Category Archives: Session Proposals

Proposals for unconference sessions from THATCamp participants.

Digital Scholarly Editions — Challenges and Opportunities

The work of documentary editors and the capabilities of digital platforms are highlighted at this year’s AHA meeting in several sessions, including (but not limited to) the an entire track on Primary Sources and the History Profession in the Age of Text Search.

Modern  digital editions no longer are reproductions of the book form, but incorporate high-resolution facsimiles (expensive in letterpress) and interactive features letting researchers perform analysis within the edition itself (impossible in letterpress).  Simultaneously, the challenge of digital preservation,  the rise of mobile-first researchers, and the rapidity of platform obsolescence have demonstrated the apparent superiority of the letterpress edition in terms of “shelf-life”.

I propose a session to discuss the challenges and opportunities facing digital editions and the people who work on them.  Depending on the interest, this may be a meet-and-greet to connect digital edition personnel, a show-and-tell about neat visualizations, a gripe session about sustainability, a high-level discussion of theory, a combination of the four, or something totally unforeseen.

Session Proposal: Moving forward with the text “Digital History and Argument”

I realize this is a talk session but I want to discuss ways to “operationalize” (the latest buzz word in my library) this document — so some planned doing.  A number of such white papers come out, but I think without plans to implement the suggestions and to build around and go beyond reading them, these are doomed to archival obscurity.  And I would like to discuss ways to make sure that does not happen with this one.

Arguing with Digital History working group, “Digital History and Argument,” white paper, Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media (November 13, 2017):


Session Proposal: Acquiring social media data

In this session, I will discuss options for acquiring social media data, including collecting it yourself, locating and re-using existing datasets, purchasing data, or using a social media service provider.

For collecting and re-using datasets, I will demonstrate Social Feed Manager and TweetSets. Social Feed Manager is software that harvests social media data and web resources from Twitter, Tumblr, Flickr, and Sina Weibo. TweetSets supports creating custom Twitter datasets from existing datasets. Both are open-source software developed at George Washington University Libraries.

Depending on participant interest, additional topics for discussion might include research ethics and privacy considerations, collecting Facebook data, an introduction to APIs, comparing web archiving and API-based social media archiving, or anything else social media-related that participants would like to discuss.

Session Proposal: Intro to Scalar

I’ve taught many Omeka and WordPress workshops at THATCamps, and am happy to do so again if there’s interest. One thing I’ve taught less often but still a few times is Scalar, found at,  which resembles Omeka and WordPress in that it’s a content management system that can be used to build a humanities-flavored website but differs from those systems in that it’s particularly good at allowing you to collect and feature content that already exists on the web from places like YouTube and the Internet Archive — other systems are designed more for you to upload original content. Scalar also describes its end products as *books,* and indeed it is more geared toward that model too than Omeka and WordPress are: it’s a good system for a multimedia web version of “longreads.”

One of my favorite Scalar projects is also the most simple: a book about American Bandstand called The Nicest Kids in Town at This site (or book) was created with the first version of Scalar. To see other examples of what can be done with Scalar, see