• Exploring Hooks and Filters in Omeka and WordPress


    Omeka and WordPress (and plenty of other applications) have ways of adding or modifying existing data using things called hooks and filters. I’ve been developing projects with both of these applications for a while, and in my experience it’s often easier to write a simple function that uses one of these hooks or filters—instead of finding a plugin—to make some kind of modification to a project. These hooks and filters exist so you can make these kinds of changes without significantly altering the core of an application. Learning what each is about, and how you might use them to make some changes, can go a long way toward taking a project in a direction you want it to go, instead of accepting what the application gives you by default.

    I’d like to propose a session where we explore ways of using hooks and filters in each of these platforms. In the process, we could talk about ways of actually finding these hooks and filters, read the code to better understand how they work, and learn a bit of programming to make some changes to a site using each of these platforms. If you’d want to play along, you’d need access to change files in an Omeka and/or WordPress installation. (I won’t be able to provide this.) Otherwise, you could collaborate with someone in the room, or just watch, take notes, and ask questions to get information to take back to your project.


    Omeka Developer Documentation
    WordPress Plugin API 

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  • 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: listen.hatnote.com There’s a map, too: hatnote.com

    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?


  • Hacking Role-playing & Storytelling Games


    Love a good game? Join us for hacking and prototyping apps, games, props, and web resources for role-playing and storytelling games. This session is an open time for prototyping all sorts of physical-computing props and web resources for games you play – or for games you invent on the spot. Bring an idea or be on the lookout for a project that needs your help. While the proposer doesn’t quite know how to pull off everything imagineable, we might…

    • Make 3D campaign maps that use miniatures and MaKey MaKeys to trigger encounters animated in Scratch.
    • Program interactive game-master Twitter bots.
    • Prototype and publish remixable game rules and resources like character sheets using HTML5 and CSS in webauthoring tools like Webmaker Thimble.
    • Write and share random campaign and adventure engines in coding languages like JavaScript.

    Bring your dice, games, ideas, expertise, hot glue, and cardboard – along with your favorite coding languages and any physical computing stuff you want – to hack and remix role-playing and storytelling resources out of ingenuity, circuitry, and the web. Extra experience points for community members who lend their hands to help others realize their wild and wacky game-making dreams.

    I can bring: a couple of MaKey MaKeys, cardboard, hot glue guns and hot glue, some LEDs and batteries, short jumper wires, and basic HTML5, CSS, and JavaScript skills.

    We might also need: Twitter bot overlords, web wranglers, designers of all ages, more stuff with which to build, and you and your imagination!

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  • Tools for exploring big sound archives


    Brandon Walsh has already proposed a session about tools for curating sound, so what I’m proposing here might well fit into his session, but in case what I’m proposing is too different, I wanted to elaborate.

    At THATCamp VA 2012, I proposed and then participated in a discussion about how digital tools could help us not just think about tidily marked plain-text files, but also the messier multimedia data of image files, sound files, movie files, etc. We ended up talking at length about commercial tools that search images with other images (for example, Google’s Search By Image) and that search sound with sound (for example, Shazam). A lot of our discussion revolved around the limitations of such tools–yes, we can use them to search images with other images, but, we asked, would a digital tool ever be able to tell that a certain satiric cartoon is meant to represent a certain artwork. For example, would a computer ever be able to tell that this cartoon represents this artwork?



    Our conversation was largely speculative (and if anyone wanted to continue it, I’d be happy to have a similar session this time around).

    Since then, however, I’ve become involved with a project that takes such thinking beyond speculation. As a participant in the HiPSTAS institute, I’ve been experimenting with ARLO, a tool originally designed to train supercomputers to recognize birdcalls. With it, we can, for example, try to teach the computer to recognize instances of laughter, and have it query all of PennSound, a large archive of poetry recordings, for similar sounds. We might be able, then, to track intentional and unintentional instances when audiences laugh at poetry readings.

    The project involves both archivists and scholars–the archivists are interested in adding value to their collections (for example, by identifying instances of song in the StoryCorps archive), and the scholars are interested in how this new tool might help us better visualize and explore poetic sound and historical sound recordings.

    My sound-related proposal, then, is this: to have a conversation about potential use cases for this and similar tools. Now that we know we can identify certain kinds of sounds in large sound collections, how should we use such a tool? Since Brandon’s already interested in developing sound collections using Audacity, I thought we might also add this big-data/machine-learning tool into the mix of the conversation.

  • Data Dumping, Data Analyzing, Data Displaying


    Hello fellow ThatCampers, I am in the field of Religious Studies and a big portion of my work involves gathering lots of data from contemporary settings (such as sermons from Christian churches, archival data, interviews, etc.; Drupal seems like one program that is good for this), analyzing the data (looking at patterns of logic and hermeneutics) and then mapping this analysis visually (I’ve used prezi to do this before). I’d like to propose a session that would brainstorm the best program(s) and way(s) to do all of this digitally. I think that such a session should be interesting to anyone that gathers, analyzes and displays data, not just folks from Religious Studies, but perhaps Anthropology, Sociology, Geography, etc.

  • Brainstorm some ideas for 3D printing the past


    3D printers today are like HTML in the early 1990’s. We just know something big is going to come of it, but what? I propose a session on sitting around and thinking up ways to use 3D printing for the humanities (history is my field, but any and all are welcome). How can we use 3D printers in the class room (practical experiences, fantastical ideas, lessons to learn)? How does 3D printing help us understand humanities now? Let’s prophesy what the future may bring for 3D printing and humanities. How will it evolve, as did HTML, to be a tool for disseminating knowledge and facilitate learning?

  • Schedule Page is Up!


    We just posted a schedule page for our THATCamp next weekend! Our workshop day on Friday, November 8 will start at 1PM, when we’ll open up the registration table for you to pick your name tag and other swag. Our workshop schedule starts at 1:30, and will wrap up around 5PM. Later that evening, THATCamp organizers will head to a local restaurant for dinner. Anyone else is welcome to join us!

    We’ll start back up on Saturday morning, November 9 at 9am. Registration will be open again, and we’ll provide some breakfast and coffee, and then dive into the session scheduling fun! If you haven’t already, do post a session proposal here to our blog, so folks can get a sense ahead of time what kinds of sessions we might consider on Saturday morning. There are already a few good ones, so be sure to read through what’s already been proposed!


  • Exploring Altmetrics


    Altmetrics offer a new way to analyze the impact of scholarly research.  I would like to explore what altmetrics are exactly and how are the being used.  What tools can you use to track altmetrics?  We can look into tools like Altmetric, ImpactStory, and PlumAnalytics.  What are the risk and rewards of relying on altmetrics?  What are the advantages and disadvantages of altmetrics, in terms of timeliness, impact of non-publication research outputs, and gaming the system?  Will this change scholarly publishing in the future?  How might individual scholars and their departments use and respond to altmetrics?  I want to take this as an opportunity to learn and share about altmetrics and generate ideas for use and their impact.

    You can read the classic altmetrics manifesto here.

  • Using Balsamiq as a Design Tool for Individual and Team Projects


    Balsamiq is a web-based, collaborative wireframing program that functions as a playground to design mockups for software projects. We (Jamie Henthorn and Sarah Spangler) are interested in using this to design a writing accountability app, and we are hoping that some of you might want to play with us. We propose a workshop for wireframing beginners wherein participants will dabble in designing applications using this online mock-up tool. Participants should come prepared with their own ideas for projects that are conducive to a mock-up process. We recommend laptops rather than tablets for this session. Participants will download a trial version of Balsamiq the day of the conference.

    To give an example of Balsamiq’s functions, we are interested in developing a social media application for writers that accountability tool for writers. At its basic level, writers would set up an account, friend other users, create groups, set writing project goals (e.g., daily word count, dates) and deadlines, and share this information with other writers in the group. We would like to include a comments feature as well as a way for users in the group to encourage each through “cheering” icons, both visual and audio (?). We are aware that other writing apps exist; however, our vision is to create something with a sleeker user interface design, which leads to the second level of our project proposal.

    Before development happens, we obviously need to begin with some design concepts for the user interface as well as define more clearly the various specifications and features we want for this application. We hope that you will join us in developing these wireframing skills.

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