Day of DH: April 8, 2013

April 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

On April 8, 2013, I blogged for Day of DH 2013. You can see results here:


Yes, Undergrads Can Do Digital Humanities

April 3, 2013 § 1 Comment

Davidson student, Ayesha Shah ’13, leads elementary students through her geotagged math map service-learning project.

When I first started researching digital humanities at liberal arts colleges I was dismayed to hear a comment made at the 2010 Digital Humanities Conference in London: “There is no place for undergrads in Digital Humanities.” That is manifestly untrue.  Here’s some of the proof that’s come through my inbox this week of undegraduates doing digital humanities and other forms of digital scholarship. « Read the rest of this entry »

Opening a Conversation about Undergraduate Research

February 1, 2013 § Leave a comment

In my experience one of the key appeals of digital humanities at small liberal arts colleges is the opportunity for undergraduates to do applied, authentic research in the humanities. Last week at the annual meeting of the Association of American Colleges and Universities (AAC&U), I had the pleasure of being part of a panel (with Daniel Chamberlain, Jeff McClurken, and Jim Proctor) showcasing undergraduate research using digital tools and methodologies both in the digital humanities and beyond.  I had actually titled the panel, “Undergraduates as Public Digital Scholars” in hopes of attracting the attention of those interested in undergraduate research, one of the high impact practices for liberal education advocated by AAC&U. « Read the rest of this entry »

Crowdsourcing, Collaboration, Feedback, and Grading

January 10, 2013 § Leave a comment

One of the challenges of crowdsourcing identified by the Transcribe Bentham project was a disconnect between a vision for crowdsourcing as driven by collaborative effort and community feeling and the reality that individual contributors seemed to be more driven by receiving feedback from editorial staff and not from fellow contributors.  In “Building A Volunteer Community: Results and Findings from Transcribe Bentham” after reporting the relatively low amount of collaborative work on manuscripts, Tim Causer and Valerie Wallace conclude,

This all suggests that volunteers appeared to prefer starting transcripts from scratch, and to work alone (Table 6), with communication and acknowledgement from staff being of much greater importance than collaboration with other users. (Digital Humanities Quarterly. 2012. 6.2, paragraph 72)

This situation reminds me of the challenge of promoting collaborative work in the classroom, a challenge I often experienced when managing peer review of student writing.  I found that I had to “sell” peer review to my students because they didn’t value the feedback of fellow students but rather wanted feedback from the instructor–essentially the authority figure in the classroom.  I think we see the same thing with the Transcribe Bentham project. Like students, contributors want validation from the experts, i.e., those running the project. « Read the rest of this entry »

My latest at NITLE’s Techne blog: Building Capacity through Professional Development

January 7, 2013 § Leave a comment

Originally posted on January 07, 2013 at 10:59AM at Techne,

If you are looking to build your capacity in digital humanities, consider one of the NEH-funded Institutes for Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities.  The calendar of current opportunities is here:

Topics for this year’s institutes include digital research in modern studies, 3D visualization for cultural heritage sites, linked open data for Ancient Mediterranean and Near East Studies, data curation, high performance sound technologies, text-encoding (TEI), and tool building.

New and Newly Accessible Publications in Digital Humanities

January 4, 2013 § Leave a comment

It’s a great day for digital humanities publications.  The long awaited (at least by me), Digital Humanities Pedagogy: Practices, Principles and Politics (formerly known as Teaching Digital Humanities), edited by Brett Hirsch has now been published.  You can read it free online here:, download an electronic version for a price, or buy it in paperback or hardback.  I’ve been fortunate to see drafts of articles by Matt Gold on “Looking for Whitman”, Lisa Spiro on Opening up Digital Humanities Education, and Tanya Clement on Multiliteracies. I look forward now to reading the final versions, as well as all the other pieces.

If that wasn’t enough to keep me busy, the open access version of Debates in the Digital Humanities edited by Matt Gold is also now available here One feature made possible by the digital edition is sharing of highlights and feedback by readers.  You can see what the hottest spots are in the text.  Two new clusters of essays will also be published in 2013.  The first cluster in March will include:

  • Jentery Sayers on “Dropping the Digital”
  • Ethan Wattrall on “Archaeology and the ‘Big Tent’ of Digital Humanities”
  • A new piece by the #transformdh collective
  • Michael Hancher on “Re: Search and Close Reading”
  • Dennis Tenen on “Blunt Instrumentalism”
  • Steven E. Jones on “The Emergence of the Digital Humanities”
  • Ryan Cordell on “DH, Interdisciplinarity, and Curricular Incursion”
  • Katherine D. Harris on “Digital Pedagogy: License to Screw Around”
  • Mark Marino on “Why We Must Read the Code”
  • A cluster of essays on DH in a global context
  • Claire Warwick on “Twitter and Digital Identity”
  • Jeff Rice on “Searching the Story of Billy the Kid”

Looks like plenty of reading for January!

Developing a Curriculum for Undergraduate Work in the Digital Archives

December 17, 2012 § 1 Comment

I want to highlight a recent journal issue and a seminar from 2011 because each documents ways to engage student in applied digital work through the archives.  I’m addressing them together because I believe that combined, they suggest a model for a sequential undergraduate curriculum for digital archives.   « Read the rest of this entry »

NITLE Survey on Digital Humanities at Small Liberal Arts Colleges

November 9, 2012 § Leave a comment

Interest in digital humanities, digital scholarship, and digital methodologies is growing at liberal arts colleges. To monitor that growth and explore its implications for liberal arts colleges, the National Institute for Technology in Liberal Education (NITLE) is gathering information about digital humanities at small liberal arts colleges. We invite faculty, staff, administrators and others at small liberal arts colleges to complete our online survey on this topic. Please also share the survey with your colleagues.  We welcome multiple results from the same institution.   Any information you can provide will be appreciated, even if you cannot answer every question.

NITLE Survey on Digital Humanities at Small Liberal Arts Colleges:

Results from this survey will update the research on digital humanities at small liberal arts colleges, that went into this publication:

Alexander, Bryan, and Rebecca Frost Davis. “Should Liberal Arts Campuses Do Digital Humanities? Process and Products in the Small College World.” In Debates in the Digital Humanities, edited by Matthew K. Gold. University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

Research Statement

This is a research project being conducted by Rebecca Frost Davis, NITLE Program Officer for the Humanities.  Your participation in this research study is voluntary and you may withdraw at any time without penalty. We anticipate that this survey will take no more than 15-20 minutes to complete.

Information from this survey will be used in the following way:

  • Aggregate data will be shared with the NITLE network and published openly
  • Responses indicating levels of institutional engagement in digital humanities and that would generally be available publicly, e.g., existence of a digital humanities center, courses offered, individual or institutional projects, may be shared with the NITLE network and published openly, under the names of individual institutions
  • Individual responses that reflect a respondent’s opinion (qualitative responses) will not be shared, published, quoted, etc., without prior consent although aggregate information about and analysis of such responses may be shared and published

We will do our best to keep your information confidential. All data is stored in a password protected electronic format. The results of this study will be used for scholarly purposes only and may be shared with NITLE representatives.

My latest at NITLE’s Techne blog: Undergraduate Research and Digital Scholarship

October 15, 2012 § Leave a comment

Originally posted on October 15, 2012 at 01:25PM at Techne,

How can we prepare our students to be citizens in a networked world? One solution is to give them occasions for action in that world through authentic research using digital methodologies.  Let them explore wicked problems that cross disciplinary lines and don’t have clear solutions.  Engage them in collaborative research involving both students and faculty members. Involve them in projects driven by community needs and mentor them through that work.  All of these answers highlight the value of liberal education in a world of webs and networks because these are the kinds of opportunities offered by small liberal arts colleges rather than large-scale, industrial MOOCs. « Read the rest of this entry »

How Humanists Read and Why We Need a Better (Electronic) Reading Ecosystem

October 10, 2012 § 4 Comments

I just completed an interesting and brief survey on humanities reading practices from Aditi Muralidharan. If you complete the survey, you can see the aggregate survey results. The survey asks questions about whether you copy out snippets of text that you are reading. I found that my reading practices seem similar to many other humanists in the fact that I do copy out snippets, how long they are, and how I use them.  Behind this survey, I hope I’m seeing the promise of improved tools to suport humanities research practices. « Read the rest of this entry »

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