PhillyDH is going to try out a new format for achieving our goals and collaborating. Starting in December, we will be holding working meetings monthly from 6:30-7:30 at Chemical Heritage Foundation on the 2nd Tuesday of each month. This means the next meeting is on December 10. This purposefully coincides with the GLAM Cafe event that occurs from 5-9 on the same schedule.
Below is a list of areas we identified as things PhillyDH wants to or should be doing. This list will change over time. If you think something is missing let us know and we can add it! For each monthly meeting you plan to attend, please pick one of the broader items listed below you would like to assist with and make it known (for the time being you can comment here or email Matt Shoemaker). This is so people can know ahead of time what they would like to work on and quickly form working groups when they arrive. Please be sure to make your selection public no later than 1 week before the meeting. If things need to change the day of the working meeting that is fine, but please express your interest for the session early so those interested in the same area can join in.
This will be moving to a page or other section of the website, but for the moment this list will remain as an event on the front page. See you on December 10!
—–Website evaluation/structure changes and implementation (Website focus for December) [David Upsal, Alex Beaton]
—–Fix profiles (theme issue) and improve their functionality
—–Add all ways to connect with PhillyDH (google group, meetup, linkedin, twitter, etc.)
—–Construction of a calendar (currently, front page serving as upcoming events reminder)
———-For time being, David Upsal and John Theibault will make sure events posted to google group get to the home page
—–Create an intro to DH page/example projects/new projects page(s) [Cat Lu]
———-This page(s) needs to be regularly groomed, especially if projects, etc. are regularly added
-Programming [Matt Shoemaker]
—–Staple events, 3-4 annually?
———-PhillyDH@… (see PhillyDH@Penn from 2013)
———-Unconferences and other models
—–Workshops for improving DH related skills
———-Software Programming (Laura Chance offered to lead organizing for spring 2014)
———-(additional topics, need speaker/leader/project/workshop/etc.)
—–Our relationship to other DH groups
———-Survey of other group projects/issues/trends
———-Establish/build relationships with other DH groups (locally/nationally/internationally)
—–Our relationship to DH related but not DH specific groups
—————Girl Develop It
—————Philadelphia Game Lab
—–General survey of issues/trends
———-issues/trends relating to specific audiences
—–Organizing and designing a PhillyDH run, created and maintained DH project [Doreva Belfiore]
—–Assisting others with their projects (ties to outreach)
———-Incubator (ties to programming)
———-Planning and consulting
———-Profiles and skill inventory of PhillyDH members (ties to website)
———-GLAM Cafe (ties to outreach)
—–Volunteer opportunities/How you can help
—–Rethinking the PhillyDH mission statement
—–Linked open data
Save the date for the terrific program hosted by Penn Libraries during International Open Access Week, openaccessweek.org, on Civic Hacking: Creating an Open Government through Technology, featuring Josh Tauberer, Founder of GovTrac.us, and a stellar group of respondents.
Oct. 23rd, 4-5:30pm in The Class of 1978 Pavilion on the 6th floor of Van Pelt-Dietrich Library Center in The Kislak Center for Special Collections, Rare Books and Manuscripts.
Details here: http://www.library.upenn.edu/exhibits/lectures/openaccess/civichacking.pdf
From the middle of September through middle of October, there’s a bunch of good DH stuff going on:
Wednesday, September 18 – Lunch session at Penn with four grad students talking about what they learned at DH camps. Free registration required.
Wednesday, September 25 – Google Analytics Workshop at Penn. Very cool that Penn has opened this workshop up to non-Penn folks. Free registration. (You can enter “N/A” in the registration form’s “PennKey” field.)
Friday, September 27 – Fall 2013 DH Symposium at Penn, Crowdsourcing and the Rise of the Volunteer Humanist, featuring three awesome people representing three awesome projects. Free registration required.
Friday & Saturday, September 27 & 28 – THATCamp Philly 2013, the third annual THATCamp Philly. If you enjoyed PhillyDH@Penn this past June, this will be right up your alley — in fact, this event’s alternate name is PhillyDH@CHF. Thanks again to Chemical Heritage Foundation for hosting for the third year running. Free registration required.
***If you’re trying to decide between the events on Fri, Sept 27, know that you can register for both and attend the symposium and one of the afternoon workshops. We just ask you that you indicate this when we send out a message to THATCamp registrants to gauge workshop attendance numbers.
Monday, September 30 – “Not Even Past”: Public History in a Digital Age, a very cool-looking talk at Rutgers-Camden, co-sponsored by MARCH (a three-peating sponsor of THATCamp!).
Wednesday, October 2 – We’ve Been Mining Data for Decades. How Did We Forget to Theorize It? – another lunch session at Penn
And And And: You should definitely be registering for the Villanova Tech Superfecta events! This is four separate tech events taking place at Villanova from October 14 through 18th, including VuFind Summit, Code4Lib Mid-Atlantic, VuStuff IV, and VuClass. Take advantage!
If you have other things going on, make sure you post them to the mailing list!
Awhile back, a number of librarians met at Penn to talk about DH – the general idea was to push forward the discussion about service design for a somewhat volatile and emerging situation. Service design presents lots of questions:
- How can we present a non-fragmented service interface to our constituents?
- How can we determine what levels of support we should be offering to a widely diverse field of scholarship using a lot of unique-to-one-project workflows and technologies? Which folks in the library should be involved in providing services and what should they do?
- How do we build skills?
In order to think about this collectively – in small breakout groups – the idea was to have each group come up with a shared “mental model” of DH scholarship as a way into the conversation about service design.
The picture included here was the one my group came up with. I’ll give my own remarks about it and let them chime in if they want! Let me first explain the layers themselves, and then how we thought about the players who would be prominent in each of the layers.
Research Methods Layer – this is the top layer, where scholars are grounded in research theory and thinking about research methods. So, I’m not a humanities scholar at all, but let me try to give an example. A theoretical approach might involve looking at the formal structures shared among a group of texts in order to explore connections among writers. This layer is where the thinking goes on about rigorous ways to develop data that would inform this kind of comparison, or even if this kind of comparison is worthy to begin with. And along with research, there’s also teaching about DH – so this would be the layer in which student assignments would be designed.
Tools and Resources Layer – this is the layer where both the established tools are made available and supported, as well as any kind of sandbox that allows users to play at their own risk. In this layer are the labs, workshops, tutorials and so on. It’s the layer where the implementation happens, where the right tools and workflows get matched up with the project at hand. In this layer, the user gets a lot of consultation and support, but is probably going to complete the work themselves.
Bigger Projects Layer – this is the layer where the researcher is dreaming big. The project will clearly involve developing infrastructure or new services or building completely new capacity in the organization. While these kinds of envelope-pushing projects often arrive unannounced, the organization may choose to embrace and support them because we anticipate more like this down the road and we want to use the current project to build capacity. So these are both reactive and anticipatory. And these can be all sorts of things — a major research project, a publishing kind of project, or a teaching project that will involve student work.
You can see from the picture where we tended to see the library players. Liaisons – experts in the subject domain – would play mostly at the top level, at least in the immediate future. Their role would be to understand research theory and methods, and to know how to evaluate what the researcher/teacher is proposing vis a vis library resources, tools, possible implementations. We called that role “project analyst.” Because of their expertise in knowing what would be possible, they could play a role in developing grant proposals. We also saw offering internal grants as a way to help researchers and librarians better learn how to articulate and predict the kinds of support and resources that would be needed. And finally, liaisons would need to be excellent networkers both on their own campus as well as between campuses – the antennae for helping the library to anticipate what might emerge. One strong advantage to seeing liaisons in this role is that the “back end” of the services provided can change as often as needed, without creating a lot of chaos from the researcher’s point of view.
We thought that the players in the tools and resources layer would be DH specialists, IT and ed tech specialists. Their expertise overlaps with the librarian liaisons of course, but they have deep expertise in implementation of research projects, and the design of everything from workflows to databases.
In the heavy duty project layer, we saw libraries putting together either a project intake center or having to put together teams on a case-by-case basis. In any event, because of their heavy cost on resources, libraries would select these projects carefully for strategic reasons and would limit the number undertaken simultaneously.
For me, this event was a great exercise to think about service design. Interesting alternative approaches were offered by other groups – for example, a bottom up approach looked at what skills you might already have in the organization and is there a service design emerging from that. And of course, there is the project at Columbia, where they are building skills, understanding, capacity by immersing themselves in projects:
Breaking the Code: The Developing Librarian Project:
One of the participants offered these two reports as interesting reading for librarians thinking in this problem space—thank you Nicholas Fogle!
The first is the January 2013 special issue of the Journal of Library Administration about DH in libraries: http://www.tandfonline.com/
The second is a series of responses to that issue, posted on the ACRL dh+lib blog:http://acrl.ala.org/dh/
Research & Instruction, Van Pelt Library
University of Pennsylvania
Last Tuesday was the much-anticipated PhillyDH@Penn event, inspired by PhillyDH and held in Van Pelt-Dietrich Library’s new Special Collections Center. For me, the event was a wonderful way to round out my almost-one-year anniversary of starting my internship at the Weigle Information Commons (WIC). Last summer, I tried to articulate what DH is (or rather, how difficult this is to articulate) via my brief DH encounters in graduate school. From there, I’ve spent the year reading articles, attending events, writing blog posts, and playing with new tech tools, all of which has given me a much better sense of DH scholarship. So many takeaways emerged from Tuesday’s unconference sessions and workshops that I could create a laundry list (or, more appropriately, an interactive word map). Instead, I’ll share my favorite takeaways that helped me better understand my role in DH as a librarian-in-training.
1) Don’t force the DH. Undertaking new digital projects is by no means an easy task for anyone, let alone time-crunched college professors and students. Before you think about incorporating DH into your classroom, think about what your goals are for your students and what you would like students to do at the end of the course. Once you figure this out, find out whether there are any digital tools that would enable or enhance students’ learning experiences. From what educators discussed at this topic’s unconference session, this approach has proven more productive than building a class around a specific digital platform.
2) Use your libraries (and librarians)! Because people have little time to learn new technologies, the library can provide a significant training grounds to teach and learn digital tools. Today’s librarians have become more “blended” not only in teaching research skills but also instructional technologies; further, the library is a neutral space on campus or in the community where everyone can come to learn. It was refreshing to hear this message from librarians, educators, and information professionals alike. It also allowed me to realize how our workshops at WIC and special WIC programs help to meet this digital teaching/learning need.
3) Metadata is your friend. I don’t know very much about metadata, but I do know that it has great potential to change the ways people search for and find various materials. Folks from the Penn Libraries spoke about the Penn Provenance Project on Flickr, which started out as a rare book cataloging endeavor and has now captured the attention of those all over the world as they recognize books’ signatures, titles, and authors. By tagging the Flickr photos, patrons help create the metadata that link these images to Penn’s library catalog, Library of Congress records, and even Wikipedia, making information more easily accessible and retrievable for all involved.
4) Social media can be overwhelming. But, making comparisons can help! We’re always looking for the newest social media tools to use here at WIC, but I haven’t really taken the time to see which ones are most effective for which tasks. Browsing lots of graphics, online materials, and “about” sections of social media websites helped me to create a social media comparison chart to sort out all of this. I hope this information will be helpful for all those trying to make sense out of multiple social media accounts.
These are just a few ideas I took away from PhillyDH@Penn. The event initiated so many productive conversations among folks across the humanities in universities, libraries, museums, and archives (workshop materials and unconference notes are now online). I can’t speak for everyone, but I know that I came out of the day with the challenge to not only think about new models of teaching and learning with digital tools, but also to keep up the conversation with colleagues in the Philly area and beyond, as collaboration in DH is key to getting successful projects off the ground.
By: Vickie Marre, Drexel MSLIS Student, WIC Intern
Be a good unconference citizen, suggest a session!
At PhillyDH’s inaugural Incubator night, over thirty local DHers enjoyed presentations from scholars, educators, and cultural institutions eager to pursue digital projects. The proposed projects were in various stages of creation, with some existing in an online form and others just in one’s imagination. This event embodied the PhillyDH mission to be “willing to learn, to teach, to collaborate, to create, and to pitch-in” through “ignite” style presentations that highlight great projects and ideas coming to life here in Philadelphia.
Each of the presenters left with some concrete ideas for next steps, gleaned from the Q&A session following each brief presentation as well as the lively discussions occurring after the formal pitches. Indeed, this is a collaborative group eager to pitch in with ideas and resources.
First, Catherine Schifter from Temple University shared her vision for a Gaming Commons at the Temple campus in which students could collaboratively play Minecraft style digital games in a safe place which could double as a “sandbox” for exploring the educational value of gaming. The crowd agreed that gaming can be a great hook for creative and collaborative learning.
Next up, Jodi Campbell imagined a GIS based exploration of historic skirmishes in Jacobian Scotland, that could visualize the geographic relationships among kidnappings, riots, and other disturbances she has uncovered as part of her doctoral research. PhillyDHers had some great suggestions for existing platforms that could help Jodi map her data, including Harvard’s WorldMap, University of Virginia’s Scholars’ Lab’s Neatline plug-in for Omeka, and CartoDB.
Susan K. Anderson, archivist at the Philadelphia Museum of Art, filled PhillyDHers in on the PMA’s plans to share its wealth of resources on Marcel Duchamp. The PMA has the world’s foremost collection of primary sources pertaining to Duchamp, and it envisions a web portal through which to share its materials, as well as guide users to related collections around the world. The PMA plans to apply for a NEH planning grant, and Anderson hopes to elicit any ideas for how this portal could be built.
The Wagner Free Institute of Science is home to hundreds of glass slides, some of which it has begun to share through a WordPress site. The Wagner’s Lynn Dorwaldt and Bayard Miller demonstrated the existing site and solicited feedback on how to better make it an outlet to engage its audiences through public contributions and participation. The Wagner’s collection is ripe for educational use and the Wagner staff want help in determining how to make that happen.
Susan Braccia, a teacher at the AIM Academy, has long relied on local museum programming as a means of engaging her students. She envisions a centralized portal for educators like herself to gather information about what current and upcoming programs museums are planning. As Susan explained, such a site would not only allow museums to promote their events, but it would provide a forum for teachers to review their experiences, share tips, and browse listings based on their instructional needs. The group acknowledged the challenge of creating buy-in from a large group of educators and museums; one PhillyDHer suggested that an existing social network like Facebook might be a good start for creating the community that could eventually see this project to fruition.
Finally, Laura Blanchard of the Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collection Libraries (PACSCL), shared the existing PhillyResearch.net portal, which aggregates collections from a number of area institutions, and serves researchers focused on Greater Philadelphia. Laura acknowledged the limitations of the existing site, namely a slow search interface. She solicited ideas for next steps in broadening the utility of PhillyResearch and welcomes suggestions for additional resources to include.
Following the presentations, PhillyDHers had the opportunity to vote for which projects seemed most feasible for ongoing pro-bono work by our community members. Each project had its champions, but the top vote getter was the Wagner. Congratulations!
Next, we need to schedule a follow-up discovery session in which PhillyDHers and Wagner staff hash out ideas for how we can work together to best develop a digital resource easy for Wagner staff to administer and friendly for web visitors to navigate. If you would like to be involved in working on or guiding this project, please contact PhillyDigitalHumanities@gmail.com.
Thanks again to Jeff Guin and the good folks at the Chemical Heritage Foundation for generously hosting (and feeding!) us!
Join us for our first blow-out PhillyDH event!
PhillyDH@Penn is a free event on Tuesday, June 4 — One day of workshops, unconference sessions, lightning talks, and speakers.
Join us in the beautiful and brand spanking new Special Collections Center on the 6th floor of UPenn’s Van Pelt-Dietrich Library. Thanks to the UPenn folks for hosting and doing so, so much work for this event.
To register for free here:
Please spread this announcement far and wide to whoever you think might be interested — especially those who don’t know that they might be interested and informed by the programs for the day!
In the words of Will Noel, one of our UPenn hosts: “We want to pack the place, and with people that don’t normally get together.”
On the website, you’ll also find info on:
- The day’s schedule and workshop topics.
- The venue (including images).
- Our featured evening speaker, Mike Edson, Director of Web and New Media Strategy at the Smithsonian.
- The inaugural exhibit in Penn’s new Special Collections Center’s: “A Legacy Inscribed: The Collection of Lawrence J. Schoenberg,” which you’re encouraged to view during your day on June 4.
- More info about the “unconference” format. But in a nutshell: On the day of the event, the attendees suggest & vote for the discussion topics for the day — you determine what groups talk about, what problems get solved, and what you learn and share! Some sessions end up with dozens of people discussing a particular topic while other sessions draw 3 or 4 intensely interested individuals who want to hash out a problem or learn a specific skill.
Note: If you’re interested in this and similar events, be sure to save the date for our third annual THATCamp Philly 2013, two days of workshops and unconference, which will be Fri & Sat, September 27 & 28, again held at the excellent Chemical Heritage Foundation in downtown Philly. Barebones info at thatcampphilly.org
Hope to see you there for this first blow-out PhillyDH event, along with your colleagues, your friends, your students, your teachers, …, anyone who works with and appreciates the value of what happens when the humanities and technology collide.
Digital Project Incubator Event
A PhillyDH@CHF event
Date: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Time: 7-9 pm
Location: Chemical Heritage Foundation, 315 Chestnut Street, Philadelphia (website)
Who should attend: Anyone who wants to join the conversation on brand spanking new digital project ideas. No RSVP required.
One and all are invited to join the conversation, hear new ideas for digital projects in the region, provide feedback, and select projects to actually begin building in an upcoming PhillyDH hackathon*.
There will be good variety — our initial line-up for Digital Project pitches is:
- Lantern slide lecture series WordPress site
Lynn Dorwaldt & Bayard Miller, Wagner Free Institute of Science of Philadelphia
- Building a Duchamp Research Portal for the Philadelphia Museum of Art
Susie Anderson, Philadelphia Museum of Art
- Gaming Commons within a University
Catherine Schifter, Temple University College of Education
- Disorderly Conduct: Popular Jacobitism, 1680-1745
Jodi Campbell, Wesley College (Dover, DE) and University of Guelph
- The Next steps for PhillyReseach.net: Trusted research resources for Greater Philadelphia scholars
Laura Blanchard, Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries
- And we MAY have time for another project pitch…let us know ASAP or first-thing during the meeting. We want ideas from across the board, non-profits, individuals, students, enthusiasts, scholars, etc.
The Goal: Depending on the complexity of the project we select as a group, the goal is to build the actual project — or at least get it to a proof-of-concept stage, which can be used to secure buy-in and/or funding.
Again, you don’t need to bring a project idea to come and hear about new ideas that people in the area have about digital projects. In other words, active spectators welcome! No RSVP required & spread the word.
If you want to see how the idea-pitching works, visit the earlier post.
A one-day/weekend-long event where developers, designers, and data/content specialists collaborate to build-out a project or idea.