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Notes for Session 3 room 108 Supporting Other People’s DH Projects
Wikis and owls: Communicating in Growing/Small DH communities w/ Kirsten
MLS at Catholic
Most universities have DH section but usually only a couple people, tend to be disconnected, mobile, de-centralized
-How can people support each other? We know that people want to, but we don’t always know how or what will be helpful.
How do you in this session communicate in your university?
Resources and tools and guide are available online, but not widely distributed or adopted
Is DH still trying to become relevant?
It depends on the community, and there is no set way to do things.
One person’s department pretty much only communicates through a listserv
It would be helpful for all the WRLC to be able to communicate with each other, but there is not a lot of cross-university collaboration
DH seen as an add-on but one that does not go towards tenure requirements
GWU’s DHI is wonderful, but centered in the English Department, and doesn’t always incorporate or connect with other departments even within the school
Could part of the disconnects between universities be because some DH communities are in English, while others are in History, or Library and Information Science?
Money and funding play a role in influencing communication
How can administrators be shown and come to understand that DH is real, legitimate, or value work? And how to foster positive communication with admins and other DH people.
What are some ways people can communicate between schools?
-Blogs, Twitter, definitely not Facebook or Linked-In, maybe a Wiki? (might be privacy concerns, but these conversations are already happening on Twitter so probably not an issue)
This issue is not unique to Digital Humanities, but applicable to all of academia
Traditional academic forums like conferences, journals, etc. are often not useful or beneficial to DH in the long run or even short run and can be actively damaging to collaboration
Knowledge Commons DC as an example of a way of sharing expertise and resources
Micro-credentials or badging as another way to quickly show and share skills – mostly used for CompSci and programming, but could be applied to DH, maybe?
Do these new ideas or resources create or deepen a technology or generational divide? Important to make any new system sustainable and useful in the long term
Project Management is needed more in DH
And how does money play into creating this?
Need for institutional buy-in
Not good to limit based on geography. Ideally ways of communicating and sharing information should be universal
Where would responsibility lie for protecting a network or people, skills and resources? And with whom?
Most DH projects we see are open and collaborative, but those are also the ones that people talk about on blogs so there is sample bias
Using Omeka as a place to create or discuss DH projects or more analog projects digitally
WordPress blog can be versatile as a way to encourage collaboration and sharing of skills and resources:
-Almost anything would be better than nothing at this point
-Good way to start, but maybe not sustainable in the long term
-Plus, it’s great to make something, but it’s not helpful or useful if no one will use it
Dependence on vendor solutions is not attractive to funding bodies, nor is it sustainable: novel approaches and original solutions are more favorable than giving away money to companies, Plus brings up issues of scholarly ethics because an outsourced company does not have the same ethics as an librarian or academic.
Where are resources housed? How expensive are they to move.
Should projects buy software that can be used out of the box, or should projects build programs and frameworks from the ground up?
-And then there is the issue of training and best practices for people using the technology
Difficulty with asking for help ingrained in many people, especially in academia
Right now, it’s about who you know, but at this point you need people to be connectors
“No website is going to replace a librarian.”
OpenAccess community is really wonderful, helpful, and beneficial especially for technology. Drupal and Omega have lots of buy-in and active communities, but those communities which work together and support new projects are not always there for all things
Importance of Stress-tests for new applications
Minimalist and user friendly design is ideal, especially for resource sharing
Summary of what group would like to see in a website, program, or tool to connect different DH people with different experiences and skills:
-user identities online (fulsome, username, contact info all options)
-Organize people by projects, skillsets, availability
+emphasis on function over design
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