Welcome to Great Lakes THATCamp

Great Lakes THATCamp (The Humanities And Technology Camp) is a user-generated "unconference" on digital humanities originally inspired by the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University.
  • Users of Blogging and Social Media in an Academic Environment


    I would like to propose a discussion on blogging and social media.  Both are frequently used to promote academic departments, institutions, organizations, etc. but who are the users?  I would really like to discuss how the different platforms are used in promoting these academic environment and who the users are in each platform.  Who are the intended users? Who are the actual users? And who are the potential users? Also, with the term user in mind, what is the definition of a user in social media.  Is this the person that simply follows or likes a page?  Or is it a person that actually interacts with the content by posting, commenting, and providing feedback?  I think that there are multiple approaches to these questions, and that different groups may have different desires in terms of social media strategies, but am looking forward to discussing these differences and why they exist.

  • How can libraries support digital humanities work, even when there isn’t an official center?


    The vast majority of college campuses and research institutions do not have an official DH center, yet there is still a lot of support for researchers. We would like to propose a discussion on the ways that the Library and other institutional departments can support DH scholars on different levels (technically, topically, and pedagogically). Some questions we will consider include what type of support do DH scholars need and how much? How can the we facilitate DH experimentation for scholars who just want to try it out? How can the institutions effectively reach out to individuals and foster community?

    [This is a joint proposal with Melissa Gomis.]

  • Creating a History of Computers and Writing/Digital Humanities for the Sweetland DRC


    At the Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative, we are working to expand our resources section. In particular, we want to build a representative history of our field. Since “our field” is such a diverse term, we want to talk to as many people as we can about what our history(ies) might look like. How can we outline our history? What would we include? How do we want to represent ourselves, and see ourselves represented on the DRC website? I would love to get feedback about our current resources, as well as suggestions for improvement.

  • Game History and Preservation


    I’d like to propose a session for the discussion of game history and preservation. Here are some of the issues (in no particular order) I see confronting work in this area:

    • The vast majority of work in game studies is video game centered
    • Digital distribution models including DRM pose a serious threat to preservation
    • The preservation of game equipment/hardware is expensive, requires a lot of space, and requires in-depth knowledge
    • Obsolescence
    • Emulation
    • Copyright
    • Fan-based preservation and piracy
    • Haptics and Human Computer Interfaces

    Much of my interest here comes from my own writing and the Preserving Virtual Worlds project at Maryland. At the least, it would be nice to network with other scholars in the area with similar interests. I am also open to considering new DH projects which might involve game history and preservation.


  • Professional Development and the Art of Persuasion


    I would like to have a conversation/brainstorming session that centers on the problem of tech-focused professional development.  I (along with two other faculty members) work as a “Faculty Tech Consultant” for Mott Community College‘s Center for Teaching and Learning.  We get a bit of overload pay to hold office hours and run workshops for faculty and staff in which we teach them about new tech tools and try to get them to think about the best ways to use the tools they may already be familiar with.  While our focus is usually on teaching, since we serve staff as well, we do a healthy amount of work on productivity and the like.

    It’s a fun gig, and I enjoy it but I’m concerned that we’re not doing enough to promote (and support) truly innovative uses of technology.  Part of this is us–we don’t have as much time to do things as we might like–and part is the fact that no one else has a whole lot of extra time either.

    So, what I’m looking for is to share experiences in training, teaching, and coaching faculty and staff in being (for want of a better term) technologically innovative.  What works, what doesn’t?  How do we overcome resistance to new ideas, techniques and tools without being nagging or denigrating to our peers?  How do other institutions support technological innovation by faculty and staff?

    Although I and my fellow tech consultants are faculty, our remit is to serve faculty, staff, and administrators, so anyone from any field or position would have a lot to contribute to this conversation!

  • Getting a new digital humanities project off the ground


    In this session I propose a discussion of challenges and solutions that attendees have found for the initial steps of a digital humanities project: identifying collaborators, funding sources, tools, required skills, data sources, methods of data extraction and preparation. These considerations often take a back seat to the final display/dissemination of data analysis and the conclusions that arise from it, but they are essential to any project’s success. I would like to focus in particular on data extraction and preparation, since these steps often take a great deal of effort to implement, but documentation of these steps does not necessarily exist even when tools/code are publicly available, so that projects may unknowingly replicate work already done by others. Have you used unstructured textual data for a digital humanities project? What did you need to do to prepare it for analysis? What do you wish you had known before you started or along the way? What kinds of support did you find? OR Are you thinking about starting a new project? How do you anticipate finding and using your data? What kinds of documentation would be most useful to you?

  • Lunch!


    Thanks to the generous support of our sponsors, we will provide boxed lunches, beverages, and coffee for all Great Lakes THATCamp attendees. Options for both omnivores and vegetarians will be provided. If you have dietary restrictions, please email mkahn [at] umich [dot] edu by Monday, September 23 so that we can make alternate arrangements.

  • Reversing urban decay: Instagram for historic preservation?


    As a curator for our virtual museum, Toledo’s Attic (which began in 1995: www.toledosattic.org), I have been interested in crowd-sourced curation as a curation program in addition to our more traditional ones.  I started a gallery that received feeds from Instagram as long as the photos are tagged #toledosattic, and they appear in our Fall 2012 exhibit titled “Local History through the Public Eye” (http://www.toledosattic.org/index.php/socialmedia/instageogal), and have received nearly two hundred feeds (all of them visible via Statigram).   Needless to say, the #toledorephotography series took the lead, but since the submitter and creator of those photographs is presenting at TedXToledo on September 19, I will not steal his thunder here.

    As I have looked on, I also discovered another treasure for local historians interested in historic preservation: namely the urbex, urban experience, urban decay tags.  These bold photographers go into neglected but often very beautiful buildings (including the Michigan Central Station now standing alone watching over other decaying structure like itself), capturing details that can be useful to historic preservationists.  Can the two communities — preservationists and instagrammers — be brought to the table?

    Two other questions arise: 1) Can instagram be applied more broadly to historical preservation and other efforts of local historians, archivists, librarians, and museum curators?  2) Can the Library of Congress also archive Instagrams like it has started with Twitters? Unlike twitter, Instagram provides generous space for tags and descriptions (no 140-character limits!).  Plus, Instagram allows mapping.  A discussion would focus on the application of new technologies to old questions on preserving images for preservation efforts and if that is not possible, retain those images in digital archives as a resource for historic preservation programs.  Thank you for your interest in this topic in advance!

    If you get a chance to look around Lawrence Technological Universities, please inquire about the Gordon Bugbee collection of architectural images in the Library.  That as well as the Albert Kahn reading room are unique resources for historical preservationists and architecture historians.  How do I know? I was privileged to do my practicum at LTU 10 years ago!




  • the intersection of advocacy for improvements in scholarly communication and of DH in academic libraries


    I’m interested in the intersection of advocacy for improvements in scholarly communication and of DH in academic libraries. For quite some time, academic libraries have been trying to educate their users about the distorted marketplace for scholarly literature and about options for open-access to literature, often providing alternative venues for disseminating publications, such as institutional repositories or library-based publishing services. At the same time, momentum is growing for libraries to provide support for digital humanities (and digital scholarship more broadly), whether it be in computing infrastructure, project management, metadata consulting, or just helping scholars use digital tools. Since DH’s default mode for its products is open and online, it naturally fits into the rhetoric of scholarly communication initiatives. In fact, both scholarly communication initiatives and DH push boundaries not just of openness and accessibility but also form, rethinking concepts like a monograph, a journal, or a scholarly edition.

    Maybe the LPC and dh+lib communities are trying to solve similar problems from different perspectives. Since they’re both based in libraries, they likely both concerned with sustainability and preservation, but is there room for more closely aligning practice?

  • Draft Schedule for Saturday, 09/28/2013


    The schedule below will be updated as the day progresses. We have space and time for up to twelve concurrent sessions total. This could change depending on attendee preferences during the scheduling session.

     Sat, 09/28 Atrium Lecture Hall (M218) Rooms 208, 209, 210, 213
    9:00-9:30AM  Pick up badges,  coffee
    9:30-11:00AM  Opening remarks  and scheduling  session
    11:00AM-12:00PM  concurrent  session
    12:00-1:30PM  lunch (boxed lunches will be provided) and coffee
    1:30-2:30PM  concurrent  session
    2:30-3:00PM  Dork Shorts
    3:00-4:00PM  concurrent  session
    4:00-4:30PM  Closing remarks,  evaluations
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