My First THATCamp

Over the course of this weekend I will attend my first THATCamp.

You may ask, what is a THATCamp?  THATCamp stands for “The Humanities and Technology Camp.”  It is an unconference: an open, inexpensive meeting where humanists and technologists of all skill levels learn and build together in sessions proposed on the spot.  THATCamps are known to be collaborative, informal, spontaneous, timely, and productive.  We shall see.  My first THATCamp will be held at Fordham University at Lincoln Center, and old stomping ground – once upon a time I was lucky to have a postdoctoral fellowship in the English Department there.  I am pleased to be returning to a place with great memories.

I have decided to keep a running log of the experience.  THATCamp-NY begins this evening, October 5, and will run all day tomorrow, Saturday October 6th.  I will blog my observations as I proceed through the experience.  Stay tuned for later posts as I arrive at Fordham-Lincoln Center this evening…..

5:45 pm  “Lightening Talks” These seem to be quick presentations of what we can do this weekend.  The following are my notes on the quick presentations.  Topics:

  • The Medical Humanities –  “The Literature, Arts, and Medicine Database” – a curated database in need of a tech upgrade – needs more on-line video, partnerships, a total relaunch in a format that can be upgraded and user friendly – from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0
  • JiTP – Journal of Interactive Technology & Pedagogy – To prepare PhD students to teach with tech effectively.  Multimedia Writing, Digital Writing, pushing the boundaries of academic publishing (open access promotion).  There is a division in the Journal between long-form peer review (“Issues”) vs. short form section – assignments, everything you can actually use in a class, DH pedagogy, teaching fails, tool tips, etc.  What is the difference between long form (open peer review) vs. short form (reviewed by comments).  “Behind the Seams” breaking open the academic publishing process from beginning to end.
  • Writing Studies Tree” – Crowdsourced archive for academic genealogy (captures and/or represents academic mentor-student relationships) – a network of people and their influences (who has trained who?  who has studied with who?  what is valued in writing?).  They will be adding timelines, “watching” and “talk” pages, revision histories, discussion of Drupal use and visualizations, architectures, etc.
  • Network Corpus” – topic modeling tool – navigation from text to text based on linked topics – The evolution of an index and how how has the knowledge been categorized of time?  How are comprehensive indexes reflects an attempt to map certain knowledge using algorithmic – how do categories of knowledge change of time…what might such changes mean?  Creating cross references as one reads.  Topic modeling as the opposite of the index – trying to see what you are getting out of a text with an index.
  • Archive Notebook” – a form of qualitative crowdsourcing which attempts to  maintain the research vitality of the archiving experience while embracing writing as a process. – Generating a platform for sharing the fun and the enigmatic traces found while pouring through archives.  Generating content and facilitating exchange.  How best to get this data out there? Scholarly applications – sharing “short form” and “middle space” writing.  What might a primary source means if it is born digital.  This Archive Notebook recuperates the research notes, the dissertation blog, ….all those things cut out from final/formal scholarship.
  • Creating Digital History – Use of Omeka in relating a “Greenwich Village History” – creating a digital exhibit through a DH course.  Customization features added to Omeka.  – Exploring ways to expand more creative input when designing an exhibit  (i.e. image oriented browsing).
  • Hypertext research platform – Leopardi Archive – organizing a text semantically, creating visualizations of the semantics linkings, theme mapping, developing outside resource links based on the original text –
  • Yaddo exhibition – visualizing the relationships between artists that attended Yaddo in past.   How do we create family trees of writer communities, or scholar communities, etc.?  How to map temporality in the visualization? Combining timelining with network mapping.  i.e. SNAC (Social Networks and Archival Context Project)
  • Linked Jazz” – Using linked data to investigate cultural archives.  “Active sites of new history.”  Knowledge generation tool – packaging up interview transcripts and crowdsourcing the data.  Network visualizations and seeing the patterns that emerge.
  • Universal access to literacy, how can we cultivate compassion and keep the kinesetic in learning? Occupy Wall Street slideshow.
  • GreenMap systems – a crowdsourced platform for green living globally – conscious living, sustainability, and eco friendly spaces.  Creating community and offering resources that can be seen and mapped out.

Wow.  Inspiring projects out there.  7:20pm – Wine & Cheese Reception time.