Graduate Certificate in Digital Public Humanities

Paula Kiser, 2018

Paula Kiser

What work are you doing now?

I am the Digital Scholarship Librarian at Washington & Lee University.  I oversee the digital repository of student and faculty scholarship and digitized special collections and archives.  I also teach in the Digital Culture and Information minor and provide digital content management and preservation consultation to faculty, staff, and students.  I supervise and manage several student workers and one staff member in digitization projects.  One of our current projects is making all the back-issues of our alumni magazine available, fully OCRed, so researchers can do text analysis on the content.   


Why did you choose to pursue the certificate in Digital Public Humanities?

I needed a deeper pedagogical understanding of DH in order to move into a DH focused library position.  I had used a lot of DH tools in the past and worked on several projects but I wanted to have a fuller understanding of DH methodologies that moved beyond a tool tutorial.  I wanted to learn about the pit-falls and things to consider when using digital tools along with practical experience in designing research projects that related on technology.  It was important to me to learn about how to teach DH to students in a way that didn’t overhype new tools and merged it with traditional research methods.  I also wanted to learn about project management from people who had successfully worked on large DH projects.  I still believe that the only way I could get all of those things was to get a certificate in DH rather than try to teach myself by cobbling together different information online.


What knowledge or skills from the program have been particularly valuable to you?

The most valuable skills I learned from the program are those related to project management and pedagogy.  Even more valuable than learning how to use DH tools myself was learning how to teach others how and when to use them in a way that was deeper than the technology.  I have modeled several student instruction sessions on how the professors in this program taught me so I could help students understand why they were making the choices they were making in their DH project.  The project management skills have also improved how I supervisor student workers and keep several projects running simultaneously without feeling overwhelmed.