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Add your own notes or just check out the session here.
While not all oral historians identify themselves with the digital humanities, there is a distinct subsection of practitioners who do, and many of the remaining researchers are doing work that is relative to DH, either directly or indirectly. Because of their emphasis on making interviews more accessible to both scholars and the general public, oral historians and digital humanists have a number of intersecting priorities. The new technologies that started becoming available in the 1990s provided a lot of opportunities for presenting materials online, and after working through a range of ethical issues, oral historians took advantage of the new platforms in a wide variety of ways.
Those who conduct oral histories are also in an interesting position for DH practitioners, since while many DH scholars spend their time parsing, analyzing, and recontextualizing already existing records, oral historians are involved in the creation of primary sources as well as in the development of DH research and tools.
This proposed “talk” session would open a conversation about the roles of oral historians in the digital humanities, what work they are doing now that is relevant, and what products or formats non-oral historians would like to see that would help them with their own work.
We have many kinds of campers this year, ranging from early stage students to chairs of departments to scholars from libraries, museums, and other important parts of our discipline (and even some outside of history). Using the model of Reddit’s “Ask Me Anything,” which President Obama participated in last fall, this would be an open session where campers could ask anything, with the goal a better understanding of the more mysterious parts of the profession.
Twitter is the epitome of risk/reward for scholars working with contemporary materials:
Rewards? It is a living, evolving archive that captures a diverse range of perspectives on contemporary events. The archive is public, easily accessible, and open for statistic manipulation and study.
Risks? Twitter is a privately-owned company whose motivations are not synonymous with archivists, scholars, or the academy. Moreover, scholars interested in manipulating tweets must learn to digitally interface with the Twitter API and then must turn elsewhere, like Google Spreadsheets, to store and study their data.
First, I’m interested in the ethics of scholarship and the public life of academics on platforms like Twitter. As scholars, how and where do we draw the lines about using Twitter as material for our research. Are we guided solely by own our academic obligations (IRBs)? What role do the legal and extra-legal rights of Twitter and its users play for us? What if we are “publishing” our introductory research online (e.g., on a personal or professional blog)? Do we owe our Twitter subjects an invitation to see themselves in our work? Should that invitation be made from within Twitter?
Second, I’m interested in the technological demands of working with Twitter. How does one manage the technical challenges of an ever-growing archive (e.g., fed by daily automatic calls to Twitter that are placed in spreadsheets)? What are the limits of the documentation with Twitter? What are the emerging citation practices and writing conventions for intensive studies of material from Twitter?
I can see this going in a few different directions. Some of this ground has been covered before, as in Jeffrey McClurken’s 2009 THATCamp on “Archiving Social Media Conversations of Significant Events.” The interest there seemed to be documenting ‘significant events’ as they happened to preserve them. My interests differ in that I’m hoping to discuss Twitter as a kind of already preserved site, if one knows how to access it. That may just be nitpicking.
This could also easily be split in two (a TEACH/MAKE session on the technical aspects of using/manipulating the Twitter API with Google scripts and a broader conversation about ethics and public scholarship on Twitter and other social media). I am comfortable facilitating a discussion, but I’m less comfortable being the only technical guru directing a teach/make session. If things went horribly wrong with the Google scripts (as they sometimes do) I might not have to skills to fix them on the fly. A technical buddy would be fantastic to make sure things don’t go too awry.
Either of these sound like something you’d fancy?
Session notes are here.
I’m interested in talking about classroom and class design for the future:
What should the physical space for learning include looking forward? What are our minimum expectations? Does the physical classroom matter any more? [MOOCs, online and blended/hybrid classes raise complicated questions about what parts of classrooms and the things we do in them (like lecture) matter, which don’t matter, and which need to change as new virtual or physical spaces for teaching emerge.] For how long and in what ways will/should the classroom change?
I should say that I’ve been mulling this notion of classroom space for a while (see my post here for one exploration of these ideas) as I’ve been involved in two different major building/renovation projects on my campus, but this could well be something that goes beyond classrooms to something like “learning spaces of the future” that would combine the physical and intellectual space that classrooms, libraries, archives, and museums occupy now and in the years to come.
Anyone else interested in talking about learning spaces?
This month Ithaka released this report: supporting-the-changing-research-practices-of-historians. I would be interested discussing how this report may act a springboard for winder discussions on the role of libraries and archives (henceforth just using libraries) and those who staff these institutions.
My interest comes from three different concerns. I am the librarian responsible for most of the topics covered at NYU’s Department of History (along with a few other departments). I am on the board of the International Association of Labour History Institutions, a group of research institutions, predominantly European and of varying sizes, that focus on social history. And last and closely tied to the previous two, I am working historian who has published a work in print and a significantly enhanced version digitally.
My talk proposal is related to but somewhat different than Mary-Allen Johnson’s post. I am more interested in discussing the future role(s) of the library in historical scholarship. Where is it collaborative and where is it supportive.
I am in the early stages of designing an undergraduate honors tutorial in digital humanities and a graduate level, interdisciplinary research course with a focus on digital tools (both courses will be offered in Fall 2013). I would like to propose a conversation about constructing undergraduate and a graduate level introductory digital humanities courses. What class projects work for ug/gr students? What texts resonate with students? How do you engage non-majors in humanities scholarship? Best practices? Realistic learning objectives?
THATCamp AHA 2013
As I prepare to head to East Asia for several months of dissertation research, I’ve been considering the challenges of adapting my citation management tools for use in the Chinese-language archives in which I’ll be working. Along these lines, I’d like to propose a discussion of the particular digital needs of historians working in non-Western languages. Such a discussion might include some of the following topics:
-What are the relative strengths of extant citation management applications in their handling of non-Western scripts?
-What solutions have been created for the integration, manipulation, and searching of scripts and transliterations within database records?
-What possibilities exist for incorporating OCR and other digitization techniques into a paperless research workflow for non-Western languages?
-How might historians working in non-Western scripts more effectively use the digital humanities tools that already exist, and how might future versions of these tools be of greater use to us?
We might also consider composing a critical summary of this session for circulation among a wider community of historians and open source developers.
What are the pros and cons, the means and obstacles, of keeping an open-access research notebook in the humanities?
In an 2008 roundtable on digital history, historian William G. Thomas envisioned a future in which websites would serve as "open research platforms where scholars can stage problems and continually modify their work, readers can view the research as it develops, and both can continually assemble new associations as an interpretive model is built." But as Lisa Spiro has recently noted in her series on "opening the humanities" (Part 1 and Part 2), this idea has not yet really taken hold in the humanities.
The idea of open research notebooks has made more headway in science; for one example, see the Open Lab Notebook kept by Carl Boettiger. And some of the benefits promised by the open science movement—like the freeing of "dark data" often lost in the publication process—seem like they would be applicable to humanistic disciplines like history as well. Keeping open research notebooks might also be one way to respond to the series of challenges to scholarship in a wikified world that AHA president William Cronon has outlined.
Nonetheless, there are challenges—technical and otherwise—to the idea of open research notebooks in the humanities. Andrew J. Berger has recently outlined only a few. The challenges and questions surrounding this idea are also not exactly the same as those that surround the idea of open-access publication, where discussion tends to center on issues like evaluation, promotion, and peer review. Those issues aren’t precisely the same ones raised by the idea of "open lab" notebooks kept by historians.
I have recently begun an open research notebook experiment of my own by beginning an online research wiki. I am interested in a talk session with other THATcampers interested in thinking how the open attitude might change the way research notes are kept and managed. What are the technical best practices for this kind of project? Will its benefits be limited if these experiments are too isolated from the discipline as a whole?
I’m open (pun intended!) to other versions of these questions or this session!