Since 2015 the Swarthmore College Libraries annually run a digital scholarship program entitled the “Lib/Lab Fellows.” Slightly adapted from their website, the Lib/Lab Fellows:

[Work on] collaborative projects that span disciplinary boundaries, that bring networked technologies to bear on conventional scholarship, [and] that demand a critical consideration of just what we mean by “the digital”?

Throughout the semester the Fellows are exposed to:

  • Web development and design, plus digital media, text analysis, and/or data visualization depending on time/interests
  • Current conversations around digital environments from a variety of perspectives
  • Experience with project management, design thinking and tools for collaboration
  • Self-directed research culminating in a digital project

As I finished up the spring of my penultimate year at Swarthmore, I came to the realization that – like every other year – I wouldn’t have the time needed in my schedule to participate in the Lib/Lab Fellowship. This was a crushing realization because I was very keen on the projects and discussions that happen during a Lib/Lab Fellowship and, unlike previous years, I couldn’t promise myself that next year would be the year I finally make time in my overstuffed schedule to become a Lib/Lab Fellow.

I reached out to Roberto Vargas and Nabil Kashyap – the wonderful Librarians who run the program – who graciously provided me with all the relevant reading materials and agreed to let me run my own version of the program over the summer. (I mean, what else are you going to do during a global pandemic?) Consequentially, I gathered some interested people from the community and created the 2020 Lib/Lab Summer Edition!

If you’d like to see what sorts of texts we discussed, the syllabus can be found below. It can also double as a reading list.


Note: The syllabus listed below is built on the 2019 Lib/Lab Fellows Syllabus created by Nabil Kashyap and Roberto Vargas. Feel free to check out their syllabus.

Week 1: Back to basics

Week 2: Power, race, and technology

Week 3: “It’s not a big truck. It’s a series of tubes.” - Sen. Stevens

Week 4: Does data dream of visualizations?

Week 5: Hey, Hey, Listen! (The Attention Economy)

Week 6: Is the cloud someone else’s computer?

Week 7: Performing Identity in Digital Environments

Week 8: Privacy and Surveillance