My First THATCamp: Part Two

Back at the Camp – 10/6/12

9:15am – Here at Fordham University-Lincoln Center bright and early.  Everyone has their coffee/tea/breakfast.  Despite the early hour, there is intellectual energy in this room!

9:45am – A few more “Lightening Talks” to start the day.  My notes on the quick five minute presentations.  Topics:

  • Trends in New York History – Collaborative student honors project – a digital project to be published publicly – Class produced digital sites on “South Street Seaport”; “Not the Hudson“: Comprehensive Resource on the East River”.  Intended for teacher audiences, while students are a web team that have a public presence – Research, writing, editing, outreach, doing digital history,  – What is the best platform for this kind of engagement?  How much code do you need to know?  Who is the audience?  How do we cultivate the audience? Collaborative learning…students “owning” the project.  Digital Hudson project – platform update needed.
  • DH Curation Guide – IMLS supported community resource guide of best practices for humanities data curation – maintaining the integrity of data, openess of data, a go-to Humanities data curation practices resource; this is a growing field, this is a community driven guide, readers can contribute their own resources.

First Session:  JSTOR Workshop 10:15am

JSTOR Data for Research service (DfR) – to promote the dissemnination of scholarship, 8 million journaln articles, -30 billion words (a lot of data!); High Quality biographical and structural meta-data.  Heavily used resource.

DfR portal/tool –  – JSTOR is proactive in tech innovation ; to collaborate with scholarly community; data mining & analysis; This is a self-serve tool for obtaining research data from the JSTOR archive – effective discovery capability; research oriented exploration tool complementing the search & browse capabilities offered by JSTOR main site – DfR is open access.  Initially released in Jan 2008, multiple updates, perpetual beta, CiteRank metrics, auto classification of topics using LDA; downloadable data bundle with metadata and full text for @ 430,000 articles; Early Journal Content (EJC) initiative

Using Django, SOLR Search Eng, Amazon S3

What can you get out of DfR? – Bibliographic metadata, word frequencies, N-grams, Keywords, references (citations out), free data visualization packages (area of growth);  -Data retrieval options – online viewing, bulk downloading of XML or CSV files, – this will be demoed in our workshop;  -As a discovery tool – topic modeling techniques, visualizations, subject based classification with faceting, relevancy ranking, etc.

TF*IDF (Extracted key terms) – term frequency-inverse document frequency)  for info retrieval and text mining; subject-based content classification – topic modeling (natural language processing)

Switch to Digital Pedagogy Workshop 10:45am – This is a roundtable discussion about DH in the classroom.

-How many people are using tech in the classroom?  How many are incorporating tech and teachnological aspects of tech?

-A common tool – voyant tools

A how-to for CytoscapeMiriam Posner’s blog on this

alternative to traditional LMS, Lore

Miki’s Art and Society Lore site:

-cell phones on museum trips to give students access to additional info about material culture in front of them

-As faculty members how expert do we have to be?  Anxiety among faculty?  Are profs counting on students to help them out?  Flipped classroom modeling.  Tools facilitate analysis.  They (students) can be positioned as the repository of facts with a laptop in front of them.  The prof can lead them through and model powerful critical thinking with the information that is so accessible now.

-Collaborative models of faculty/student research teams, working on projects together.  “Problematizing” the subject matter – open up the collaborative work by approaching it as an inquiry? –

Structuring our classrooms by breaking students up in groups – each group is in chage of a dh based “project” (i.e. the blogging group, the Zotero group, the Prezi group, the Omeka group…) Step one – the group presentation on how to use the assigned tool ….

Flipsnack – turns pdfs in virtual books

Collaborative digital projects – how do we evaluate this kind of work? – if the project fails, can the process that unfolds be evaluated by the experience of progress throughout?

Kairos – A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy

Does writing improve with a digital/public platform?  Peer conferences and peer editing is effective (Dropbox) (GoogleDocs, GoogleDrive, shared course folder)

Second Session:  Creating Collaborative Editions of Undergraduate Work

A fun task – to put together a book for a class – the framework is there to monitor participation.  What is the best platform to do something like this?

Can we crowdsource a digital edition of a text?  This is a controversial idea, to take a text, and make it freely edit-able by anyone. qualified public wiki

Wikibooks, Wikiversity – open source textbooks (fragmentary)

MediaWiki – hard to customize (perhaps not the best platform for undergraduate class project)


Do undergraduates want to feel like scholars?  Do we lose the possibility of modeling good close reading in the process? Thinking about ways to empower their critique…

Christopher Leary, Composing the Anthology:  An Exercise in Patchwriting


So far, a head spinning amount of information has been shared.  Digital Humanities is a palpably dynamic field.  DH opens up so many creative possibilities to approaching both traditional scholarship/research & inquiry-based pedagogy.

12:30 Lunch time!  Definitely ready to refuel.


Ok! ….Ready to go with the second part of the day!

2:15pm Teaching With Omeka

  • Greenwich Village History:   An digital archive created by a “Creating Digital History” class on the history of Greewich Village, NYC.  -Browsing items by Tags, -Browsing items by Maps (plug-in called geolocation); Search by Collection, Search by Theme.
  • Creating Digital History class wiki (the assignments/syllabus, etc)
  • Items posted (content) vs. exhibition (historical analysis)
  • Plug-ins – tools available within the archive (i.e Scripto is a crowdsourcing transcription tool)
  • All students submit 3 posts over the course of the semester on the wordpress Creating Digital History-Greenwich Village class blog, as well as their curation work on the Omeka site
  • Basic info students need to get the project started – How to enter an item; How to enter the collection; How to choose items, How to get copyright permissions; (“Adding Items is in the class wiki”)
  • Tagging Guide (in-built by Prof)…to establish a tagging system before the diverse content goes up is a more effective way to tag in an organized/concise/fashion

3:30pm Omeka & Neatline

    • When there is a confusing problem, you Google it!  We are going to purchase a server, and become more independent – updates on our own, having power over your own server keeps flexiblity
    • We are going to work with the plug-in “neatline” (maps & visualizations
    • Setting up a server; then set up Omeka, then plugin Neatline
    • To set up server for a PC – WAMP; macs – MAMP
    • (my own WAMP install didn’t work)
    • Extensive/thorough installation instructions on the Omeka site
    • Neatline:  Download Neatline; drop it into your plugins folder within your Omeka folder

My sincere thanks.

THATCamp-NY has been an enlightening and energizing experience.  Thank you to our organizers who did a great job of welcoming us, helping us, facilitating dynamic intellectual exchange.  Thank you to the sponsors (Fordham University, Hunter College Libraries, JSTOR, New York University Libraries).  And thanks to all the enthusiastic and generous participants.  It was wonderful to meet so many new colleagues, and be inspired to consider new ways of approaching both research & pedagogy.  I am definitely a THATCamp convert!