Blog Post

Communication between Digital Humanists and Archivists

This weekend in Rochester, NY, archivists and their friends - historians, librarians, and more - met for the semi-annual Mid-Atlantic Regional Archives Conference. In her plenary address, Society of American Archivists Vice President/President-Elect Kathleen Roe issued a strong call for meaningful outreach with other fields, in particular the digital humanities. In response to this challenge, I am seeking examples from my colleagues in both fields to strengthen my inquiry into the modes of communication and collaboration between archivists and digital humanists. The boundaries between these fields are porous; while we have our own disciplinary vocabularies, methodologies, methods of accreditation, and prejudices, digital humanities and archives are in many respects complementary pursuits with common goals which can learn much from one another. Libraries are also natural allies of both archives and digital humanities and, I believe, often emerge as a meeting place for the two fields.


If you consider yourself an archivist and/or a digital humanist, I am interested in learning about concrete ways in which you have experienced the interaction of these two fields.*** Please consider responding to this survey and/or emailing me at hello[at]annasophiazingarelli[dot]com. Examples of the interactions I am thinking of include, but are by no means limited to:


  • Digital Humanities coursework taught in archival education programs, such as that at University of Pittsburgh
  • Coursework taught on archival research and/or archival principles in humanities programs
  • Interdisciplinary seminars that include both archives and DH students
  • Participation of archives students in the HASTAC Scholars and other DH fellowship programs

Scholarly Communication


  • Digital preservation efforts
  • Projects of any and all kinds...

I will use responses to the survey (with permission) together with my own research to analyze the modes and sites of interaction, making recommendations for further archival advocacy and outreach to the DH community.


Thank you in advance for your consideration. I look forward to continuing the conversation here, via email, and Twitter. Please also feel free to approach me at Data Driven, the American Library Association annual conference, or the Society of American Archivists annual conference this summer.


***Note: In response to some questions, yes, I have been deliberately vague. I don't really want to prescribe what "digital humanities", "archives", or "interaction/ experience/ collaboration" mean here. My aim is to zoom out as far as possible to capture how we are all defining these for ourselves. I also view this as an iterative project, and there may be follow-ups with more specific questions as patterns emerge. Bottom line, if YOU think this survey is speaking to your identity/activity in archives and DH, it IS! This is not a gate-keeping exercise.***


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