“Digital,” “library,” “pedagogy” — what happens when these three terms are brought together as the foundations of a community of practice? The strategies and insights gathered here suggest a preliminary answer to that question, but the short version might be: a lot. Digital access and affordances spark new approaches to primary sources; memes model scholarly conversation; hands-on work with APIs and web scraping quickly bring the rhetoric of the digital as seamless access to information back down to earth.
Ideally, each of these terms powerfully inflects the others to bring critical approaches to the fore. As one of our contributions puts it, drawing from the work of John E. Russell and Merinda Kaye Hensley, to practice digital library pedagogy is to “go beyond buttonology” to the histories of information, tool creation, and scholarship that both create and constrain the opportunities for research and learning before us.
Achieving this productive blend demands constant professional development for anyone practicing digital library pedagogy. Covering the how and the why of digital library tools in 50- to 90-minute sessions that are meaningfully connected to specific courses and that use effective, engaging pedagogical techniques is a challenge. An invigorating challenge, and — more than occasionally — an exhausting one.
Thus, this project has had two primary goals. First, we wanted to gather resources for critical digital library instruction with a bent toward the practical and concrete. A recurring theme of the #DLFteach working group’s workshops, Twitter chats, and open meetings has been for specific pedagogical techniques and session outlines that can serve as a starting point for one’s own individual planning. Practitioners can then redirect some of the energy they might have spent in coming up with that “rough draft” lesson plan to the kind of course-specific tailoring that can make a session more useful for students in local contexts.
Second, we wanted the process itself to be a form of community building and professional development. We sought to make our call for proposals, as well as the drafting, reviewing, and editing processes as transparent and inclusive as possible. Besides those who contributed lesson plans, we were fortunate to have many of the #DLFTeach community answer our call for section editors, copy editors, peer reviewers, and technical and format editors. The sheer logistics of coordinating a project with many moving parts left less capacity for community-building than we had hoped. Even so, more than forty contributors, experienced and new to the profession, contributed to this final project. New relationships have been forged alongside the new pedagogical resources presented here. We welcome the prospect that future iterations of the toolkit will expand both the resources but the relationships this process has helped build.
Using this collection
We have allowed our contributors flexibility in the way they have structured their materials, but all lessons include learning goals, preparation, a session outline, and additional instructional materials where appropriate. These additional materials — including slides, handouts, assessments, and datasets — are all hosted in the DLF OSF repository and linked from each lesson. If you’re using them for your own planning, make sure to download slides to see notes for presenters, and for data that is too large to render in preview. There you will also find markdown versions of each lesson plan for you to use.
Under the terms of the Creative Commons license adapted for each contribution (CC BY or CC BY NC 4.0) you are free to share, adapt, remix, and transform the material contained here. Please give proper attribution and credit for reuse. Please also share your iterations with the wider #DLFTeach community on Twitter using the #DLFTeach hashtag. You can find us on Twitter, during office hours on the Digital Humanities Slack, and in-person at the annual DLF Forum for workshops and community-building.
People behind the scenes
Contributors in all roles are also attributed to each lesson plan.
Erin Pappas & Liz Rodrigues
Chelcie Rowell & Yasmeen Shorish
Eleanor Dickson Koehl
Jolanda-Pieta van Arnhem
Elizabeth Andrejasich Gibes
Eleanor Dickson Koehl
Joy M. Perrin
The team at PubPub were incredibly generous with their time and effort in helping us make use of this platform for the collection. We are thrilled to have this content on a platform dedicated to open research and scholarship.