Category Archives: Session Proposals

Proposals for unconference sessions from THATCamp participants.

What is “”Digital Scholarship””? How can it be sustainable?

proposed by Stewart Varner and Erin White

Some questions we have about using the internet to support research:

  • What rumors have you heard?
    • Never do it. You won’t get tenure.
    • You need to learn it ’cause we need to justify our existence as a library.
    • There’s no point because in 10 years it won’t work.
    • It’s just a fad.
    • All the datasets are available already! Everything is out there and complete already.
    • It’s in the public domain so it’s free. Right?
    • Why do we need a library? We can all just have kindles.
    • Digital is scary. We don’t want to be co-opted.
    • If students don’t write papers, that’s not scholarship.
    • Students are digital natives (false).
  • What the hell is digital scholarship, anyway?
    • Opportunities of digitization and the web allow for research of rare texts
    • What isn’t it? (In libraries especially)
    • Publishing: Digital collections, text mining, scholarly publications
    • Teaching: Pedagogy, teaching
    • Making the argument vs. doing the research
    • The space between…
    • Compare it to ink/analog scholarship? Or see it as a hybrid, complement to “real-life”/work with physical objects
    • What’s the big deal?
    • Associations are creating guidlines for evaluating digital work (MLA, AHA)
    • Should not reduce the conversation to digital vs. analog. Does not have to be one or the other all the time.
    • Using the humanities to critique technological questions
      • Systems are not neutral (i.e. binary gender choices on web forms)
      • Critique of “how it’s been done” – historical defaults are hard to change
      • Even maps are opinionated/not neutral
  • Ideas for the future
    • Directory of digital scholarship – a catalog of projects
  • How do we use technology to support, disseminate, and transform research?
    • It’s expected. “Digital natives” – maybe not so tech savvy, but have expectations of technology and online availability
    • Partnerships – what relationships should we build?
  • Should we rely only on grants to pursue Big Digital Projects? Or is small okay too?
  • What are some examples of digital scholarship that have had staying power?
    • Should it matter?
    • Can scholarly work can be ephemeral? What happens when things break? Citation is important. How can you establish provenance?
    • We need to think about sustained effort for some of these things; it’s not just published and put on a shelf.
    • Creates a crisis in trust.
    • Digital Preservation is a serious problem and expensive to solve.
  • Should we have a suite of reusable tools rather than bespoke, one-off web projects?
    • Should digital preservation be part of the creation process.
    • Reusable tools are useful
    • Identify and support stable formats and open access.
  • Readings
    • Moretti – Graphs, maps and trees
    • Gold, ed. – Debates in Digital Humanities

Project Oriented Programming: An Introduction to Data Mining & Learning to Code

Hey all–

I have a slide deck that I’ve given before on my ideas of how to approach problem-solving with programming that I would be excited to give:  I walk through the code involved in attempting to find out of the television series Jeopardy! has gotten easier over time by crawling the web in Python.The talk should be appropriate for people completely new to code and are willing to learn or people who are already Python wizards. Hopefully this could inspire a conversation about how to involve oneself in developmental communities and the psychology of problem-solving as well!

What’s in a Library?

Recently James Branch Cabell Library went through a long period of construction and change, with the result that we now tend to talk about this as the “new library.” Thousands of square feet of space were added, along with new features and new technologies. Some of us have never been here and some of us haven’t been here since construction ended. A fair number of us are in libraries or archives, or are library-curious! Does a library tour “count” as a THATCamp session? I have no idea, but let’s see if anyone’s interested.

Vim for Digital Humanists: Editing Academia’s Incomprehensible Prose at the Speed of Thought

Vim is one of the most popular text editors for editing code, but it can also serve as a powerful tool for humanists writing/editing prose. With Markdown and Pandoc, plain text academic research has now become a viable option allowing your work to not only be sustainable but available everywhere. Unfortunately, Vim has a notoriously difficult learning curve. In this session, we will examine the cons and benefits of Vim for writing prose, look at basic commands, go through “vimtutor” together, overview some popular plugins, learn how to edit Vim settings, and of course, disparage Emacs.

Where does the tech we use fail us?

From the theme for this THATCamp, especially the intersection of technology with activism and sharing of hidden voices, I’d like to get a frank list of particular points how the technologies we’ve used fail us — how does a particular technology hide voices even more? how does it hinder activism? how does it homogenize populations and fail to meet the particular needs of audiences and users, especially in the modern American South?

This isn’t an anti-technology rant session — it comes from the idea that technologies aren’t neutral, and so exposing precisely where and how that comes into play in our work will help make the technologies serve us better, and might even play as a foil for understanding the activism, voices, and populations we work with even more.

If we have enough coders, we might even address some of it, or at least put together a plan for addressing it!