#THATCamp Southeast begins: Less Yack, More Hack

I’m at THATCamp with some WFU colleagues.

The day started out with figuring out the schedule. People put program ideas up on a schedule and people voted to come up with the final program. Next up was an explanation of the day. It was a packed day until 5:15!

It’s really a lovely model. There is one open room in case people want to get together and work on things, spur of the moment. They actually encouraged folks to think of the schedule as flexible and find space to talk if they want to continue discussions from a program or work on something. But first: we started with a discussion of ground rules. A note on the process: we’re using a lot of whiteboards. I have found my people. :)

People were also asked to put results of sessions on the THATCamp blog, so interesting stuff might be showing up there.

Exploring the Combination of Techniques of Instructional Design, the Humanities, and Digital Media in an Archival Format

We were up first, with a session on the conversations David, Ann, and I have been having lately. One group member posted notes from the conversation. Interesting themes about how to support digital humanities, the importance of instructional design in the process, and a bit on the next version of Sakai.(sounds very promising!!) Also, it came up that Indiana has great training materials for Sakai called Oncourse.

Dork Shorts

I had to miss some of the Dork Shorts (2 minute talks) at lunch, but even with my limited participation, I heard talks on Drupal Gardens about easy-to-set-up Drupal sites, Emma which is a way to allow students to comment on others’ work, a card game idea called Hegemony, and the new Digital Scholarship Commons at Emory.

Digital Humanities and Special Collections

  • Volunteers to do digitization
  • Letting people bring their cameras into special collections to take photo (sign statement that copyright is their problem)
  • Working with vendors (like ASP or Google) to have them digitize collections
  • If the institution funds a digital department digitization can happen, but most large scale projects are grant funded
  • A lot of what slows digitization is thinking about it too much and no action
  • Incorporating Web 2.0 into special collections: object level? collection level? finding aid?
  • How to do transcribing?
  • Someone said a scholar gave them their computers, rather than papers.
  • Most represented libraries in this group said their library wouldn’t support a “beta” type of service.
  • Gregory Crane spoke at Emory recently and pointed out undergrads gravitate to science because they can get involved in research. We can do that with special collections in the humanities.
  • How to get different groups to communicate more so that we don’t duplicate efforts so much.
  • Notable: only librarians in the room. The academic faculty elsewhere (other great sessions going on). What can we do to reach out to them?
  • Faculty might not be thinking about digitization, but rather about putting collections in class, etc.
  • Actually, this session seems to be almost all librarians who want to understand special collections better to know how to interface with faculty interested in digital humanities. This could be a really good program idea or article for some special collections person out there… :)
  • Discussion of how tenure has to adapt to open up the idea of digital humanities to more people (like we talked about in the first session)

Research Hacks

  • Lead by non-librarians: what to do with digital items created by academics, how to trace users in wiki communities
  • Many people take photos of items in archives for their research notes (I wonder if we could set up a station with good lighting for this.)
  • Transcribe in archives; but some bringing in cameras + tripods or their own scanners
  • What do you do if you don’t work with paper (film, etc)
  • Taking photos of materials: put a paper note on document with title/author/etc
  • iPhoto not the optimal way to organize research photos
  • Uses Hazel to rename files in photo folder
  • Uses Automator to convert images to PDF
  • Compile all photos into one large PDF, OCR it
  • Can we allow people to put this on a locked down setting at your own library? The UK has a shared flickr sight.
  • Upload the photo to Zotero
  • Apparently Zotero can auto-rename the attachment! Upload documents to internet archive, and OCR it!
  • Learned about tile, which allows you to mark up a document in xml so that you can search an image like you search text.
  • Talked about Evernote‘s OCR capabilities
  • Filmstudy app lets you annotate video as you watch it on the iPad
  • Two monitors help to adapt to online works rather than printing out
  • Transcription tools

Second half of the session was on a research topic of social side of editing in wikipedia.

  • This method called Trace Ethnography (I love this!! This methodology also very useful for librarians trying to understand the services they should offer.)
  • Showed an amazing tool that shows quantitative side of what’s going on in a wikipedia entry
  • Discussion of Freebase
  • Mention of really interesting use of video in guy’s personal life…. TED Talk on it
  • Google Refine cleans up messy data
  • Neat Wordle showing most edits in February in Wikipedia
  • Seasr lets you do visualization on Zotero libraries

Dissertation Hacks

  • Thinking about sources, writing, and product
  • Emory does have people submitting multimedia dissertations and doing collections in Omeka as a chapter in a dissertation
  • ePub versons of dissertations
  • Putting other things in dissertations make them much bigger, harder to send around
  • Some grad students doing regular dissertation but also collecting media (videos, etc) so that when the technology catches up they can embed the videos in the book.
  • Anthologize WordPress plugin; could put dissertation in WordPress, use Anthologize to push out a book
  • Easiest: publish sourcebook online, write about it and refer to it
  • Process of making a digital collection helps think through information to help with writing chapter
  • A discussion of importance of traveling to do research vs. digital
  • Mapping novels in Google Earth; helps think about where things happened (like seeing where things happen in a specific city or around the globe) Doesn’t necessarily change how you write about it, but helps see new perspectives.
  • Discussion of how to get scholars to know technology to do digital projects; librarian in the audience wondered if really the important thing to learn is digital project management and managing the lifespan of a project
  • Blogging as you go helps translate data into a narrative; though general bias against sharing works in progress
  • Using PowerPoint, Keynote, or Prezi to storyboard ideas before writing; thinking about audience reaction to a presentation before writing. These help you think about categories and arranging content.
  • It’s always worth posting presentations. Work hard on them, and at a conference not all people. Discussion of worry of copyright in presentations.

Fun day! More tomorrow!

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