Toward a Third Way: Rethinking Academic Employment

Contributed by Tom Scheinfeldt Managing Director & Research Ass't Prof at CHNM, George Mason U
May 06, 2011
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Careers & Credentials

Introduction: “Tenure is broken. Please give me tenure.”

Lately it seems the papers are full of articles and essays reporting, decrying, and demanding for an end to tenure as we know it. According to a U.S. Department of Education study quoted recently in the Chronicle of Higher Education, the percentage of college instructors who are either tenured or on the tenure track was down from 57 percent in 1975 to 31 percent in 2007. Many see this crisis of tenure as a threat to academic freedom and quality teaching, a portent of declining scholarly standards, and a dangerous erosion of hard won concessions from management. Others, such as Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus in their much-discussed book Higher Education? How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids—And What We Can Do About It, welcome the end of tenure as necessary step in top-to-bottom higher education reform. Value judgments aside, most observers agree that the proportion of tenured faculty will continue to drop, perhaps to fifteen or twenty percent of college instructors in the coming decades. [1]

Enter the digital humanities, which only complicate this picture. Digital humanities has expanded significantly in the past decade, in term of budgets, numbers of institutions, and numbers of practitioners. But this hasn’t put digital humanities on the sunny side of the declining tenure numbers. As this volume demonstrates, most digital humanists are not in tenured or tenure track positions. Despite digital humanities' currency, it is still viewed skeptically by more traditional colleagues. For these scholars, a strong portfolio of digital work may actually make it more difficult to find that rarer and rarer tenure track opportunity because more traditional search committees may wonder whether the candidate's digital work will distract them from their “real” scholarship, whether they are, in fact, “serious” scholars. Likewise, even for those lucky enough to be on the tenure track, the system often doesn’t recognize digital work. Digital research doesn't count in decisions about tenure and promotion as do journal articles and monographs. Assistant Professor contracts rarely even include the word “digital.” Digital work is done on the side, and at best considered service, at worst a distraction from “real” research.

This is familiar terrain. Anyone who has been to almost any meeting of two or more digital humanists during the last fifteen years has heard it all before. It’s an old joke among digital humanists that, sooner or later, our conversations always roll around to tenure.

Yet even the current tenure regime’s stronger and more radical critics, especially among digital humanists, tend to be extremely conservative when it comes to proposing a solution. Somewhat astonishingly, the solution most commonly proposed to the problem of a broken tenure system is expanding the tenure system. This conservative position holds that if only more assistant professor positions were written to include digital work, and if only more tenure committees would recognize that work as tenureable, all would be well. Without naming any names, I get the feeling that many of my untenured digital humanist colleagues currently critical of the system would be happy if only the system would simply embrace them. Too often criticism seems aimed not at fixing inequalities in the system, but at getting on the right side of those inequalities.

Should we lament the decline of tenure? Perhaps. But two things suggest to me that digital humanists in particular shouldn’t put much time or effort into it. First, it’s clear our lamentations are not working. The fact is, as the statistics above show, tenure isn't expanding, it's contracting. There isn't much reason to think this situation will turn around any time soon. Second, even if we could create tenure track positions for everyone working in digital humanities, I’m not sure we’d want to. Tenure may or may not be the best model for traditional academic employment. But a blind extension of it to all digital humanists would not take seriously the differences inherent in digital humanities work. It would not admit the possibility that pouring the new wine of digital humanities into the old skins of tenure-based employment models—with their 3-3 teaching loads, tri-annual sabbaticals, research-teaching-service evaluation rubrics, and nine-month contracts—may be inefficient and ineffective for both digital humanities and its practitioners. [2]

Toward a third way

In 2008, Mills Kelly, my colleague at the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University, wrote a series of blog posts that took seriously the problems of awarding traditional tenure based on digital work.[3] In “Making it Count,” Mills argued that if scholars want digital scholarship to count in traditional promotion and tenure decisions, then they have to make sure it conforms to the characteristics and standards of traditional scholarship (though Mills points out that some of those standards, such as peer review, will have to be modified slightly to accommodate the differences inherent in digital scholarship.) At the same time Mills suggested that we have to accept that digital work that does not fit the standards of traditional scholarship, no matter how useful or well done, will not count in traditional promotion and tenure decisions. Essentially Mills made a distinction between digital “scholarship” and other kinds of digital “work,” the first which bears the characteristics of traditional scholarship and the second which does not. The first should count as “scholarship” in promotion and tenure decisions. The second should not. Rather it should count as “service” or something similar.

I more or less agree with this, and I’m fine with Mills’ distinction. Communities have the right to set their own standards and decide what counts as this or that. Much, if not most, digital humanities work does not fit traditional definitions of “scholarship.” But this situation does raise questions for those of us engaged primarily in the second kind of activity, in digital humanities “work.” What happens to the increasing numbers of people employed inside university departments, doing “work” and not “scholarship?” In universities that have committed to digital humanities, shouldn’t the work of creating and maintaining digital collections, building software, experimenting with new user interface designs, mounting online exhibitions, providing digital resources for students and teachers, and managing the collaborative teams upon which all digital humanities depend count for more than service does under traditional promotion and tenure rubrics? Personally I’m not willing to admit that this other kind of digital work is any less important for digital humanities than digital scholarship, which frankly would not be possible without it. All digital humanities is collaborative, and it’s just NOT COOL if the only people whose careers benefit from our collaborations are the “scholars” among us. We need the necessary “work” of digital humanities to count for those people whose jobs are to do it.

I myself do relatively little work that would fit traditional definitions of scholarship. Practically none of my digital work would. Because of that I am more than willing to accept that tenure just isn’t in the picture for me. With my digital bent, I am asking for a change in the nature of academic work, and therefore I have to be willing to accept a change in the nature and terms of my academic employment.

That said, I am not willing to accept the second-class status of, for instance, an adjunct faculty member. My work—whether it is “scholarship” or not—wins awards, attracts hundreds of thousands of dollars in grant funding, turns up periodically on CNN and in the New York Times, enables the work of hundreds of other academics, and is used every day by thousands of people, scholars and non-scholars alike. That may not make it tenureable, but it’s certainly not second class. It can’t be tenure track or nothing. My work requires a “third way.”

Fortunately I’m at an institution committed to digital humanities and willing to experiment with new models of academic employment. Technically I have two titles, “Managing Director of the Center for History & New Media” and “Research Assistant Professor.” That puts me somewhere between an untenured administrative faculty member and an untenured research faculty member. It is a position which would frighten some of my tenure track colleagues terribly, and I can, indeed, be fired from my job. Sometimes that worries me too. Then I remember that probably 99% of the rest of working Americans can also be fired from their jobs. I also remember that just like that other 99%, if I do what’s expected of me, it probably won’t happen. If I continue to win grants and awards from panels of my peers and continue to produce quality, well-received, well-used digital humanities products, I’ll probably continue to have a job. If I exceed expectations, I’ll probably advance.

Just as important to note are the benefits my job has over more traditional scholarly career paths, some of which are pretty serious. I’m not terrorized by the formalized expectations that accompany traditional promotion and tenure decisions. I won’t perish if I don’t publish. I also don’t have fixed teaching obligations. I can focus full-time on my research, and I have greater freedom and flexibility to explore new directions than most of my tenure track colleagues. I get to work on lots of things at once. Some of these experiments are likely to fail, but as long as most succeed, that’s expected and OK. I manage my own travel budgets and research schedule rather than being held hostage to department committees. I get to work every day with a close-knit team of like-minded academics rather than alone in a library. I have considerably greater freedom to negotiate my pay and benefits. And to the extent that it advances the mission and interests of CHNM, my digital work, even my blog, “counts.”

Mine is not a tenure-track position, and (even though I have a Ph.D.) based on the work I do, I don’t expect it to be. Nor do I care. There are some downsides and some upsides to my position, but it’s a reasonably happy third way. More importantly, I believe it is a necessary third way for the digital humanities, which in Mills’ terms require not only digital “scholarship” but also digital “work.”

If digital humanities are going to flourish in the academy, we need both to accept and advocate for new models of academic employment. Academic work is changing, and the terms, conditions, and models of academic employment and career advancement will have to change along with it. We don’t have to relegate old models of tenure and promotion to the chopping block. But nor should we stubbornly insist on their unique primacy or fool ourselves that they’re somehow eternal and unchanging. Whether we are the ones seeking or bestowing the promotions, we need to recognize that an institution as diverse and kaleidoscopic as the modern research university can, should, and will accommodate more than one employment model and path to advancement and leadership. What digital humanities needs is not the simple and essentially conservative expansion of tenure and tenure-track employment, but a more thorough and radical rethink of humanities employment, one that takes into account the unique demands of digital humanities work and crafts new job descriptions and new employment terms to fit those demands.

Let me be clear. I am not proposing surrender in the fight for justice in academic employment. But justice does not only come in the form of tenure. What I am proposing is a thorough rethink of what good and just academic employment means in the digital humanities context and the invention and implementation of new models of academic employment that are both fair and well-matched to the new digital humanities. Crucially, this is not just a matter of reforming existing systems. In addition to the structural adjustments that are required to ensure just employment, we need to make some psychological adjustments. Certainly, we need to be granted sufficient respect by our higher-ups and our peers and colleagues in more traditional jobs—I’m not trying to blame the battered woman for her predicament. But digital humanists themselves have to start thinking about landing a “third way” position as “making it.” We have to start acting and thinking like we’re worthy of respect. We have to give people in third-way kinds of jobs permission to be proud.

Two kinds of digital humanities employment in particular are need of this kind of rethink: the soft-money research appointment within the departments and the library line. Both are jobs that digitally-minded recent Ph.D.s may feel depressed or embarrassed to find themselves in. The rest of this essay aims to tell them—and their friends and colleagues on the tenure track— otherwise.

"Soft" is not a four-letter word

I will be the first to say that I have been, and continue to be, extremely lucky. As I explained above, I have managed to strike a workable employment model somewhere between tenured professor and transient post-doc, expendable adjunct, or subservient staffer, a more or less happy third way that provides relative security, creative opportunity, and professional respect. The terms of my employment at CHNM may not be reproducible everywhere. Nor do I see my situation as any kind of silver bullet. But it is one model that has seemed to work in a particular institutional and research context, and I offer it mainly to show that fairness doesn’t necessarily come in the form of tenure and that other models are possible.

Taking this argument further, I would also argue that fairness does not necessarily come in the form of what we in the educational and cultural sectors tend to call “hard money,” i.e. positions that are written into in our institutions’ annual budgets.

Of course, the first thing to admit about “hard money” is that it doesn’t really exist. As we have seen in the recent financial crisis, especially in layoffs of tenure-track and even tenured faculty and in the elimination of boat-loads of “hard lines” in library and museum budgets, hard money is only hard until someone higher up than a department chair, dean, or provost decides that it’s soft.

The second thing to acknowledge is that the concept of “hard” versus “soft” money really only exists in academe. If those terms were extended to the rest of the U.S. economy—the 90+ percent of the U.S. labor force not employed by institutions of higher education (although government may be another place where this distinction is meaningful)—we’d see that most people are on “soft” money. My wife has been employed as lawyer at a fancy “K Street” law firm in Washington, DC for going on six years now. She makes a very good living and is, by the standards of her chosen profession, very successful. And yet, you guessed it, she is on soft money. If for some reason the firm loses two, three, four of its large clients, her billing and hence the money to pay her salary will very quickly dry up, and the powers that be will be forced to eliminate her position. This is true for almost any job you can point to. If revenues do not match projections, layoffs occur. One can debate the justice of particular layoffs and down-sizings, but without wholesale changes to our economy, the basic rule of “no money in, no money out” is hard to deny.

Indulge me for a moment in a bit of simile. In some ways, CHNM is very much like any other business. At CHNM we have clients. Those clients are our funders. We sell products and services to those clients. Those products and services are called digital humanities projects. Our funder clients pay us a negotiated price for those products and services. We use those revenues to pay the employees who produce the products and services for our clients. To keep the wheels turning, we sell more products and services to our clients, and if an existing client doesn’t want or need what we’re selling anymore, we either find new clients or change the range of products and services we offer. Failing that, we will have to start reducing payroll.

How is this situation any different or worse than any other sector of the economy? If people stop buying Word and Excel, Microsoft will have to find something else to sell people or layoff the engineers, designers, project managers and other staff that make MS Office.

I understand that so crass an analogy to corporate America will make many people unhappy. The idealist in me recoils from the notion that the academy should be treated as just another business. Yet the pragmatist in me—a side that is certainly stronger than it would otherwise be from dealing for so long with the often very practical, hands-on work of digital humanities and the frequent sleepless nights that come with the responsibility of managing a budget that supports nearly fifty employees—thinks it foolish to reject out of hand employment models that, however imperfect, have worked to produce so much and provide livelihoods for so many. (Indeed, the democrat in me also has to ask, what makes us in academe so special as to deserve and expect freedoms, security, and privileges that the rest of the labor force doesn’t?)

Therefore, in my book, “soft money” isn’t necessarily and always bad. If it funds good, relatively secure, fairly compensated jobs, in my book soft money is OK. CHNM has several senior positions funded entirely on soft money and several employees who have been with us on soft money for five, six, and seven years—a long time in the short history of digital humanities.

What isn’t OK is when “soft” equals “temporary” or “term.” This, I readily acknowledge, is an all too frequent equation. Many, if not most, soft money post-doc, research faculty, and staff positions are created upon the award of a particular grant to work on that grant and that grant alone, and only until the term of the grant expires. I make no bones that these defined-term, grant-specific jobs are inferior to tenure or tenure track or even corporate-sector employment.

At CHNM we try to avoid creating these kinds of jobs. Since at least 2004, instead of hiring post-docs or temporary staff to work on a particular grant funded project when it is awarded, where possible we try to hire people to fill set of generalized roles that have evolved over the years and proven themselves necessary to the successful completion of nearly any digital humanities project: designer, web developer, project manager, outreach specialist. Generally our people are not paid from one grant, but rather from many grants. At any given moment, a CHNM web designer, for example, may be paid from as many as four or five different grant budgets, her funding distribution changing fairly frequently as her work on a particular project ends and work on another project begins. This makes for very complicated accounting and lots of strategic human resource decisions (this is one of the big headaches of my job), but it means that we can keep people around as projects start and end and funders come and go. Indeed as the funding mosaic becomes ever more complex, when viewed from a distance (i.e. by anyone but me and a few other administrative staff who deal with the daily nitty-gritty) the budget picture begins to look very much like a general fund and staff positions begin to look like budget lines.

Perceptive readers will by now be asking, “Yes, but how did CHNM get to the point where it had enough grants and had diversified its funding enough to maintain what amounts to a permanent staff?” and I’ll readily admit there is a chicken-and-egg problem here. But how CHNM got to where it is, is a topic for another day. The point I’d like to make in this essay is simply that—if we can get beyond thinking about project funding—soft money isn’t essentially bad for either the people funded by it or the institution that relies on it. On the contrary, it can be harnessed toward the sustainable maintenance of an agile, innovation centered organization. While the pressure of constantly finding funding can be stressful and a drag, it doesn’t have to mean bad jobs and a crippled institution.

Just the opposite, in fact. Not only does CHNM’s diversified soft money offer its people some relative security in their employment, pooling our grant resources to create staff stability also makes it easier for us to bring in additional revenue. Having people in generalized roles already on our payroll allows us to respond with confidence and speed as new funding opportunities present themselves. That is, our financial structure has enabled us to build the institutional capacity to take advantage of new funding sources, to be confident that we can do the work in question, to convince funders that is so, and in turn to continue to maintain staff positions and further increase capacity.

CHNM is by no means perfect. Not all jobs at CHNM are created equal, and like everyone in the digital humanities we struggle to make ends meet and keep the engine going. In a time of increasingly intense competition for fewer and fewer grant dollars, there is always a distinct chance that we’ll run out of gas. Nevertheless, it is soft money that so far has created a virtuous and, dare I say, sustainable cycle.

Thus, when we talk about soft money, we have to talk about what kind of soft money and how it is structured and spent within an institution. Is it structured to hire short term post-docs and temporary staff who will be let go at the end of the grant? Or is it structured and diversified in such a way as to provide good, relatively stable jobs where staff can build skills and reputation over a period of several years?

When soft money means “temporary and insecure,” soft money is bad. When soft money facilitates the creation of good jobs in digital humanities, in my book at least, soft money works.

The library isn't the minor league

One thing that has been clear since the birth of the new digital humanities is the centrality of collecting institutions and collecting professionals in all aspects of the endeavor, not simply as support but as key engines of knowledge creation and innovation. And yet even among digital humanists, especially those with Ph.D.s, there is a sneaking suspicion that a buddy from grad school who ended up in a library gig has somehow failed. I think even those Ph.D.’s who have chosen library, archives, or museum work over a teaching position sometimes feel, if not their own sense of failure, then certainly the scorn of their colleagues and graduate school mates. This attitude must change.

Visitors to CHNM have often commented on the strange concentration of digital humanities centers in and around Washington, DC. In fact, for many of our visitors, CHNM is just one stop on the larger Washington digital humanities circuit, which also includes the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) in College Park, the Center for New Designs in Learning and Scholarship (CNDLS) at Georgetown, the instructional technology group at the University of Mary Washington in Fredericksburg, and the Institute for Advanced Technology in the Humanities (IATH) and Scholar's Lab at the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. Just as rising high school seniors and their parents descend on Washington campus admissions offices in the summertime, these visitors, frequently in the planning stages of digital humanities initiatives on their own campuses, come to Washington to see more or less the full range institutional models for university-based digital humanities, all within relatively easy driving distance of one another.

Maryland, Virginia, Mary Washington, Georgetown, and George Mason are very fine universities. But to my mind they're not the reason why digital humanities has taken root in Washington, DC. Instead, I believe that the main reasons for Washington’s universities’ prowess in digital humanities are essentially external, based more on their geographic location than their institutional affiliations.

The first and most obvious of these external causes is proximity to the agencies that fund digital humanities: NEH, IMLS, the Department of Education, NHPRC, NSF. All of us in the Washington area have benefited from the advice we've received upon bumping into a program officer at the ubiquitous symposia and seminars to be found around the Capital Beltway. There isn't any special treatment to be had from these meetings. Usually the advice we get simply reinforces information that is published publicly elsewhere: "an advisory board is recommended for projects under this grant program" or "don't bother, the program guidelines actually exclude projects like yours" or "have you thought about this other grant program for your project?" Indeed, federal program officers have relatively little discretion when it comes to picking winners; the peer review process at each of these agencies is strictly enforced. Nevertheless, a personal knowledge of the federal funding scene and the knowledge of whom to call and when are invaluable assets in building a digital humanities center.

But proximity to funding isn't really what makes Washington a good place for digital humanities. More important than being close to funders is being close to collections. For my money, it's proximity to the Library of Congress, the National Archives, the Smithsonian Institution, the National Park Service, the Folger Library, the Phillips Collection, and the hundred other libraries, archives, and museums in the Washington area that has made it Ground Zero for digital humanities in the United States. Of course it’s also no accident that many digital humanities centers, in Washington and elsewhere, including IATH, the Scholar’s Lab, and MITH, are themselves located in their university libraries.

Like the Web itself, so much of digital humanities is organized around the database. Nearly every digital history project at CHNM, from our education projects to our digital archives, starts with an archive of sources. Databases—of primary source documents, images of artifacts, video recordings, oral history transcripts, and lesson plans—power our content-driven digital history websites, projects like History Matters, Historical Thinking Matters, the September 11 Digital Archive, Gulag: Many Days, Many Lives, and the Papers of the War Department, 1784-1800. Databases underlie the software we build. Zotero, CHNM’s research management tool was only made possible by the inclusion of a SQL TK database backend in Firefox 2.0. Every site built in Omeka, CHNM’s web publishing platform for digital humanities scholarship, begins with an “archive” of raw materials from which narratives and visual displays are constructed. Primary source-based digital history may be the most obvious (and for me, the most familiar) example of the database-driven nature of digital humanities, but even the more textual digital humanities projects of the literary disciplines usually rely on a database of some sort or on the database’s structured text cousin, XML. Content projects such as the Whitman Archive and tool-building projects like MONK (Metadata Offer New Knowledge) are prominent examples of database-driven literary scholarship.

It is an axiom of the Internet that “information wants to be free.” Databases on the other hand want to be filled. The problem for digital humanists working in the academy is that we generally don’t have the stuff on hand to fill them. University departments and research centers do not maintain their own collections. To fill our databases, to achieve their telos, we must partner with collecting institutions—libraries for books and other texts, archives for documents and ephemera, museums for artifacts. We can’t build digital humanities without databases, and we can’t build databases without stuff. That means making friends with librarians, archivists, and museum professionals.

Physical proximity to libraries and museums helps in this endeavor. Concretely, CHNM’s award winning Object of History project could not have been built without direct access to the desk at which Thomas Jefferson penned the Declaration of Independence, or the lunch counter where students in Greensboro, NC sat until they were finally served, or Ceasar Chavez’s short-handled hoe—all located at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of American History. MITH’s Shakespeare Quartos Project would be unimaginable without access to the real thing, so much of which is located in the marble halls of the Folger Library. I suppose both projects could have been done via email, conference call, and FTP by centers in Texas or Ohio. But they may never have been imagined without the casual encounters at local seminars and symposia where ideas and collaborations are born.

This suggests that it is not only, perhaps not even mainly, our proximity to collections that makes D.C. a hotbed of university-based digital humanities. It is our proximity to collections professionals. Indeed, access to stuff was much less important to the success of the Object of History project than was access to the Smithsonian’s curators, whose unique expertise infuses the site with authority and fills the databases with good information. Perhaps more abstract, but no less important than the collections knowledge and data they pour into our databases, moreover, are the lessons collections professionals teach us about information management. Even if their training or work is not in digital curation or collections management per se (though it often is), collections professionals are by occupation and usually inclination database minded. Being close to the peerless collections professionals of the Capital region puts us academics, trained in linear argument and narrative, in a database frame of mind. Thus, what the centrality Washington’s digital humanities centers shows us is, far from being peripheral to it, librarians, archivists, and museum professionals are central to digital humanities. The digital humanities centers located around the Beltway are dependent on the libraries and museums located at its center just as much as the defense contractors, think tanks, and law firms that are our neighbors are dependent on the Pentagon, White House, Congress, and courts.

You wouldn’t know it from the way many digitally-minded humanities graduate students or recent Ph.D.’s approach the job market. Despite the centrality of the library, archive, and museum to digital humanities, many aspiring digital humanists cling to the idea of the tenure-track position to the exclusion of all other options. They befriend colleagues in the library, archive, and museum, but fear ending up there. They pursue their digital work “on the side,” trying to juggle two research agendas, the digital one they care about and the traditional one which may “count.” Both suffer. They join the chorus calling for a revision of promotion and tenure guidelines to include digital humanities.

This course is not just ineffectual. It is perilous. Too many have dragged their careers down the path of adjunct employment while waiting for the enlightened search committee or, more futilely, for “things to change.”

Instead of grasping for ways to construe, or misconstrue, their digital interests and work to fit the more traditional expectations of department search committees, wouldn’t it make more sense to dive head first into the library, archives, or museums job market where these interests and achievements will be recognized on their own terms? Wouldn’t it be better to pursue your database-mindedness among the likeminded? [4]

By arguing that digital humanists should consider jobs in libraries, I’m not saying that digital humanities should retreat from the university. I am just saying that aspiring digital humanists should be be catholic and unprejudiced in their job searches, placing universities and collecting institutions on equal footing in their own minds. They should avoid buying into the elitist and wrongheaded idea that any job outside the departments constitutes failure, that the library is the minor league. They should ask themselves “where can I do my best work?” not “how can I become a professor?” The first question is about advancing digital humanities. The second is about buying into values that are foreign to digital humanities and flattering one’s biases and self-image.


In this essay, I have argued that the digital humanities necessitate third-way models of academic employment and therefore the digital humanities community needs to accept and promote them as valid alternatives to the tenure track, deserving of equal prestige and respect. This is as much a matter of changing mindsets as it is about changing labor contracts. I have argued that soft-money research positions and library, archives, and museum jobs can be just, fitting, and sometimes superior alternatives to traditional academic employment for aspiring digital humanists. Debates about the future of tenure—changing it, expanding it, eliminating it—are sure to continue. But this essay has tried to show, at least for the digital humanities, that debates about tenure may simply be beside the point. What’s best for digital humanities and digital humanists may not be tenure at all.

[1] Robin Wilson, “Tenure, RIP: What the Vanishing Status Means for the Future of Education,” The Chronicle of Higher Education, July 4, 2010, sec. Labor & Work-Life Issues. Christopher Shea, “The End of Tenure?,” The New York Times, September 3, 2010, sec. Books / Sunday Book Review. Andrew Hacker and Claudia Dreifus, Higher Education?: How Colleges Are Wasting Our Money and Failing Our Kids–and What We Can Do About It, First Edition. (Times Books, 2010).

[2] Some of what follows appeared originally on my research blog, Found History. Tom Scheinfeldt, “Making It Count: Toward a Third Way,” Found History, October 2, 2008. Tom Scheinfeldt, “'Soft' [money] is not a four-letter word,” Found History, March 26, 2010.

[3]Mills Kelly, “Making Digital Scholarship Count,” Edwired, June 13, 2008.

[4] It is important to note that libraries, archives, and museums are themselves specialized fields, and digital humanists looking to enter these fields should be prepared to learn the specialized skills necessary to work into them, up to and sometime including pursing an archives, museum studies, or library science degree. It is further proof of the centrality of the collecting disciplines that nothing you learn in these studies will be wasted on your digital humanities scholarship.