Archive for the ‘Session Descriptions’ Category

  • Digital History and the Community College


    I’m currently working on a revamp of our department’s oral history course which will expand into larger areas of local history.  I’m also, at the same time, working on a revamp of our static, old-school-looking department website.  What I would like to do is have a database-driven, dynamic site that faculty will find more useful.

    Then it hit me that if students are doing local and oral history projects, a new, dynamic department website could be the perfect place to showcase these projects.  This would have the additional pedagogical utility of introducing students to composing for a wider audience.  This idea, while technologically possible, brings up a few issues that I would like to discuss.

    Teaching at an open-enrollment community college in one of the most economically depressed cities in the country (2nd most poverty stricken, with unemployment in the mid 20% range) I cannot make any assumptions about the technological knowledge of my students, nor can I make assumptions about their access to technology.  Thus, designing a course (or even a significant course project) around a technological feature is fraught with problems.  I plan to discuss both these problems and potential solutions to these problems in March.

  • Copyright and Digitization Projects


    I study digital archives and am interested the impediment that copyright law and archivists’ interpretation of it pose to scholarly research using digital materials.  I worked as a project manager to digitize a collection of AIDS research papers and in the process had to attempt to contact over 1500 different copyright holders to get permission to put their items online.  Most rights holders who responded had no problem granting permission…in fact, the biggest obstacle to getting permission was non-response.  Can archives really afford to go about responding to copyright law in this way?  What might the effect of such practices be on scholarship?  I’m hoping to engage humanists in a discussion of the ramifications of copyright law on digitization projects that could be key in fostering digital humanities.

  • Dealing with Data, Digital Repositories, and KORA


    Although it may seem like a simple idea to store data, the reality that most of us are very aware of is that the opposite is the case.  Having worked at MATRIX for the last 3+ years, including the redesign and rewrite of KORA the digital repository software at MATRIX, the pains of storing and safeguarding data  are very well known to me.  I will be talking about issues surrounding building a system like KORA and how computer scientists view the data very differently from the humanists (usually).  There are many other issues related to dissemination of data that we store and ease of use of these systems.   I also plan to possibly talk about the following topics (in no particular order):

    • Open source software (specifically running a project like KORA)
    • Dealing with the never ending questions like ‘can you add twitfacefliksquarespace to your project?’ and the implications of integrating into open (and closed) data sources
    • Undergraduate programmers – they rock!
    • How do we determine the ‘best’ way to store metadata in schemes beyond well defined ones (such as DublinCore)
    • Data access, data restrictions, data vetting, pretty much anything about data
    • The double-edged sword of  your (or your IT/CS person’s) favorite programming language
    • Making use of your data beyond it’s original purpose
    • Ponies

    Right now I am still in the process of getting a final topic list put together – so please feel free to suggest anything in the comments either adding additional topics or suggesting I remove something.   I am currently engaged in research in both audio (my Masters Thesis) and images (the Quilt Index / Digging into Data) regarding similarity measures and would be happy to discuss anything related to that as well.

  • Orality and libraries


    Hi folks. Here’s what I’d like to talk about at THATcamp.

    I’m working on a paper for a (traditional) conference this summer on how folk literature in the oral tradition can be used as a model for describing the contemporary activity of writing fan fiction. Along the way, I’ve been thinking about Robin Lakoff’s observations about modern society’s shift from literacy to orality as the ideal model for communication.

    This trend began decades before the Internet, but is certainly being hastened by it. An unconference is a perfect example of a communicative form morphing from a “written” model to an oral model: even though a traditional conference involves the spoken word, its nature is more like written communication: the presentations are prepared beforehand (“reading a paper”) and often intended to be disseminated in print afterward.

    Poetry slams are another possible example. Poetry readings have traditionally been constructed as events where an author reads from work already published, or perhaps work intended for future publication. That’s not a given at poetry slams, and although there are a few published anthologies of poetry composed for slams, I suspect they’re only a tiny fraction of what has actually been performed. The live performance is what counts.

    How can libraries collect primary source material, like fanfiction and blogosphere discussions, which exist not in a single digital space but in diffuse locations? Is there any meaningful way to preserve forms of scholarly interaction and popular culture, like unconferences and poetry slams, which define themselves through in-person attendance? There are technical challenges, and the copyright questions are also very complex. Substantive material, which scholars might find valuable in the future, is being produced outside of the publication & dissemination arenas where intellectual property issues are at least somewhat settled.

    So the resurgence of orality has significant implications for research libraries, which collectively are responsible for gathering primary source material (while it’s still available!) and building comprehensive collections for current and future scholars. There are several other librarians attending THATcamp, but most of you represent the scholars whose future needs librarians try to anticipate as we develop collections. I look forward to exchanging ideas with you.

  • Using Analytics Apps to Analyze Digital Humanities Projects’ Social Networking Efforts


    Many digital humanities projects use social networking to meet goals such as expanding their audience base and exciting both new and existing audiences about content.  As a researcher at MATRIX working on the Quilt Index,, an online resource providing access to images and metadata for around 50,000 (and counting) historic and contemporary quilts, I’ve spearheaded an aggressive social media campaign aimed at expanding and engaging audience.

    Like me, you may already have a fair amount of experience using social media to engage audiences with a digital humanities project.  But you may be wondering:

    • Are my social networking efforts as effective as they could be?
    • How can analytics apps help me focus my social media campaign and more clearly define my audience goals?
    • How can I use information about social networking successes in my project’s future grant writing?
    • What are some simple changes I can make to my regular social networking routine to help achieve better results?

    If these questions sound familiar, this session is for you!  This discussion should be of use to anyone who has done social networking with a digital humanities project, but wants to use (or use more effectively) one or more of the many analytics applications out there to improve their social media campaign, and even to find fodder for grants.

    I’d like to begin by talking about how I have used analytics such as Insights [Facebook] and WeFollow and Klout [Twitter] to expand and internationalize the Quilt Index’s audience through social media, and how staff at any digital humanities project can use social networking analytics apps to gauge how well they are meeting their audience goals.  I hope that the group will generate the bulk of the session, sharing info about other social networking analytics applications out there and brainstorming other ways that digital humanities projects can make the best use of social networking apps.

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