molly's cv

Click to view Molly's current CV in PDF format.

contact molly

The best way to contact Molly is via email, at, or on Twitter @mdesjardin. She'd love to hear from you!

about molly


Molly hails from Rochester, NY, and has taken quite a few turns on her way to graduate school at the University of Michigan. A graduate of the University of Pittsburgh (BS Computer Science, BA History), she's spent several years in diverse regions of Japan - the rural suburbs of Fukuoka, a slum in Yokohama (with a commute to one of the wealthiest areas of the Tokyo region daily), and one of the most decidedly uncool wards of Tokyo. She loved almost every minute of it. Respectively, Molly taught English at a Japanese high school on the JET Programme for a year, attended the advanced Japanese language program at the Inter-University Center in Yokohama, and did field research in the basement of Nihon University in Tokyo.

International travel aside, Molly earned a PhD in Japanese literature (Department of Asian Languages and Cultures) in 2012 and an MSI in Library & Information Science from the School of Information in 2011, both at the University of Michigan. Her plan from the beginning has been subject specialist librarianship, building up language and research knowledge along with the many, many areas of expertise involved in academic librarianship itself. Appropriately, Molly's research is on Japanese book history in the late 19th century, using knowledge developed in both programs - she's covering both the authors and literature involved in anthologies of the time, and the impact of that organization and control of knowledge on literature itself. She counts herself lucky every day to have found the amazing, interdisciplinary, and welcoming field of book history in her graduate studies.

Starting in July 2013, Molly has begun pursuing her dream job as the Japanese Studies Librarian at the University of Pennsylvania. Entering graduate school with just this position in mind, she scored a great job in a wonderful institution, with the best coworkers one could ask for. She serves as the subject liaison for Japanese and Korean studies, providing reference, instruction, and acquisitions, and also as the bibliographer for the Japanese and Korean collections. This means selecting and purchasing books, serials, DVDs, and e-resources for both of those collections in Japanese, Korean, and Western languages (the latter for literature and history, primarily).

In Spring 2018, she taught the first survey seminar of East Asian digital humanities ever offered in the English-speaking world, with ten upper-level students (!) covering 13 weeks of varied topics, ranging from mapping to network analysis to text mining to crowdsourcing and way beyond. She learned a ton from working with students from all different backgrounds (half from the History department and half from EALC, mostly PhD candidates, working on many, many topics and regions), and fun was had by all. You can find the syllabus on the publications page and feel free to use and repurpose it however you'd like. It's an evolving document so check back to see if it's been updated.

Molly's other score at Penn has been to be able to co-organize the text analysis interest community in the libraries, WORD LAB. (It doesn't stand for anything; it's just shouting for attention.) Molly started WORD LAB with Katie Rawson in fall 2014 and it continues apace. WORD LAB is a multidisciplinary group that includes everyone from linguists to humanists to social sciences, grad students, faculty, and librarians. The group presents its members' research projects, has guest speakers, reads articles and blog posts, and works on technical tutorials such as the NLTK book and mini Python projects guided usually by Molly. If you're in the area, please join WORD LAB on Tuesdays 12:30-2 pm in 526 Van Pelt (East Asia Seminar Room)!

Before coming to Penn, Molly was a postdoctoral fellow at Harvard University's Reischauer Institute, and also the Archive Development Manager at Harvard's Digital Archive of Japan's 2011 Disasters (JDArchive). As Archive Development Manager, she managed the technical development of the JDArchive, specifically working to integrate content from partner institutions and projects around the world. Her daily work ranged from serving as a liaison to content partners, to writing code that imports metadata via both web APIs and XML documents.

Currently, Molly is continuing her research into book history at the turn of the 20th century in Japan, working on turning her dissertation into several articles. You can find both the full dissertation and a detailed abstract on the projects page of this site, as well as citations and copies of other publications. She is still especially interested in editing, authorship, and publishing, and is continuing to apply those interests to new projects such as an article on the Yoshikawa Eiji novel Miyamoto Musashi and 21st-century abandoned building photography books. Her interests are "wide-ranging" to describe it charitably; the reality is that she bites off more than she can chew and then goes and does it anyway.

rights reserved, and those not

Please see the bottom of this page for the terms under which all of my work here is licensed, unless otherwise specified. In simple English, it's in the public domain, so you can use it and share it and remix it however you wish, excepting papers and publications. If you make money off of it, I'd love to hear how. In any case, remember that even if something is in the public domain, if you don't cite your source, it's plagiarism.