Document Type

Conference Proceeding

Publication Date



When positions are considered new and substantially undefined, there is a risk of their continual expansion to encompass more tasks and responsibilities. Such is the case with the roles of Digital Humanities/Scholarship (DH/DS) Library professionals, which libraries have been hiring since around 2009. We have gathered over 150 job ads for these positions and are analyzing them on a number of vectors using AntConc, Tableau, and NVivo. Our previous 10-minute snapshot presentation at DLF 2016 introduced this dataset with particular attention to the credential requirements; since then, our corpus has nearly doubled in size, showing the continued growth in this area, and underscoring the importance of understanding the expectations for these positions. We argue that the lack of clarity around library-based DH/DS support roles is beneficial neither to applicants nor to hiring institutions.

In this update, we will focus particularly on the vast divergence between the general job descriptions and the lists of specific duties and qualifications. We will also consider the question of how these roles are situated: whether the authority that they are given matches the strategic importance attached to them; whether we are seeing a resurgence of “Coordinator Syndrome” as was the case with library instruction coordinators in the 1990s; or if, as some postings appear, DH and DS postings are written as dumpster jobs, where even a unicorn has little chance of success. Besides documenting the development of these roles, this dataset evokes broader questions about directions and priorities for library-based digital scholarship.


This presentation was given at the 2018 Digital Libraries Federation Forum, held in Las Vegas, Nevada, from October 15-17, 2018.