• Sharing the shoeboxes under the bed


    SESSION FORMAT: Facilitated talkfest

    This is a tentative exploration of ideas, so if anyone specialises in this, please jump in.

    Official government information, historical records and newspaper articles tell part of the story of a community. The digital humanities community is working well to collect and expose this data.

    Many communities have “shoeboxes under the bed” containing personal information like family photographs, recipes, memorabilia and artworks. People can be filmed or recorded telling their personal stories. Amateur historians, hobby genealogists, community arts projects, library local history collections, ABC Open are all involved in trying to capture these stories.

    “Build it and they will come” models for harvesting this type of data have not proved effective. The internet is littered with beautiful looking sites with great architecture that have no data beyond the initial seeding data that was collected before grant money ran out.

    Kete Horowhenua is an example of a successful site collecting many different digital formats and community metadata, harvesting the shoeboxes under the bed. http://horowhenua.kete.net.nz/


    What is the best way to create a project to harvest these stories that has community ownership ?

    Is there value in creating a model or guidelines to create an easy-to-implement platform for communities that want to harvest their shoeboxes? What features need to be included beside:

    • rights management
    • remix
    • best metadata schema
    • conversion to standardised file formats
    • exposure to search engines
    How would one co-locate these records with official datasets so that together they tell a complete story?
    Is there a role for public libraries as physical places to collect these stories and virtual places to create platforms for these stories?




  • Skills to practice and support Digital Humanities


    FORMAT: Facilitated talkfest producing agreed list of specific skills

    This may be better as two topics, but many of the skills will be the same.

    PART ONE – Improving technological literacy for humanities researchers

    What specific skills do humanities researchers need to be sufficiently technologically literate to take advantage of possibilities offered by the digital humanities?

    Whose responsibility is it to help them gain these skills?

    What model would work to help support researchers to gain these skills? Is there a role for research institutions to provide:

    • digital tools sandboxes for researchers
    • facilities like the Scholars Lab at UVa
    • tech skills clinics in the same model as writing clinics
    • support for digital humanities champions and mentors

    PART TWO – Preparing professionals to support digital humanities

    Information Studies courses at universities claim to be producing graduates who are specialists in metadata, database design, taxonomies and information design. They claim that graduates will be experts in collecting, organising and retrieving digital and physical information.

    What specific skills should be taught in Information Studies courses so that graduates can support the digital humanities?

    How can libraries and librarians provide better support for digital humanities?

    Have librarians and Information Studies departments missed to boat at becoming useful in this arena, or is there still a chance to be usefully involved? If so, what do we need to do?


  • The tyranny of citation formats


    I’d like to have a session about citation formats and bibliographic processing. Not sure if this would be a hackathon or a general discussion, probably a bit of both.

    The thing is, citation formats evolved in the days of paper – they’re a form of text based hypertext. In the old days when you referenced something you had to put enough bibliographic detail in your text so that people could find it. We still have to format articles, theses, essays etc with redundant text-formatted references and bibliographies to submit them to publishers and markers, even though we’re using machines to manage all the references. And we’re still teaching students to do this, sometimes by hand.

    In many disciplines we have online resources so in many cases a citation could be a URI referencing a good quality stable data source. But URIs are not always going to be the way to go, in which case the bibliographic data could be embedded in text in a way that makes re-processing easy.

    This session could look at what can be done to rationalise citation practices so that an author can use existing bibliograpic databases (via stuff like the Open Bibliogrpahy project, Zotero, Mendeley, CrossRef et al) without having to maintain their own, unless they want to of course, and downstream consumers (publisers, readers, markers etc) can choose how they would like to view, reuse or otherwise process the references.

    In the sciences there are many disciplines where citing by DOI would be sufficient to cover almost all use-cases, but this is certainly not the case in the humanities.

    We could talk about:

    • How to embed citation-by-reference and citation-with-bibliographic-data in HTML and how to choose which to do. (I have some ways of doing this using HTML5 Microdata I’d like feedback on)
    • How to produce said HTML using tools such as Word, Wiki formats, Pandoc, LaTeX, WordPress etc. (I have made some progress on a tool using Zotero + MS Word producing HTML5 that can be re-formatted automatically to suit the reader, with bib-data embedded in the HTML for machine processing as well).
    • What are the limits of this approach? There will be lots of areas of the humanities where trying to construct bibliographic entries for the stuff you are referencing will be hard.
    (I have been working on this for a project in the UK, funded by JISC)



  • On the Digital Culture Public Sphere


    I’d like to propose a session on/responding to the Digital Culture Public Sphere. The live date for the public sphere discussions is taking place on Thursday 6 October, the day before THATCamp, and it makes sense to continue the discussion with the aim to making comment and a submission from participants. It would include questions on the digital arts and culture, and would ask what are ideas for a long term sustainable vision; what would success look like; and what are some ideas of how we could get there?

    The results of the Public Sphere consultation will be submitted in response to the National Cultural Policy Discussion Paper, so it’s important for digital humanities people to contribute.

    It will probably help to read the Digiculture Wiki and get a sense of some of the ideas that have been coming through, or check out #publicsphere on Twitter for the comments that came through during the event. There event was also streamed online, and I think you can find the video here.

    [images below of Suse's whiteboard notes – added by Cath. Each image is about half a mebabyte – to optimise readability.]

    whiteboard notes

    whiteboard notes


  • Time-aligned transcription of media


    I can run an introduction to Elan, free software for doing transcriptions of video or audio, at THATCamp. It also generates subtitles from the transcript.

  • Project Management and DH


    I’m managing a sizeable DH project and would like to have a general discussion about project management strategies for DH. I’ll kick it off with some background about my approach, which is based on PRINCE2 and RUP, but I’m really keen to hear what other people have to say about questions like: ‘What are the benefits of Agile over waterfall-based methods, and does Agile really scale to large projects?’; ‘How do you manage multiple project managers?’; ‘What do students need to know about project management and should we be teaching it in our courses?’; ‘When, if ever, can we get away without using any methodology at all?’; ‘Does a project manager have to have technical skills, or is it a good role for people who want to be involved, but aren’t technically inclined?’; ‘Does project management stifle creativity?’. It would be nice to produce some kind of ‘best practice’ document for DH projects, along with a resource guide, that allowed DH PMs to size their project and choose an appropriate method (or consider a range of possible methods).

  • Time to get the ideas flowing!


    With just over a week to go (eeek!), it’s time for THATCampers old and new to start putting forward some ideas for sessions.

    THATCamp is an unconference, remember? That means the schedule, the program and the content is all up to you. What do you want to talk about? What problems are you facing in your research? What new technologies have you been playing with? If you need some more ideas go to THATCamp central.

    Registered campers have accounts on this blog, so you can log on and start posting your ideas straight away.

  • Thanks to our sponsors


    THATCamp Canberra is only possible due to the generosity of our sponsors. Like last year, THATCamp Canberra 2011 is being supported by the Digital Design + Media Arts Research Cluster at the University of Canberra.

    But we’re also pleased and proud to announce that THATCamp Canberra 2011 is being sponsored by the National Museum of Australia and the National Library of Australia. It’s great to see our national cultural institutions getting involved in the digital humanities.

  • Registrations open!


    The waiting is over — you can now register for THATCamp Canberra 2011.

    Registration is on a first come first served basis this year, so get in quick.

  • Registrations open on Monday 8 August


    Yep, in less than a week you can sign up for all the fun, excitement and intensity of THATCamp Canberra 2011. Registration this year will be on a first come first served basis, so get in early!

    THATCamp Canberra 2011 will feature a full day of BootCamp goodness — a fast, friendly and free introduction to some of the tools and techniques of the Digital Humanities.

    Check back next Monday for more details!

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