Posts Tagged ‘collaboration’


Good Summary Article on Digital Classics/cist

March 22, 2011

Yesterday I read with interest Simon Mahoney’s article “Research communities and open collaboration: the example of the Digital Classicist wiki,” thanks to a recommendation from @paregorios (Tom Elliot).  It’s a fairly quick read and I feel like I have a better understanding of what the Digital Classicist wiki‘s history is, and what I might find it useful for in the future – better than I acquired after some random poking around on the site last summer, anyway.

One of the big topics the article raises is whether digital humanities is inherently collaborative and what technological structures can do to foster community.  This is an issue I’m interested in in general, especially because I see academia generally, and classics within the academy in particular, as very hierarchical disciplines that value tradition, and disciplines where much of the serious work is done solo (archaeologists are somewhat exceptional in this regard).  I thought about this idea when I talked about and social networking for academics; I thought about this idea when we discussed crowdsourcing at THATCamp SE.  I’m thinking about this today, as my goal for this week is to get the wiki piece of the Ancient World Open Bibliographies project up and running, and the goal of that project is the building of a collaborative bibliography for the use of scholars and students.  How can I get collaborators?

As an aside, I was curious enough about the gender balance in digital classics – especially because of the recent spate of articles about gender imbalance among Wikipedia editors – to count the number of members listed at the Digital Classicist Wiki by gender.  (For first names I was uncertain about, I assumed they were female.)  The tally was 120 listed members, 80 of whom are male and 40 of whom are female; the four editors are male.  Not too shabby; recent reports suggest classics PhDs currently awarded are largely split 50-50 by gender, for context, but computer science remains a male-dominated field.


THATCamp 6: Libraries and Scholars

March 17, 2011

This post covers the Sunday of THATCamp SE – sessions I did not attend in person.  The Athens contingent was totally exhausted, and collectively decided to not commute on Sunday.  But I pulled up the #thatcamp twitter feed (archived here by Adelle Frank) and was able to eavesdrop, and even participate virtually a little bit.

The first session I overheard was on Subject Guide Development and Use – basically, LibGuides.  I saw on Twitter that they were interested in alternatives to LibGuides, and tweeted that we at UGA use Library a la Carte, an open-source software developed by Oregon State, and we like it better than LibGuides for its clean design and clear distinction between class and subject guides.  And they pulled it up in the session and looked at it!  Go team remote conference participation.

After that there was a very lively twitter conversation coming from the session on Envisioning Librarian-Scholar Communications, with a collectively-edited Google doc developing as the session went on.  Miriam Posner later posted a great summary of the conversation. This was wonderful to observe remotely, seeing a lot of scholars in the session gain a greater understanding of what librarians do, where their special expertise lies, and how librarians want to, and can, work with scholars in support of teaching and research.

Phew, done!  And only, um, 11 days after the conference ended.

Previous posts on THATCamp SE:


THATCamp SE 4: Making Digital Collections Work for the Scholar

March 10, 2011

THATCamp SE got started in earnest on Saturday.  We all met in a lecture room in the Emory Library (which is a wonderful space in general, and had guest wireless that made me incredibly jealous – it remembered me when I came back the 2nd day, and automatically gave me access! On my own campus, I get kicked off the wireless network repeatedly even when I’m sitting in the same place for an hour.)

THATCamps are “unconferences” – that is, there is no set agenda and no pre-planned papers.  The conference attendees post at the conference web site about what issues they want to discuss, and start to generate interest, and then the morning of the first day they write their sessions on a huge whiteboard and others make tickmarks if they plan to attend.

that camp session white board

This is actually from a THATCamp in Australia. Hence the appearance of "speedos."


The tickmarks allow the organizers to assign sessions to appropriate sized rooms. We had a brief rundown of the THATCamp groundrules (below) and we were off.

  1. THATCamp is FUN – That means no reading papers, no powerpoint presentations, no extended project demos, and especially no grandstanding.
  2. THATCamp is PRODUCTIVE – Following from the no papers rule, we’re not here to listen and be listened to. We’re here to work, to participate actively. It is our sincere hope that you use today to solve a problem, start a new project, reinvigorate an old one, write some code, write a blog post, cure your writer’s block, forge a new collaboration, or whatever else stands for real results by your definition. We [are] here to get stuff done.
  3. Most of all, THATCamp is COLLEGIAL – 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. So no nitpicking, no tweckling, no petty BS.

The first session I attended was proposed by Andy Carter (@cartera) of the Digital Library of Georgia, and described by him as “Big digital piles and the classroom.” As an archivist, he wants to know how scholars use digital collections in both teaching and research, and how the collections he manages can make these tasks easier for them.  Shawn Averkamp, who attended, had also asked a similar question.  We had more librarians than faculty in the room (this was to become a theme…) but the faculty talked about technological hurdles (real and/or perceived) and needing a guide to resources.  My main takeaway was articulated by Paul Fyfe (@pfyfe):

digital libraries/archives session theme of missed connections: who is mediating between resources and researchers/teachers?

For me, this was a stand-up moment: I am.  In my work as a Reference librarian, I am doing this for students who walk up to the desk or ask me a question via chat reference.  In my work as a subject liaison, I want to make it my goal to do this, not just for the faculty at my institution, but for the discipline of classics as a whole, at this blog.  I’ve struggled with understanding digital humanities projects so I can explain to the average classicist – what is this, and how might it be relevant to your research or teaching?  Is there an undergraduate assignment lurking in this project?

Some practical ideas for digital collections or dh projects that we discussed were educator guides, sample assignments, or digital “sandboxes” for playing with content, all hosted at the project sites.  These can come from the librarian or project head, but project hosts would  also welcome feedback from scholars who use their collections: email the project letting them know your students used the materials, and what the assignment looked like, or noting access hurdles and making suggestions to overcome them.  For faculty, the takeaway should be that digital collection and project hosts want the materials to be used, and need your help to see how that can be accomplished most profitably.

Previous posts on THATCamp SE: