand and evaluate your work? If so, how?
  5. Were there any special provisions made for the analysis of your case? Did you have outside reviewers? Was peer review an important factor?
  6. Does the format of your work itself cause any challenges for review and subsequent documentation or access?
  7. What other challenges and issues came up for your case? Any caveats, recommendations, or warnings?

Part 3: Respondent N. Kathryn Hayles (10 minutes)

Part 4: Q/A (including panelists of each other).


Victoria Szabo is Program Director for Information Science + Information Studies at Duke University and an Assistant Research Professor of Visual and Media Studies. She is a core collaborator at the Wired! Lab for Visualizing the Past at Duke University and the international Visualizing Venice historical and cultural visualization collaboration. She has published in Art Documentation, the Journal of Infectious Diseases, and as part of Digital Heritage 2013 in Lausanne, as well as shown augmented reality and videogame-based installation at Currents New Media 2013 in Albuquerque, at the College Art Association conference, and at the Waterman's Gallery in London. She also is a curator and editor in the field of digital art, and directed the Information Aesthetics Showcase gallery in 2009 and the XYZN: Scale gallery in 2013 for the ACM SIGGRAPH annual conferences. She will edit the special issue of Leonardo for SIGGRAPH Art Papers in 2015. Trained as a scholar of Victorian literature and culture, she currently teaches old and new media history, as well as courses in computational media theory and practice. http://www.vszabo.com

Cheryl Ball states: I study and teach rhetorical activities and genres in digital media and publishing contexts, emphasizing how users learn to analyze and produce them towards professional purposes. I call this apprenticeship philosophy an editorial pedagogy. Since 2006, I have been editor of the online, peer-reviewed, open-access journal Kairos: Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy, which exclusively publishes digital media scholarship and is read in 180 countries. This portfolio showcases my scholarship and teaching in rhetoric/composition, technical communication, and publishing studies, including articles in Computers and Composition, C&C Online, Fibreculture, Convergence, Programmatic Perspectives, Technical Communication Quarterly, and several visual rhetoric and multimodal textbooks. My other books include a scholarly multimedia collection The New Work of Composing (co-edited with Debra Journet and Ryan Trauman) and the print-based RAW: Reading and Writing New Media (co-edited with Jim Kalmbach). My newest book, Writer/Designer: A Guide to Making Multimodal Projects (with Kristin Arola and Jenny Sheppard), is available to order from Bedford/St. Martin’s Press. http://ceball.com

Alex Gil is Digital Scholarship Coordinator for the Humanities and History at Columbia. He serves as a consultant to faculty, students and the library on the impact of technology on humanities research, pedagogy and scholarly communications. Current projects include an open repository of syllabi for curricular research, an aggregator for digital humanities projects worldwide and other initiatives at the intersection of technology and the humanities. He is currently vice-chair of global-outlook::digital-humanities (GO::DH) and the organizer of the THATCamp Caribe series. His scholarly heart remains betrothed to Caribbean Literature in the 20th Century.

Matthew K. Gold is Associate Professor of English and Digital Humanities at City Tech and the Graduate Center of the City University of New York (CUNY). At the Graduate Center, he holds teaching appointments in the Ph.D. Program in English, the M.A. in Liberal Studies Program (MALS), and the Interactive Technology and Pedagogy Doctoral Certificate Program, and he serves as Advisor to the Provost for Master’s Programs and Digital Initiatives, Executive Officer of MALS, Director of the CUNY Academic Commons, Co-Director of the CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative, and Director of the GC Digital Scholarship Lab. He is editor of Debates in the Digital Humanities (University of Minnesota, 2012) and has published work in The Journal of Modern Literature, Kairos, and On the Horizon, as well as in the edited collections Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles and Politics (Open Book Publishers, 2012), From A to <A>: Keywords of Markup (University of Minnesota, 2010), and Learning Through Digital Media: Experiments in Technology and Pedagogy (iDC, 2010). His digital humanities projects, including “Looking for Whitman,” “Commons In A Box,” and “JustPublics@365” have been supported by grants from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities, the National Science Foundation, the U.S. Department of Education, the Alfred P. Sloan Foundation, and the Ford Foundation. He serves on the Executive Council of the Association for Computers and the Humanities, the Steering Committee of HASTAC, and the Editorial Board of Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy. He can be found at mkgold.net and on twitter @mkgold.

Adeline Koh is Director of DH@Stockton and and assistant professor of literature at Richard Stockton College. Her work spans the intersections between postcolonial studies and the digital humanities, 19th/20th Century British and Anglophone Literature and Southeast Asian and African studies, and games in higher education. Koh directs Digitizing 'Chinese Englishmen,' a digital archival project on 19th century 'Asian Victorians' in Southeast Asia, and The Stockton Postcolonial Studies Project, an online magazine of postcolonial studies. She is the designer of Trading Races, an elaborate historical role playing game designed to teach race consciousness in the undergraduate classroom, and runs the postcolonial digital humanities website and tumblr blog with Roopika Risam. She is also a core contributor to the Profhacker Column at the Chronicle of Higher Education. She has held a Duke University Humanities Writ Large Fellowship and a postdoctoral fellowship at the National University of Singapore.

Kari Kraus is an Associate Professor in the College of Information Studies and the Department of English at the University of Maryland. Her research and teaching interests focus on digital humanities, digital preservation, critical making, game studies and design, and long-term thinking. She has written for the New York Times and the Huffington Post, and her academic work has appeared in venues such as Digital Humanities Quarterly, The Journal of Visual Culture, The International Journal of Learning and Media, and The Cambridge Companion to Textual Scholarship. Her book project--Hopeful Monsters: Computing, Counterfactuals, and the Long Now of Things--is under contract to the MIT Press. Currently she is a Principal Investigator on an NSF-funded transmedia project in partnership with Brigham Young University, NASA, the Smithsonian American Art Museum, and the Computer History Museum; and a Co-PI on an audio forensics project aimed at recovering provenance information for undated recordings. In this session Kraus will share strategies for framing digital scholarship and teaching that span disparate fields of knowledge, academic programs, and disciplinary norms. In her experience as a faculty member whose appointment crosses the humanities and sciences, three areas warrant special consideration: 1.) research collaboration, including co-authorship with students; 2.) scholarly merit and impact, including the role of funded research and the place of altmetrics in assessment and evaluation; and 3.) publication genres, platforms, and venues, including posters, blog posts, exhibitions, white papers, and occasional writing for the popular press.

N. Katherine Hayles, Professor of Literature at Duke University, teaches and writes on the relations of literature, science and technology in the 20th and 21st centuries. Her book How We Became Posthuman: Virtual Bodies in Cybernetics, Literature and Informatics won the Rene Wellek Prize for the Best Book in Literary Theory, 1998-1999, and her book Writing Machines won the Suzanne Langer Award for Outstanding Scholarship. Her most recent book is How We Think: Digital Media and Contemporary Technogenesis, with the web supplement at http://www.nkhayles.com.