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Conference Reflections: A Chemistry Librarian Discovers the Digital Humanities

Header image for LAUC-B 2017 conference

Every year librarians from across the UC System come together to learn about emerging trends in library and information science at the LAUC-B conference. The 2017 theme was, “Focus on the visual: Digital Humanities and Libraries.” As the Chemical Information Librarian at UC Berkeley some people might wonder, what do I have in common with the digital humanities?  I am an experienced chemist, but am a  new librarian at UCB and have a lot to learn about the amazing work being done by my colleagues. The UC system supports many departments at the top of their field, so as you can imagine, the librarians  for those departments and the entire system are often passionate and talented individuals.

Barack Obama Bust
3D Printed bust of President Barack Obama.

As a subject liaison, I feel strongly that interdisciplinary and collaborative projects are leading to some incredible outcomes, spanning across the humanities and sciences. My favorite talk of the day came from the Associate Vice Provost and Executive Director of the California Digital Library (CDL), Günter Waibel, who delivered the opening keynote and outlined his work doing the first ever 3D printed bust of a sitting President, which had a great societal response.  As librarians we always hope our work will touch people in powerful ways, it’s still unclear to me what my contribution to the field will be. As long as I can attend events like the LAUC-B conference, I am sure to find a great idea.

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