How did you become interested in librarianship?
My graduate degree is in history, and I was always very aware and highly appreciative of the expertise of librarians, particularly in the realm of the archives. As I dove deeper into the digital humanities, it began to occur to me that this kind of work—supporting and collaborating with others on digital projects—might be what I really wanted to do, and I quickly understood that academic libraries are at the forefront of this kind of innovation.
Describe the first time you worked in a library.
As a grad student at Indiana University, I had the chance to work as a Digital Methods Specialist at the library based Institute for Digital Arts and Humanities. I got to work alongside fantastic librarians and see the collaborative way they supported researchers and students. That opened my eyes to the kind of important and fulfilling work that I now have the privilege of doing at UC Santa Cruz.
I was just elected Vice Chair/Chair Elect for LAUC-SC.
What do you like best about being a UC librarian?
Engaging regularly with such an interesting and profound group of faculty and students. The variety of interests, projects, and class assignments (in my case, ones that intersect with digital methods and tools) is truly invigorating.
Describe a recent or current project on which you are working.
We support a lot of student podcasting projects, and we thought it wouldn't hurt to generate a project of our own that would involve our student workers as well. October 2019 was the thirtieth anniversary of the 1989 Loma Prieta Earthquake (widely associated with San Francisco but its epicenter was actually just outside of Santa Cruz and inflicted catastrophic damage to the downtowns of both Santa Cruz and nearby Watsonville). In the process of going through materials for a library-based digital exhibit for the anniversary, I came across a handful of oral history interviews that were recorded back in 1990 as part of our fantastic Regional History Project. These recordings seemed to beg for a wider audience, so I launched into a podcast project with the help of some of our student workers and with contributions from a few key community partners. We're currently in the final stages of producing a ten-episode audio documentary that will be released this coming October. The episodes will include some of the 1990 oral histories as well as a number of new interviews that I and my team have collected. It's been a great project to be involved in on a number of levels, not least of which is the hands-on experience it is giving our department in producing the kinds of projects we regularly support.
Describe your recent professional work outside of work, such as association work, writing, research, or anything else.
I am currently a consulting editor for The American Historical Review, which primarily involves producing the journal's podcast (AHR Interview) and advising on digital scholarship related questions.
For my grad degree I researched the deeper origins of data-driven advertising among American businesses and ad agencies from the mid-nineteenth century to the 1920s. That project is presently on the back burner, but I may return to it in some form in the medium term. As someone who works in and supports digital scholarship, I think it is important we advance the use of digital tools but also critical understanding of the digital landscape we all currently experience, of which consumer data and advertising is a central feature. Understanding the historical development of our seemly all-new digital regime can help us engage more thoughtfully with these technologies.
What would you like the next big thing in libraries to be?
Keep moving forward with training ourselves and our patrons to engage critically with the wider digital landscape, whether in the realm of research or of everyday life. Digital/information literacy is one word for it. There's a lot of good work already happening in this area, but I can see it taking on a whole new level of meaning and urgency given our present circumstances and the future shifts they may yet effect.
Complete this statement: "One surprising fact about me is...”
I lived in the UK (first in Swansea, Wales, then in Rugby, England) for most of my twenties for study and for work. My partner's and my three girls were all born there with the aid of the truly glorious NHS.
Can you recommend a book or movie or tell us your favorite book or movie and why?
For a while in grad school, my main area of study was urban history, and one of the first go-to books that always comes to mind for a question like this is Marshall Berman's *All That Is Solid Melts into Air,* a beautifully written Marxist critique of modernization and the urban experience. Isabel Wilkerson's *The Warmth of Other Suns* is another favorite of mine, important and moving. Likewise Paulo Coelho's *The Alchemist.* For movies, has to be Blade Runner.
Please note your website or social media site, if you would like to share
Feel free to share: website (www.danieljstory.com) and Twitter (@danieljstory)