Supporting Efforts to Diversify DH

This is a talk session, co-proposed by Alana Kumbier, Kelly McElroy, and Lydia Willoughby.

 We’re interested in identifying ways in which academic librarians can support projects to diversify DH. Some of our framing questions include:

  • How do we connect our skills and knowledges with projects that originate within the academy as well as in our communities?

  • How do we help students, faculty and staff discover projects & resources that represent diverse experiences, histories, and modes of cultural production? What can we do to connect our patrons with online digital collections of radical, queer, POC, alternative press materials (contemporary & historic)?

  • How can we help eliminate barriers to access for people who want to create DH projects?

  • How can we design adaptive and accessible systems that foster community use of technology for users with diverse digital literacies?

  • How can we help ensure that DH projects are accessible, aware of multiple ontologies, accountable to communities being documented, and open to participation?

  • What great resources, projects, or collectives do we know about that we’d like to share with others?

  • What ways can we collaborate with partners and key community stakeholders to promote, market and fund our DH projects?

  • Do we want to form a working group, identify a project we could work on together?

Our proposal is motivated by (and builds upon) calls to create DH projects that draw on a set of critical theoretical and activist genealogies that include:

  • Queer theory & activism

  • Critical race theory and anti-racist theory & activism

  • Indigenous studies & activism

  • Feminist theory & activism

  • Disability studies & activism, and

  • Postcolonial studies

These calls have been articulated by a number of groups, in different contexts. Online, we can see evidence of this work in sites created by the #transformDH Collective, from NITLE discussion of Women’s Studies, Gender Studies & DH, by #DHPoco (a Postcolonial Digital Humanities project), THATCamp Feminisms West and THATCamp Feminisms East, and the Diversity in DH discussion at THATCamp SoCal 2011.


Categories: General | 3 Comments

Plan a dh+lib series

Wanted: a group of individuals interested in digital humanities and libraries to serve as acquisitions editors for one hour.

The project: dh+lib wants to host a series of posts that will move forward the conversation surrounding digital humanities and libraries, but we need your help picking a theme. What questions have gone unanswered that need to be? Is there a topic that could be more fully developed? What would make your job easier (at least the part that’s related to DH)? Who could contribute to this series?

It doesn’t necessarily have to be blog posts – are there resources that would make your job easier, or more interesting, but don’t yet exist?

Come tell us what ideas you would like to see discussed, and help shape the future path of dh+lib.

Categories: General | 1 Comment

Come Play with Ngram Viewer

I am a complete novice in this realm but I want to learn. I am hoping there are some more like-minded attendees who will enjoy a truly exploratory session. And I also hope someone out there will propose a session on the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

Come Play with Ngram Viewer
A “talk and play” session proposed by Judith Arnold, Wayne State University (Detroit)

One of my colleagues showed me this tool and I was immediately taken with it. I am proposing a Play and Talk session (45 to 60 minutes) where we play with this tool for 20 minutes or so and then spend the rest of the time discussing how different disciplines (or even ourselves in library science) might use this tool. Google Ngram Viewer ( visualizes word frequency in the corpus of Google Books. You can chart the occurrence of words over time and even in advanced features determine how the word is used (through part of speech tags), so I can imagine that linguists, for example,  would be interested.  I experimented with words for an upcoming instruction session on literary studies to see what Ngram Viewer could show me about the prominence of different authors over time and I generated some interesting graphs, which I will bring with me. So bring your iPad or laptop and join me in some exploration, fun, and idea exchanges.

Categories: Session Proposals, Text Mining, Visualization | Comments Off on Come Play with Ngram Viewer

Library as Publisher: Putting Best Practices on (Digital) Paper

This is a make session co-proposed by Thea Atwood & Caro Pinto (Hampshire College)

We want build off of the Thursday session called: Library Publishing & Undergraduate Education. The session plans to offer best practices, but let’s get together and hammer out what they look like and how they connect to undergraduate education.

How do we teach altmetrics to undergraduates across disciplines?

Do we all need institutional repositories to showcase our unique work?

How do we get faculty excited about open access?

How do we incentive collaboration on scholarly communication within the faculty?

How do we make our collections budgets stretch to support open access scholarship on our campuses?


Categories: Session Proposals | 1 Comment

Libraries and Publishing

Co-proposed with Melanie Schlosser, Digital Publishing Librarian, Ohio State University, and Stewart Varner, Digital Scholarship Coordinator, Emory University.

Libraries are becoming increasingly involved in publishing in new and interesting ways (see, for example, the Amherst College Press and the Library Publishing Coalition). As more libraries get involved in publishing or look to increase their efforts in this area, we are faced with many new questions. For example, how do you balance the need for mission-driven publishing using traditional outputs (e.g. journals and monographs) with an interest in experimental publishing? Will library publishing efforts be most successful by focusing untapping niche markets or other areas? Many university publishers are starting short form ebook series (see Princeton Shorts, UNC Press Shorts, and Stanford Briefs) and other such experiments in content size – what is the “right size” for academic scholarship?

Come join us to discuss these questions and more. Are you doing library publishing at your institution? Tell us what’s worked well and what are the current challenges you’re facing.

Categories: General | 1 Comment

One Hour, One Project – or – The Incredible Lightness of the Work of Many Hands

I’m a big fan of talking. I like to talk, to share ideas, to chit-chat, shoot the breeze. This being my third THATCamp, I’m done with all that. I’ve yacked about DH and Libraries, twice. I’m ready to be a maker, a doer, a hands-on digital humanities guru. What’s holding me back, you might ask? Well, I haven’t gone back to the basics and become the self-taught coding hacking machine of a DH-er that I once thought I’d be. But, I know what I’m good at, and I’m ready to give that to the DH community.

I propose that we take one hour-long session, pick a project from DHCommons (an amazing little site that lists DH Projects AND the work that they need done to help them along) and just freaking do it. Need data entry and looking for librarian collaborators? Great! I’ve got 5 people sitting around with laptops who are excited about DH work and ready to do something! Need Beta Testers to break your site? Cool! Let’s all access it from smart phones simultaneously! Have a pile of “reference” questions that need answered? You got it! Our powers united creates Captain DHBrarian! Want to create a bibliography of THATCamp? Been there. Done that (still needs work!)

Simply, lets find something DHish that needs to be done, organize our efforts and quickly accomplish it. A range of skills and proficiencies can participate in this session, and there’d be only one rule: Lets do this thing.

Categories: Collaboration, Crowdsourcing, Session Proposals | Tags: , , , | 4 Comments

Session Proposals

In brief

Everyone who goes to a THATCamp proposes a session. Do not prepare a paper or presentation. Plan instead to have a conversation, to get some work done, or to have fun.

How do I propose a session?

Once you register for your THATCamp and are approved, you will receive a user account on the THATCamp website. You should receive your login information by email. Before the THATCamp, you should log in to the THATCamp site, click on Posts –> Add New, then write and publish your session proposal. Your session proposal will appear on the front page of this site, and we’ll all be able to read and comment on it beforehand. (If you haven’t worked with WordPress before, see for help.) The morning of the event, all THATCamp participants will vote on those proposals (and probably come up with several new ones), and then all together will work out how best to put those sessions into a schedule.

Remember that you will be expected to facilitate the sessions you propose, so that if you propose a hacking session, you should have the germ of a project to work on; if you propose a workshop, you should be prepared to teach it or find a teacher; if you propose a discussion of the Digital Public Library of America, you should be prepared to summarize what that is, begin the discussion, keep the discussion going, and end the discussion.

When do I propose a session?

You can propose a session as early as you like, but most people publish their session proposals to the THATCamp site during the week before the THATCamp begins. It’s a good idea to check the THATCamp site frequently in the week beforehand (perhaps by subscribing to its RSS feed with an RSS reader such as Google Reader) to see and comment on everyone’s session proposals. You can also come up with a last-minute idea and propose it to the THATCamp participants during the scheduling session, which is the first session of the THATCamp.

Why are sessions proposed this way?

Proposing sessions just before a THATCamp and building a schedule during the first session of a THATCamp ensures that sessions are honest and informal, that session topics are current, and that unconference participants will collaborate on a shared task. An unconference, in Tom Scheinfeldt’s words, is fun, productive, and collegial, and at THATCamp, therefore, “[W]e’re not here to listen and be listened to. We’re here to work, to participate actively.[…] We’re here to get stuff done.” Listen further:

Everyone should feel equally free to participate and everyone should let everyone else feel equally free to participate. You are not students and professors, management and staff here at THATCamp. At most conferences, the game we play is one in which I, the speaker, try desperately to prove to you how smart I am, and you, the audience member, tries desperately in the question and answer period to show how stupid I am by comparison. Not here. At THATCamp we’re here to be supportive of one another as we all struggle with the challenges and opportunities of incorporating technology in our work, departments, disciplines, and humanist missions.

See the About page for more information on the philosophy of unconferences.

What do I propose?

There are roughly four things people do in THATCamp sessions: TalkMakeTeach, and Play. Sometimes one session contains elements of all these, but it’s also a fair taxonomy for THATCamp sessions.

  • In a Talk session proposal, you offer to lead a group discussion on a topic or question of interest to you.
  • In a Make session proposal, you offer to lead a small group in a hands-on collaborative working session with the aim of producing a draft document or piece of software.
  • In a Teach session, you offer to teach a skill, either a “hard” skill or a “soft” skill.
  • In a Play session, anything goes — you suggest literally playing a game, or you suggest some quality group playtime with one or more technologies, or what you will.

Also, you should feel free to pick up and continue themes or discussions that have been proposed at other THATCamps. There are ongoing discussions about the role of libraries in digital humanities, Less yacking/more hacking, Project Management, and more.

Talk session examples

Make session examples

Teach session examples

Play session examples

Categories: Administrative | Comments Off on Session Proposals


THATCamp_2Registration for THATCamp ACRL 2013 is now open! Click here, fill out the webform, and you should receive an email when your registration is approved.

A quick note about the purpose of registration – typically most THATCamp’s put a cap on registrations, so that the conversation and event space do not get overwhelmed. Since we are hosting THATCamp as part of the ACRL conference, we have an alternate goal in asking attendees to “register” here. As our THATCamp will be open to any and all conference participants, the purpose of registration is to get a sense of how many of you are committing (to some degree) that you really, really are planning to show up and participate. Also, registering will give you access to this WordPress site, where you will propose sessions, and interact with other Campers before and after the event.

So, come one, come all! But, if you want to get fully into the THATCampery, please take the time to register, fill out a profile, and propose a session. We want to make this a valuable experience for you, by you!

Categories: Administrative, General | 3 Comments

Planning to not plan too much.


Image from THATCamp Penn, by Weigle Information Commons on Flickr.

We are quickly nearing conference time, and are very excited to have THATCamp be a part of ACRL this year. In case you haven’t checked the schedule yet, THATCamp ACRL will be held on Friday, April 12 from 8am-5pm.

Since we’ll be unconferencing at the same time as much conferencing is going on, we’ll be using a modified schedule: typically, THATCamp’s begin with a planning session to organize the day’s breakout sessions. As we expect many folks will be coming and going throughout the day, we plan to have two mini-camps. We’ll meet in the morning, plan and schedule morning sessions, then reconvene after lunch and do the same.

Here’s the basic idea:

  • Show up on day of the event. Volunteers will coordinate check-ins at the door, hopefully there will be t-shirts, name tags, goodie bags, info sheets, whatever the coordinating committee can put together.
  • 8:30-9:30 – Planning the Morning Sessions
    • Organizer hooks up laptop to the screen so all can see and then sessions are grouped, combined, separated, scheduled and organized in about an hour by all attendees using a shared Google spreadsheet updated live on screen. (Often there will be “tracks” that come out of the planning, grouping sessions around areas like technical, discussions, projects).
  • 9:30-10:30 – Morning Session # 1
    • People break out into groups based on which session they want to attend. In this case, since we’ll only have one large room, we’ll grab chairs and tables and floor space, spread out and go. Whomever proposed the session is the unofficial leader. So, if John Jackson proposes a discussion on text mining in Religious Studies, he will introduce the topic, manage discussion themes/questions, start to discuss, take notes or request a note taker (in a shared Google doc), etc. etc., and generally follow through on whatever the session produces.
  • 10:30-11:00 – Break
  • 11:00-12:00 Morning Session # 2
    • (Same format as session # 1) People break out into groups based on which session they want to attend. Whomever proposed the session is the unofficial leader. So, if John proposed a Omeka hack session, he will introduce the topic, show the tool(s), start to hack, take notes or request a note taker (in a shared Google doc), etc. etc., and generally follow through on whatever the session produces.
  • 12:00-1:30 Lunch
  • 1:30-2:30 Planning the Afternoon Sessions
    • Organizer hooks up laptop to the screen so all can see and then sessions are grouped, combined, separated, scheduled and organized in about an hour by all attendees using a shared Google spreadsheet updated live onscreen.
  • 2:30-3:30 Afternoon Session # 1
    • Same as above. Break-out groups. Session proposer leads. Talk, discuss, hack, share, do, make.
  • 3:30 – 4:00 Break
  • 4:00 – 5:00 Afternoon Session # 2 
    • Here we have some leeway. We could do another break-out session, or we could come back together as one whole group, and have each “Session facilitator” describe their session, what came out of it, etc. in 5 minutes or less. Sort of like mix of wrap-up, Plenary, Dork-shorts, etc. A good way to wind down and see what THATCamp ACRL is/was.

That’s the plan for the time being. But, since we’re trying to put the “Un-” in the unconference, who know’s what could happen!

Registrations will open in late February. Start to think up your proposals for sessions now! 

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THATCamp ACRL2013 is a go!

We’re happy to announce that there will be a THATCamp unconference as part of the programming at ACRL2013! The details will be published here as we work them out. Meanwhile, read more about the THATCamp movement and browse other THATCamps at

We especially encourage you to click through Miriam Posner’s comprehensive reading list of articles relating to Digital Humanities and Libraries. Hopefully some of the topics she highlights there will inspire the conversations we’ll have at ACRL2013.

Also, we are very thankful to Microsoft Research for providing support and funding for our THATCamp.

– Brought to you by The ACRL Innovations Committee

Categories: Administrative, General | Tags: , , , , , | Comments Off on THATCamp ACRL2013 is a go!