Just a quick note to say thanks for being part of THATCamp@Penn yesterday – we had a great time, and hope you did as well. Please take a second to give us feedback at www.surveymonkey.com/s/thatcampeval
We are collecting the results of our conversations at tinyurl.com/thatcamppennnotes – if your session notes are not already there, please send us an email or share them with us via a Google Doc. We’ll continue to post up photos of the day as they come in, and send a note when our storify is done.
We will organize workshops here in June to follow up on the items that we discussed. So, please send us an email if you want to be added to our weekly workshop email list. It looks like Omeka and Zotero training is definitely on the list – email us with other topics of interest.
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When Amanda invited us to reflect on THATCamp@Penn, my mind started working almost as fast as it had during an extraordinary day of learning and collaboration. Today was my first experience with a THATCamp and with the “unconference model,” and I think that I’m leaving with the near-Messianic enthusiasm that I think was cautioned against in our opening session—or at some point in the day, perhaps in the Critical Editions session.
As the day progressed, I collected links to new tools in my diigo.com library, and I’m including that list at the end of this entry. I don’t know if I learned what I had hoped when I applied to THATCamp, but I definitely feel as if I’ve found a pathway toward discovery that is going to enhance my own scholarship and teaching and that will make me a better citizen of my own campus and academe.
Two sessions really stuck out to me in provoking an examination of some of the underlying assumptions that make entry into the digital humanities more difficult for faculty: the Critical Editions session and the Credit/recognition for digital scholarship session. Continue reading
One of the notions that I’ve been mulling over after last weekend’s THATCamp Virginia 2012 is how credit, recognition, and attribution for work on digital humanities projects are integrated into the work itself. (I’ve tossed in a few bon mots from #THATCampVA colleagues into a very rough Storify thread.) There is clearly a broader discussion about these ideas already–with several examples of statements of principles and practices–but I’ve been wondering to what extent these principles/practices are infused into project life-cycles. Moreover, some of these practices might force some of the more vulnerable segments of digital humanities scholars (e.g., graduate students) to be ‘iconoclastic’ rather than ‘traditionalist’ (as Kuhn might argue), which could have implications for how hiring, promotion, tenure, etc. are approached. I would like to propose a session where we talk about these challenges and try to make some progress in our/my thinking about how to recognize and assess contributions to multi-scholar digital humanities projects.
If anyone’s interested, I’d be happy to teach an introductory workshop on Omeka, which is a system for easily creating digital archives and online exhibits from those archives. I’ve used it in teaching, before, as well, and could talk a bit about that. See omeka.org and omeka.net to learn more. Here’s the description for the workshop I taught on it at THATCamp Kansas last year (I’ve taught this MANY times):
Omeka is a simple system used by scholarly archives, libraries, and museums all over the world to manage and describe digital images, audio files, videos, and texts; to put such digital objects online in a searchable database; and to create attractive web exhibits from them. In this introduction to Omeka, you’ll create your own digital archive of images, audio, video, and texts that meets scholarly metadata standards and creates a search engine-optimized website. We’ll go over the difference between the hosted version of Omeka and the open source server-side version of Omeka, and we’ll learn about the Dublin Core metadata standard for describing digital objects. We’ll also look at some examples of pedagogical use of Omeka in humanities courses and talk about assigning students to create digital archives in individual or group projects.
I’m currently working on a project with a retired librarian and the Edna St. Vincent Millay society to catalog Millay’s books, which have been in her library at her home Steepletop in Austerlitz, NY since her death in 1950. You can see a description of the project on Digital Humanities Commons at dhcommons.org/projects/edna-st-vincent-millay-personal-library-catalog, and you can see the preliminary result of our data entry from an existing inventory on Zotero at zotero.org/groups/steepletop_library. (Note that this hasn’t yet been checked against the actual books.)
Specifically, what I’d like is some advice from librarians, archivists, and (if any are around) preservation specialists and/or rare books folks. Suggestions for systems, procedures, readings, experts? It’s unusual for a personal library of someone renowned to remain together in this way for so long, and to me the collection seems like half a library and half an archive: the books have marginalia, of course, but I’m told they also have inclusions such as letters and photographs. Therefore it’s a little hard even to know whom to consult. So far the most helpful publication I’ve found about how to deal with personal libraries is this one: Nicholson, J. R. “Making Personal Libraries More Public: A Study of the Technical Processing of Personal Libraries in ARL Institutions.” RBM: A Journal of Rare Books, Manuscripts and Cultural Heritage 11.2 (2010) : 106. Would also love to brainstorm some research questions that could be asked of such a catalog: I’ve got some already (how many books by women? etc.) but would be happy to hear more, since that could affect the final form of the catalog.
More broadly, of course, we could talk about other ways digital tools have been used with respect to personal libraries — possibilities and pitfalls. The Library of Congress did some neat stuff with visualizations of Thomas Jefferson’s library, and LibraryThing has a lovely project called Legacy Libraries where volunteers do data entry, sometimes from several different sources, to recreate personal libraries. Anyone else think this is, well, neat?
We are hoping many of us will take notes at the unconference and these can be linked together from the main notes document at tinyurl.com/thatcamppennnotes – please do give access to email@example.com to your unconference Google Docs.
Over the past year, I’ve talked a lot with grad students in my own department (History) and elsewhere at Penn about digital humanities and how we can incorporate these tools and methods into our work as scholars and teachers. People are very excited, but one thing I’ve heard consistently is that it’s very hard to get any kind of training in the many varieties of tools that are out there. Instituting a Digital Humanities Graduate Certificate, along the lines of other grad certificates already offered at Penn, would appeal to many in the grad student community. I’d like to take the opportunity of THATCamp Penn to discuss the possibilities for developing such a certificate program: what would be the objective, how would it be structured, who would run it?