THATCamp Philadelphia: Regional Digital Humanities (Session Proposer/Moderator=John Theibault)

John Theibault moderated this session on creating more regional digital humanities programs.

  • Connection between regionalism and nationalism.

  • How does unconference model help or hinder regionalism?

  • Are there other regional digital humanities programs like PhillyDH?

  • We discussed the Center For Learning & Instruction here at RCBC.

  • What else besides THATCamp can we do at local institutions to aide their projects?

  • What can be done virtually to facilitate meetups with likeminded people?

  • How do we get more non-academics involved in the digital humanities? (I offered some caution here to avoid corporate influence)

ThatCamp Philly 2014: An Overview

I had a great time, as always, at ThatCamp Philadelphia this year. Expect some posts coming in future weeks with my notes from the day. I attended four sessions and proposed, and then moderated, two sessions. Those sessions were on working with students in distance education who have low technology skills and a session on how the digital humanities inform scholarly communication.

ThatCamp Philadelphia: DHThis A Thon

Over Twitter the morning of ThatCamp Philadelphia, John Theibault and I decided to propose a session on Adeline Koh and Roopika Risam's new project DHThis, which is an aggregation website with Reddit/Digg style commenting and up/down voting. DHThis is a promising project that I think can be useful to introduce people to the digital humanities.

As I worked the computer while John did much of the explaining to campers in the room, I do not really have notes for this session. A handful of campers attended this session and we had a great discussion of not only DHThis, but web apps like this in general.


After this post, I will be taking my yearly holiday hiatus. Our semester is winding down right now as papers and projects slowly trickle in to be graded. See you early in 2014 when the rest of my notes from conferences attended in the fall and summer will be posted and I will have some thrilling announcements about upcoming publications.

ThatCamp Philadelphia 2013: An Overview

I had a great time last month at ThatCamp Philadelphia, the third annual ThatCamp at Chemical Heritage during the fall. I ended up running a session on podcasting in the classroom and a session on DHThis with John Theibault from Stockton. I also got to meet some online friends like Alex Beaton.

I also got to formally announce the ThatCamp I will be doing on our Mount Laurel campus in the spring of 2014. More on that coming soon. I will post my notes from the day as the fall goes on.

ThatCamp Philadelphia: Small Scale Publications & Digital Editions

The Stockton family ran a number of sessions at ThatCamp Philadelphia, including Deb Gussman’s session on small scale publications and digital editions.

  • Gussman is doing a digital edition of the works of Catharine Maria Sedgwick.
  • Deb’s steps of a digital project: Strategy and Approach, Scope, Content, Design, Development, Testing, Support.
  • Collaboration is very important. Need to find others who have skills you don’t have.
  • There are no guarantees that apps, websites, etc will work in a year.
  • I suggested the use of emulators ala what is done in modern times with classic interactive fiction.
  • Deciding on what app/website/cms to use can often come from other colleagues/friends.
  • I brought up the work of Cory Doctorow and how, by releasing his work under a Creative Commons license, readers can create versions of his works for different platforms.
  • It is helpful to be familiar with remix culture in general.
  • A great idea from John Theibault: in grant applications, include money for development of emulators for later editions when platforms become obsolete.
  • Creative Commons licensing allows others to care more about the preservation of your work than you do.
  • A lot of Gussman’s work with Sedgwick is coming from Google Books.
  • Theibault’s students digitized Philadelphia’s directories.
  • Back in 2003, I worked on the digitization of the American Weekly Mercury in one of Tom Kinsella’s classes.

Deb leading the discussion.

Adeline Koh, John Thebault, and Rebecca Goldman listen to the discussion.

ThatCamp Philadelphia: An Overview

A few weeks ago, I had the great pleasure of attending ThatCamp Philadelphia at Chemical Heritage in Philadelphia. After getting a little lost (4th and Chestnut was closed for a protest), I made it to the conference and found out that the session I proposed a few days before had been picked. I really appreciate that, despite not being there, people still voted for my session. I met up with old friends like Amanda French (lots of ohhhs and ahhh when she mentions she is ThatCamp coordinator), Deb Gussman (10 years ago, she was my first literature professor and now she is attending my panels. Wow.), and John Theibault and settled in at the conference, which had very impressive coffee. I also met longtime Twitter friend Janine Utell and became acquainted at lunch with very awesome people like Siobhan Phillips and Rebecca Goldman and Adeline Koh, a new friend from the Stockton family.

(although I wish I could have been at lunch with John and Amanda because I hear they discussed Edna St. Vincent Millay, one of my favorite poets)

The main meeting room was packed by the time I got to the conference. I got a little lost on the way towards 4th street because of traffic being blocked by a protest march. Google Maps on my phone, run through my speakers, really saved me. 

I spent a lot of time during the day with Amanda French, who is That Camp Coordinator (oohhh, aahhh). 

One of the most interesting aspects of this unconference was how good the coffee is at Chemical Heritage. 

The day was planned via a series of poster boards. 

ThatCamp Jersey Shore: Engaging With Massive Humanities Datasets

The final panel of ThatCamp: Jersey Shore was run by Amanda French on engagement with massive humanities datasets. I’ve been tipping my toes into this field a bit recently, so I was eagerly awaiting this panel.

  • Franco Moretti’s very important Graphs, Maps, and Trees was discussed. Even with canon expansion, still only 10% of 19th century publications.
  • Digital humanities apply millions of pieces of data to Dickens instead of Foucault.
  • Moretti article Style Inc. looks at thousands of titles.
  • What does these large datasets do to applications like the Oxford English Dictionary? For example, the OED’s proclamation that OMG was first used in 1914.
  • Someone (Amanda?) wondered if these large datasets are leading to something like Borges’ Library of Babel.
  • Datasets more about questions than theory.

After ThatCamp was over, I headed out for lunch With Amanda, John Theibault, and Deb Gussman. A great end to an excellent conference.