Archive for the ‘Collaboration’ Category

  • Link to Data Dump/Analyze/Display Session


    Hi ThatCampers,

    Here is the link to the document where we gathered recommended programs to approach this problem with modular solutions.

    At this point there is not one overall program that we could come up with to do all these things at once.

    I am interested as a person squarely in the humanities to partner with an IT/library science people to help to develop something that would be usable and very user friendly for humanities-types.





  • Play / Make session: Listen to Wikipedia Guided Meditation


    Recently a student in the “Digital Past” class I’m teaching posted a link to our Diigo Group which she described as “not very informative” but “interesting.” Listen to Wikipedia be edited: There’s a map, too:

    I thought we could do a session where we take 10-15 minutes to just watch the site together, 10-15 minutes to interact with it (choose a different language, click on some of the links, visit the GitHub repo, whatever), and then use the remainder of the time to do some collaborative reflective writing on what we thought, saw, felt, learned. Participad would be a great tool for doing the collaborative writing part if you don’t mind my using my admin privileges to activate it on this site.

    Having had the site open in a tab for quite a while on a couple of separate days, I think it actually is very informative — about visualizations, about whatever the audio equivalent of visualizations is, about Wikipedia, about knowledge, about the world. I’m also generally interested in similar sorts of interactive art / games / projects built on functional internet tools: GlobeGenie and Twistori come to mind. We could have a discussion, of course, but for some reason I’m keen on the idea of a completely silent session …

  • Teaching Critical Thinking via Digital Projects


    Hello Campers – I’m proposing an informal “Talk” session on the intersection of the digital realm and teaching critical thinking. I’m interested in exploring teaching strategies with this aim in mind. I thought we might exchange stories from the classroom or workshop, brainstorm projects, and consider the complexities.

    In the THATCamp spirit, I’m anticipating the conversation as wide-open, workshop-format, and look forward to a diverse range of perspectives and experiences.

    Among my own lines of thought, I’m intrigued by the ways in which the digital realm may help to complicate the category of “critical thinking” itself, and esp. interested in new kinds of knowledge creation through digital projects (as well as more common invocations of critique itself.)

    A second, and closely related topic, might be that of audiences for this broader project. My immediate interest is in undergraduate pedagogy, but we might explore early graduate training, and also the ways in related projects might be extended beyond the university for collaborative projects with a broader community.

    p.s. One question that I found myself chewing on earlier this fall, inspired by the excellent “RailsGirls” event at GMU in Sept: what’s the relationship between teaching code and teaching critical thinking, especially to an undergrad audience in the humanities?


  • Connecting the personal story to public history for academia and journalism


    I have been interested in connecting an individual, personal story to a public sense of histories of places, events, timelines. That is, I think there is a potential paradigm for threading stories, histories, archives and communities.

    There is nothing new about this thought. Fields like oral histories/public history have well established research around these themes. But I want to put this proposal out there as a part-talk, part-make, part-teach session. I have very, very tiny seeds of the project that I can share, and it will be good to brainstorm around it, or see if there are folks interested in collaborating, too.

    I am very much an outsider to digital humanities but I am hoping to learn and share (I am a research engineer who works with x-ray optics, and a journalist/amateur oral historian). I had been collecting oral histories at a physics research lab for half of 2009. Felt like it told a rich layered history of state-individual collaborations in science. That, then, broadened to interest in the intersection of scientific research and people’s histories….which then broadened to oral histories in other fields of work. The seeds I can talk about or illustrate are histories from two physicists who discuss the origin of a set of champagne bottles in a particle accelerator control room, and some other stories on dying traditions (woodwork for making musical instruments in India, shorthand and typing instruction schools). That is to say, each story is an independent experiment and is not connected to the other at all. But each offers a seed or point of departure.

    All this finally led to some more plotting on oral history concepts. Here’s the premise (naivety and ignorance on my part will also become evident!):
    — Each storyteller has many different stories.
    — Each story has many different storytellers.
    — Each story has many different theme and vice-versa, and so on…
    — There must be a way to connect a personal history with public events and places.
    — Each personal history can be connected to another using some categories/keywords/whatever-else: person, place (geography), timeline (when, year), event (is the story referring to an event like say, the SF earthquake of 1989 that someone else may also talk about in a seemingly unconnected way?).
    — A story may have weak or strong associations to a set of attributes. This association can be weighted.
    — There is an incredible range of stories recorded in university archives and other stand-alone oral history projects. The point is not to re-store them in a new space on the web. But there must be a way to re-point to them in a new scheme. That is, make the connections explicit.
    — There is an incredible range of stories among all of us that feel like they are so irrelevant and unimportant to a wider audience. Can we make them relevant?
    — Have multiple ways to add stories: upload, relink to existing, give contact for a volunteer to reach out, call in (toll free number), visit a recording center.
    — Map out origin of each story. A map with dots shows where a particular thread has received stories from, providing an incentive to fill geographical gaps.
    — Each story gets multiple keywords attached to it, reflecting the themes that the story touches on, besides the main subject matter thread.
    — Cross links: The keywords are a point of entry into the many storytellers-many stories paradigm.

    What’s the point?
    Let’s say something like this exists. Call it DH-Mosaic. Let’s say there’s a sociologist out there who is researching the history of wine making in the San Francisco Bay Area from 1850 to 2000. She has access to the usual set of archives at universities, and the state/national archives. She has access to archives of newspapers, books, papers, and such. And she does field work that gets her access to families in the industry. And she has access to DH-Mosaic, and she logs on and searches this clearinghouse/repository. Meanwhile, a few years ago, someone who was researching the history of high energy physics in the San Francisco bay area put out a book, and he had raw unused data. One of those pieces was an interview of a technician at a high energy physics lab in the region who mentioned that his family used to be in the wine making industry in the early 1980s and he left it in search of better opportunities. The high energy physics research didn’t have the space for this story. But the raw data is on (or linked on) DH-Mosaic, logged with metadata that points to: high energy physics, 1980, wine history, <name>, janitorial, magnets research, San Francisco bay area, Menlo Park. Our wine history researcher comes across this, and gets in touch with the author/owner of the story. In the course of talking to a new source, she finds out more first-hand sources about say, a labor struggle in the wine making industry in the 1980s, which takes her research in a slightly different direction….Similarly a reporter investigating the domino effect of the Vietnam War protests in 1970 in California may find a story and follow up with <name> after listening to his story of clearing up broken glass following the 1970 Stanford student protesters.

    What are some questions?
    — How to make these links?!
    — If you have a story, how do you define its relevance to a place/event/timeline/person/theme?
    — Who defines the relevance?
    — Within a specific story, how do you weight different aspects discussed?
    — Who defines this relevance?
    — How can this be done easily for a user interface?
    — Is it possible to get users and researchers to shape the categorization?
    — How do we get raw unused data (before it becomes a produced story/research paper) that just piles up for every researcher/reporter become a relevant trail of history?
    — There is the larger issue of copyright, censorship, spam and what-not. But I am not even going there yet :)!


    Loved this little quote from Michael Ondaatje’s book, Divisadero: “For we live with those retrievals from childhood that coalesce and echo throughout our lives, the way shattered pieces of glass in a kaleidoscope reappear in new forms and are song-like in their refrains and rhymes, making up a single monologue. We live permanently in the recurrence of our own stories, whatever story we tell. ”



  • Bots



    Err, not those though. What I’d love to talk about is Twitter bots, and if someone’s willing to help out, to maybe hack away at one.

    Which is to say: I’d be thrilled to sit and swap favorite bots, and talk over their concepts and uses—diversion, cultural remix, pedagogical tool, pseudorandom art project (hi @horse_ebooks), anything. But I’d also be thrilled to learn from those who have actually implemented the things how to get started on making one, and possibly make one collectively during the session. (For instance, and to my great surprise, there doesn’t yet seem to be a THATCampBot.)

    My thoughts here are inspired by Mark Sample’s proposal for THATCamp Leadership ( as well as bots of his like @DependsUponBot, @JustToSayBot, and others like Zach Whalen’s @pelafina_lievre, and others beside. But anything we talk through or make doesn’t have to be complicated: some don’t even require hacking, just text, as Tully Hansen explains.

    But anyway: bots. I’m informed, by highly-placed and unimpeachable sources, that UVA’s Scholars Lab is “plagued” with them—let’s set to work spreading that plague.

    (photo credit: Crow T. Robot, This Is Your Life)


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