Re/searching on the Web

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Digital Age Copyright & Your Rights as an Author


MINE integration

There is a new software tool called “MINE” (Maximal Information-based Nonparametric Exploration) that is specifically designed to mine large datasets for novel, i.e., not human selected, connections (the software essentially hypothesizes connections among disparate pieces of data, which connections humans may or may not have considered/identified). How useful does this seem for humanities research? I’m specifically thinking of how to integrate this tool with GIS to analyze distributions that may not have been considered before.

Check it out online at

Popcorn! (and/or Linking the Local)

I would like to propose a session in which we explore together the potential for humanities scholarship and teaching in tools emerging from the HTML5 movement. Popcorn (mozilla labs, for example, enables interaction with video as never before. Our project (Remixing Rural Texas: Local Texts, Global Contexts”) utilizes this open source tool to annotate original context of source materials included in three short videos –each remixed almost entirely from existing archival materials and featuring critical race narratives emerging from my research. Read the rest of this entry »

Session Proposal: Online Sources for Multimedia

What are your favorite sources for royalty-free or public-domain multimedia (images, music, video) when you are putting together a presentation or brochure? I have a couple that I like and turn to on a regular basis, but perhaps there are other great ones out there that I don’t know about? Maybe it would be fun and helpful for those of us who want to find and use multimedia on a fairly regular basis to get together and brainstorm about what we use, how we make sure we are using these media legally, and where we find great stuff!

Session Proposal: Inclusivity, Cultural Studies, and DH

I would love to extend conversations started by Bethany Nowviskie in her Storify/blog, “What do girls dig?,” the #transformdh group presentation at last year’s ASA, and Miriam Posner’s blog post “Some things to think about before you exhort everyone to code.” Namely, how can we open up the already-collaborative and collegial spaces of DH to be more welcoming and encouraging of traditionally underrepresented groups? In addition, how can we bring issues of identity and inclusivity into DH pedagogy?

Using Electronic Books Wisely

Most people I talk to have a Kindle or iPad or other device for reading electronic books, but claim “it doesn’t really work for teaching” or “I can’t really use it to do my research.” As someone who relied pretty heavily on Early English Books Online for my dissertation, I am always struggling to make the best of what is available to me in my teaching and research. EEBO, for instance, is difficult to use in the classroom and in research because of its slow loading time and ridiculous navigation buttons. The Kindle should be an obvious improvement on that, but people still argue that the lack of page numbers is a limit on its utility. I would love to see a session devoted to best practices in the uses of electronic texts in teaching and research.

Session on Pedagogy and the Digital Humanities (for Saturday)

This session idea is one that I’ve proposed during THATCamp Austin 2009 and THATCamp Texas 2011, so if it seems semi-familiar, that’s why. In any event, I propose holding a session where we can discuss the challenges of getting students to learn how to approach and engage with technology in a risk-taking and creative manner. I’ve noticed more and more over the past few years that there’s a large disconnect between the popular cultural discourse of “millenials” and their actual tech-savviness, and the reality of how many students are fairly tech-phobic when it comes to new programs, resources, or unfamiliar platforms.

I’d like to discuss what pedagogical approaches, assignment structures, particular resources, or other strategies people have for getting students to become more willing to embrace risk and willingly challenge themselves to learn and master resources with which they are unfamiliar. Moreover, I think it’d be interesting, given the likely academia-heavy audience, to learn what colleges and universities expect of entering students in terms of tech-knowledge. Gaining a sense of these expectations I hope will allow the conversation to address the issue of how secondary school teachers (of which I am one) can help students become more confident and resourceful in navigating and employing the ever-changing landscape of technology.

Session on re-using copyrighted materials

Here’s my first session idea: I’m compiling a corpus of both old and new media vernacular texts as part of a semantic/anthropological examination of American beliefs about health. (It’s called CADOH—Corpus of American Discourses on Health). I’ve been using the pilot stages of it to look at the distribution of terms such as fat, stress, cold, and oil. I’m envisioning its final form as a mix of vernacular discussions. While good corpora exist already for contemporary magazine, newspaper, and fiction (e.g. COCA), I’m aiming to capture more transient conversations about health, including blog posts and their comments, listervs, online forums and wikis, letters to the editor, and radio transcripts. To make it useful for others, I will need copyright approval for sharing the texts. So I’m proposing a helpathon in order to hear from others who have dealt with compiling current materials. What ways to request copyrighted info have been helpful? For those items not under a Creative Commons license, are the costs prohibitive for re-using current material? And, once the copyright issues are dealt with, what’s the best way to make the corpus accessible? Would this be a good Omeka-type project?

Proposed Saturday Session: Intro-level GIS and the Humanities

Please click on the log-in button and post your own ideas for Saturday sessions. We have a program of
Workshops for Friday, but Saturday is wide open. That’s the way THATCamps work!

I would like to propose a session for Saturday on working with GIS in the humanities classroom. GIS [Geographic Information Systems] raises interesting teaching opportunities and dilemmas for humanities faculty. I’d like to be part of a discussion with other folks who are interested in these issues to share experiences and brainstorm about GIS pedagogy techniques for the humanities disciplines.

On the one hand, the dominant player, by far, in the GIS world is ArcGIS, by ESRI. Their software is the gold standard and they have developed some excellent teaching materials. They have also been good about publicizing how humanists [or at least historians like me] use their technology. And they do make 90-day trial disks quite readily available for students and faculty.

On the downside, an installed license version of ArcGIS is quite expensive and setting up a full teaching lab could be quite expensive. My institution can afford this but I’m teaching graduate and undergraduate students who will be teaching in institutions — high schools, community colleges, and small private colleges — that will probably not be able to put up such a lab. And on a philosophical basis, I’d like to be turning students on to more open-source software.

There is open-source GIS software like Quantum GIS, which runs on Windows, Mac and Linux systems. These would be easy to set up in an existing lab or to have students install on their own computers. Has anyone had experience teaching with these?

And there are also all kinds of new GIS-lite applications, with a lot of potential for teachiing. Some, like ArcGIS explorer and other ArcGIS on-line products, are relatively new while others, like Google Earth, have been in the teaching arena for a few years now. What should we be doing with these tools in the classroom? What are people doing with them?

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