Questioning the Past and Possible Futures: Digital Historiography and Critical Librarianship

Heidi L.M. Jacobs, Cal Murgu

Abstract


Historical digitization projects are transformative endeavours that attempt to negotiate and navigate a past’s relationship to the present and the future.  This article considers librarians’ roles within the context of critical librarianship and digital historiography and argues for a more robust role for librarians within these transformative endeavours. Within the literature on digital humanities, there are recurrent assumptions that librarians’ roles in digitization projects ought to be those of collectors, cataloguers, preservers, metadata creators, web designers, or programmers while the intellectual or theoretical “heavy lifting” falls to disciplinary partners like historians or literary scholars. In this article, we argue that librarians’ digital historical work also needs to engage with “core historical questions” and with the act of asking critical questions about the larger cultural, social, and political issues inherent in digitization work.


Keywords


Critical Librarianship; Digital Historiography; Digital Humanities

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