The following is a slightly edited version of an invited paper I gave at the 2013 Annual Conference of the American Library Association in Chicago. A few of the audience members asked whether I might share or post the presentation, which I’m happy to do (as well as flattered… and very tardy). It’s obviously not meant as another response to the recent OCLC report on DH centers in libraries (since it came earlier), but as I reread the talk, I see that, in some senses, it could serve as such.
It’s pretty long, so here’s the nutshell version: the digital humanities can and should make a happy home in the library, and this has been true for decades. What? – I hear some ask. – You mean to say that DH has been around for decades? Yes, – I say – and not only that, but DH has some very serious theoretical and practical forebears from almost a hundred years ago: the Russian Formalists, who even today have some important things to teach us not only about DH in general, but also about DH in the library. Oh, and (spoiler alert): Samuel L. Jackson (as Jules Winnfield) puts in a brief appearance as well.