Omeka workshop prep!!

Hi all! If you are planning to play Omeka at my workshop, here’s a little more info and optional prep work.

We’ll be working from the most current version of Omeka, so if you haven’t looked at Omeka for a while, of if you’ve only looked at, there will be some major changes that you might be interested in.

And, in the same spirit of being cutting-edge, we’ll even look at the soon-to-be-released ExhibitBuilder 3.0 plugin, which is also a major overhaul.

We’ll work in this demo site, and you can register for an account here. I’ll give everyone admin privileges (play nice!), so if you have some images or documents or any other files you want to use during the hands-on time, please bring them along on your laptop.

Thanks! It’ll be a fun time!

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(Talk) Session Proposal: Digital History and Collaboration

In his introduction to the workshop on digital history Thursday morning, Seth Denbo stated that collaboration was central to the ethos of digital history. Ethos struck me as not quite the right word, because it suggests to me that collaboration is first and foremost an ideal or belief. In my experience, collaboration is an unavoidable reality for digital history and one which historians, like most humanists, both welcome and abhor. On the one hand, collaboration enables us to take on more ambitious questions and explore them in more complex ways. On the other hand, it requires abandoning the traditional ideas about where control and credit over a scholarly product are assigned.

So what works and what doesn’t? I propose to lead a conversation about the different kinds of collaborations that are possible in the digital humanities. My starting point is my own experience as part of two very different digital projects, ranging from a generously funded grant with multiple full time and part time staff to an experiment powered almost exclusively by the enthusiasm of four dozen medievalists and the ad hoc resources that brings. What I would like to generate is a typology of the kinds of collaborations digital history projects can or must involve, the most common challenges such collaborations present, and (perhaps the most useful part) strategies to negotiate these challenges succesfully. If you aren’t sure where to start thinking, Sharon Leon’s resources on project management are an excellent starting point, but I see this conversation as not just useful to aspiring (or current) project managers, but for anyone interested in the range of ways one can participate in a digital project.

While y’all are free to discuss this at whatever point in the day you please, I am only available to facilitate for the morning sessions (1 & 2).

Categories: Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Session Proposals, Session: Talk | Comments Off on (Talk) Session Proposal: Digital History and Collaboration

Git / GitHub ?

Susan posted this tweet:

Anyone else want to talk about what git and github are, and how they can be used for things other than code?

Categories: Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Data Mining, Publishing, Session: Play, Session: Talk, Social Media, Text Mining | 2 Comments

(Talk) Data visualizations: What works and what doesn’t?

One session I’d like to propose is a very general one about visualizing your data.  For those of us who have found or who generate datasets that they’d like to visualize, actually producing effective, informative, and visually compelling arguments through images remains challenging.  Large social network graphs are more often compared to hairballs than something that conveys useful information, for example.  From pie graphs to maps to scatter plots, our methods for visualizing humanities data have remained relatively static.

In the session, I’d be interested in hearing from people about the types of datasets they’re interested in visualizing, the challenges of turning that dataset into a visualization, and their hopes for what they’d like to do if they could visualize their data in a particular way. Such a session, I would hope, would result in a sharing of various tools and methods, as well as a brainstorming of what visualizations we wish we could do if we had the means to do it.

Categories: Visualization | 1 Comment

(Talk) Session Proposal: Teaching digital-history research techniques with analog tools

When we’re in the classroom, we can’t guarantee that all of our students will have laptops (unless we bring them laptops or reserve a computer lab).

If we want to teach digital history techniques to our students as part of their classroom experiences, how do we balance these constraints against our unbounded digital-history optimism?

I have a blog post that outlines one technique (, but I’d like to get a discussion/brainstorming session going to see how others are handling the question of digital access as part of a digital-history curriculum.

(P.S. Dear session organizer: I will not be available to lead the session until 1pm, so feel free to nix this session proposal if necessary.)

Categories: Digital Literacy, Session: Talk, Teaching | Comments Off on (Talk) Session Proposal: Teaching digital-history research techniques with analog tools

Digital history happenings at #AHA2014

This isn’t a proposal (I will have one nearer the date), but I just wanted to give THATCamp participants a heads up about some of the other digital activities at the AHA annual meeting.

If you’re coming to THATCamp and are interested in digital history (which seems likely), you will also want to check out all of the other exciting events, activities and panels related to digital engagement that are happening at the meeting. I’ve written an article that describes a few of the highlights and also has a list of most of the sessions that have a digital focus. There are panels on all manner of digital history including teaching with digital tools and methods, using digital materials as primary sources, the future of historical research in a digital age, and many more.

For the first time this year, we’re hosting a reception for history bloggers and tweeters, so if you’ve ever blogged about history, sent a tweet, or even if you’re curious and interested in talking to people about it over a drink, please come along to the Governor’s Room at the Omni Shoreham on Thursday January 2nd from 5:30-7:00PM.

We’ve also recently had a few cancellations for the Getting Started in Digital History workshop. If you’re new to digital history, and want to participate in a more structured introduction to the tools, techniques and methodologies then reserve your spot now.

So if you haven’t already, consider registering for the annual meeting and taking part in all of the exciting things we have planned.

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Workshop Preview–Omeka

Patrick Murray-John, Research Assistant Professor at the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, has agreed to offer an Omeka workshop at THATCamp AHA2014. Thanks, Patrick!

Omeka is a simple system used by scholarly archives, libraries, and museums all over the world to manage and describe digital images, audio files, videos, and texts; to put such digital objects online in a searchable database; and to create attractive web exhibits from them. In this introduction to Omeka, you’ll create your own digital archive of images, audio, video, and texts that meets scholarly metadata standards and creates a search engine-optimized website. We’ll go over the difference between the hosted version of Omeka and the open source server-side version of Omeka (we’ll work from the server version), and we’ll learn about the Dublin Core metadata standard for describing digital objects. We’ll also look at some examples of pedagogical use of Omeka in humanities courses and talk about assigning students to create digital archives in individual or group projects.

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Workshop Preview–Data Analysis for Historians

Lincoln Mullen, a Ph.D. candidate at Brandeis University, has agreed to repeat the hands-on workshop on using statistical programs to analyze data sets relevant to humanities scholars that he offered at THATCamp AAR in November 2013. Mullen has also agreed to hold a kind of THATCamp office hours after his workshop, where he’s agreed to work one on one with interested campers. Thanks, Lincoln!

Humanities scholars now have access to a range of data sets and techniques for analyzing them that were previously regarded as the province of scholars in other disciplines. In this workshop, we’ll try our hands at a couple forms of analysis, using data sets of interest to scholars of religion. We will make maps from the missions of the Paulist Fathers and do some quantitative analysis of religious demographic data. By bringing these common kinds of data analysis together, we will learn the basic practices and theories which underlie all of them. Of course we will have occasion to discuss what data analysis means from a humanistic perspective. During this workshop we will get hands-on with the statistical programming language R. While there are many tools to make maps, mine texts, and analyze numbers, R is especially powerful because it can perform all of these types of analysis. R is a favorite tool of academics, Google, and the New York Times, so it has strong support. You are encouraged to install R (the programming language itself) and the desktop version of R Studio (a tool to help you use R) in advance. Self-starters can watch some of Google’s video introductions to R to acquire the basics. While you will benefit from learning some of the theory behind the analysis even without using R, there is no substitute for performing the analysis yourself, and you’ll pick up the basics of a powerful digital humanities tool.

Categories: Data Mining, Workshops | Tags: , | Comments Off on Workshop Preview–Data Analysis for Historians