As a THATCamp newbie, rather than propose a session I would like to discuss with other participants some questions and issues related to content produced online by international networks of scholars and practitioners. I have some experience in this area as an academic involved in various Africa-related digital projects, including the Africa Past and Present podcast (see my recent journal article here), the Overcoming Apartheid web curriculum, and the Football Scholars Forum. Generally, I am interested in knowledge production and circulation; costs and accessibility; and the challenges posed by “digital imperialism.” A bit more specifically, how can technology generate and enhance international scholarly collaborations in the humanities and social sciences? What are the advantages and disadvantages of using Skype, Zotero, WordPress and other tools to create and disseminate knowledge in and about the Global South? What are the principles and/or models more likely to bring about long-term sustainable access to information resources in mutually beneficial ways across the digital divide?
For the past two years I’ve been managing WordPressMU on my campus for various purposes, including faculty portfolios and event-related blogs. I’d like to chat with other technologist THATCampers who are using WordPress.org at their universities, with the aim of creating a list of recommended plug-ins and/or best practices for higher-ed (perhaps we could even create a wish-list of plugins that we’d like to see in development and pass that on to the THATCamp hackers). I’m especially interested in discussing how universities are using WordPress for uses other than blogs (i.e. portfolios, event-planning, CMS, etc).
First, let me just put it out there that this is my first THATCamp, first unconference, and first post to this blog. I’m a PhD Candidate working on a diss that will hopefully have some awesome digital aspects. I’m looking at Baltimore merchants from about 1790-1830 and I want to do several things with my data. First, I’d like to map the relative locations of merchants in Baltimore (I have pretty specific info from city directories) over time. Second, I’d like to map their Atlantic networks, which will connect to Europe, the Caribbean, and South America. Third (and this one is only a small possibility) I’d like to map the flow of goods by volume, similar to these maps. What I’d like to achieve in this session is a set of ideas about which applications or methods would be best suited for what I want to do, and, to see if it’s realistic for me to tackle this much digital work for what will be a mostly traditional dissertation committee.
Help a grad student out! (that should be a category)
At past THATCamps, I’ve had the most fun when I’ve ditched the official sessions (as “official” as THATCamp sessions can be) to do some organized messing around. Last year, it took the form of sitting down with a couple of my One Week | One Tool buddies and hacking away at Anthologize for a few hours.
So, in the spirit of goofing off semi-aimlessly, maybe we could:
- Pick a free software project with a public bug tracker (Omeka? WordPress? Anthologize? etc) and submit some patches/pull requests.
- If there are folks who have wanted to get started contributing to free software projects but haven’t had the right setup, I could help them set up dev environments, and maybe we could talk a bit about the culture of open source development.
- We could pick some small project and roll our own One Afternoon | One Tool
The spirit here is that I work alone most of the time, so it would be fun to do some co-working with smart and cool people. Also, messing around is inherently the bomb.
I “get” GIT–I see the utility–I see the logic–I see why it’s great. But I’d love some discussion on how to start using it, what are some preferred GIT clients, and what the best-GIT-practices are. If this conversation could be combined with a western-twanged series of puns on the word “git,” that would be ideal.
Digital Scholarly Editions
This is my main DH interest at the moment. I would love to talk about:
- Issues of encoding
- What software platforms people are using (Islandora, Omeka, by-hand?)
- Excellent, and execrable, examples of digital scholarly editions
- Issues of copyright (i.e. “Do ALL digital editions have to be out of copyright???”)
- What kinds of scholarly apparatus do digital editions facilitate that were harder or impossible in paper editions?
- Multi-media digital editions
Working without institutional infrastructure
AKA, when you’re more alt than ac
For the many of us who are still on the hunt for the permanent position, how do we think about the issues of our digital work differently? For example, in a workshop I was once in, someone said: “This is what you’ll need to tell your design team…” What about when we ARE our team? What are the dangers of developing digital tools, editions, creations of any kind on resources provided by a university where you are only a temporary employee? How do we access resources? How do our grant applications differ? How do we access the support systems we need to make our work…work?