Monday, May 15, 2006

Humanities Indicators. A Librarian at the Kitchen Table. No. 356.

Where is the ALA's Public Programs Office? in this discussion? The National Endowment for the Humanities has been a public voice for libraries and culture for many years, but this new initiative seems--in its public documents so far--to have dropped the work of libraries from the data being considered. How do librarians get to be an indicator? What about IMLS?

As part of the Initiative for the Humanities and Culture, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences is working with a consortium of humanities organizations to develop comprehensive data on the state of the humanities. Patterned after the influential Science and Engineering Indicators (published every other year by the National Science Board), the prototype currently under development will create a set of indicators that address the particular interests and concerns of the humanities.

The Humanities Indicators will help equip researchers and policymakers at universities, foundations, public humanities institutions, and government agencies with better statistical tools for answering basic questions about undergraduate and graduate degrees in the humanities, employment of humanities graduates, levels of program funding, public understanding of the humanities, and other areas of concern in the humanities.

COE article here
Some of the most interesting questions... involve the "public humanities." That's a slippery term; it can describe a historical association's special exhibit, a library's reading series, or almost anything else designed, as the National Endowment for the Humanities puts it, to "promote lifelong learning in history, literature, comparative religion, philosophy, and other fields of the humanities for broad public audiences."

No comments: