The annual Institute for Liberal Arts Digital Scholarship (ILiADS) brings together teams of digital scholars, instructors, technologists, and students for a concentrated week of project development. At the heart of this community of practice are the individual project teams, but if teams are the nodes, then the ILiADS liaisons are the edges that connect their teams to the diverse network of expertise distributed across the institute.
ILiADS liaisons wear several hats as they shepherd teams from project acceptance through the weeklong summer institute:
- Liaisons guide teams through the process of creating actionable steps to help them achieve their stated goals for the week of the institute.
- Liaisons help teams organize their priorities to make the most out of the available project time.
- Liaisons act as sounding boards for project design and can help teams troubleshoot when challenges arise.
- Liaisons serve as mentors and mediators in order to facilitate productive collaboration both within and across teams.
- Liaisons can provide instruction on particular technologies – such as tutorials or pop-up workshops – for both their teams and the community at large.
- Liaisons consult with teams to assess their project needs prior to ILiADS, and can help implement solutions during the institute as teams build prototypes or test new platforms.
The most critical role that liaisons play is connecting project teams with other liaisons and the technical expertise necessary to overcome hurdles and achieve their ILiADS goals.