Archive for April, 2012

  • minecraft for fun!


    Hi, my name is Vic. I’m one of the kids coming to THATCamp. My proposal is about Minecraft, which is kind of like a computer game, but it’s also not, really. You can run it on a Mac or a PC, and you can use it to build many cool things, from realism to abstraction. I’ve been playing Minecraft since the start — since it was released on May 17th, 2009 (when I was five years old).

    I’m going to bring my Hackintosh and my Dad’s Mac laptop. I run a Minecraft server for me, my Dad, and my friends. I’d be happy to show it to you and teach you some building strategies. You can mine or build anything!

  • THATCamp for Kids


    We are attending with our 13-year-old, who loves writing and digital photography. I’d like to know who else is bringing kids this year, and how we might engage them? Because of Mona’s schedule, we will be late or no-show (sadly) at the Friday sessions. Maybe we can meet up with other families w/kids at the dinner that evening?

    I am a writer and writing teacher, and would be happy to host a creative writing workshop in the afternoon for any kids who want to get together to write. In particular (or instead), I am really intrigued by the possibilities for the Zen Scavenger Hunt described here. That seems like it’d be great for any age participant. I don’t know the UVa campus all that well, so I’d like to run it with someone who is more familiar with the surroundings. It is the kind of thing the kids and other participants can engage in all day (since there is no list until later), then gather in the afternoon or early evening before dinner to compare notes.

    We could run this as a regular scavenger hunt instead, with a fairly general list that stimulates creativity (“an object that fits in your hand,” “something red,” “something that was once alive,”) and/or have kids document with cameras, pen & paper, maps, and phones in case there is concern about collecting actual things (might get out of hand :-)…Would love to hear thoughts about how to put something together that is fun and flexible for families and younger participants to do.

  • HTML and CSS Crash Course


    If anyone’s interested, I’d be happy to organize a session introducing basic HTML and CSS. All you’d need to participate in this is a laptop with a good ol’ text editor and a browser. We can cover basic HTML markup and CSS syntax, and maybe end with some presentation/discussion of resources for going further.

    If it turns out there isn’t enough time or space to do this, but folks are interested in it, we could always find time to talk in between sessions, or after the event.


  • Proposed session: iBooks author


    I’m proposing a session to work on figuring out / optimizing the use of / discovering an excellent purpose for the iBooks author app.

    With my research assistant Lauren Burr, who has been moving all my teaching materials for the Multimedia course at the Digital Humanities Summer Institute from HTML to iBook e-textbook format, I’ve been trying to explore the potentials and the limitations of this publishing and editing format. There’s been some hiccups and some learning along the way, as well as some bug fixes from Apple.

    So, I have a half-done textbook I can share around for us to play with, a real project that has hit some real obstacles, or we can all work on our own stuff together, or we can argue about proprietary formats and iDevices, too. I think it would be really fun to put this app through its paces in a non-hypothetical situation with lots of media (I’ve got galleries and movies and podcasts and such all through my book).

    You’ll need a Mac with the (free) iBooks Author app installed, and an iPad to preview the e-book on.

  • Design and User Experience for DH Projects


    One of the things I love most about digital humanities projects is the opportunity to make more concerted decisions about the design of the project, and how people use or experience that project. It’s important to consider how the design of a DH project, be it a collection of artifact, and online exhibit, or some work of digital scholarship, impacts the project’s overall argument or contribution to the field. This opportunity is of course also followed by uncertainty about how best to approach the issues of design for DH work.

    I’m curious if others are interested in exploring this topic in discussion, maybe better articulating the issues we face in dealing with design and user experience for whatever digital humanities projects folks are working on.

  • A couple of proposals


    Howdy, all. I’m Erin White, Web Systems Librarian at VCU Libraries in lovely Richmond, VA. I’m new to DH and this is my first THATcamp! So I am looking forward to meeting everyone and talking with you about your work.

    I have had a hard time deciding what to propose here, so I am cheating and throwing out multiple proposals.

    • Viewshare hackathon – inspired by the Neatline workshop on Friday. Viewshare is a web-based digital collection visualization tool created by the Library of Congress that supports multiple input formats – Excel, XML MODS, OAI, and ContentDM. I’m by no means an expert but would be happy to facilitate a working+learning session. If you’re interested I encourage you to request a ViewShare account before Saturday since account creation requests can take up to 24 hours.
    • TinyTech sharium – we all have small productivity shortcuts or areas of tech-spertise that help us get our work done faster and better. I propose a workshop where we share tech tips. Anybody an expert or an experienced dabbler in regular expressions, Mac’s Automator software, Gmail keyboard shortcuts? Anybody want to give a 5-minute overview of basic command-line tasks? Got a favorite browser add-on that makes your life 1000 times easier? Let’s share.
  • Pedagogy


    The other session I’d like to propose is a show-and-tell pedagogy session about making (better) use of the various digital tools now available, and especially your experiences with them in the classroom.

    At UVA, the writing curriculum is based on the Little Red Schoolhouse curriculum pioneered by Wayne Booth and Greg Colomb, and a number of grad students here are hard at work producing a digital companion to this curriculum. But only with the greatest hesitation have I brought extracurricular digital tools into play, either in first-year writing or lit surveys, leading to abortive-at-best experiments with class Flickr streams, Twitter discussions, and blog posts. My pedagogical toolbox already feels dusty and out of touch, and I haven’t even been at this two full years yet!

    I’d like to hear what has worked–or not worked–for others (wikis? nGrams?), and what seems to hold promise for the near future (Neatline? others?). Basically, I want to figure out ways to shake up my classroom, and others’ as well, and preferably in ways that get students more excited than apprehensive.

  • 5K Run (for varying values of “fun”)


    I’m proposing, as one session, participation in the 5K run being hosted by the English Dept’s grad student association. The run will start at 10:30 just outside Alderman Library, so not far at all from the Scholars Lab. I believe also I’ll be able to get THATCampers access to shower and locker-room facilities nearby, though whether that is directly next to the library or one bus stop away is not yet nailed down.

    The registration link is here:

    Hope to see some of you at the starting line!

  • THATCampVA logistics and more


    Greetings, THATCampers!

    We’re very much looking forward to seeing you all this weekend.  We wanted to mention a few logistical things as we gear up:

    Session proposals
    As always, we’ll lead off with a reminder to add your brief session proposal to the THATCampVA blog.  Only a few more days left!  Also, please feel free to browse other posts and add your comments—the conversation there is a great way to get involved early.

    Friday afternoon workshops
    If you’re planning to come to a workshop on Friday, they’ll begin at 3:00 and wrap up at about 5:00.  Both workshops are held here in the Scholars’ Lab in Alderman Library (directions and parking info).  Note too that we’ll also have your THATCampVA registration packets ready starting at 2:00 if you’d like to pick yours up on Friday before the workshop.

    Friday night
    On Friday night, plan to join us for food and libations at a nearby restaurant, Boylan Heights—home of gourmet burgers, salads, and more.  The Scholars’ Lab staff will be found in the upstairs area of the restaurant starting at 6:00 p.m.  There is a parking deck just behind Boylan Heights and the restaurant validates parking.  It’s also within walking distance of the Scholars’ Lab.

    Saturday morning
    On Saturday, registration will open at 8:00 a.m. here in the Scholars’ Lab (directions and parking info).  We’ll have breakfast goodies and coffee out at 8:30.  The opening session—in which we’ll collectively organize the day—starts at 9:00 sharp.

    Dork Shorts
    Finally, during lunch on Saturday: Dork Shorts!  These are two-minute elevator-pitch presentations where you’ll have the opportunity to introduce current projects, invite participants into a project, show a cool site, etc. These are even more informal than the regular sessions and the point is to do the introduction—folks can follow up  with you afterwards for details.  You’ll have access to a computer to show websites.  Signups will be available on Saturday morning.

    Keep an eye on the THATCampVA blog for more updates.

    See you in a couple of days!

  • Visualization Tools for Interdisciplinary Scholarship


    Various types of visualization tools for conceptualizing relationships between different types of media seem particularly hot in the DH community right now, and I’d like to explore the possibilities of these tools further. I’m a PhD student in English currently working on an interdisciplinary dissertation that focuses on connections between early photography and Victorian poetry, and thus my interest is primarily orientated towards networks between art and literature, although this topic could also be productively extended to involve other media (like sound or music, as Eric discusses in an earlier blog post).

    I know that text analysis search interfaces like Voyant Tools and Word Seer can help me execute complex queries that would enable me to analyze the linguistic and rhetorical structures surrounding my search terms within selected databases (and thereby address the literary side of my project). Likewise, data visualization software like ImagePlot can enable me to explore patterns in large collections of images. I’m not sure how to use these tools to their full potential in my research, however, and I’d like to discuss how best to employ these devices in a practical sense. As my research focuses on intersections between literary and visual texts, I’m personally interested in investigating ways to combine these two areas of inquiry productively using existing online tools. (As I mention above, however, this session would certainly be relevant to other types of media.) The potential of these tools for expanding scholarship beyond disciplinary boundaries has not yet been fully utilized, and I’d like to expand the discussion to consider how existing tools might be enhanced to better address the needs of interdisciplinary (and inter-media) research and scholarship.

    In a more theoretical sense, I’d be interested talking about how to use tools like these as jumping-off points to complex academic arguments about the relationships they represent. How can the use of dynamic interdisciplinary DH applications be integrated within the traditional boundaries of the traditional static article, dissertation, or book?

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