JOB: Digital Humanities Research Designer at Penn State

The Penn State University Libraries in partnership with the College of the Liberal Arts seek a creative, forward-thinking scholar for the new position of Digital Humanities Research Designer. The Digital Humanities Research Designer will be familiar with a range of technologies and have direct experience bringing digital approaches to bear on research and teaching. The scholar in this position will work as an intellectual partner with faculty, students, and staff in the College of the Liberal Arts. The successful candidate will collaborate with humanities faculty and library colleagues to expand modes of humanistic research through emerging and existing technologies. In providing research project support and conducting workshops on the use of various tools, for example, the Digital Humanities Research Designer will be able to translate and share ideas and concepts effectively across diverse interdisciplinary audiences. The Digital Humanities Research Designer will maintain currency in the field and may pursue his or her own research to do so. The person in this position will engage in national and/or international initiatives or other professional activities promoting the development of a shared humanities research infrastructure. The Digital Humanities Research Designer will play a critical role in building services and programs to support the digital humanities at Penn State.

This is a fixed-term (multi-year), non-tenure track, 3-year appointment based in the Publishing and Curation Services department within the University Libraries. It carries the rank of Assistant Librarian. The position reports to the Digital Content Strategist, but it will be jointly funded by the University Libraries and the College of the Liberal Arts.

The University Libraries work in collaboration with multiple campus partners as part of a growing program in support for emerging digital scholarship needs. The Digital Humanities Research Designer appointment is part of Penn State’s “Humanities in a Digital Age” (HDA) initiative. HDA aims to enrich and promote rigorous cross-disciplinary humanities scholarship and research; open new opportunities for high caliber graduate placements in the humanities; and enhance the undergraduate experience by providing students access to, and support for, cutting-edge humanities research. The new services fostered by this initiative will help graduate students and faculty carry out digitally enriched scholarship in a wider range of fields. Working together, the Libraries and the College of Liberal Arts intend to build a community of practice for the digital humanities at Penn State through programming, services, and research collaborations.



  • Works directly with researchers to provide project definition and analysis, such as project scope, requirements, specifications and/or design.

  • Evaluates existing tools and technologies, and investigates emerging technologies to identify potential uses in humanities research. Prototypes demonstration projects and/or implements tools for use by others.

  • Collaborates with colleagues in the Libraries, Liberal Arts, and Information Technology Services to help ensure harmony among various technology infrastructures and needs.

  • Provides limited technical support for digital humanities research projects, including implementation of tools, technology, etc. to help researchers achieve their goals.

  • Conducts training, group instruction, or workshops on topics related to digital humanities.

  • Collaborates within the Libraries and Liberal Arts on building community and promoting digital humanities tools and methods within the University.


Required Qualifications:

  • Advanced degree in a humanities field.

  • Demonstrated proficiency/fluency with one or more technologies commonly used in digital humanities projects, such as database design and development, XML-encoding, GIS, data visualization, topic modeling, social network analysis, etc.

  • Experience using digital humanities tools and approaches in his or her own research.

  • Experience teaching or leading workshops on digital humanities tools and/or methods to faculty and students.

  • Experience working collaboratively with other scholars and/or with IT professionals on projects related to digital scholarship.

  • Excellent communication skills.

  • Strong service orientation.


Desired Qualifications:

  • PhD in a humanities field.

  • Experience with development and management of projects, grants, and/or budgets.

  • Record of professional presentations and/or publication.



Penn State, a land-grant institution, is a member of the Committee on Institutional Cooperation (CIC), a consortium of the Big Ten universities plus the University of Chicago. Based on current Association for Research Libraries investment rankings, Penn State is now among the top ten research libraries in North America. A Penn State student survey completed in 2010 found overall student satisfaction with the Libraries to be at the top of its category. Collections exceed 5.8 million volumes, including more than 102,000 current serial subscriptions. The University Libraries are located at University Park and 22 other locations throughout Pennsylvania, and they serve approximately 6,000 faculty and 44,000 students at University Park, and more than 92,000 students system wide. The University Libraries work in collaboration with multiple campus partners as part of a growing program of support for emerging scholarly communications needs. These include the development of Publishing and Curation Services, which oversees user services for ScholarSphere, a service provided in collaboration with Information Technology Services.

The College of the Liberal Arts at Penn State is home to more than 5200 undergraduates and 777 graduate students in twenty-one departments in the humanities and social sciences. It serves the entire University community through its extensive general education program in which typical Penn State undergraduate students take nearly one-third of their courses. With 11 of our programs placed in the top 25 percent of their respective disciplines in the recent National Research Council rankings, the College of the Liberal Arts has emerged as a one of the nation’s premier public research liberal arts colleges.

The University Park campus is set in the State College metropolitan area, a university town located in the heart of central Pennsylvania. State College offers a vibrant community with outstanding recreational facilities, a low crime rate, and excellent public schools. The campus is within a half-day drive to Washington D.C., Baltimore, Philadelphia, New York City, and Pittsburgh. The University Park Airport is served by three major carriers with flights to Washington, Philadelphia, and Detroit. For more information, please and


Appointment Details:

Excellent fringe benefits include liberal vacation, excellent insurance, state or TIAA/CREF retirement options, and educational privileges. Faculty in the University Libraries carrying the appointment of Fixed-Term, Multi-Year are afforded $1500 for professional development travel annually. Faculty may be asked to travel as official representatives of the Libraries to certain events and those trips are reimbursed at full cost within limits established by the University.


Application Instructions:

Send a letter of application, resume, and the names and contact information of three references to Search Committee, The Pennsylvania State University, Box DHRD-HAST, 511 Paterno Library, University Park, PA 16802, or to Please be sure and reference Box DHRD-HAST in the email subject line. Review of candidates will begin on August 31, 2013 and continue until the position is filled. Employment will require successful completion of background check(s) in accordance with University policies.


Penn State is committed to affirmative action, equal opportunity, and the diversity of its workforce.



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