Ask Digital Humanities Questions and Answers! The Association for Computers and the Humanities is building a problem solving forum where scholars can pose questions, trouble-shoot, and learn more about the Digital Humanities. Here’s an article about it from The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Notes from Bucknell University’s conference on
14-16 November 2014
Note: There were concurrent papers sessions, so please check the program schedule to read about the topics of the talks I was not able to attend.
Reoccurring themes: DH and disconnect to Tenure & Promotion, importance and benefits of exploratory scholarship and its support, the student experience, and discussion in and about public scholarship.
Chris Long gave an inspiring keynote. Long is the Associate Dean for Graduate and Undergraduate Education in the College of the Liberal Arts and Professor of Philosophy and Classics at Penn State. Long live tweets (@cplong) during his presentations, so you can pick up on the slides and the sound bites from his keynote and paper presentation.
The Public Philosophy Journal: Performing public philosophy as the mode of publication. @PubPhilJ
- Scholarship that extends beyond campus. Engagement of the public. Reaching the wider public. Spirit of public engagement. Ability to blur the boundaries on the hill/academy with the wider world.
- Performative publication. The mode of publication and the ideas for which publication advocates. Amplifying information can be a gift economy
- Cooperative scholarship, the academy and wider public become more porous and should be reciprocal and asymmetrical.
Paper Session (#s1): Multi-modal Narratives and Cultural Engagement
- “Visualizing Holocaust Testimony” Anne Knowles, Laura Strom, and Levi Westerveld (Middlebury College)
- Students spoke about their collaborative process, how they explored and arrived at choosing and implementing visualizations for the data.
- Anne Knowles teaches Historical Geography, Historical GIS, History of Cartography, The Holocaust, American industrialization and immigration, Cultural and economic landscapes. Her use and understanding of GIS in historical contexts was really interesting. Knowles’s pedagogical methods seemed to work really well in the context of the small liberal arts setting.
- “Building Communities of Collaborators at Our Marathon: The Boston Bombing Digital Archive” Alicia Peaker (Middlebury College) and Joanne DeCaro (Northeastern University)
- The librarians spoke about their planning, process, and what they learned from this involved and emotionally charged project. They discussed project management from a humanist perspective and spoke about lessons learned from shepherding the many moving parts, interactions with the public, and multiple collaborators and volunteers.
- “Archiving Hindu Gaya: Temples, Shrines and Images of a sacred center in India” Abhishek Amar and Lauren Scutt (Hamilton College)
- Professor Amar and his student, Lauren Scutt worked closely with a metadata librarian to develop the best schema for the organization and dissemination of this collection. They discussed the workflow and lessons learned. I spoke with the professor about a possible collaboration on a similar collection we are building at the Claremont Colleges on religious sites in Myanmar/Burma.
Paper Session (#s4): Digital Space, Place, and the Public Humanities
- “Harrisburg’s City Beautiful Movement: Mapping the Growth and Transformation of the Pennsylvania State Capital” David Pettegrew, Jeff Erikson, Rachel Carey, and Rachel Morris (Messiah College), Albert Sarvis and Dan Stolyarov (Harrisburg University of Science and Technology)
- “St. Bonaventure Cemetery: Introducing History Students to GIS” Phillip Payne, Dennis Frank, Jason Damon, and Michael Specht (St. Bonaventure University)
- “Between Public History and Geohistory: Teaching From, and About, Lost Urban Landscapes” Linda Aleci (Franklin & Marshall College)
- “Advancing Research, Learning and Digital Collection Building in the College with Collaboration and Partnership” Sabra Statham, Eric Novotny, and Katie Falvo (Pennsylvania State University)
Zeynep Tufekci (University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill)
Online presence, Twitter username gives credibility, the public can check you out and know that “I live in this world too, will not just disappear.”
“Zeynep’s work on TechnoSociology was fascinating as she reflected on how her work studying the intersection of technology, and in particular social media, and social movements, transformed her thinking about the role of public writing and scholarship. As an untenured professor, it was revealing to hear her talk about how she wrestles with how to balance her time between her tweeting and blogging and her ‘traditional’ scholarship.” Mike Roy (Middlebury College), Notes from the Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference on Digital Incunabula.
New publics and academia
“The Google scholarship page is what pays my rent.”
Coding for everybody? Not so much. Somewhat advanced digital literacies, like algorithmic literacy should be for everyone. How to deal with trolls and harassment is the new digital competency. This is the video that tries to show how her students handled the troll in PHIL200.
Silicon Valley does not have it together as everyone would suppose, everybody is in over their head. When Google bought YouTube, they never thought they’d have to make decisions about beheading videos.
Roundtable (#s5): Institutional Models for Digital Scholarship and Collaboration
“This session was useful as we embark on building up our own capacity to do this work, as it provided insights and connections with individuals, individual schools, and consortial efforts to develop DS programs that are sustainable, and provide meaningful experiences for undergraduates. It also points to the real challenges in developing sufficient technical and methodological expertise on any one campus.” Mike Roy (Middlebury College), Notes from the Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference on Digital Incunabula.
- “Imagining the Global: Digital Field Scholarship on Global Themes in the Northwest Five Consortium” Jim Proctor (Lewis & Clark College) @doctorproctor
- Professor Proctor asked how would you support and sustain these projects?
- “Long-Distance Dedication: Consortial Collaboration at Scale” Jacob Heil (The Five Colleges of Ohio)
- Consortial collaboration at scale, Dr. Heil discussed how he supported the five college collaboration.
- #oh5ds @dr_heil
- “Collaboration and Outreach through the Center for Digital Scholarship at the University of Notre Dame” Matthew Sisk and Alexander Papson (University of Notre Dame)
- Notre Dame – Center for Digital Scholarship (The CC’s could model a site after this)
- Metadata librarian has gotten a lot of traffic
- They reclaimed tech skills from science and social sciences for DH
- The general data use and GIS are the most highly attended workshops
- Undergraduate research partnerships have developed
- Other partnerships have developed including campus partners, academic course partners and project partners
- Talked about competing departments and
- “Collaboration, Not Chaos: Managing Collaborative Project Work” Mike Zarafonetis and Laurie Allen (Haverford College) http://library.haverford.edu/services/digital-scholarship/
- Mike Zarafonetis is the digital scholarship librarian
- Laurie Allen is the digital scholarship coordinator
- Focused on preventing chaos
- Used GIT for version control and web
- Used Asana
- Employes student workers for support
- Clear about separating the database from the interface
- Stressed importance of giving students clear directions and discrete project
- Librarians are seen as a partners rather than service providers
- Digital scholarship at Haverford is about bringing digital methods into classrooms
- “Undergraduate Digital Scholarship: CLASS as a Model for Digital Humanities Scholarship in the Liberal Arts” Janet Thomas Simons, Gregory Lord, and Kerri Grimaldi (Hamilton College)
The program: Students commit to 15 mos., undergrads apply in their first year, go through DH immersion series, they own a piece of the research, the skills they’ve demonstrated and work that they’ve done are then matched for career placement after graduation, many students are accepted into graduate schools and have won Fulbrights.
Hamilton CLASS initiative – DH immersion
- Survey of DH projects
- Evaluate and provide IL instruction
- Metadata and info architecture instruction
- Diversity across disciplines and tech skill bases
Greg Lord is the HDi lead designer & software engineer
- Teaches 3D modeling & virtual environment design workflow
- Uses: Blender – fully free/open source 3D creation pipeline > Unity– a game development ecosystem: a powerful rendering engine fully integrated with a complete set of intuitive tools and rapid workflows to create interactive 3D and 2D content.
- DH Immersion
- It took a semester for students to learn each tool
- terms were defined
- work frequencies highlighted
- storyboards sketched
- students are taught html5 and CSS, video editing and lit theory
- Student project example : This project traces the depth of Emily Dickinson’s influence in Shahid’s poem, “A Nostalgist’s Map of America,” by placing his poem side-by-side with Dickinson’s “A Route of Evanescence” in four stages of analysis, each increasing in depth of explication.
Supported by a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Tri-Co Digital Humanities initiative (Tri-Co DH) is a research and teaching collaboration of Bryn Mawr, Haverford, and Swarthmore Colleges. We study the uses of new media and computing technologies in humanities-based scholarship and teaching, across the liberal arts. We seek to understand the expertise students, faculty and staff need as citizens and professionals in a networked world.
The consortium serves as a clearinghouse for new initiatives, funding:
- faculty research (including college-university collaborations)
- training in new research tools and practices
- curriculum development (including college-university collaborations)
- undergraduate internships and research fellowships
Pyramid/ tiered support of digital scholarship at the enterprise level, referenced “Supporting Digital Scholarship in research Libraries: Scalabilities and Sustainability.”
Projects have to include an undergraduate in the research, must have a curricular component, and have to write grants.
There is funding for summer research projects, but they have learned that some of these projects cannot’ be concluded in the summer.
Question during discussion: How do we collectively negotiate the bang for buck re: tools?
Answer: Leverage each other (skills and capacity, focusing it back into the classroom.
Embed faculty with experience in digital projects on T&P committees.
The process is devalued, we need to point out that the process can lead to learning, research and scholarly communication outputs. “Brilliant things do not plop out of nowhere.”
Paper Session (#s8): Public Digital Scholarship: Engaging Faculty in Student Research
- “The Digital Lives and Afterlives of Collaborative Classroom Knowledge” Adam Haley (Pennsylvania State University)
- “Online Hub as Individual and Public Springboard” Benjamin Rowles (Pennsylvania State University)
- “Integrating Public Scholarship into the Undergraduate Curriculum” Chris Long (Pennsylvania State University) @cplong #BUDSC14 #s8
- Raised money for fellow, there is support for students who perform/make the grade and then have to meet additional qualifications of the Schreyer Honors College.
- Liberal Arts Voices – internship abroad : blog when they went abroad and videotape an interview. Student respond that the blog and tape interviews caused them to, “slow down and unpack those reflections” and the that experience was “unique and life changing.”
- Long and company are deliberating general education reform through the first year experience: They are seeking to combine writing and speaking general education courses, engaging the public, multimodal literacy in a digital age.
- Assignments are often TedTalks, This I Believe or Mutimedia e-portfolios format.
- Long advocates performing what you are advocating.
Public Digital Scholarship: Engaging Faculty in Student Research Benjamin Rowles, Adam Haley and Chris Long (Penn State)
Adam Haley @noendofneon spoke about the digital lives and afterlives of collaborative classroom knowledge, the digital ghosts of an analog or digital lifespan.
- What happens when a class ends?
- Utilized the Ketterling model of curricula building and built a curriculum prototype that benefited more often than not from digital scholarship and showed the liberal arts hass its own inherent value.
- The class explored communicative practices in different forms of mediums. Digital scholarship can produce students comfortable communicating in all spaces: online & in-person
Trolls (internet) study – undergraduate study
Discovery grant looking at other forms of undergraduate scholarship than the usual research paper.
The Troll Bridge http://thetrollbridge.net
- A hub format was decided on
- A historical interactive timeline (timeline.js) was built
- Incorporated images, video, links to examples
- Intended to be a public resource on trolling
- Incorporated academic publications
- Is a blog, an encyclopedia, an online forum
- Produced sample syllabi, policy briefs etc
- Fostered mentors and networking : dr.troll
- Providing scholarship before a wider audience seems to force great focus and attention
- Collecting, organizing and analyzing done in an existing hub makes the lives of those studying trolling a little easier.
- Described as a research level contribution
Realizing Lessons of the Last 20 Years: A Manifesto for Data Provisioning & Aggregation Services for the Digital Humanities (A Position Paper)
Article by Dominic Oldman, British Museum, London; Martin Doerr, FORTH-ICS, Crete; Gerald de Jong, Delving BV, Barry Norton, British Museum, London and Thomas Wikman, Swedish National Archives
J U L Y / A U G U S T 2 0 1 4
Volume 20, Number 7/8
In honor of Open Access Week, and motivated by a recent mock keynote debate, “A Matter of Scale,” presented by Matt Jockers and Julia Flanders as part of the Boston Area Days of Digital Humanities Conference, I present for exploration, re-use and re-mixing outside of their native interfaces TEI (P4 & P5) and plain text files of the following e-text collections published by the Indiana University (IU) Libraries:
- Indiana Magazine of History, one the nation’s oldest scholarly historical journal, 1905-2011 (TEI P4)
- Victorian Women Writers Project, 1830-1929 (TEI P5)
- Indiana Authors and Their Books, 1850-1929 (TEI Lite P4)
- Brevier Legislative Reports, transcripts from Indiana State Legislature, 1858-1887 (TEI P5)
- Wright American Fiction,1851-1875 (TEI P5)
These files are made available for use under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 (CC BY-NC 3.0) license and can be downloaded or forked from githib, https://github.com/iulibdcs/tei_text, which includes a detailed readme file that you should, um, read, about this initiative.
I encourage you to share your uses (intended, past, and future) of this data on our repository’s wiki space: <https://github.com/iulibdcs/tei_text/wiki> so we can track your magic.
Michelle Dalmau, Interim Head
Digital Collections Services
Herman B Wells Library
1320 East 10th Street, Rm W501
Bloomington, Indiana 47405
Adeline Koh and Roopika Risam of dhpoco have started a wonderful conversation by posing the question: “are the digital humanities a ‘refuge’ from race/class/gender/sexuality/disability?” There has been extensive international discussion and it’s worth a read.
William Pannapaker writes about a backlash DH’ers (aaah, not supposed to say that) have brought on themselves and what liberal arts colleges can due to turn things in their favor, leveraging their “significant advantages over research universities.”
Jefferson Bailey, “Digital Humanities & Cultural Heritage, or, The Opposite of Argumentation,”
Jefferson Bailey’s post on the new dh+lib website examines “how DH tools, methods, and technologies have the potential to help enhance and evolve a wealth of professional practices beyond academia and across all of cultural heritage.”
~ Allegra Swift Gonzalez
Access is only available to the colleges participating in NITLE, so if you are from Scripps College, Pomona College or Harvey Mudd College and you are interested in viewing the slides and recording, please contact Mary McMahon at Pomona ITS.
“Collaborative student-faculty research projects centered in the locale of residential liberal arts colleges let students engage in a variety of learning experiences and high impact practices including undergraduate research, civic engagement, and multidisciplinary approaches to complex problems. Students at Bucknell University, as part of the Stories of the Susquehanna Valley Project, gathered stories from the Marcellus Shale region in the Susquehanna watershed of how the boom in natural gas drilling is transforming communities and cultural landscapes.” NITLE announcement.
Professors Fauli and Siewers spoke about the successful course they devised with considerations of institutional administrative requirements and engaging interdisciplinary undergraduates. In building the course, the professors were aware that this course was only fulfilling a requirement for some students and that it did not necessarily credit their major. They also took into account the politics of introducing a course to administration and the necessities required for continued support. The structure and support systems for this intensive course helped to engage the students and ended up benefiting the community, the students, and the aligned researchers.
Instead of making this an online course or maybe in reaction to, this course was designed to accentuate outdoor regional based instruction.
The course required 5 hours a week + a “running reading and reaction journal”
- 1 hour discussion on T-TH
- 3 hour lab on W
- field trips (40 students, outside funding and residential college funds)
In addition, there were workshops on using tools and methods:
- video essay
- Final Cut Pro
- Arcmap and google map – kmz files and embed images
Collaborations included support from faculty and staff with English, Environmental Science, Geography, and GIS specialties.
Fauli and Siewers were able to motivate students who are coming from multiple disciplinary backgrounds from sciences to humanities by engaging them with collaborative problems solving, outdoor and cultural adventure including kayaking and entre to Native American communities. Outreach to Native American communities was mentioned as having enriched faculty research and student experience as well as garnered relationships built on mutual trust and respect.
- became agents of change
- learned new ways of thinking of cause and effect
- related primary sources as spatial constructs
- won internships with National Geographic and the National Parks due to relationships built by projects
- contributed to the studied area being registered as protected historic place
Scholarly student output included:
- narrative maps
- critical cartography and GIS layers map produced
- database of historical GiS layers
- work from precious year informs the next
- interest in careers in historic preservation, local and national conservancies.
Funding was garnered from multiple sources and looked to be quite the endeavor in itself. I was curious to know if they had help with gathering the financial support. Some f the funding aspects mentioned were a NEH collaborative research grant, a foundation for summer writers, and the Mellon Foundation.
The Stories of the Susquehanna Valley Project is really well organized and thought out course model that brought about many levels of benefits and engagement.
Art Center – South Campus visit 2012-09-21
The next visit on the site design tour was Art Center College of Design South Campus to talk to Elizabeth Chin. Students and faculty here are working on everything from vibrant data (library/ info professionals perk up) to an anthropology/design project in Uganda. We learned much from looking at this center that had taken over CalTech’s old wind tunnel. While South Campus is a decidedly larger space than our proposed future home, we saw some design elements and intentions that could work for us, and as you learn from living in a space, some experiments to avoid.
While sound can still be an issue, at least it is not reverberating off the walls as one would expect in such a cavernous space. The walls also double as pin boards for self-expression and project planning
Even here space is at a premium and Art Center is looking at building a tower within the tunnel. While this is not an option in Claremont, we can look to the simple, mobile space dividers/cable drops and walls to maximize our space constraints. We began to envision large worktables that can fold up and out of the way as well as projection screens sliding along light cables when looking at the clever utilization of space. No element seemed to be just decorative, but more utilitarian if not multiple-use or at the least, repurposed.
Elizabeth mentioned the intent to provide space design that facilitates and inspires faculty conversation came about in a room designed by Sean Donahue. This concept was intriguing and we look forward to speaking with Sean, as well as another Art Center faculty member, Tim Durfee, an architect who “thinks in a much more wide-open manner than many or most in his line of work and training.”
The projects in process at Art Center South Campus can be simple to more complex. Many of the tools for image and video manipulation we already work with, and it will be interesting to learn if some of the tech tools used here would find application in Claremont. There is already talk of Arduino interest and giant plotters. Thankfully, there are large format plotters on campus and we don’t have to worry about those big machines eating up ink and our little space.
Another nice perk besides the toys for Art Center faculty is the guarantee of 100 hours of student help per faculty member. That would be nice, as well as a staff person to manage schedules and time cards. Once the CCDH Center is up and running, I am sure we’ll have to turn away student help. Now if only we can have a Big Ass fan and a rooftop garden.
Part of our work this fall is to learn from other people who have created spaces designed to foster or enable digital humanities work. Our first trip took us down to the bright and open Research Commons in the YRL Library at UCLA. Zoe Borovsky and Michael Samojlik – to whom we are most grateful for the time and good conversation — very graciously hosted us for a half-day visit.
The Commons space was part of a major two-floor renovation at the YRL and was designed to foster collaboration and innovative pedagogy. We spent some time talking to Susan Parker, Deputy University Librarian, about the planning process and part of what struck me was the willingness to move forward, despite not being sure how the space would be used and what kinds of needs it might address. As she put it – the University Librarian’s answer to many questions was “I don’t know.” Rather than a lack of planning or research (of which there was a lot!), I think the UL’s response correctly signaled the ways in which it is difficult to predict use for collaborative, open places. While this kind of approach enables fluid future use, that fluidity can pose challenges.
The Research Commons was initially conceived as a collaborative and pedagogical space, but usage thus far has largely been individual. With a real lack of seating on the UCLA campus for studying (approx 3% of need!), it’s easy to see why this open, inviting, and comfortable space has become an undergraduate favorite. While usage is great (no space should be empty)– the regular use of the space by individual students studying and enjoying their coffees, means that the space is not available for the seminars and research collaborations that were initially envisioned. Part of what the Research Commons needs, and is getting, is a better reservation system. The Commons is an evolving project and the staff has been attentive to actual use and imaginative in their approaches to the gaps between hopes/dreams/goals and current practice. They’ve also been honest about what does and doesn’t work – like some of that lovely furniture. Our hosts shared their hard won realization that tables that are too low are hard to work at and those sexy, highly mobile desks that make for great modular rooms aren’t so great when you need to spread out and pour over books, pages, or screens.
Part of the lesson learned here is that space management can be a full time task. The central area pictured above is just one of four areas in the commons, each of which has its own restrictions and usage needs. For example, a separate funding stream has enabled a BEAUTIFUL workstation with a rear projection screen.
This enables large-scale presentation of 3D mapping and data visualization, with ports in from the five work-stations in the room. This is a drool-worthy space to be sure, but it’s also technology heavy, which means it has the potential to be technician heavy. Where there are tools, there must be people who can trouble-shoot and operate. Adding to the labor concerns is the lack of clear architectural demarcation, which means that monitoring use and mediating noise expectations has been part of the new work of YRL staff. I share the surprise of YRL librarians that students are deeply wedded to the notion of a quiet library – going so far as to “shhh” staff!
Just behind this space is the Digital DH Hub and sandbox space, where Johanna Drucker and Jan Reiff have been experimenting with studio/workshop approaches to collaborative DH work and pedagogy. With locking doors, the space enables long-term work with materials from special collections and the ability to leave behind one’s computer etc. when you run out for some fresh air and sunshine. Which, it turns out, is crucial for a happy working environment. However much we imagine the scholar laboring in the dark shelter of archive or computer lab, she needs sunshine and air. Windows, we learned, are very important.
Maybe we should all take a page from the MITH redesign and get garage doors! We’ve taken notes, an album full of pictures, and our heads are abuzz with ideas. Thanks again to the YRL and UCLA DH crew!
-Jacque with Allegra Gonzalez, who also provided photos.