Recreating the Irreproducible

So we can store everything in digital form now. Except when we can’t, when it’s something ephemeral that didn’t get persisted when it occurred. Except that maybe we can? I’d like to talk about the frontiers of digital recreations of irreproducible historical phenomena, like sound before recordings, not to mention things like smell, taste, and touch. This last might be having its dawn with 3D printing, and it seems there are explorations of how to work with sound: Niall Atkinson & my colleague Peter Leonard’s work with the bells of Renaissance Florence comes to mind, as does the researcher who made a stab at speaking Indo-European, and perhaps the HIPSTAS work could be turned to these ends.


DH and the end user

As an academic librarian, I spend a majority of my time connecting end users with primary source materials and items created by you, the digital humanist, GIS wizard, archivist, etc.!

I would like to have a discussion about the following topics:

  • What do you want end users to know about searching for the information you’re creating?
  • If you could interact with end users directly (or if you already do!), what would you want them to understand about your work?
  • What tools would you recommend they use to discover the widest range of resources available? (ArchiveGrid? A Google Search? Something else?)
  • If you teach, what do you want librarians to know about helping your students?
  • Is there anything else the end user should know?

I look forward to the discussion!


Life and Scholarship in Plain Text

Last year at THATCamp New England I gave a workshop on using plain text for scholarship, especially using Markdown and Pandoc. Tom Scheinfeldt and Abby Mullen apparently struck some kind of deal whereby I am obligated to talk about Markdown, so here is a session proposal. I propose that we talk about how how to write scholarly work in Markdown and Pandoc. If we want, we can also talk about more esoteric plain text tools like git and knitr and LaTeX. If you’re interested in doing this session, then you might want to take a look at the compilation of links here.


Micro-Details in Macroanalysis

One of the usual drawbacks of a large-scale analysis of data is that details about the individual pieces of data are lost. We have to make the data fit into a specific mold in order to run our program, so we strip the individual pieces of data of their unique elements–the things that make them interesting.

These decisions have to be made with care. How can we maintain the integrity of our data while still making it usable for large-scale analysis? And then, how do we recover those unique elements so that our data pieces can retain their individuality and interest?

I’d like to talk about these issues. If you’ve dealt with this issue before, what was your decision-making process? What are best practices for such things?


Social Media in Humanities Teaching and Research

Social media has been a part of the higher education landscape for years, both as topic of study and research, and as a tool used to achieve pedagogical goals. What lessons have humanists learned about using social media for both of these aims? How should we prepare humanists of the future to use this medium in their teaching and research? Finally, how will social media change over the next 10 years, and how will that affect us as humanists?

Possible topics:

  • How will humanists make use of services like the implementation of the Library of Congress’ Twitter archive or the recently-launched Topsy.com Twitter analysis service?
  • How will future researchers combat “linkrot“ from defunct link-shortening services?
  • Where do educators draw the line on concerns about FERPA and social media?


Dork Shorts, Saturday morning 10/19

Greetings, campers! I’m Roger Travis of Literatures, Cultures, and Languages at UConn, and I’ll be running Dork Shorts at the plenary session Saturday morning.

Dork Shorts are two minute presentations given in an extremely informal manner, without any multimedia. Dork Shorts are wonderful for putting a project on the radar screens of a lot of people in a very short talk, for making a lot of people aware of something you have to offer (a resource, a program, yourself, etc.), and for seeking help with your current project!
At THATCamp New England 2013, presenters will give them in the opening plenary session Saturday morning. To give one, put your name and your title in the next blank row on the spreadsheet linked here, and I’ll line you up in some wildly efficient fashion when the time arrives!
Dork Shorts can also be a spur-of-the-moment thing, so I’ll be visible Friday evening and Saturday morning, ready to add folks to the spreadsheet myself. Please don’t hesitate to ask any questions about the above in the comments, either!



Get Ready for THATCamp NE 2013!

You’ve probably found the information below on our website or on your own. Still, we send this just in case it helps one person.

In contrast to its rural setting, UConn is a busy place, with over 20,000 students, faculty and staff on campus on a normal day. Be aware that traffic on Route 195 can be very heavy, especially coming from I-84 to the north, and plan accordingly.

On Friday morning, please come directly to the Dodd Center to pick up your registration materials. Directions are below.

Remember that the parking garage takes CASH ONLY. No credit or debit cards!

Route 195 to the South Parking Garage

There are two ways to get from Route 195 to the parking garage. Google Maps has mapped the campus, so you can eyeball these on the map.

#1: Mansfield Road
Coming from either the north or the south on Route 195, enter the campus via Mansfield Road. There is a stoplight at this intersection and a left turn lane.
From the north, turn right; Mirror Lake will be on your right.
From the south, turn left; the Fine Arts Center will be on your left.
Mansfield Road curves to the right.
At the stop sign, turn left onto Gilbert Road.
At the stop sign at Hillside Road, cross Hillside and follow the road up the hill.
At the top of the hill, turn right and drive through Lot 8.
The parking garage entrance is in the far corner of Lot 8, to your left. Watch out for crossing traffic from the right.
You are entering the parking garage on Level 5.

#2: Route 275
Coming from the south on Route 195, turn left onto Route 275. There is a stoplight at this intersection and a left turn lane.
Route 275 passes the Mansfield Community Center.
Turn right onto Eastwood Road.
At the stop sign, turn right onto Hillside Circle.
At the stop sign at the T intersection, turn left onto Hillside Road.
At the stop sign at Gilbert Road, turn left and follow the road up the hill.
At the top of the hill, turn right and drive through Lot 8.
The parking garage entrance is in the far corner of Lot 8, to your left. Watch out for crossing traffic from the right.
You are entering the parking garage on Level 5.

Walking from the South Parking Garage to the Dodd Center

• In the parking garage, take the elevator or stairs down to Level 1 and turn right out of the garage. (The huge building slightly to the left in the distance is the library!)
• Cross Hillside Road and continue toward the Graduate Center, which has a large gold banner. On Google Maps, this building is labeled “Office for Sponsored Programs.”
• Walk around the Graduate Center to the right.
• The Dodd Center is past the parking lot to your right. Walk past the wavy wall and turn right to get to the building entrance.
• If you arrive after later, Babbidge Library is the huge building across the plaza from the Dodd Center.

Getting from the South Parking Garage back to Hillside Road

You will have to exit the parking garage on Level 1.
Upon exit, turn right out of the garage.
Turn right at the stop sign onto Stadium Road.
Turn right at the stop sign onto Hillside Road.
Now you can either turn onto Gilbert Road or drive past Gilbert to Hillside Circle to get back to Route 195.


Geospatial Showcase

I'd like to propose a show-and-tell session for people who are making maps or want to get started with them. Anyone who wants to participate can spend a few minutes showing a map they made—and preferably, actually rendering the map in front of everyone else. Hopefully we'll have a diversity of mapping methods which will give us a quick overview of the possibilities. Then for the remainder of the session, we'll talk about what was interesting in the maps we saw, and how to make them. Perhaps we'll break up into smaller groups so that mapping masters can give impromptu tutorials to beginners. By bringing together all the mapmakers into one place, I hope people will also be able to find someone who has already solved some of the problems they're facing.

If the scheduling crowd preferred, we could make this session more general, and turn it into a data analysis showcase. 


Check Out AZA During THATCampNE

Hi Campers,

While you’re here at UConn, you might be interested in heading out for an evening on the town!

On October 18, 2013 at 8 pm, UConn is sponsoring an event to celebrate diversity and the cultural arts of Africa with music and dance. This event is FREE and open to the general public. It will be held at the J. Louis Von Der Mehden Recital Hall over at our Music and Drama building. Don’t know where that is? Befriend some friendly UConn campers and go with them! And you can also check out our Campus Map



DH and Student Outreach/Programming

DH can go beyond the classroom.  At Wheaton, we’re experimenting with ways to take some of the core concepts of digital humanities and find expression for them in the form of student outreach programs and events. We can certainly talk a bit  about our projects– so far they amount to a lecture series and a student curation program–but we’re most interested in a good conversation (high-falutin’, low falutin’, mid-falutin’) that exchanges ideas and perhaps even generates new ones: for us, colleagues at other institutions or maybe even collaborations that connect us.


  • Which DH concepts and values best translate to outreach programs for undergraduates?
  • What do (or can) those programs look like?
  • How do (or can) student outreach and programming related to DH best have a curricular impact?


(Proposed with Amy Barlow)

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