Notes from Teaching DH breakout group

THATCamp AHA 2018

Session 2 – Teaching DH breakout group – professional development for scholars & researchers



  1. What are models that have worked for scaling up/building capacity in a department or organization?
  • Make alliances with computer science departments; build a team of people who can work on different parts of projects and contribute expertise
  • See what colleges & departments have funding for student research to become research fellows and work with faculty that way
  • Skill share – bring together people working on specific projects with people with specific technical expertise – CC uses summer and break between semesters for workshops, skill shares usually best if short (1.5 hours) and woven into programming already offered in department, once or twice a semester is usually enough
  • Collect list of different types of projects and ideas so people can get an idea of what it possible and what is available when writing scopes – – template
  • Library of Congress GIS day had an afternoon workshop where all the curators just experimented with StoryMaps
  1. How do you start from 0 in DH?
  • – training course for faculty and librarians – lots of resources, helpful to show projects of different scale and time commitments; now have 3 3-day intensive workshops on specific topics (text analysis, GIS, data viz; last summer was digital storytelling; 2 day crash course to those new to DH)
  • work backward from people’s syllabi and approach based on topics – e.g. this course on 15th century Italy would be a good mapping project, want us to work with you? This worked ~3 months ahead of time, started out by creating guides for students and faculty about how to use tools before class starts, especially for smaller projects; especially good for seminar level topical classes rather than big intros
  • Palladio is an open source tool from Stanford that is useful for visualizing data and social networks – one you can start with when you have a clean, structured data set that’s ready to go; Geffi (sp?) is a free open source one for research
  • It can be interesting to use multiple tools to look at the same data (e.g. networks, maps, text analysis, etc.) and see what different patterns emerge
  1. What are people looking for, or had success with, from libraries?
  • “Buddy system” where you have a simple tool, ready to go data sets, and a maker day where people who are experienced work with others who aren’t
  • “The Big Idea” – chapter in Exhibit Labels by Beverly Serrell – helps in finding main theme in writing for the public
  • “Collections as data” – libraries presenting collections as data for scholarly use
  1. How to convince departments that digital scholarship IS scholarship?
  • Many faculty are more open to using it in classroom than in their own research because it is not considered equal in tenure decisions – some use digital tools in research but publish traditionally, other option is traditional research but digital/classroom dissemination
  • Structuring data may be a continuing challenge since platforms keep evolving to have different requirements; learning different skills/tools in general is transferable but very specific how-tos for all circumstances are less so