Tech Learning Modules

For THATCamp New Orleans, I propose a problem-solving session on developing technological skills-training modules that could be inserted in a variety of humanities courses. Typical semester-length classes devoted to learning software applications quickly become outdated, and campus tutorials or workshops are taught in isolation from course content, critical thinking, and creative applications.

We could identify and share relatively easy-to-learn, free, open-source software tools such as ArcGIS mapmaking, Sophie multimedia books, or Korsakow nonlinear video editing. Learning modules would be developed that were largely independent of specific course content or technological tool: a creative problem-solving assignment, question, or provocation that could be adapted to a variety of humanities disciplines, subjects, and digital tools. (E.g., “Use this technological tool to express multiple sides of an ethical dilemma in this field.”)

The goal would to be to develop short, one- or two-class digital technology modules that could be inserted into a syllabus, providing students with technological tools training from a distinctively humanities perspective, integrated with course content, and without laborious specialized training for the instructor.

Categories: Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Educating Faculty: Confronting the Fear Factor of the Digital Humanities

As someone who has been using digital media (to qualify, rather erratically) in her research and teaching for many years, I am a bit of a lone wolf in an English Department that strictly adheres to traditional print culture in both scholarship and in the classroom. This session intends to pose a series of questions that will lead to some kind of action plan for dissolving fears and disdain of all things academic and digital.

My first question posed is: how can those of us who are digitally-oriented not only get support for e-projects and e-pedagogies (as Michael suggests in his proposal) that move beyond just a simple transference of media but move into the realm of re-conceiving what humanities can do in terms of methods and pedagogies? And what arguments can we make to persuade resistant faculty of the possibilities of digital media in their scholarship and teaching? How can we persuade faculty (especially in this age of budget cuts and education as instrumentalist rhetoric) that indeed some digital tools may offer to re-engage us with our subjects in novel and dynamic ways as well as energize our teaching?

Secondly, what digital programs and tools would best serve particular departments and/or disciplines as a whole? What tools can we bring to our departments via professional development workshops (taken for service credit) that would be most amenable and accessible to resistant faculty? Whether Omeka or Drupal for digital literary projects/archives or Mendeley/Zotero/Udini for research/data collecting.

Third, I’ve been thinking about starting a Digital Humanities Working Group or University-Wide Committee that could begin to think through implementing the digital in our work as scholars and teachers and to create sustainable collaborative relations with folks in library and computer science. I would like to hear from people who may be doing this and what they have learned and frankly whether this kind of college-wide effort is worth undertaking.


Categories: Collaboration, Digital Literacy, Research Methods, Session Proposal, Teaching | 5 Comments

Creating Two Totally Excellent HISTORY Websites: University Desegregation Anniversary (& US Largest Slave Revolt)

There is already a session about faculty with little or no web training, but that underlies this too.  I am actually trying to build two websites:  one for the 50th Anniversary of the Desegregation of Tulane; and one for the 1811 Louisiana Slave Revolt.  The latter is in the context of a class.  Both have some progress already.  Ideally, we want a high level of academically vetted history content, scanned documents; and on both sites access to video–on the desegregation website that will be oral history interviews (or maybe edited versions thereof with subsidiary links to full interviews); while on both sites we will have event footage.  My experience in both cases so far has been, because no one has a real budget or time for much professional training, whoever volunteers with pretty good web skills does what they can.  The end results are not bad; but there has got to be way to do this smoother and with more best-practices especially for the historical material–my big concern–good ways to present things like timelines and images; and useful ways to present scanned materials, but for the visual interest of the public, and perhaps for future researchers.  Putting up designed-to-be-permanent major history websites like this should have some best-practices goals/ideas/standards, beyond ‘what we can do with our limited professional skills and financial and professional resources.

Categories: Session Proposal | 7 Comments

What’s an untrained faculty member to do?

I am interested in discussing how faculty members who receive no training or support can develop sites and online archives to promote their research and create online communities. Much of my research has been invested in the recovery of forgotten or under-appreciated authors. As the President of a society devoted to research on an under-appreciated author, I am interested in creating an online archive of the author’s works as well as archival material for use by researchers, teachers, and students. I have seen a few useful models on line, which I could present. One model was created in part by Ed White at Tulane. He is not able to attend the conference, but I have discussed the project with him and can share some of his experience. His site was created with WordPress with support from the American Antiquarian Society.

Categories: Session Proposal | 4 Comments

Session Proposal: Zotero and Open Source Tools

I would like to host a session on Zotero, an open source reference management application. In the session, I will explain what Zotero is, and provided a brief tutorial on how to setup, create and manage your Zotero account. I would also like to have a discussion on what free tools or resources others are implementing in their courses or on campus.

Categories: Digital Literacy, Libraries, Session Proposal, Uncategorized | 1 Comment

It’s Session Proposal Time!!!! Also Twitter, Boogaloo, etc.

In case you haven’t seen Michael’s e-mail, it’s time to start thinking up amazing things for us to talk about when we descend upon the CBD next week. There are some ideas and suggestions over on the Sessions page, but these are more guides than rules. As the Rebirth Brass Band would say, “Do Whatcha Wanna.” We’ve got a few up already, so take a look at them for inspiration, and comment on the posts to get the conversation going!

We’ve also got a Twitter account up and running at @tcampnola2013. Follow it if Twitter’s your thing, and if it’s not, now’s a good excuse to give it a try!

It’s also as good a time as any to think about after-THATCamp plans. There’s always a ton going on around town, and next weekend is no exception. Feel free to post any events you hear about that you might want to share with fellow THATCampers in the comments, and I’ll compile them later. Bayou Boogaloo begins Friday evening (with Rebirth Brass Band!) and runs through Sunday, but there’s also the new Star Trek movie, countless amazing restaurants, city tours, and more.

Excited yet? Start posting!

Categories: Administrative, Your Categories Are Inadequate | 3 Comments

Session Proposal: CONTENTdm Love/Hate Fest

It’s everywhere. Every library or museum of a certain size seems to have digital collections in it. You can’t escape it. It’s CONTENTdm!

But is that a bad thing?

In this session, I’d like to talk/share/commiserate with other CONTENTdm users on some of the challenges and opportunities offered by the new version, particularly in regards to digital humanities projects and supporting those who are doing them. I’m still a relative newcomer to the software, and I’m excited by some of the things I see other users doing with it, but I’m frustrated, too, by some of my day-to-day problems with it. I imagine others feel the same.

I’m also intrigued by the software’s roots at the University of Washington circa 1999 and how it became the proprietary commercial juggernaut that it is today. I wonder what will become of tools like Omeka, DSpace, Fedora, and others that some of us depend on today in fourteen years’ time.

Categories: Archives, Libraries, Linked Data, Session Proposal | 1 Comment

Tech Support for Collections

I would like to know how others are supporting digital collection data growth and integrity. As a system and storage administrator, I’ve found it difficult to predict storage growth over time, especially within the confines of grant funding. I would also like to explore the pros and cons of hosted storage solutions with those who may have experiences to share.

Categories: Session Proposal | 1 Comment

Building an Interdisciplinary Digital Humanities/New Media Community in the Deep South

I have been fortunate to attend a few THATCamps connected to academic conferences for historians, and I have wanted to work with others to create a THATCamp (and, we hope, a series of unconferences) rooted in New Orleans and the Gulf Coast region. UNO and USM folk from various backgrounds started to collaborate on digital projects several years ago via content development for the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank, whose project funding birthed the precursor to Omeka. Therefore, we sought to begin the process of making connections and building a community that transcends the typical borders separating people engaged in digital projects.

One of the best features of THATCamps is their ability to facilitate interdisciplinary exchanges. The conversations that take place when librarians, archivists, museum curators, graduate students, K-12 faculty, public historians, humanities faculty, and others gather together are invaluable. I hope our first gathering will help us to develop a supportive community. I had the pleasure of teaching history and writing classes in a computer classroom starting in 1993 and presenting at Computers & Writing in 1997, so I know how much good comes from getting out of disciplinary ruts or sinkholes.

Maybe we will come up with some solutions to a few of the common problems facing most who work on noncommercial digital projects in the Deep South:

*lack of funding and/or the constant threat of losing meager funding sources;

*lack of administrative support, including attention to key issues such as time & labor & technical support; and

*lack of interest and/or respect for non-commercial digital work, regardless of whether it’s presented as “digital humanities” and if DH’s time as the latest academic fad may seem to have come (and gone).

The arrival of Gena Chattin and Jennifer Jackson on UNO’s campus in concert with the long-term interest shown by Jeanne Pavy and others at UNO as well as Jeanne Gillespie and Diane Ross on USM’s campus have served as the catalyzing energies that have allowed us to move forward. More recently, UNO’s History Department has partnered with Vicki Mayer in Tulane’s Communication Department for a mobile history (ios and Android or Google Play) project using omeka known as

Let’s begin to collaborate to build a more effective DH community.

Categories: Administrative, Collaboration, Funding, Project Management, Session Proposal, Your Categories Are Inadequate | 1 Comment

Registration is Open!!!

Now it can be told: Registration for THATCamp New Orleans 2013 is open! Space is limited, so register today! Hope to see you in May!

Categories: Uncategorized | Comments Off on Registration is Open!!!