Archive for the ‘Announcements’ Category

  • THATCampVA follow-up


    Thank you again for making THATCamp Virginia such an absolutely fantastic event!  I wanted to follow up with just a couple of final things:

    The good folks at THATCamp Central have asked us to ask you to fill in a brief evaluation about your THATCamp experience, which can be found here: We’re always interested in feedback so we can make THATCampVA (and all THATCamps) as successful as possible. (You can see anonymous results here.)

    Capturing the THATCamp experience
    Please feel free to continue to make use of the THATCampVA blog for any ongoing post-THATCamp discussion.  And if you post any related thoughts to your own blog, feel free to share a link with us on the THATCampVA blog.  Future scholars of THATCamps appreciate it when tweets, blog posts, Flickr pictures, or other social media get tagged with “#thatcamp”–it makes it easier for them to find the material.  You might also be interested in contributing to the THATCamp documentary project or to the Proceedings of THATCamp.  If you want to make a nomination (self- or otherwise) to be part of the Proceedings, here’s how it’s done:

    1. If it’s a blog post on any registered THATCamp site, whether on or off, assign it the category #proceedings.
    2. If it’s something else, say a Flickr image, a tweet, or a post on a personal blog, tag and/or categorize it with both #thatcamp and #proceedings.
    3. If it’s something that can’t easily be tagged, such as a Google Doc, put a link to it in a blog post and categorize or tag that blog post

    Again, thank you all so much for coming and making THATCampVA so rewarding, and we hope to see you again next time!

  • the soul of wit


    Hey, campers! If you haven’t posted your session idea yet, please remember: these can (and, really, in the best spirit of THATCamp, should) be tentative, informal, even half-baked. Bake ’em on Saturday with your new friends and colleagues! Our suggested length for posts is well under 300 words.

    There’s also no need to prepare for THATCamp sessions. If you propose a topic, you should be willing to get the ball rolling with a question or two, or a very quick demo (preferably not even of your own stuff). This keeps the bar for entry low and the ideas flowing — you can give your paper at plenty of other conferences!

    The more session ideas we see on the blog over the next day or so, the more fun we’ll all have on Saturday morning, watching THATCampVA staff negotiate with the crowd to create a program that belongs to everybody. We can’t wait to see you in Charlottesville this weekend!

  • 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!

  • Now, about those session proposals….


    The fundamental tenet of the THATCamp experience is the user-generated-ness (to coin a term) of the event itself.  In other words, it’s up to you to propose the sessions, and this site is set up to help that happen. Phil Edwards has kicked us off already down below.

    How does it happen?

    Now that you’ve registered for THATCamp Virginia, we’ve make you a user account on this site. You should have received your login information by email. Before the THATCampVA, you should log in to the site, click on Posts –> Add New, then write and publish your session proposal. Your session proposal will appear on the front page of this site, and we’ll all be able to read and comment on it beforehand. (If you haven’t worked with WordPress before, see for help.) The morning of the event, we’ll vote on those proposals (and probably come up with several new ones), and then all together we’ll work out how best to put those sessions into a schedule.

    Here’s some guidance for you when considering a session idea to post.

    In brief

    Everyone who goes to a THATCamp should propose a session. Do not prepare a paper or presentation. Plan instead to have a conversation, to get some work done, or to have fun. Also remember, try to keep the posts brief–300 words or less should be enough to give your colleagues a sense of what you’re interested in talking about, without tiring out their eyeballs.

    No papers, no presentations

    An unconference, in Tom Scheinfeldt’s words, is fun, productive, and collegial, and at THATCamp, therefore, “[W]e’re not here to listen and be listened to. We’re here to work, to participate actively.[…] We’re here to get stuff done.” Listen further:

    Everyone should feel equally free to participate and everyone should let everyone else feel equally free to participate. You are not students and professors, management and staff here at THATCamp. At most conferences, the game we play is one in which I, the speaker, try desperately to prove to you how smart I am, and you, the audience member, tries desperately in the question and answer period to show how stupid I am by comparison. Not here. At THATCamp we’re here to be supportive of one another as we all struggle with the challenges and opportunities of incorporating technology in our work, departments, disciplines, and humanist missions.

    Session proposers are session facilitators

    If you propose a session, you should be prepared to run it. If you propose a hacking session, you should have the germ of a project to work on; if you propose a workshop, you should be prepared to teach it; if you propose a discussion of the Digital Public Library of America, you should be prepared to summarize what that is, begin the discussion, keep it going, and end it. But don’t worry — with the possible exception of workshops you’ve offered to teach, THATCamp sessions don’t really need to be prepared for; in fact, we infinitely prefer that you don’t prepare.

    At most, you should come with one or two questions, problems, or goals, and you should be prepared to spend the session working on and working out those one or two points informally with a group of people who (believe me) are not there to judge your performance. Even last-minute workshops can be terrifically useful for others if you know the tool or skill you’re teaching inside and out. As long as you take responsibility for running the session, that’s usually all that’s needed. Read about the Open Space Technology approach to organizing meetings for a longer discussion of why we don’t adopt or encourage more structured forms of facilitation.

    Session genres

    1. General discussion— Sometimes people just want to get together and talk informally, with no agenda, about something they’re all interested in. Nothing wrong with that; it’s certainly a much better way of meeting people than addressing them from behind a podium. Propose a session on a topic that interests you, and if other people are interested, they’ll show up to talk about it with you.
    2. Hacking session— Several coders gather in a room to work on a particular project. These should usually take more than an hour or even two; if you propose such a session, you might want to ask that one room or swing space be dedicated to it for the entire day.
    3. Writing session— A group of people get together to start writing something. Writing can be collaborative or parallel: everyone can work together (probably in Google Docs) or by themselves (yet with a writing vibe filling the air) to write an article, a manifesto, a book, a blog post, a plan, or what you will.
    4. Working session — You’re working on something, and you suspect that some of the various people who come to THATCamp might be able to help you with it. You describe problems you want solved and questions you want answered, and strangers magically show up to hear about what you’re doing and to give you their perspective and advice. This is notan hour-long demo; you should come with specific questions or tasks you want to work on with others for most of the session.
    5. Workshop— A traditional workshop session with an instructor who leads students through a short introduction to and hands-on exercise in a particular skill. (Note: the workshop series was formerly called “BootCamp,” a term we have now deprecated. Note too that as of January 2012 the Mellon fellowship program for THATCamps with workshops has ended.) Workshops may be arranged beforehand by the organizers or proposed by a participant who agrees to teach it.
    6. Grab bag— Ah, miscellany. One of our favorite categories. Indefinable by definition. It’s astonishing how creative people can be when you give them permission; performances and games are welcome.
      • David Staley, An installation, THATCamp Prime 2009.
      • Mark Sample, Zen Scavenger Hunt, THATCamp Prime 2010 (N.B.: The Zen Scavenger Hunt didn’t actually happen, but it was still a great idea).

    Empty sessions

    We’ll do our best to provide space for additional, on-the-fly conversation. Sometimes, for instance, your discussion was going so well at the one hour fifteen minute mark that you hated to end it; if there’s a slot available, you should be able to propose “Training Robotic Ferrets: Part Two” as a session as soon as “Training Robotic Ferrets” ends.

    And yes, we know this went over 300 words.


    Info on this post shamelessly cribbed from THATCamp Texas and Because who can improve on perfection?

  • A kid-friendly THATCamp!


    out of the nestLet’s admit it: we love THATCamps because they make us kids again. They’re like perfect sandboxes and brand-new Crayons and the first day of school combined. We get to make new friends, invite them to play with the building blocks we share — and enjoy some willful trespassing in unfamiliar fields and methodologies, all the while thumbing our noses, for a day or two, at authority: conventional conference and presentation formats, disciplinary boundaries, and those class divisions in the academy that we all know to be bogus, man. Totally bogus. (Are you going to drink your chocolate milk?)

    Inspired by past conversations about our own child-like wonder at unconferences, the shared goal of the digital humanities community to instill a maker’s ethos in the next generation (young or less young), and our perennial need for babysitting in order to attend events like this — we are declaring THATCampVA 2012 to be a kid-friendly THATCamp!

    A couple of kids in the 8- to 13-year-old age-range have already signed up to attend along with their parents — and we are both extending the deadline and opening up some extra slots to accommodate new registrants. Kids will be welcome to accompany parents or guardians at our Friday workshops (where they might especially enjoy some DIY aerial photography), as well as to attend all day on Saturday. Depending on junior THATCamper turnout, we will either let the kids self-organize some sessions of their own, or you can bring them along to the grown-up conversations you think they’ll find interesting.

    So if you were reluctant to sign up because it meant leaving the little guys at home, or if you’re excited at the chance to spend some time geeking out together on technology in the humanities — please REGISTER BY MONDAY MORNING, March the 5th.

  • The clock is ticking!


    In just a little over a week, the application period will close for THATCamp Virginia 2012! Be sure to register to attend by March 1st.


  • Workshop: Neatline: Plot your course in space and time


    THATCampVA will open on Friday, April 20, with your choice of two workshops.  The first of them, on a soon-to-be-launched tool for the spatial humanities, comes from instructor David McClure (co-teaching with Eric Rochester):

    Neatline is a geo-temporal mapping application built on top of the Omeka framework that makes it possible to plot any collection of things – objects, letters, buildings, photographs, events, people, imaginative topologies – on maps and timelines. Built by the Scholars’ Lab in collaboration with the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media and supported by grants from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Library of Congress, Neatline provides a native environment in which to represent arguments, narratives, and stories that are fundamentally rooted in space and place.

    The 2-hour workshop will start with a basic overview of the software – what it is, where it came from, the types of use-cases it’s designed to accommodate – and then move into the nitty-gritty of creating exhibits, configuring custom layouts, and plotting records on the map and timeline. The workshop will also touch on some more specialized techniques that make it possible to represent hierarchical relationships among records, create custom styles for map vectors and timeline spans, and edit the ordering of the content in an exhibit to create narratives and linear progressions.

    If you have a laptop, you’ll be able to follow along in real-time using a public webservice soon to be launched at

    Stay tuned for a bit more illumination on the DIY Aerial Photography workshop next week.

  • Start your engines! THATCampVA 2012 is ready to roll.


    We’re excited to say that registration is now open for approximately 75 participants at THATCampVA!  Slots will be filled on a first-come, first-served basis, so register early.

           Register now!

    CLOSING DATE: March 1 March 5, per this update

    What’s this now?
    You know! A regional THATCamp.


    THATCampVA will be held on Friday and Saturday, April 20-21, 2012. Friday will open at 3:00 with your choice of two-hour workshops, one focusing on DIY Aerial Photography and the other on the newly-launched Neatline.  And then on Saturday the THATCampVA unconference itself, with sessions generated by the participants, will be held 9:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.  Opportunities for social time with friends old and new will be available on Friday night, April 20, at nearby establishments.

    Charlottesville, Virginia (at UVA Library’s Scholars’ Lab)

    Organizers include digital humanities folks from UVA, Mary Washington, and other central Virginia institutions — but this is your unconference!

    Anybody with energy and an interest in the humanities and/or technology should attend: graduate students, scholars, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, developers and programmers, administrators, managers, and funders; people from the non-profit sector, the for-profit sector, and interested amateurs.  We say any- and everybody, and especially those who would find this interesting but who may never have been to a THATCamp or anything like it before.

    Questions in the meantime? Email us!

    Look here for more news soon — and follow us at @THATCampVA.

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