I’m familiar with lots of small historical societies–volunteer-run, mostly–who have photographs and historical documents they would like to share but are not sure how. Some scan the photos and put them on their own websites and some add them to Facebook, but their methods often don’t produce high-quality visual representations, have poor metadata, and don’t disseminate the content effectively. This is probably similarly the case for other sorts of non-profit, non-professional humanities groups or arts organizations.
How can the professional community help these small, non-professional groups? Can we help train them in the use of available tools, like Omeka or PastPerfect’s exhibit plug-in? Is it possible to effectively utilize social media like Facebook and Pinterest? When discussing the proposed Delaware Valley Digital Humanities Center, can we afford to provide services to the little guys? Could the DV DH Center look something like the Maine Memory Network or North Carolina’s DigitalNC? Could we have a Philly-based scannebago?
One issue we’ve encountered in developing our digital history project relates to our target audience of grade 6-12 teachers, but it probably applies to college professors as well. We’ve found this audience has varying comfort levels with both primary source documents and technology, meaning that while some teachers certainly seek out these kinds of digital projects for their classrooms, MANY others would not.
What else could/should we be doing as a DH community to encourage teachers to use these primary-source digital resources in the classroom? This may be a simple brainstorm of existing resources that we could collect into one place, or we could begin a larger discussion about how we could cooperate regionally on trainings, print how-to manuals, or other support resources specifically focused on DH in the classroom.
I have noticed when visiting several institutions for graduate school, that valuable film, video or audio media sits on shelves, unable to be used by researchers. The goal of this session is to discuss the possibility of creating a non-profit media center that is either stand alone or maybe part of a university or other organization. To digitize this media at very low cost to make this historical media available to users for the first time. There are several reasons why these organizations have a difficult time transferring this media to digital form:
-Playback issues-Most of this media is outdated, so finding equipment to playback and view/listen can be a large cost in itself.
-Researching standards and compatibility with current library software-Each institution will have different needs as far as which type of files will be compatible with their content management software/hardware.
-Copyright issues-Materials will have different rights issues which will need to be determined before posting online. Possible remedies are watermarked copies or low resolution viewing copies.
Let’s discuss these issues and the many more I’m sure you’ll come up with! To make this material accessible (and searchable) would be a boon to researchers everywhere!
Last year, we received great advice for future directions for the digital Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia — we have implemented some THATCamper suggestions already, and more are on the way. This year we’d like to invite you to help put another of those good ideas into action — that is, help us create a hub that links the encyclopedia’s content with your digital finding aids and collections. Take a look at our WordPress web site, http://philadelphiaencyclopedia.org, and bring your stuff! We can add to the lists of collections that appear with each essay, to the media links, or to the image galleries (jpegs and extended text). Before we’re through, let’s also figure out a way to keep this up as the encyclopedia continues to grow. We would love to boost your collections through links in the Encyclopedia of Greater Philadelphia. Who’s in?
Update: In addition to the topics already on the web site, we are ready to link collections to the following new topics:
- American Civil Liberties Union
- The Centennial
- Flax and Linen
- French Revolution
- Indentured Servitude
- Ladies Association of Philadelphia
- Laurel Hill Cemetery
- Pennhurst State School and Hospital
- Spanish-American Revolutions
UPDATE: And if read this and you’re thinking “Count Me In,” you can help get the ball rolling by visiting PhillyDH.org and signing up for the Google Group.
Last year, one of our most popular sessions was prompted by this question, originally posed by Seth Bruggeman. One year later, let’s revisit this idea and make some plans. Among THATCamp organizers, there is definite interest in continuing DH-related learning and discussion opportunities throughout the calendar year.
For this session, I’ll suggest we:
- Find a date, time, and location for a winter Delaware Valley Digital Humanities meet-up/workshop/hackathon
- Set a tentative agenda for this event, settling upon a speaker or topic of wide interest to the THATCamp Philly community
- Come up with a list of other possible DH-related topics or activities worthy of meeting up to discuss/do
- Take names of people willing to help organize and run these events, deciding who could handle space coordination, catering, speaker coordination, publicity, etc.
If doing something like this in a session might interest you, let us know in a comment.