THATCampers,

Here are a few links to tools/projects mentioned in the lightning round and a few from the data and visualization and mapping sessions. Thanks so much for a wonderful experience and we hope to see you again!

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Digital Accessibility Resources PowerPoint

Stephanie Robbins gave a fantastic presentation on Digital Accessibility Resources at THATCamp AHA Denver 2017. You can find a link to her PowerPoint below and a list of resources under the digital accessibility tab.

THAT Camp Digital Accessibility Presentation

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THATCamp AHA Denver 2017 Misc Links

Hi all, below is a link to a collection of interesting sites and information used at THAT Camp AHA Denver 2017. Enjoy!

www.one-tab.com/page/G4FMkILZQ9C2p0jAbgjQTQ

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Open Source Resources

Below you’ll find a link to a document created by members of THAT Camp AHA 2017 on open-source resources.

docs.google.com/document/d/1fxA3xeZLtGuj5WQbbMypFr-4MAgfIjTMfEPzrkT5CLw/edit?usp=sharing

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Visualization play

A last-minute proposal for a visualization workshop/play session. I’m no expert, but I can start us off.

We could think about what use visualization is for the historian/humanities scholar, what kinds of things can usefully be visualized, and what the requirements for a good visualization are.

We could also play with low-entry-bar visualization tools like the RAW tools (app.raw.densitydesign.org/) and the Bertifier (bertifier.com).

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(Digital) Historians and the “New Normal”

Over the past year we’ve all heard the call (often on social media) to avoid complacency in the current political environment. Whether one agrees that the foundations of our democracy and the freedoms it protects are threatened or not, it seems prudent in the face of some of the stated and unstated goals of the incoming administration and its supporters, to think carefully about how we will react to threats to civil liberties.

According to FiveThirtyEight, one of the best indicators for how people voted in the presidential election was education. So while there is undoubtedly value in educating our students about how to be better citizens, reaching beyond the academy seems more important than ever. Digital tools and methods allow us means to do just that. But what role should historians, digital and otherwise, play in promoting the pursuit of truth, liberty, and justice? What actions should we be taking, individually or collectively, to prevent or respond to moves to curtail legitimate and vital knowledge production and information propagation?

I’m proposing that we discuss how historians, digital humanists, librarians, and others within the academy—who I would argue have a claim to understanding of how societies have dealt with this in the past—should act and react to actions and words that promote division and antipathy. In particular how can we reach beyond the academy and our classrooms in these efforts?

And finally, I am aware that there are partisan elements to this view of the direction in which our country seems to be going. I don’t want to presume that everyone necessarily agrees with me, so I would be more than happy for this session to encourage respectful debate and discussion about this complex problem.

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Humanities Data – discussion & brainstorming

This proposal is for a discussion and brainstorming session on the meanings of data in the humanities (and specifically history). As Miriam Posner has pointed out, most humanities scholars do not think of their work with sources as “extracting features in order to analyze them” but rather see the source material as something to “dive into … like a pool” so as to “understand it from within” (Posner 2015). Yet digitization has created tons of text that could potentially be, and to some extent is being, mined, from government reports to literature. How, then, do we combine the humanities impulse to understand our sources from within with the possibilities of processing and analyzing them en masse?

The idea in the session is to engage participants in a discussion about the kinds of sources they routinely deal with and the ways in which those sources could be thought of as repositories of “data” – conceptualized preliminarily as extracting some kind of information that is somehow different from the kind of understanding achieved through reading the sources one by one. It might be topic modeling a set of texts, creating a social network from connections they reveal, examining the kinds of language used… But rather than focusing on the tool, I’d like to focus on how historians and other humanities scholars conceptualize, or might conceptualize, “data” within their sources.

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Talk and then Make: Teaching with Big Data

This session will ask participants to engage with the concept of big data and how we can help our students better grasp the enormity of the data behind many of the projects/apps/websites they interface with every day either in the classroom or as public citizens.

When we talk, we’ll look at two to four digital projects and popular social media platforms to discuss the big data behind these pretty looking platforms. What are the consequences of big data’s use for historical analysis, historical consumption, privacy and other aspects? Are those consequences different for us and for our students?

After talking, we’ll make. How can we put what we came up with into student facing language? Can we create a lesson plan, activity, clearinghouse or website that deals with it in a way that will engage our students?

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Mapping the US History Survey

We are the editors of The American Yawp (americanyawp.com), the first and only open US history textbook produced through massive collaboration. We are in the early stages of thinking through “The American Yawp Atlas,  a compendium of both static and interactive maps designed for the US history survey. Come help us think through the process and produce a series of documents.

Too often textbooks use maps simply as decoration. What issues, themes, or events in the survey require spatial representation? Is a textbook the best medium to represent the spatial history of the United States? Creating databases is often the most difficult and time-consuming aspect of GIS work. What data resources are already available to help produce maps suitable for the survey?

We have three goals for this session. Through open discussion, we hope to

1.  Produce a wish-list of maps.

2.  Identify resources for the production of maps suitable for the survey.

3.  Sketch the draft of a white paper on best practices in the pedagogy of spatial history,

We have a fourth goal as well, as we are always looking to meet and collaborate with those interested in democratizing history through digital tools. Come share your ideas, questions, and concerns.

JOIN OUR GOOGLE DOC AND SHARE YOUR IDEAS. 

Categories: Mapping, Open Access, Session: Make, Teaching | Leave a comment

When Introducing Primary Sources, Does Format Matter?

The last decade has seen a large proliferation of online archives, giving more researchers more access to more primary sources than ever before. At the same time, researchers often are no longer physically handling materials, and are instead relying on digital facsimiles. While this shift has opened exciting new areas of research, it has also changed how the concept of “primary sources” is first presented to undergraduate students.

This talk session would focus on pedagogies for introducing primary sources to new undergraduate researchers. For instance, should such an introduction still include bringing materials into class or arranging a visit to a library’s special collections? Or is viewing a scanned document enough of an experience? In the event physically handling materials isn’t possible, what alternatives exist for giving students a better understanding of what it means for something to be an “artifact”?

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