Q&A with head of digital research services Amanda Henley

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Amanda Henley stands in front of Davis Library's Liquid Galaxy, with the city of Chapel Hill pictured.

Amanda Henley is the head of digital research services in Davis Library. She assists students with their research and technology needs. Today the library will host a showcase of the new Research Hub at Davis Library to show the new technology and how students can use it for their research. 

Staff writer Myah Ward talked to Henley about her role at Davis Library and why the services offered at the Research Hub are important.

The Daily Tar Heel: What kinds of responsibilities does your job entail?

Amanda Henley: I manage a group of five full-time employees. We are librarians and technology specialists, and we have about five student workers. They are student consultants and my unit helps support the services that are offered in the Davis Library Research Hub.

DTH: What kind of services are offered in the Davis Library Research Hub?

AH: Traditionally, Davis supports people in the humanities and social sciences, so we help people with all kinds of things. So digital research that is done in those disciplines.

So for example, we help people with visualization, mapping and text analysis, finding, acquiring, cleaning, using tabular and spatial data, so all kinds of things.We also do quite a bit of programming here, so we have workshops and events.

DTH: What are your goals and plans for digital research at UNC?

AH: In terms of my unit here in Davis Library, we only recently just hired our data visualization services librarian in August, and she’s really hit the ground running and is doing a great job. We are going to continue building up those services.

We’re also hoping to hire a new librarian to join the staff. They’ll be a digital scholarship specialist. That person’s really going to help us reach out to the humanities a little bit more and support digital humanities and a lot of the great work that’s already going on here with that. 

And we’re going to be adding more software to our public lab that we have here, continuing to grow our relationships with our campus partners like the Center for Faculty Excellence and the Odum Institute for Research in Social Science.

DTH: Why should students care about digital research and know about these resources?

AH: I think the library is a great place to offer these types of services because we’re not affiliated with any one department or school, so the library’s a great place for anyone to come. It’s also a good place to help people with their interdisciplinary scholarship because of that.

We have really great spaces and technology and expertise. So oftentimes, you may not get as much technical training as you may want, as much hands on work with the software and stuff like that, but the workshops that are provided in the library really help with that.

DTH: Why is your job here at UNC important to you?

AH: I’ve been at UNC for a long time, and I worked as a GIS librarian before this. I am convinced of how important it is. I know that the work we have done here over the years has helped students in their careers, has helped faculty in their research and I know that we provide a very important role here. And we help people get the resources that they need and also use them with the different technology that they need.

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