One of my pet projects for the past several years has been to advocate for the acceptance of digital dissertations (and digital scholarship). I spent two years interviewing grad students, faculty, grad directors, and deans to find out why (or more often why not) their institution accepted digital dissertations and how they prepared (or again more often why they didn’t prepare) their grad students to write/create/design digital projects. Hands down the biggest stumbling block for departments and universities was the lack of a sustainable place to deposit such dissertations.
Enter my current project, which just received NEH funding, to build an opensource repository for digital dissertations. I’d be interested in having a brainstorming session to think about what this type of a space should look like. Some of the questions I’m tackling:
Should the repository be centralized or decentralized?
How can digital projects be maintained (e.g., emulation, upgrades, etc.)
How should such a repository deal with IP issues (e.g., copyright vs creative commons)
Those questions would be a way to get the conversation started, but by no means represent the only questions I have as I embark on this project. We could maybe even work in some hack with our yack!
Coming from a residential liberal arts college, I am hoping to exchange ideas with similar institutions about how the digital humanties fits within the mission and resources of a liberal arts college.
More particularly, I’d like to talk about using digital tools to help students grow as writers and collaborate with others. As an example, I can share a few ideas for how I’ve used Twitter, Skype, and WordPress to do a film/writing exchange project with another college.
I’d be interested in a ‘what is new media, and where is it going?’ discussion.
I teach in an English for New Media degree program. So, I’m trying to always stay on top of how media is changing and how our changing needs are shaping media. We often hear people talking about social media and needing ‘social media experts’, for example, and there is so much more to that set of skills than just knowing how to incorporate facebook, twitter or YouTube into our projects.
With the rise of mobile technology, apps, channels, streaming, watch instant, and the new Google Play, what should we be doing with it all? And where is the new new thing?
I’m chewing on the slippery topic of collaboration, and proposing a general discussion session to brainstorm and compare experiences and ideas. While the digital can facilitate collaboration in the humanities, I’m more interested in how the people work with each other through the tech, than how the tech works (also important, but I think it’s gotten more attention already). What are some best practices for fostering successful collaborations in the digital world, and what are examples of successful collaborative projects – artistic, academic, or otherwise? (Particularly interested in interdisciplinary collaborations.)
I recently attended the interactive portion of the SXSW conference in Austin, and went to a few design* sessions. From these and from looking through the descriptions of other design sessions, I gather that Digital Humanities presents its own set of particular design problems. Some ideas for discussion:
How to operate as a sole designer at a DH center or department? How can you get input, build a community of others to bounce ideas off of or to honestly critique your own work?
How can you get your stakeholders to honestly critique your design beyond “I don’t like purple?”
How important is good design (here I am referring to a more traditional definition – colors, layout, pixel pushing) anyway?
What does it mean to design for DH/education, and how is it different from the for profit world?
What kinds of designers exist in DH/education, and what are they expected to do?
Are there ways to use some of the testing efforts of the “big guys” (A/B testing, formal usability tests) without the expense?
Am I the only one obsessed with design?
Some reading: Jeremy Boggs’ post about DH design, Parts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5. My post on my design process. Any others?
* I am using design here to mean not just the actual website design but the interaction, experience, usability, etc. I find in Digital Humanities it is rare to get one designer, let alone several who can each specialize in one of the above.
Just wanted to get the wheels spinning on some possibilities for the hack sessions. It looks like we’ve got a big chunk of time plus some shorter sessions if there’s interest. I’m really in love with the idea of making something during the camp but don’t know how many people will be into that.
But what to work on… We could follow up the Omeka tutorial with some Omeka development? Build a quick and dirty mobile app? Write a twitter bot? Map some data?
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