These notes are an addendum to those provided by Dr. Cline. Session 2 provided an enlightening discussion regarding the challenges that face the Digital Humanities and the solutions that might solve troubling problems.
Conference 11:30 – 12:20
Host: Dr. Diane Cline
Title: What do we want? XX When do want it? Now.
Dr. Cline opens the conversation with a question: What do we want? Let’s talk about what we want or the problems that we face as digital historians or engaged workers.
Subject 1: What are the largest problems facing the digital humanities?
- Knowledge Gap in the Digital Humanities
- Training Camps
- tei (text encoding initiative)
- Eleanor Roosevelt Papers: Problems that they face:
- How do we find this information?
- Where is the information?
- It often is outside and away from where you want it
- Lack of skills: Where do we learn how to code?
- ARLIS (Art Society Conference)
- This idea of mentorship
- Association of College and Research Libraries (ALA’s arm of academic libraries).
- One of the panels mentioned how “Digital Humanities” is not a commonly known term
- Use different language: Let’s not say Digital Humanities because nobody knows what it is
- Get specific:
- SAY Social network analysis
- David from Ford’s Theatre emphasized the strong network in Washington, DC
- Can we make a Meet-Up group – one that trains the people who need this info
- Digital Cultural History Group – an example of a group to make
The Conversation Moved to Promoting This Training Idea:
Subject 2: Difference between History 1.0 and History 2.0
Publicity vs Privacy:
- Doesn’t more access to information help the profitability to your cause?
Representative from the 6 Degrees of Francis Bacon: Challenges include copyright and trademark restrictions which impede upon institutions ability to share
Challenges include the fact that publishers don’t want you to share information until after publication
It was noted that JSTOR will share information with you if you want
Subject 3: The Challenges of Limited Resources
Can Digital History be the solution to limited resources
“Behind the Paywall” – understanding the balance between sharing the documents and information. You CAN do both.
This is an old problem – before, the way to share information was to go to an academic conference and ask a scholar for the paper. How is this different? What should be shared and what should not be shared. The Digital Humanities is, inherently, more open. That doesn’t have to be a problem.
Dr. Cline mentioned that, once you understand what Digital History is, the transition from History 1.0 to History 2.0 is not nearly as cumbersome. However, there are a lot of people who do not know what “DH” is. That’s a problem, but one that is surmountable.
Conclusions and Things that we need:
- Grant Proposal Workshops
- Life Cycle of DH Management
Together, the group brainstormed the types of conferences and workshops that would be helpful for digital historians.
The organization of the conferences is key. “Learning on different Levels” – the best way to ensure that people network with the right professionals. This platform is called Rail Girls.
It’s easy to get discouraged in an up-and-coming, young field. Emphasize the fact that everything NEEDS TO BE Open Source.
The conversation ended with comments regarding the bureaucracy of organizations that own information. Organizations like Rotunda, which challenge open source progress.
Conclusions and Claims:
Here’s a thought: Can you position the Digital Humanities as a type of STEM programming? To receive funding and a community of support, can the Digital Humanities be considered a STEM program?
There seems to be a stirring of support. But, scholars in the Digital Humanities need to tailor their research the right way.
Showcasing how powerful the Digital Humanities can be, David McKenzie from the Ford’s Theatre shared how herds of supporters, tourists, and fans came out to the Ford’s Theatre for the anniversary of Lincoln’s assassination. Despite the challenges addressed, Digital History is alive and changing the way we think about yesterday and tomorrow.