Conversation, Collaboration, Credit: The Graduate Researcher in the Digital Scholarly Environment


The humanities are undergoing profound shifts in the nature of the processes used to produce scholarly work. As this migration to digital practices is increasingly accepted at universities and public institutions, such bodies have realised they must develop consistent policies governing the practice, implementation, and evaluation of digital scholarship. The formal debate about these processes in relation to faculty and administration is well underway. Similar discussions from the perspective of graduate students working on large-scale, collaborative digital projects has until now been limited to passing conversations at conferences and intradepartmental gestures, with occasional online discussions occurring in venues frequented by early career digital practitioners. This contribution revisits and rehearses, in textual form, issues raised and discussions had at a roundtable at the 2012 conference of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities devoted to exploring the role of graduate students in the forming digital scholarly environment.


Les humanités connaissent actuellement des changements profonds dans la nature des processus utilisés pour produire les travaux d’érudition. Cette migration vers des pratiques numériques étant de plus en plus acceptée dans les universités et les institutions publiques, ces établissements se sont rendus compte qu’ils doivent élaborer des politiques cohérentes pour régir la pratique, la mise en œuvre, et l’évaluation des travaux d’érudition en version numérique. Le débat formel au sujet de ces procédés en ce qui concerne la faculté et l’administration est déjà bien engagé. Des discussions similaires d’après la perspective d’étudiants diplômés qui travaillent à des projets numériques collaboratifs de grande envergure ont jusqu’à maintenant été limitées à des conversations en passant lors de conférences et à des gestes intradépartementaux, et à l’occasion, à des discussions en ligne tenues dans des lieux fréquentés par des praticiens numériques en début de carrière. La présente contribution vise à revisiter et à répéter, sous forme textuelle, les questions soulevées et les discussions qui ont eu lieu pendant une table ronde lors de la conférence de la Société canadienne des humanités numériques de 2012, dont le programme consistait à explorer le rôle des étudiants diplômés dans la formation d’un environnement érudit numérique.


Graduate training, professionalisation, mentorship, digital humanities

How to Cite

Powell, D. J., Bouchard, M., Dalgleish, M., Keenan, A., McLeod, A., & Thomson, T. (2014). Conversation, Collaboration, Credit: The Graduate Researcher in the Digital Scholarly Environment. Digital Studies/le Champ Numérique, 3(3). DOI:


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Daniel Powell

This paper is unusual in the form of its presentation and in the form of its genesis. Although digital humanists are increasingly self-reflexive about their roles in institutions, professional associations, and within the public as a whole, these conversations have largely focussed (understandably, it must be said) on funding agencies, technical competency, and individual projects. The topic of how to prepare graduate students in the humanities for such careers—whether on the tenure track, the #altac track, or the "unknown" track—has been largely neglected in published, professional discourse on the field, all the while becoming a topic vigorously explored in semi-official spaces like blogs, Twitter, colloquia, and conferences. The "Getting There" and "Careers & Credentials" clusters of #Alt-academy, for instance, have done much to spur discussion of these issues. In a similar vein, training opportunities themselves are ever expanding. The Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria, Humanities Intensive Learning + Teaching at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, Digital.Humanities@Oxford Summer School, and the ever-increasing THATCamps organised each month provide technical and field-specific skill building opportunities. I would argue that such moments—as productive as they can be—stand somewhat outside the academically sanctioned spaces of journal, monograph, or seminar. We must move those moments forward into those more visible spaces. As any faculty member who has argued that blogs are scholarship knows where work appears can directly impact how it is treated, for better or worse.

As a doctoral student pursuing a PhD in digital humanities (DH) within a Department of English, these were conversations I wanted to be part of and to bring to more formal venues. This led the authors of this paper to propose a roundtable, composed entirely of graduate students working within and around the digital humanities, to convene at the 2012 Congress of the Humanities and Social Sciences meeting of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities / Société canadienne des humanités numérique (CSDH / SCHN). Our stories and reflections on entering digital humanities, on mentorship, on the job search, on the community that has formed—and is constantly re-forming—prompted a rich discussion between those entering the field and more established scholars. In essence, we were discussing community: how we define it, how we see ourselves and our colleagues working within it, and how those members shift roles, jobs, and relationships internally. In a way, these were, and are, easy questions to answer. We all play particular roles within the realm of digital studies, whether PhD student, principal investigator, MA student, department chair, faculty advisor, research assistant, and so on. What happens when those definitions and barriers start to break down, as is especially the case in collaborative settings like those often found in larger DH projects? Sharing some of these stories, and having those conversations, is our goal here.

The idea that our community, and indeed the wider intellectual communities who labour in universities, cultural institutions, and the engaged public sphere, needs reformulation and reflexive examination is hardly a new one. Bethany Nowviskie has called for us to "consider the networks of cooperative production and reception" (2011) when evaluating digital work, especially when so much digital scholarship is itself always in progress. Russell Berman, 2011-2012 president of the Modern Language Association (MLA), has called vigorously for the reformation of doctoral programs in literature, noting that we must "redefine the current crises of the humanities as an opportunity to build the literary studies of the future" (2011). Speaking at a Congress 2012 "Big Thinking" event, Sidonie Smith bluntly stated that we must "redefine the intellectual mission of the PhD" (2012) or risk irrelevance. This moment of redefinition is perhaps nowhere more apparent than in the research labs, classrooms, and virtual spaces where graduate students find ourselves bumping up against each other as DH practitioners. That digital technologies are profoundly shifting the processes used to produce and disseminate scholarly work is an idea that is more accepted every day in humanities departments around North America. Universities and professional organisations such the MLA and American Historical Association (AHA) have begun to grapple with this transition as it relates to faculty and staff. Discussion of similar issues as they relate specifically to graduate students, and indeed many of the early-career scholars who attend professional meetings like Congress, CSDH, and the MLA, have taken place mostly in informal moments and on very small scales. This is not to denigrate such conversations, but only to realise that such discussions need to be formalised in discussion and study.

With these goals in mind, it should be said that this piece is not an article in the usual sense. Nor is it designed as a comprehensive survey of graduate students involved in digital scholarship. Instead, it is a collaboratively written dialogue featuring six individuals at various stages in their graduate careers, all working in, around, or alongside DH. Each of our viewpoints is idiosyncratic, shaped by local institutions, and illustrative of nothing further than personal experience. Much like the #Alt-Academy project, we cannot hope to speak for "the profession" as a whole; instead, we can simply share our thoughts, memories, insights, and recommendations arising from the circumstances that have shaped us as professionals. Collecting our thoughts in this way might indeed form a snapshot of current DH training and practice as they exist in a very narrow band of the Canadian academy. In being able to do this we are fortunate because we have nearly all been involved with major digital research projects; this has, as we realised in our initial discussions, drawn us towards the vibrant centre of professional digital scholarship as it exists in Canada.

During the meeting of the SDH-SEMI (now CSDH-SCHN) at Congress in May 2012, we ranged from first year master's students to doctoral candidates in the final stages of dissertation writing. Since that time, one of us has completed her MA in English; one is living on a different continent; and another has proceeded through comprehensive exams focused on digital humanities. Our association with large digital projects has changed as grants were awarded, priorities shifted, and degrees were attained. Even so, we are still associated with large digital projects such as Editing Modernism in Canada (EMiC), the Modernist Versions Project (MVP), and the Digital Economy Trading Zones Project (DETZ). Many of us are or have been anchored by digital research centres like the Electronic Textual Cultures Lab (ETCL) and the Maker Lab in the Humanities, both at the University of Victoria. One of us is now working as a web designer with the Royal Ontario Museum.

With a group of participants spread across several provinces and countries, numerous institutions, and holding varied commitments and responsibilities, co-authoring a paper that itself adapts a roundtable rather than a more traditional conference presentation was a difficult task. Appropriately, we harnessed the simple yet powerful capabilities of the Google Drive documents platform, allowing us to simultaneously view and respond to individual contributions in real time, contingent only upon each author's free time. Although we believe we have been largely successful in communicating our graduate experiences in the DH in Canada, it must be said that even such technologically facilitated co-authorship fails somewhat to capture the human dynamics, frustration, hope, and compassion on all sides that reflected the urgency of our original discussion.

The structure of our contribution is simple. First, each contributor provides a brief professional biography, focused especially on personal involvement with digital technologies and techniques in his or her education and research. Next, we have divided our text into several smaller areas of concern; these have been treated as writing prompts, to which contributors have responded in turn. Our focus areas are as follows: Academic Curricula and Professionalisation; Mentorship and Project Involvement; Collaboration and Large Projects; Making and Building; Non-Academic Careers and #altac Preparation; and the Big and Open Tent. Given the autoethnographic nature of this contribution, our contributions are by design informal, perhaps provoking, and as honest as possible.

Contributor introductions

Daniel Powell (DP): I am a doctoral candidate at the University of Victoria working in DH, new media studies, and early modern literature. I also work in the ETCL. My academic work focuses on how digital technologies and tools are changing how we interact with and study literary works, as well as how such technologies are changing the modern academy. In particular, I am interested in how newly emergent technologies can impact the type and scope of humanistic inquiry—whether that be through digital edition building using online platforms, network theory and the "deep structures" of literary works, or textual analysis as a form of speculative inquiry. I attempt to work across and between early modern print culture and the contemporary digital turn hoping to illuminate each in light of the other.

I came to DH through a combination of project-based recruitment, happenstance, and interest. While pursuing my MA at the University of Victoria, I had the good fortune to enroll in a graduate seminar focussed on literary studies in the digital age with Canada Research Chair Ray Siemens; from that I learned about and took part in the Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI), where I was exposed to a diverse and extraordinarily vibrant community pursuing cutting-edge research into multiple areas related to digitally facilitated research in the humanities. In the few remaining months of my program after DHSI, I worked with Janelle Jenstad on The Map of Early Modern London, a well established GIS project devoted in mapping early modern London via XML-encoded literary and historical accounts.

Studying and working at one of the major centres of DH work in North America has given me a robust appreciation for and interest in the direction of the field as a whole, as well as how graduate programs in the humanities are integrating digital technologies into their curricula. Working literally next door to the Humanities Computing and Media Centre, a digital project support centre with full-time, dedicated staff, has deeply impressed upon me the growing relationship between humanistic inquiry and digital technologies. This has prompted investment and interest in DH infrastructure, the structure of graduate programs, and the #altac track within the academy.

Matt Bouchard (MB): I am a doctoral student at the University of Toronto in the Faculty of Information. I began my post-secondary education at the University of Alberta as an English student who took a few courses in computing science for interest's sake. At the end of my second year, I essentially reversed my path and began working on a Bachelor of Science in computing science with a combined major in creative writing. Basically, I have been looking for interdisciplinary work from the beginning. My work with computers got me into one of the first interdisciplinary research groups in Canada: the Humanities Computing Studio, directed by Canada Research Chair in Language and Literature Gary Kelly. In that space, I was fortunate enough to work on early DH projects like Streetprint (the first boutique digital archive engine built to web standards and entirely open source) and Women Writing & Reading (studying and celebrating women writing and reading through digital community resources, a conference, and a combined print/digital magazine). From there, I moved naturally into a Master of Arts in Humanities Computing at the University of Alberta. I worked on more than fifty projects in the five years I spent on my master's degree. I helped create and teach a pilot course on game design in computing science and was an integral member of the interface and usability clusters of two large, multi-million dollar, Mellon-funded projects to create digital humanities workspaces: the Nora Project and the Metadata Offers New Knowledge (MONK) Project. With a small team, I built and tested a variety of multi-lingual thesauri for search enhancement resulting in several conference presentations, two journal articles, and a book chapter. As I completed my master's thesis, I began to work mainly as a consultant on DH projects, and as I begin my doctoral work, I continue to look for ways to contribute to digital projects, create professional educational opportunities for future students, and push the boundaries of the digital humanities and information studies.

Melissa Dalgleish (MD): I am a PhD candidate in the Graduate Program in English at York University; as of the date of publication I'm the Research Officer in the Faculty of Graduate Studies at York University. I completed my master's in English at Dalhousie University. My dissertation answers the questions of why and how a group of Canadian writers turn to myth as the central topic and technique of their poetic work, why it engaged them for more than a decade, how they fit within an international network of mythopoeic modernist writers, and how their mythic turn impacts subsequent generations of Canadian poets. In form, it is largely a literary history tracing the emergence of this tradition of Canadian modernism centred in Toronto during the mid-20th century.

I came to DH through a course on Digital Romanticism and Print Culture at Dalhousie University. During the year between my master's and PhD, I worked in marketing for Oxford University Press Canada, where I spent a lot of time helping our department redesign and code our website. This exposed me to the fundamentals of web design and user experience. During my first year at York, I worked as a research assistant coding for Peter Paolucci's Shakespeare XML Project. When Dean Irvine invited me to join EMiC, it seemed the perfect opportunity to continue exploring DH, and I embarked on a comprehensive social-text digital edition of Anne Wilkinson's Counterpoint to Sleep, for which I have received generous funding from EMiC. Also with EMiC's support, I've been fortunate enough to attend DHSI many times, and in January 2013 I attended the inaugural meeting of the Digital Humanities Winter Institute (DHWI).

As my DH work is fundamentally rooted in the practice of scholarly editing and guided by the search for better ways of presenting and interacting with texts and their history, the conference papers and published work that come out of my DH practice exist at the intersection of DH and editorial theory. My call for a new way of thinking about the process of creating small-scale digital editions is forthcoming in Editing Modernism: Textual Scholarship and New Media (University of Toronto Press), and I've presented on the Wilkinson project at a number of conferences. As I near the completion of both my degree and my digital edition, I'm seeking to publish it in such a way that, whether I move into an academic position and continue the project or take an #altac or non-academic position and leave the edition to stand alone, it makes a meaningful intervention into the field and stands as a prototype on which others can build their own practice. I'm also seeking to continue broadening and deepening the skill set that my digital humanities experiences have given me so that I have the confidence and flexibility to enter into any number of possible jobs or fields.

Andy Keenan (AK): I am a doctoral student at the University of Toronto's Faculty of Information. I completed my Master of Arts degree in Humanities Computing and a Master of Library and Information Studies at the University of Alberta. My research examines video games from an information practice perspective; namely, how do players gather information to make effective decisions in game spaces? I am also involved with the Semaphore Lab at the Faculty of Information, where I work as a research assistant on the multi-institutional Digital Economic Trading Zones project.

After taking part in the University of Alberta's Humanities Computing program, I worked as a research manager and project manager on a number of projects at the university. I was able to work with the Faculty of Business, Faculty of Extension, and Faculty of Medicine (Surgery, Family Medicine) between 2008-2011.

Alyssa McLeod (AM): I completed my master's degree in Medieval and Early Modern Studies in the Department of English at the University of Victoria in 2012. After that, I worked as a full-time web developer at the Royal British Columbia Museum; currently I hold a similar position at the Royal Ontario Museum (ROM). My research at Victoria centred on subjective time and space in medieval English alliterative poetry, with a particular emphasis on digital ways of representing poetic geotemporality. I was also a research assistant at the ETCL, where I participated in the development of a Wikibooks edition of the sixteenth century Devonshire Manuscript (

My first introduction to DH came through an undergraduate research assistant position with Lexicons of Early Modern English at the University of Toronto (, where I encoded a medieval dictionary and learned quite quickly that code, like any language, is best learned in practice rather than just in theory. I pursued this interest in XML markup at the University of Victoria, which provides numerous professionalisation opportunities for its graduate students, including research assistant work, courses at DHSI, and DH-focussed graduate coursework. Such hands-on experience led to my current position at the ROM.

Tara Thomson (TT): I am a doctoral candidate in the University of Victoria's English Department, and I completed my master's in Comparative and General Literature at the University of Edinburgh. My doctoral research is on everyday life in British modernist works authored by women, with a focus on the ways in which sweeping changes in women's public and private lives during that historical period register in mundane practices, and how ideologies surrounding gender roles persist at the level of the everyday.

The University of Victoria is one of the major DH centres in North America, and I have been fortunate to be involved in a number of exciting DH initiatives and projects in my time there, including the DHSI, even though my doctoral research is in another field. I have worked as a research assistant for the Modernist Versions Project, a large collaborative site for composing and comparing digitisations of modernist texts that appear in multiple iterations, and as a research assistant to the general editor of the Routledge Encyclopedia of Modernism Online. I have also participated in an innovative project called the Humanities Physical Computing Workgroup, the focus of which is making microprocessor-based pedagogical tools and critiquing technological waste in higher education institutions. As a graduate student with a primary research focus outside of DH, I have nonetheless been introduced to additional opportunities for professionalisation within DH, and have found increasing overlap between the fields I am immersed in. As I come near to the end of my doctoral studies, I am finding I have a broader skill set than I would have expected at the outset, and am looking toward professional opportunities that might combine my research with these new technical and administrative skills.

Academic curricula and professionalisation

MD: My formal training in DH has been as part of an academic degree and as additional training undertaken outside of my home university. My first introduction to DH was under the instruction of Keith Lawson and Judith Thomson at Dalhousie University for the course Digital Romanticism and Print Culture. In that course, I learned and implemented the fundamentals of TEI standards to create a digital edition of John Thelwall's play The Faerie of the Lake. My current university offers no digital humanities training within my home department (English) and so my subsequent training in DH has been at institutes like DHSI, the DHCommons workshops held at the MLA, and the inaugural session of DHWI. I've also made use of online resources like Code School to expand my knowledge and keep up my practice. Through EMiC, I've also had the pleasure of taking an intensive two-week editorial theory and practice course, taught by Zailig Pollock at Trent University. The course focuses on the intersections of editorial theory and DH in a literary studies context, and the extensive survey of both DH and editorial theory that course provided fundamentally informs my ongoing DH practice.

AM: I acquired my DH training in the classroom over the course of my undergraduate and MA degrees and through courses taken outside of the university curriculum. My first encounter with DH was in an undergraduate Special Topics in Shakespeare course with Ian Lancashire at the University of Toronto. Although in many respects Ian's class was a traditional third-year level English course, he encouraged us to use online text analysis tools to aid our close readings. I became involved in digital research without knowing that I was doing so, as do many beginning DH-ers.

Over the course of my MA degree at the University of Victoria, I participated in a digital literary studies seminar taught by Jentery Sayers, where we were led through a whirlwind tour of tools and techniques common to the DH: text analysis, online mapping, creating online exhibits, and so forth. Outside of the classroom, I learned TEI, XSLT, Wikicode, and other coding languages at DHSI and in research assistantships for Ray Siemens and Ian Lancashire. I have also relied extensively on W3 tutorials and Code School to make sure my skills are up-to-date. In fact, I have noticed that in my professional life as a web developer, there are fewer opportunities for formal digital training than I experienced in the academy. I consider myself lucky to have been introduced to the DH in such a supportive community.

DP: My training in DH has been part of a formal curriculum at the MA and PhD level but also pursued in parallel with those formal opportunities. My first large-scale exposure to the field was via a small graduate seminar led by Ray Siemens; we discussed the representation of texts in computing environments, electronic literature, new media, and gaming, all within a broad framework of humanistic inquiry. Another seminar, this time as part of my doctoral coursework, provided a broader overview of skill sets for digital literary studies. Led by Jentery Sayers at Victoria, this seminar was project-intensive and rooted in cooperative and first-hand learning. We covered and produced small projects in metadata, mapping, digital workflows, and several other focused areas. These two courses perhaps provided more formal, course-based training in digital research theory and techniques than most other contributors have had, and they happened mostly because of Victoria's established strength and institutional focus on this area of research. Additionally, in the English department's program-wide Research and Methods course, we had a brief workshop on XML encoding of literary texts.

Alongside this, I have taken multiple courses at the DHSI (Textual Encoding with Julia Flanders of the Brown University Women Writer's Project and Physical Computing with Bill Turkle), participated in multiple in-house ETCL training workshops, and learned a great deal by engaging in self-directed learning as part of my role as a graduate research assistant working on various projects. As beneficial as my formal coursework was, I think the majority of my hard technical skills have been developed by training opportunities like the DHSI, unconferences, or self-directed learning. I recently attended one of the Women Writers Project Education & Outreach Workshops focused on the use of XSLT in scholarly editing. I have also taken part in the inaugural DHWI at the University of Maryland (now the Humanities Intensive Learning + Teaching institute). These types of organised but non-program dependent training opportunities are, to me, vital to developing DH skills and becoming part of the wider community.

AK: My DH training is primarily from my Humanities Computing (HuCo) Master's degree from the University of Alberta. My training did not include the more traditional forms of DH like text-encoding, text analysis, and the use of computational methodologies on humanities artefacts. The HuCo program was closer to science and technology studies and academic project management. Our formal training was in critical approaches to new media with a focus on Marxist and feminist analytical approaches. My own research used critical methods to examine the discourse of the knowledge society / information society. HuCo provided a space to apply these critical methods to other areas of interest, namely new media and video games. The strength of the HuCo training was in the flexibility of these critical methods and in opportunities outside of the department. We were encouraged to find partnership opportunities with local companies for our project management class. Based on the relationships formed in that class, I was fortunate to work with an Edmonton-based video game design company as a directed reading and research assistantship. HuCo at Alberta encouraged and prompted me to reframe my research skills and competencies as an entrepreneur and consultant.

MB: My DH training is a combination of professional skills and on-the-job training. By the time I discovered DH, I had a bachelor's degree in computing science and creative writing along with four years of work as a professional programmer. When I took my first "technical course" in my HuCo master's degree, I was essentially made the unofficial teaching assistant, a position which I occupied officially for the rest of my degree. Similarly, my first (and my second, and my third, etc.) visit to DHSI was as a teaching assistant. In 2013, I co-taught, with Andy Keenan, a course at DHSI—Games For Digital Humanists.

The humanities half of this equation (the training I desperately needed) has been largely learned on the job. If DH is largely peopled with humanists who are adding some digital skills (hence their preference for the term "digital humanities" where the computing part is a subordinate concept), there is very little training for non-humanists. Fortunately, I have been largely able to determine my level of involvement with the humanities theory. It seems that the humanist is forced to take a more holistic approach when learning the digital, but that may be a by-product of the digital so often being treated as a service rather than an equal theoretical partner. I will, however, echo Andy's comments about the interdisciplinary nature of my HuCo training. Essentially, it was impressed upon me that I should use whatever theory or method I wanted. There was very little disciplinary bias (largely because there is, as yet, no discipline per se), and we were encouraged to proceed in whatever direction seemed most interesting or compelling.

Mentorship and project involvement

TT: Like many other graduate students, I was introduced to the projects I've worked on through research assistantships. Though many of those positions employ us to research a field by searching academic journals, reporting on scholarly trends, and finding valuable sources, there are those that require us to help with other types of work, such as communicating with collaborators and publishers, coordinating workshops and events, and organising publishing materials. Prior to my graduate study, I gained a few years of experience in the private sector in administrative positions, and as such had administrative skills that are less common in a university humanities department. Though I've held several different types of research assistantships, I found I was being recruited more and more for organisational work that others either couldn't do, or couldn't do quite as easily, not having had the outside training I had.

My PhD supervisor, whom I had worked with as an RA for a few years, started to take an interest in the digital humanities, and I suddenly found myself providing both research and administrative support for two major digital projects from their earliest days. Once the projects were conceived, it became partly my responsibility to bring them closer to implementation, setting me in the role of an administrator again. However, as these projects have progressed, new tasks and learning began to open up to me, some more focussed on the computing end of DH, and some related to conventional scholarly research.

As graduate students, we rely on faculty mentors, and in particular our supervisors and supervisory committees, to help us integrate into a scholarly community. They also provide training in skills that can further professionalise us but are not necessarily taught directly through our program requirements.

MD: Mentorship and research opportunities have been crucial to my involvement in DH. My involvement as an RA for the Shakespeare XML Project at an early point in my DH career was a valuable experience, as it exposed me to the debates around the use of and issues with TEI from the beginning (Shakespeare XML director Peter Paolucci purposefully, and critically, eschews the use of TEI). My work on the project meant that when I began using TEI myself I did so critically and not unconsciously. My continued involvement in DH has been facilitated by the mentorship of my MA supervisor, who is also the director of the EMiC project. EMiC's mandate is explicitly to facilitate the training and research initiatives of graduate students, and I've benefitted greatly from the willingness of Dean Irvine, and of the EMiC community as a whole, to support my DH work (both intellectually and financially), to provide me with training opportunities (DHSI, DHWI, and the Textual Editing and Modernism in Canada Institute), and to facilitate the dissemination of my work (through conference funding and online platforms). As Tara notes, we rely on faculty mentors to integrate us into a scholarly community, and the mentors I've had within EMiC have worked hard to do that. And because my home institution is not particularly involved in or supportive of DH work, the mentorship of people outside of my university has been crucial to enabling my continued involvement in DH.

AK: Mentorship in the DH community has been crucial to my development as a scholar. In particular, the guidance of Dr. Stan Ruecker and Dr. Harvey Quamen allowed me to understand what it takes to be successful within the DH community, as well as in the broader academic community. First and foremost, Dr. Ruecker and Dr. Quamen provided direct mentorship in the form of meetings and were willing to answer any questions I brought forward. My questions would always return to the trajectory of the academic career. How did you get here? What does your life look like after the PhD? What sorts of opportunities should I be pursuing? How do I find the right working groups? Their answers were always refreshing and focussed on a work-life balance. I was taught to follow the path of the protozoa: seek the positive stimulus and avoid the negative stimulus. Avoid creating elaborate plans about the future. Your job as an academic is to find projects and questions that are meaningful to you. As you continue down that path, you will find collaborators and partners. They also knew all the best sushi restaurants and beers, respectively.

DP: I think it is impossible to overstate the significance of mentorship, hands-on project experience, and community support for graduate students working (or trying to work) in DH. As I touched on in my introduction, I have worked on several established projects and initiatives—most notably The Map of Early Modern London and the diverse projects housed in and related to the ETCL. Ray Siemens, my doctoral supervisor and director of the ETCL, has been invaluable in helping me to direct my efforts towards establishing an identity within the DH community, both through direct feedback on personal projects, conference proposals, and the like, and through conscious efforts towards inclusion in projects, co-authoring lab-produced scholarly work, and travel support for conferences and workshops near and far.

In fact, I would go so far as to say that the mentorship models prevalent in DH are, broadly construed, quite different than those normally present in humanities departments. While more traditional research assistantships can be quite good at honing research skills, building effective information management practices, and fostering in-depth knowledge, the same positions in DH usually involved first-hand project participation, often resulting in a scholarly product of some kind, usually involving critical reflection on the work just done, and usually published in peer-reviewed venues or a publicly available white paper. So, in a way, such positions can combine the hands-on knowledge necessary to produce digital work with project management experience usually found at higher levels of the academy, all while positioning graduate students for ever-increasing responsibility and visibility in the field.

That said it can be quite difficult to "break in" to DH in the absence of committed faculty and established digital projects. Although resources like CenterNet and DH Answers can help new practitioners to plug into a vibrant community, there seems to be no real substitute for on-the-job training in large digital projects directed by individuals dedicated to mentoring graduate students in a variety of ways.

AM: I would not have become involved in DH in the first place had it not been for the mentorship of Ian Lancashire at the University of Toronto during my undergraduate degree. He and Ray Siemens, with whom I worked at the ECTL, have been instrumental in helping me develop my research interests and nascent career in museum studies. In addition to carefully reading over conference proposals and graduate school applications, providing publishing opportunities and support for conference attendance, and giving me hands-on experience as a research assistant, my mentors have also offered me the space to explore my own academic identity.

I have also found the non-DH community of faculty members at the University of Victoria incredibly supportive of the digital aspects of my research. Although the supervisor of my MA research paper, Adrienne Williams Boyarin, focusses primarily on medieval anti-Jewish discourse and medieval Marian literature, she and the rest of my committee have encouraged me in my efforts to develop a digital appendix to complement my more "traditional" research on medieval alliterative poetry. It has been so helpful to have advisers who appreciate the various directions my research may take, as well as my desire to gain skills that, like Tara, I could use in either professional or academic environments.

MB: Mentorship is especially important in DH, as students are trying to master two disciplines while generally only having institutional support in one. This weaves in the other thread that has been mentioned: work/life balance. In the panel this paper is based on, a large portion was devoted to the difficulties in maintaining a healthy work/life balance while trying to manage the two-for-one workathon that your life has become. My mentors and research assistantships focussed on three important factors: hands-on work, important decision making, and work/life balance.

I was lucky enough to find mentors who thought it was important that I got my hands dirty. This way, when it comes to making important decisions, I know how to make the right ones. It was tremendously important for me to be in a meeting ostensibly as a worker but also able to make suggestions for the larger project. These opportunities are largely responsible for my current position. My combined abilities in programming, design, project management, and theory made me a valuable asset at many DH meeting tables, and I am currently able to make a positive impact on several projects as a consultant. Without the combination of a hand in the dirty work and a voice at the big-chair meetings (where you have to report to the person who sits in the biggest chair), I would not be where I am today, and it is my mentors (Stan Ruecker, Harvey Quamen, Ali Shiri, Lisa Given, Tom Nelson, Sean Gouglas, Geoffrey Rockwell, Stéfan Sinclair, Paul Hjartarson, Alan Galey, Pat Demers, Susan Brown, Gary Kelly, Ray Siemens, Matt Kirschenbaum, John Unsworth, and many more) who provided that opportunity.

These mentors also reinforced the importance of living while working. Because we love what we do, many of us overwork. In working particularly with Stan Ruecker, Harvey Quamen, Ali Shiri, Alan Galey, and Paul Hjartarson, I have seen working models of how to be a successful academic and a happy, healthy human being. All of these professors work hard, listen to partners and workers, socialise, relax, and take care of themselves. Without these models of behaviour, I would be just another burned out grad student instead of the happy, driven person that I am.

Collaboration and large projects

MB: My bachelor's degree is a study in the problems of interdisciplinary collaboration. I was officially in the Faculty of Science, and even though I had completed all of the requirements for a combined major in creative writing, the Faculty of Science would not recognise my work, and the Faculty of Arts did not offer computing science as an option for combining majors. I completely satisfied all requirements for both degrees, but because no one had thought to allow this sort of collaboration I was forbidden from actually getting the degree I had earned. This is a microcosm of collaboration in DH: you will really like it you will receive great opportunities, and you can do what you like, but in the end it may not count for anything. Academic credentialing takes place in bureaucracies; if those bureaucracies don't harmonise you might find yourself in a strange position.

Collaboration is clearly the only way to do any interesting work in this discipline. Gone are the days where you can work on your own for two or three years (gaining required knowledge, running experiments, testing ideas at conferences, etc.) and write a journal article. By the time you complete your article, the discipline has passed you by. Further, fields are too big and articles require too much detail for even accomplished scholars to learn what they need in a reasonable amount of time. Instead of becoming an expert in statistics, I find someone who is to collaborate with. Learn through your collaboration and produce academic work while acquiring new skills and knowledge. Projects become more interesting, more applicable to multiple disciplines, and take less time when practitioners come together. There are challenges (you will likely not end up with what you planned) and risks (academic fraud, disintegrating teams, and many more), but these issues can be managed by employing what I call the Stan Ruecker model of team building: do not get attached to the brilliance of your own ideas and choose collaborators who can tolerate and invigorate you during an eighteen hour weather delay at O'Hare.

MD: While I believe all of my academic work is collaborative, DH is particularly good at foregrounding such patterns. The practice of "traditional," or non-digital humanities, tend to disguise or elide these relationships. In the humanities, we are always writing with and against and for others—critics, primary authors, our imagined audience—and while the labour of that work is fairly solitary, I consider the work itself fundamentally collaborative. In my DH work, those collaborative relationships are out in the open—we have things like lists of contributors, websites that list all of the participants in our research groups, and the Magic Circle tool designed to visualise author contributions to multi-authored works. My DH work is only possible because of the infrastructure set up by a community of people: the Islandora team at the University of Prince Edward Island (UPEI); the EMiC team at Dalhousie and elsewhere; Daniel, Tara, Alyssa and their colleagues at the ETCL; instructors at DHSI and DHWI; and others whose work I use but don't know of or don't know how to acknowledge. This infrastructure gives me the tools, the space, and the knowledge to store, manipulate, and share my data.

The theoretical leanings of my DH work privilege an understanding of texts as collaborative—the purpose of the social-text edition I'm creating is to foreground the ways in which texts are produced by a social network which includes, among others, the text's author, editors, publisher, booksellers, and readers. Whereas many critical editions are positioned as the definitive or final version of the text, my edition is positioned rather differently: as an intervention into this social network, in the form of an edition which collects and compares all other editions, and as simply an addition to this extant ongoing collaboration.

My experience working in DH is that as a field it is fundamentally more collaborative than the traditional humanities, perhaps in part because of its closer relationship to the sciences, where collaboration is often the norm. In my DH network, professors co-author articles with students, scholars work together in labs, and collaborative writing like this paper (and the original, many-presenter roundtable that this paper comes out of) are not at all out of the norm. It is a welcome change from the solitariness of academic writing and research.

AK: This contribution detailing the strengths of graduate scholarship in DH is evidence of the collaborative nature of the discipline. I will serve as the contrarian here and also warn against the dangers of large scale collaboration. The most successful projects I have worked with have always used smaller internal groups to appropriately divide the tasks. We had the rare privilege of having a former software engineer as a professor with Dr. Stan Ruecker. This created a space for realistic project planning and the realisation that projects always fall apart. The best solution was creating subtasks and smaller working groups to actually accomplish the goals of the grant.

However, I have seen more derailed projects with dysfunctional relationships and poor division of labor than successful projects. I think the key to collaboration within the DH community is ownership and responsibility for tasks under the guidance of a project manager. Whether this means hierarchical direction or about putting conditions in place for individual actions is up to each team. These are often difficult to accomplish, which is why I advocate for more project-management style training in our DH curriculum. Thanks to an emphasis on these approaches at venues like DHSI, this is becoming a reality on larger projects.

AM: Before I entered graduate school, I was one of those students who avoided collaboration as if it were anathema. Like many scholars of English literature, I suspect, I preferred solitary research to listening to other people's ideas, although it shames me now to admit it. Participating in the final stages of the ETCL's Devonshire Manuscript project, a collaboration that occurred over the course of a decade with the help of many different research assistants, professors, and students, helped me realise the strength of collaborative research. We accomplished in a decade what would have taken a solitary scholar a lifetime.

To echo Melissa's observation that all of her DH work is fundamentally collaborative, I would say that most academic work is actually collaborative, whether the collaboration is in the form of peer review, discussions at conferences and in the classroom, or the imperceptible osmosis of ideas that occurs in scholarly environments whether we are aware of it or not. In the field of DH, however, we admit to and even embrace this collaboration, a model of scholarly cooperation that gives us a level of mutual support and encouragement absent from typical solitary research. I have benefitted from this particularly as a graduate student focussing on DH. Not very many MA students in English Departments have the opportunity of gaining publishing credits through their work as research assistants.

Making and building

AM: My undergraduate degree in English and Medieval Studies at the University of Toronto was primarily academic. With the exception of a course on medieval bookmaking (in which I had the opportunity of chiseling a wax tablet), most of my coursework centred on reading, writing, and class discussion. Like many other contributors here, my first experience of making something in an academic context was through RA work, first with Ian Lancashire at the Lexicons of Early Modern English (LEME) project, and then with Ray Siemens in the ETCL. Until I took a digital literary studies course with Jentery Sayers through Victoria's English department in the second semester of my MA, building and critical debate were very different activities for me.

Or so I thought. Building, as Stephen Ramsay argues in "On Building" (2011) is a new hermeneutic for digital humanists. The act of making in itself is a form of argument, although I would hesitate to say that this renders critical discussion unnecessary. In fact, in my current position in museum web development, I find that my colleagues and I rely on our formal academic training for the vocabulary and analytical tools we need to communicate our ideas. Is it possible to write a program, build a website, or encode a text without giving voice to the decisions we make and our reasons for making them?

My question for others is whether they find that their experience of building and making has affected the way they undertake their other, more "traditional" research. Or do I assume too much when I expect that others too face this gap between what they build and what their institutions count as "research?"

DP: To directly respond to Alyssa's question, I think that building—whether in the form of encoding texts, producing a scholarly digital edition, designing XSLT stylesheets for an XTF corpus, participating in the construction of a scholarly toolbox like Voyant, or hacking the tools others have built for your own work—cannot help but affect research. And I believe that she is exactly right when she pinpoints the idea that there is a gap between the perceptions of scholarly work that institutions value and what many digital humanists would argue is their primary contribution to knowledge production. Although I think this is changing, the perception is that the role of a scholar—at least in the humanities—is that of critical reader and writer, rather than critical tool builder and maker. That said, I think that scholarly editing and publishing might provide a powerful counterargument to that way of thinking; after all, a critical scholarly edition is very much a blend of abstract criticism and material instantiation.

I actually think that the ability to experiment on and with texts, in a very real way, is one of the most important contributions that DH has to offer to the humanities. In other words, until the advent of digital tools, the best way to play with texts to draw out new patterns and meanings was to do so in your head using abstract mental models. Many digital tools draw that model out and externalise it; tools like Voyant, the visualisation program Gephi, and the TAPoR toolset all allow for free play with texts, a play whose pre-digital instantiation was only available in the abstract or with painfully slow physical repurposings—repurposings that often meant the destruction of the original. Keeping in mind Jerome McGann and Lisa Samuels' (1999) ideas about textual deformance and new analytical insights, digital tools very much allow for the making and remaking of texts in a dramatically more efficient manner than was previously possible. They allow us to break, examine, and reassemble texts themselves in ways that were before impossible or tedious. For me, this is one reason I'm overjoyed to be working in contemporary literary studies: the explosion in digitised texts, coupled with the avalanche of digital tools, make it possible to play with and explore texts as never before. Making and building, in this admittedly specialised way, are integral to my practices as a literary critic. Remaking the text allows me to find new ways to discuss it.

MB: I think there is a problem with the DH definition here. While I am always happy to avoid definitional discussions, our tacit understanding of DH here creates problems when we discuss the importance of making. On the one hand, you have humanist scholars who are using digital tools for hypothesis-generation; on the other, often, you have the people building those tools. Digital editions may actually sit somewhere in between, but I will leave that distinction to the more capable of my colleagues. This distinction intersects the two questions at issue here: how is credit apportioned for DH work and does using ready-made digital tools to generate hypotheses count as DH? Or must one build those tools to "really" be a digital humanist? Personally, I am all-for big-tent DH, which in this case includes all of the above. However, I believe that within the academy we get further if we downplay the hypothesis-generation part. While I think this generative work is fantastic and reporting on it (even without any concrete results) is very useful for both tool-makers and those doing the generating, it frankly makes us look bad. In traditional humanist disciplines, people write epic, rhetorically masterful tomes (and presentations) with multiple layers of critique and argument—which, more or less, few people read in comparison to a tweeted blog post. In comparison, detailed and interesting reporting on hypothesis generation seems like a teenager telling a story about something they googled once. I wish we could just do what we are interested in and sort of just hang the establishment, but sadly that very establishment has all the money for grants, hiring, and research labs. If we intend to get any of that money, whether through grants or through jobs, we must at least make it sound like we are doing impressive things. In this vein, we must continue to write (in traditional, compelling ways) about the importance of these "borderline" or "new" styles of scholarship like tool-making and digital editions. This way we slowly move the massive snowball of scholarship forward while subtly packing on the interesting bits. To me, Stephen Ramsay (2011) and Susan Brown et al. (2010) have made solid arguments for builders as traditional scholars. Building clearly adds to the DH discourse, and in terms of DH education, it is sensible that new DH scholars should be given a digital "tradeskill." To know what is hard and what is easy, to know what path lies to innovation or to madness, to squeeze the most products out of the least funding, you must do the making. Even if you only do it once, it will improve the quality and validity of all the non-making you do afterwards.

Non-academic career and #altac preparation

AK: My humanities computing degree provided me with a number of non-academic and alternate academic opportunities. I was able to use my training in our project management classes in my role as research manager at the University of Alberta. My Library and Information Studies (LIS) degree opened the door to these positions, but my specific training in HuCo classes gave the appropriate skills to succeed in these positions. I was recognised as an information professional based on my library credentials, but the DH training provided me with the information professional credentials. However, the majority of my academic opportunities came from my work in LIS. I was given research positions and opportunities through the LIS portion of my degree and often had a difficult time explaining HuCo / DH in a research context. I was regarded as the "techy" librarian, but never the digital humanist because the designation was widely misunderstood.

As a digital humanist / information studies scholar (enrolled in an information studies PhD program), I am working between two worlds. I have found that neither of these fields prepares us explicitly for academic careers. We receive the skill set relating to academic life (conference presentations, abstract writing, grant proposals, paper and article submissions, teaching experience) but many of the soft skills have come through acts of serendipity. Finding an appropriate research area, making connections with potential collaborators and partners, applying for academic jobs, choosing the appropriate projects (an ever increasing problem), and identifying skill development opportunities (which programming language to learn, which technology to pursue) have been through the fates.

Also, the skills demanded of the digital humanist in job postings seem have become an ever-escalating set of academic and technical competencies of the highest caliber. Knowing multiple mark-up or programming languages and holding a PhD in a specific discipline (seventeenth century cartography) seems to be the norm in humanist job postings. The number of junior faculty positions are few and far between, with most postings calling for an #altac stream, usually with significant technical competencies. If this is the nature of the jobs available, I believe a substantial amount of our training should be focussing on these skill competencies.

MB: My only real addition to what Andy said is to hammer home the problem of the quickly evolving job market and the very slowly evolving education structure. Despite the changes in the job market, publications, and everything else, we are still being trained as lone scholars who do traditional research. If this is true in a "new" discipline like information studies or humanities computing, I have to believe that it is even worse in more traditional humanities disciplines. As I see it, the role of a collaborator with multidisciplinary knowledge will be teaching technical competence (in both digital things and humanist things), teaching critical thinking, collaborating on large projects as a facilitator/manager, writing the technical portions of large grants, and technical consulting on large projects. That is what a current "traditional" (not #altac) academic job looks like. Sure, your faculty will also expect you to publish an article or two in your discipline, but you should be able to slice off a portion of the project work for that purpose, and you will not necessarily even have to do the bulk of the writing. Where is my classroom training for these things?

My training seems typified by rote patterns and inertia. This is my impression of other doctoral students thus far: most have no idea of what sort of career they want (except a vague notion rooted in the past), and no clear idea how to create that profile (except to repeat what they were taught). In other words, the universal, unspoken goal of humanities training is to re-create the professor as he has existed for the last century or so—despite all that has changed in, at least, the last thirty years. This problem will crystallise in academic job interviews of the next ten years, but it is already obvious in our problems with professionalisation. What chance do we have to create professional skills for DH and #altac careers when our at-home academic professional training is already so problematic?

AM: Little of my formal education explicitly prepared me for the job market, although my experience job hunting as an MA graduate probably differs markedly from PhDs seeking #altac positions. Over the course of my undergraduate and MA degrees I intentionally pursued extracurricular work and activities I thought would help me find a job after my studies. I have worked as a music teacher, a library assistant, a researcher for a medical documentary, and of course an academic research assistant, all of which helped me obtain the position in which I currently work.

Coming from a literary studies background, however, I would hesitate to place the responsibility for career training solely on the MA program I attend. I chose to pursue a graduate degree in English literature not to gain directly marketable skills, but to hone my critical thinking and writing ability, skills that will prove valuable in any field of employment. I do think that many MA programs in the humanities place too much emphasis on preparing their students to pursue doctoral work. At the University of Victoria some professors even directly discouraged us to apply for PhDs, given the state of the current job market, and yet in the classroom and through our final research project—an in-depth capstone master's essay—we were being trained as future PhD students. In MA and even PhD programs in the humanities, students could easily be given the option to pursue a co-op or internship position to fulfill the requirements of their final major research project, a model similar to graduate programs in engineering and the sciences, for example.

The big and open tent

DP: One thing that was apparent as our conversation has developed is that the DH community (considering that term in its widest sense) is remarkably welcoming. Tom Scheinfeldt has remarked upon this phenomenon in his blog (2010), theorising that the community's emphasising of methodology instead of theory is in large part responsible for this spirit. While sidestepping the debates surrounding that idea as it applies to the field as a whole, I think it is fair to characterise individual practitioners of DH as capable mentors and supervisors. My own experience certainly speaks to this, as the ETCL has always struck me as an inclusive and welcoming community.

As always, the culture of any group is a difficult thing to summarise, qualify, and discuss, but I think the inclusion of a graduate student only roundtable on graduate training in DH, as well as the solicitation of this contribution, is indicative of the willingness of the CSDH/SCHN, and the community as a whole, to engage with voices not usually given the chance to speak professionally.

This is of course not to say that DH should be "nice" in all ways, if such nicety forecloses discussion of issues relating to access, gender, diverse communities, ethnicity, class, etc. However, I think that a collegial and welcoming attitude on an interpersonal level doesn't have to preclude rigorous discussion of loaded political issues in the field.

AK: My experience is similar Daniel's. He accurately frames the spirit and culture of the DH collaborative project. We are open to new approaches and embrace these new ways of knowing as integral parts of our scholarship. I think this process is rooted in our need to communicate with disparate fields within our own DH umbrella. At the PhD level (and beyond), there has been a recognition within DH that adopting new approaches and methodologies makes for stronger research.

However, I also encountered some disciplinary clashes as a master's student within my DH cohort. There were clear ontological and epistemological divides, particularly between the theory-focussed scholars (e.g. English literature and cultural studies) and practice-focussed scholars (e.g. historians and anthropologists). The root of the argument was always around conceptions of truth in scholarship. The theorists would cite Foucault and claim everything is an unknowable power structure. The practicals would cite Max Weber and claim that we are simply on the long journey towards capturing stories, and that these stories contain an essential element of experience. Through listening to these arguments, I learned that strong research is not tied to a particular methodology, but is found in the clarity of the process. As long as researchers provide a transparent understanding of their biases and theoretical assumptions, I could find something meaningful.

This perhaps is part of the DH process. By being exposed to diverse methods and approaches we realise that there is no perfect approach. There are approaches that suit questions better than others, and we can't possibly hope to know all those answers ourselves. Our job is to frame our question and then share that question with our broader community. The community (and in this instance the DH community) will help us find our approach. This is the strength of the collaborative approach rather than the undying ontological and epistemological battles of which version of close reading is more appropriate.

MD: My experience has been much the same as Daniel and Alyssa's, although I'm coming at it from a different angle. In terms of DH community, I'm pretty isolated—I'm one of only two DH practitioners in my department, and we haven't worked together (we're in completely different subfields) since my first year of the PhD. My DH community is EMiC and the people at DHWI, DHSI, and Congress (like you all), and I see these people twice or three times a year, if I'm lucky. That said, we email, Skype, chat, and tweet frequently, and I find DHers are more open to alternate forms of academic conversation and collaboration than traditional humanities scholars are—I can't imagine this sort of collaborative online paper writing happening as easily with non-DH scholars.

But despite my physical isolation from my DH community, none of the work that I do would be possible without it, and it is an extraordinarily supportive, helpful, and collaborative group of people. I mentioned this earlier, but the EMiC Commons and the Islandora system, in which my digital edition is built, was created by a diverse group of scholars and programmers; they're also really receptive to taking input and suggestions from the people who are actually using the system, like me.

One of the things that differentiate the spirit of DH from that of the larger humanities community is our willingness to acknowledge our indebtedness to each other, to make open our collaborations, and to share credit. I can't help but feel that the emphasis on the relationship between authorship and originality in the traditional humanities (at least in literary studies), when accompanied by the current system of publishing and its ties to promotion, has created a hyper-individualistic sense of the ideal academic. Progress through the ranks is based on ideas that are supposedly your own and entirely original, however false that idea of originality may be. In DH, we cannot function without collaboration, and we share ties with the sciences, where shared work and shared credit are the norm. At the Implementing New Knowledge Environments (INKE) conference that directly succeeded DHSI 2012, the number of people who stood up to give a conference paper and immediately began by acknowledging the people in the room to whom their work was indebted was striking. The way that papers spoke to each other and ideas connected across panels and across days was also striking. This is partially the effect of a relatively small DH community in Canada, I'm sure, but it's also the effect of a fundamental spirit of community and collaboration within DH. This is a major reason why I have no problem with the idea of big-tent DH (a model of DH that has increasingly come under fire) because it seems like no matter how big the tent gets, we're all still talking to each other and making connections. The tent is big, but the community within it feels small, in the best way.

AM: I have little more to add to what everyone has summarised so aptly above. In my experience, the DH community has been open, welcoming, and quite conscious of accessibility issues. I do think that it is important that we not become too complacent or congratulatory on our "niceness," however. Any academic community must be conscious of its inclusiveness of scholars (and members of the public) from different socioeconomic and ethnic backgrounds, and continue to make efforts to make our research environments as welcoming as possible. This perceived openness is the result, I am sure, of ongoing work on the part of DH scholars everywhere, and should not be taken for granted.


As our original roundtable at Congress ended, several members of the audience commented on the optimism present in the room, an optimism notably and often absent from the meetings of other professional associations in the humanities. Although I know of few, if any, digital humanists who would say that DH is a panacea for the problems facing the liberal arts and humanities in the contemporary university, there is a very real sense that we are at a moment of powerful change in the nature of knowledge production and preservation, in the ways we communicate through and across technology, and in the possibilities that digital techniques afford those of us working in the humanities. Such possibilities might run the gamut from empirically verifying analytical assumptions to restructuring the organisational layout of higher education.

Writing the conclusion to this rather unorthodox publication, the authors had a chance to look back and reflect on what has been written here, and what was said in Waterloo in 2012, from the distance of two years, multiple career changes, and an ever-more robust discussion of the role of DH in graduate training. In several cases, the skill sets, professional connections, and project management experience that we speculated would be a boon to us in the future has proven to be exactly that. Melissa Dalgleish has shifted from working on the Editing Modernism in Canada Project and pursuing a PhD at York University to a full time position in the Faculty of Graduate Studies devoted to designing and implementing professional development programs for graduate students. Alyssa McLeod has moved from working in a DH research lab to a role as a web designer at the Royal Ontario Museum, where she creates mobile-friendly tours to aid visitor wayfinding and interactive timelines that display the history of the museum. Tara Thomson now lives in Scotland, teaching courses in Modernist literature and working as a team member on Scotland's Collections and the Digital Humanities, a knowledge-exchange project with the goal of sharing ideas, projects, and best practices in the field of Scottish digital humanities. These successful transitions point to a set of ideas that recurred in our discussion: that digital humanities involvement during graduate study produces transferable, directly applicable skills in conjunction with humanities research questions and goals. As Alyssa writes, digital humanities work "teaches you how to collaborate, even outside of your comfort zone." Integrating technical skill development, project management, knowledge mobilisation and outreach, and collaborative scholarship within graduate programs and under a program of sustained mentorship is something DH has proven, in our cases, adept at.

The contributors to our original roundtable, and to this piece, continue to participate in and reflect upon those changes. We hope to offer an important contribution to pressing debates on graduate education in the humanities, on mentorship in the twenty first century academy, and on the nature of digital scholarly practices as a whole. We are, of course, not the entire story. This contribution stands alongside publications like #Alt-academy, the work of the Scholarly Communication Initiative, the efforts of Russell Berman at Stanford University, and numerous other efforts oriented towards understanding the past, present and future of doctoral education in the humanities. Even within DH, our observations are not necessarily transferable. Some students interested in digital scholarship lack access to large-scale digital projects; others are professionalised in environments where the hallmarks of digital work—collaboration, openness, sharing—are seen as hazards to producing quality scholarship. We are the first to agree that further data collection and analysis needs to be undertaken, preferably by the digital humanities community itself. Only when we know the current state of digital humanities training and professionalisation at the graduate level can the community effectively move forward with recommendations, the promulgation of best practices, and a clear sense of what digital humanities means for the next several decades of academic work.

Works Cited

Berman, Russell. 2011. "Reforming Doctoral Education: The Sooner the Better." In MLA Newsletter.

Brown, Susan, Stan Ruecker, Jeffery Antoniuk, Sharon Farnel, Matt Gooding, Stéfan Sinclair, Matt Patey, and Sandra Gabriele. 2010. "Reading Orlando with the Mandala Browser: A Case Study in Algorithmic Criticism via Experimental Visualization." In Digital Studies/Le champ numérique. 1.4.

Nowviskie, Bethany. 2011. "Where Credit Is Due: Preconditions for the Evaluation of Collaborative Digital Scholarship." In Profession. The Modern Language Society of America. EPUB File.

Ramsay, Stephen. 2011. "On Building." In Stephen Ramsay (blog). 11 Jan.

Samuels, Lisa, and Jerome McGann. 1999. "Deformance and Interpretation." In New Literary History 30.1 (Winter): 25-56.

Scheinfeldt, Tom. 2010. "Why Digital Humanities is 'Nice.'" In Found History. 26 May.“nice”/

Smith, Sidonie. 2012. "Toward a Sustainable Humanities: Reconceptualizing Doctoral Education for the 21st Century." Paper presented at the Congress 2012 of the Humanities and Social Sciences, Canadian Federation for the Humanities and Social Sciences, University of Waterloo and Wilfrid Laurier University, Waterloo-Kitchener, Ontario, May 26 - June 2.

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Daniel James Powell (University of Victoria Electronic Textual Cultures Lab)
Matt Bouchard (University of Toronto)
Melissa Dalgleish (York University)
Andy Keenan (University of Toronto)
Alyssa McLeod (Royal Ontario Museum)
Tara Thomson (University of Victoria)





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