Our Tweets – Storifyed!

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Session 4: Queering Information/Going Rogue

How to subvert structures in a field that should be inclusive and interdisciplinary?

We all have ingrained ideas about how one should learn – how do we reverse those if structures aren’t working? Expand our outlooks/ worth with rather than against our own biases


Also, how to reform outside academia as well as within. You can “rebuild your own house.” Don’t need to be shaped by the conventional academy


Have to confront problems of “the old way” when creating a “new way”


democratization of information – in an ideal world, you don’t have to have a degree to go outside the academy to critique the academy


Do digital projects get peer reviewed? You still get stuck in the tenure-track mentality. And conversely, if you want to be on the tenure track, digital projects don’t always get counted.


If your project has a public audience, how do you readjust your metrics of success? It’s not like a scholarly book when you’re successful if you get published.

-You need metrics of success to get funded


Even if you’re outside the academy, you will probably still be in dialogue with the academy


National Museum of African American History is getting scholars to peer-review their exhibits

-But the public can also respond to it

-Also rely on individual knowledge and stories of community voices

-Not just an object is, but what it means and what stories are associated with it (rethinking the museum/exhibit)


Do you research and publish because you care about it/feel a moral duty or something else? Objectivity is an issue – sometimes you’re really excited about a topic and miss things. Expressing your research in different ways (digitally and in print, or in an exhibit) shows multiple sides and can create a more complete picture


Move from research to action – research can inspire social movements (public sociology). Also you can bring learning and activities to communities

Franz Boas Association – group of anthropologists and historians trying to do things with Franz Boas’s works, but also giving information back to Native Americans

-they have an indigenous advisory board

-undo the imperialism of anthropology

website: www.franzboaspapers.uwo.ca


While we’re on the topic of scholars sitting in a room talking about marginalized groups – let’s notice that we’re in a pretty non-diverse room – how did our ThatCamp get that way?

-Twitter might be helpful in reaching people who couldn’t be here – so THATCamp isn’t perfect, but it might be a step in the right direction. As it is, camp has been mostly publicized at the school, where there is not as much diversity as there might be.


There are a lot of situations where your intentions might be good, but the outcome is less than desired – for example, affirmative action primarily benefits white women (which is great), but not other marginalized groups (not great)


Eleanor Roosevelt Papers confronts the problem of being able to get the papers online, but the budget is not there, and it would not be in the spirit of Eleanor Roosevelt to put the papers behind the paywall. Information should be open access, and they hope to move towards democratization of information, but having trouble getting there


access is a huge problem – some databases cost hundreds of dollars to access, and some people can afford it – but many cannot!! (For a lot of students even, they’re only accessible if the library pays)


Do the rights of the public supercede the rights of the donors who gave the money or the documents? Issues when donors place restriction on collections


Students at GW are often required to have computers for classes, or they can’t take them – might alienate students who can’t afford computers. ProQuest also charges to make your dissertation open-access at Gelman, which makes students pay $200 (kind of a barrier to making everything open-access).


“You both have to live in the situation you’ve got and change the situation you’re in.” Idea of individual rather than collective responsibility can be problematic, but individual action might have to be the way to start on the right track


“Sharing data is like being seen without your pants on” – stigma makes open access scary to some people


Question at DH meetings ALWAYS seems to be about funding – have to build a community that is passionate about being open and sharing resources, to make the project more successful


Emilie Davis diary (davisdiaries.villanova.edu) – transcribed, annotated, made public access (great!) BUT a publisher came forward to give a book deal, so now the digital project doesn’t get updated in the same way, faces the problem of migration in a way it might not have if it had not been prepared for publication


In the academy you have an obligation to research and say “here’s reality,” but outside you can say “I don’t like that reality, let me try to change it.” (You hit a wall though, trying to fix reality in ways such as getting people to stop being jerks on the internet)

(Twitter and other platforms actually get help from trolls – hey, their site is getting a lot of hits! Oops

So maybe going corporate and trying to help platforms get rid of trolls might be even harder than you think.)


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Session 4: Digital Collections Outreach

Digital Collections Outreach



  • Wikipedia
    • Cite back to collection/website
  • Kringla
  • “athons”
    • Events of various durations
  • Reddit AMA’s
    • AMA about the Shoah foundation brought more traffic to online collections.


Private communication with stakeholders is a criterion for judging whether or not a grant should be funded. Hence, communication with stakeholders combined with project planning is key.


User evaluation before a project can sometimes be equally helpful as a user evaluation after the project.




Understanding your audience is very important

  • You have to distinguish between a specific audience and the general audience.


Sometimes you don’t know who your audience is going to be so it’s best if you test it out first.

  • Social media is a risk free way to send out information and see the type of audience it attracts.
  • It’s also dangerous as there will be a lot of exposure and you might attract people you don’t want to.


There is an important distinction between outreach and crowd sourcing.


Purpose of Outreach

  • Audience building
  • Collections building
  • Social media growth
  • Serendipity


Word of warning with Outreach, you have to understand who you’re sending content to and be wary of copyright laws.

  • Watermarking images might be a way to protect the content.


You can’t be too cautious either because otherwise it won’t be too accessible. It needs to be easily accessible online for students, teachers etc.

  • If you are trying to reach a high school student or an undergrad, they won’t be too motivated to spend long hours sifting through online databases to find what they want.


Measuring outreach

  • Calculating the number of Google searches.
  • Sometimes the metric doesn’t make sense and obscure documents could have a large impact.
  • Metrics can sometimes act as a trap
    • 100 google random searches doesn’t equal one dedicated search made by an enthusiast
    • How do you make meaningful decisions based on metrics?
  • Outcome evaluation is very difficult as some collections gain traction through citation years after it’s initially published.

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Session 3: Born Digital

  • Session 3: 1:30-12:20

    Born Digital

    Alice Prael, UMD Libraries

  • Categories of born digital media
    • Email
    • Websites
      • E-publications
      • Blogs
    • Legacy media
      • Floppy discs
    • Oral histories
    • Music
    • Art
    • Movies
    • Games
    • Code
  • How do we curate our own digital archives?
    • Social media profiles as primary sources
    • We don’t necessarily control what we are producing and that may disappear
  • Preservation of oral history
    • Can we adopt preservation procedures to other forms of history?
    • CDs and other forms of media don’t last as long as anticipated
    • Anna: “fallibility of CDs/DVDs”—what does this mean for information recording, storage, submission, transfer etc?
    • Ironically, the most long-lasting format is paper
      • Transcribe as quickly as possible; the thought of dating and migration and formatting is sometimes an obstacle
    • Limited grant funding for archives and large institutions
    • Sometimes people consent to having their interviews transcribed with the stipulation that no one sees the transcription—only hear the audio
    • Transcription software tends to be better for audio than video
    • Is a transcription considered a primary source if it is derived from audio?
      • How do we account for errors?
      • You lose data when you transcribe it—miss tonality, inflection, dialect, etc. Interpretation is required when you do that
    • There are problems with analog formats in any field lasting longer than digital formats
      • Constant migration of formats
  • Issues of discovery
    • “People’s minds don’t work the way databases are structured”-Glenn
    • How can data be reorganized for purposes of discovery?
  • Race against obsolescence—by the time something is digitized or preserved, the means of preservation will be obsolete
    • You can’t just save a file, you have to save the whole ecosystem
    • Virtual environments to simulate older operating systems
    • Emulation is another layer of artificiality, but can extend the half life
      • Software is pretending to be hardware but it can never perfectly copy what hardware can do
  • Is preserving 99% of the data better than migrating the data every 10 years?
    • Is using an emulator going to combat data loss?
    • What are acceptable preservation rates?
      • Illusion of what the rate should be based on letter writing habits of earlier generations
      • Juxtaposition of being able to keep much less of much more material
    • Cost-benefit analysis
  • LOC National Digital Stewardship Group
    • Project now being outsourced?
  • How does globalization affect digital information?
    • It’s easier to disseminate and reproduce information
    • CERN has so much digital storage that they said they would hold all of the records of the EU government
      • BUT they’re not performing any kind of curation! Oh no!
  • Is it really necessary to digitize everything?
    • Even ephemera from years ago are still sources of information about the past—historians can find value in anything
      • Does this mean we have to preserve all of our ephemera today?
    • Documentation is disappearing in rush to meet quotas
    • We need things digitized at a quick rate but people don’t want to pay for labor
    • Government obligations? Security and trust?
      • What is the responsibility of information professionals?
      • Deleting emails—malicious?
    • Emails present issues of appraisal—what’s important and institutional?
      • Who has time to sort through emails?
    • Archivists believe different things to be important—curation is subjective
  • What gets preserved is inherently a political act
    • Is it anybody’s job to preserve the Internet?
    • Robots.text files
    • How, if at all, can we trust people to appraise and preserve digital records?
  • We’d be horrified about smashing artifacts or burning books, why not deleting digital records?
  • Lower thresholds about what is/isn’t significant

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Session 3: Tumblr, Flickr, and tools used by digital humanists

Tumblr, Flickr, and tools used by digital humanists

How do researchers think they might want to use Tumblr and Flickr information?

People don’t work with these sources because there is no access to that data, so what would the data be used for?

Ways digital humanists want to use digital technology, tools to make it accessible

Twitter- textual

Flickr- visual

Tumblr- mix

Scholarship on visual culture- researchers use images to visualize themes rather than use a mix for a more complex method

LOC twitter archive- unable to use because question of capacity

Maybe looking for stuff already known is out there

Look at what other fields and for profit companies use it for

Look at tweets to follow hashtags and subjects, see what they point to

Ex for project- undergrad looking for 100 tweets for a paper 0m #bringbackourgirls, candidates for office, social science research, ebola rumors,

Ed Summer’s work on tweets about Ferguson

Boston Marathon Bombing tweets video

Flickr- people who are not from professional archives post on Flickr

Instagram doesn’t allow the same sorting as Flickr

Gelman- open source project for Tumblr and Flickr

How easy is it to start a feed manager on twitter since a hashtag starts right at an event?


Topsy- Twitter sentiment analysis

Eleanor Roosevelt Papers- looking for audio format to use for a source and online format


Audio preservation


Nodegoat- mapping tool





Easy tools to create interactive maps- Storymap for the classroom

Utilizing other digital history projects within the classroom

Interactive options to engage the public

Cursive and handwriting issues with reading- crowdsourcing to transcribe

Skills people would like to learn-

Text and coding, TI, XML

Novice understanding, but learning TI would give confidence and help digital projects

Courses on coding at institutions to advance projects

Do you want to use more tools?

Problem- digital humanists don’t know the tools so they can’t make a project without learning the tools

Balancing- how accepted are these type of projects for grad school applications, tenure, job applications?

Better to have a project relevant to your work

Gelman- tech department resources for help with TI infrastructure and other options

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Session 3: Supporting other people’s DH projects with Meg (1:30-2:20)

  • Supporting other people’s DH projects with Meg
    • At times its hard to stay connected with other projects because of the size of a university
    • What do you do when there are a diversity of documents when they are in a wide array of languages?
    • How, as a librarian, can she help support other projects?
      • Reaching out to other projects
      • There is an interest in how information is dispersed without going to things outside your work
      • Postings asking other to contribute to their projects
        • Libraries are not the best way of doing this
          • What is the genesis of something like this?
          • What should be recorded
            • Skill level
            • Type of project
          • What do we want?
            • Inclusiveness and accessibility
              • Needs to be open to people who aren’t just digital humanists too
              • Need to look OUTSIDE of academia
                • Not everyone feels welcome in academia
              • Needs to project based and goal based
            • Who will maintain the repository of information?
              • People are enthusiastic but its up to the professional groups who will maintain it
                • Responsibility of the organization to foster the idea
              • Who will be the person who funds this?
            • Could it be “service” to the profession?
              • Problem: work can be seen as service only and not research
              • People don’t want to invest the time unless it will benefit their career
            • Puzzle between getting funding, sustaining it all, getting the people to contribute
            • A lot of responsibility to be in charge of digital projects because of the migration element
            • Maintenance of the site is the most important thing to think about
            • DH commons
              • Developed out of a THATCamp (list of projects and collaborators)
                • About collaboration availability
                  • How do you ensure meaningful participation
                    • Marketing and evaluation
                      • Google analytics is a way to do this
                    • Funding
                      • Kickstarter
                        • Not like grant money from an institution that is exempt from taxes
                      • Local historical associations
                        • Successful at getting grants (considering they still exist)
                      • Libraries may be helpful for this (great resource!)
                      • Universities and academia are having problems because there is a need for marketing but academia is against it
                    • How are projects found?
                      • Marketing and outreach is needed on the creators part to get the word out
                      • Most useful is stepping out of your fields/institutions/cultures/etc
                    • The best way to support other projects is to find out about them!!
                      • But the ability to do serendipitous finding of programs is very difficult
                    • Database for projects
                      • Database that remains static is needed
                        • ORCID (project)
                          • Similar to DOI
                          • There would be too many dead links
                          • Someone would need to be responsible for maintaining it
                            • Academics are overworked and don’t have time
                              • Need to create meaningful and ongoing engagement
                            • Engagement is based on interest and passion
                            • Who would partake in this project?
                              • Grad students?
                                • Have it be required for class?
                                  • Who will review their postings?


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Session 3: supporting other people’s DH Project w/Meg

DC THATCamp 2015: Supporting Other People’s DH
By Kat Bellimage

THATCamp DC 2015
Supporting Other People’s DH Projects
As a librarian, how can we help other division’s projects?
Between institutions, how can you offer your help?
How do we get the information out as to what we have? – Especially for Archives
Example of ride board – digital humanities ride board?
Practical questions of type of engagement, who will manage
Like LinkedIn, but something people would use
University of Nebraska Digital Humanists
Inclusiveness, accessibility
More dynamic system than just Excel
Barriers to entry in sharing, collaborating, participating – service vs. research
Large historical societies – how they help sustain the small ones
Evaluation and marketing – librarians don’t have the needed skillset
Philadelphia History Bus
Personal Digital Archiving
Personal Digital Humanities


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Session 2: Digital History (11:30-12:20)

Digital History Projects 11:30-12:20

Some projects that got us started in digital history

Angela- US Holocaust Museum project Children of the Lodz Ghetto

Dan- Salem Witch Trials social network analysis

Jenna- Digital art history

Kate- tracking Shakespeare acting troupes

Glenn- PBS digitizing clips

Seth- Eleanor Roosevelt Papers looking to publish online


What is digital history- definitions

Using a broad definition to include collaboration and inter-disciplinary methods

New York Public Library Building Inspector- old maps to graph them, has a mobile version- crowdsourcing

Red Lining Project- mapping existing geography for areas red lined by banks

Lots of things are included in digital history

Finding sources born online- an old blog can disappear

Article on problem of Adobe Flash- multiple versions and capturing things on multiple levels of file versions

Archeology of Geocities

Maintaining projects- avoiding the 404 error

Funding issue

How to avoid this problem?

Projects that aren’t accessible to the public

Eleanor Roosevelt Papers- working on accessibility

Putting things online

Vast collections and maintaining that information through a database

Providing the public with the needs to meet their needs

Permission to release information

NYPL- beaker that shows how all digitized collections are connected- time, place, etc…

Learning how to combine disciplines- how to code

Making your project your own but using cross disciplines without jeopardizing your vision

Maybe multiple databases and making them open

Do no harm approach to creating content- opensource software, awareness of copyright, standard description

Insular culture of coding on your own that might make it harder for others to use the project- Good digital history practices

Serve your purpose and serve others through standardization

Retrospective conversion

Sheer number of software outthere to use that create their own parts but not the core. A 101 database for dummies to learn digital history projects

Metadata and software standards- some bibliographies give sites to help with that

Archive of digital history as a master catalogue

Discussing what best practices for digital history would be

White House Office of Science and Technology looking at big data projects- proposals must include support for reuse of the project- maybe using standard formats or reputable digital repositories that has standards to submit

Do No Harm Principle- don’t make it too difficult that no one would want to be involved, the goal is to promote secondary usage

International organizations and programs designed to promote a longstanding lifecycle of materials- digitized or born digital

More repositories and digital archives

Ask before starting to take advantage of repositories to design the project

Before standards- look at different projects

Folger- Shakespeare document- bring scholarship to a website for everyone but everyone at each level wants different things

Citations are different at organizations and conversations need to reflect the numbers of groups so one standard may be too much to ask for- appropriate practice of digital history

Figure out who the audience is and what they want- text, image, object, and encourage visiting to see something or use digital methods to show objects archives can’t let you see

Librarians and digital historians at a different perspective

Communication issue that THATCamp can help fix

Omeka used in some spheres and not mentioned as much in others- what platforms are used

Digital exhibitions, collections catalogue, press releases, events calander- not useful on Omeka or at least IT departments don’t think of Omeka as a resource

Omkea map project- digital history class

Reasonable accessibly- free to a limit of data and less expensive than other sources

How do you predict who sees the site?

Google analytics to see if the audience they want is already there- who visits a site?

UMD- analytics to see who looks at databases- a large viewership from Japan due to a collection related to WWII at the time and then that information helped them consider making the site more accessible to that audience

British Museum- on this day/artifact of the day with an extension saying “explore this collection”

Social media can bring the audience that way- tweets, Facebook posts, etc…

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Session2: what do we want? xX. Where do we want it? now!

What do we want? XX When do we want it? now!
TEI training camps
Getting most support off campus DH working group on English, Lori Brister Code
Art Library Society. aRLIS. Mentorships, unconventional mentoring up, younger people teaching older!!
Ask what are you working on?
How can I help?
Association of c and research libraries emphasize not calling it dH
We offer workshops and faculty don’t show up!
Need more one on one
Broader group in DC, sustainable MeetUp group DCHDC
Coding and coffee groups
Barriers include copyright restrictions.
Six degrees of Francis Bacon is here!
Archives Special Collections has dilemmas because they need to be aware of the Institutional Context. Measures of use?
With limited resources, digitizing isn’t priority. Need and desire for sharing information.

Paywall for materials, workshops behind them.
Folder has works in progress talks,
Little support for students to learn about grants at GMU.
Also using symposia for stimulating collaboration.
STEM priority.
How to get Humanities more support?
Sharing expertise
Joint grants ?
Need library workshops on lifecycle sustainability
Why people don’t come to workshops: different questions from different fields doesn’t work.
Useful might be when we tailor workshops to technical level and discipline.
Rails girls workshops for Ruby on Rails training, groups but also mentors.
Finders demanding TEI, plans for online and sustainability.
Technology develops so rapidly and early adopters can get behind.
Open access is key. Policy, principle. Struggle between finders and institutions.
Rotunda at UVa is a paywall but calls themselves Open Access, huh?
funding for computational collaborations in engineering, MITH has done collaborations with computer scientists.

Engineering is also Entrepreneurial
ISchool cross over thing.
Community client program at Carnegie Mellon, students use computational techniques to do humanities , could work.

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