• Campers

    Pete Coco

    • Grand Valley State University
    • Twitter: pfcoco

    I am the English librarian at Grand Valley State University.

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    The Present State of the Future Tense: The shared future of libraries and the humanities

    Thursday, March 18th, 2010 | pfcoco

    Since Earle and I submitted our proposal, our ambitions for this project have expanded considerably.  Still, that original proposal seems like a good place to start:

    Libraries and the humanities share an inextricable future but are too often discussed in mutual exclusion. As two new librarians coming from the humanities, we’d like to dig into a host of questions with fellow THATcampers, beginning with: How can librarians and humanities scholars work together today for a better tomorrow? What do our predictions about the future say about the present? What present forces–cultural, legal, commercial, and especially technological—premise our predictions? How can we best address these forces together?

    The above proposal was borne of the anecdotal sense that 1) much is at stake for both libraries and humanities departments in the popular discussions of the future of technological and institutional change, and 2) that the assumptions behind and implications of these prognostications should be articulated and discussed in their own right. Clearly, the way we talk about the future is a factor in its creation. If libraries and the humanities have a shared future, then they can benefit from a shared strategy of engagement with discussions of that future.

    Our endeavor, still in its early stages, is to identify, classify, and provide centralized access to popular texts concerning our shared future so that they can be considered in aggregate. We plan to limit ourselves to discussions with stakes for libraries and the humanities and also to provide a forum for the discussion of these texts and any prevailing trends in their premises and arguments. The hope is that focused attention to this corpus could yield a strategic benefit as we engage with these conversations as librarians, scholars, teachers, stakeholders, and above all, humanists.

    From you, we’d appreciate feedback on our tool as we begin to fill it in and make decisions about its structure and form. We’ll also share and invite comment on our organizational scheme for the texts we’re working with and, of course, invite your participation in what we hope will be an open and communal effort.