From the Web

How to Value Labor in Digital Projects – New Guide w/Research Questions & Bib.

This is a quick write-up from The Chronicle of Higher Education about a new guide which identifies critical questions about how to think about labor and digital projects–most importantly, too, which offers a comprehensive bibliography on the topic. This issue is important for us Social Mediums (we’re all university Fellows), but it is also a critical issue for the many people working on the Commons. How does their work cultivating, innovating, and maintaining get seen and evaluated? — Social Mediums

Bookshelf with Digital Labor

Digital projects often bring together many different members of an institution, or several institutions, and those members often have very different statuses: students (undergraduate or graduate), workers in precarious positions, those with permanent positions, etc. Understanding and properly valuing all of this work, and the disparate effects such work has on the different people who perform it, is an ongoing challenge.

To help people begin to approach this problem, the Digital Library Federation‘s Working Group on Labor in Digital Libraries has produced an invaluable Research Agenda: Valuing Labor in Digital Libraries.

The Research Agenda identifies a variety of topics related to labor, some of which are directly practical (e.g., organized labor) while others seem more of a conceptual intervention (maintenance vs. innovation). For each topic, there’s a brief prose description of the issue, a list of possible research questions and projects, and a splendid bibliography. It’s a remarkable resource for anyone involved in the creation, maintenance, or preservation of digital projects in libraries or library-adjacent organizations.

Produced by Amy Wickner, Karly Wildenhaus, Hillel Arnold, and Lisa Janicke Hinchliffe, the Research Agenda pulls together insights from many fields in order to make the problematics of digital labor more visible, so that they can be addressed systematically. It’s well worth a read.

Photo “Digital Labor sighting in Berlin bookstore!!” by Flickr user <a href=”https://www.flickr.com/photos/treborscholz/”Trebor Scholz / Creative Commons licensed BY-ND-2.0


Source: How to Value Labor in Digital Projects