Tuesday, March 3, 2009

THATCamp 09

Bring your uncola; it's an unconference. Deadline to apply is 4/1; more info

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

a message from the Library of Congress re: digital resources

From: Jurretta Heckscher [mailto:jhec@loc.gov]
Sent: Tuesday, January 13, 2009 5:37 AM
Subject: Digital Reference Section, Library of Congress, Offers Monthly
Orientation to Web Site

The Library of Congress is the nation's oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, with more than 134 million books, recordings, photographs and prints, maps, music items, and manuscripts. Collected in more than 470 languages, the materials range from rare cuneiform tablets to born digital materials. Through its Web site (www.loc.gov), the Library makes available its resources, services, and more than eleven million of its items in American history
and culture.

How can you access the wealth of information available on the Library*s Web site? What resources and services can assist you? The Digital Reference Section (DRS) conducts a free, one-hour orientation monthly, on the second Wednesday at 11 a.m. - noon, Eastern time, via Web conference. Throughout the program, DRS staff provide
opportunities to ask questions, learn strategies for online access of the materials, and sample the collections and resources provided to facilitate your research.

The next session will be January 14, 11 a.m. - noon, Eastern time. To register for the Orientation, use the Participant Registration Form, available from http://www.loc.gov/rr/program/orientation_form.php. Confirmation, log on instructions, and the handout will be sent via email. Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information or to request the Orientation for a group, contact the
Digital Reference Section via the Ask A Librarian form at http://www.loc.gov/rr/askalib/ask-digital.html.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Center for History and New Media

George Mason University has one of the best sites I know of for digital scholarship in the field of history. The Center for History and New Media site offers a wealth of content, including software, digital archives, and a prescient essay by Dan Cohen and Roy Rosensweig on historians and the Internet.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Digital Scholarship in the Humanities

Lisa Spiro, of the Digital Media Center at Rice University, runs a fantastically useful blog on digital scholarship in the humanities. Here is her schematic on the current state of the field:

Spiro's blog also features a great post on video projects, in which she observes, "Web video isn’t just about dogs attacking toilets and guys skiing down escalators . . . it also can be a powerful mode for disseminating ideas," and then discusses the remarkable digital scholarship videos of Michael Wesch a cultural anthropologist at Kansas State University. Here are some compelling examples of Wesch's work:

Friday, November 14, 2008

UCTV partners with YouTube and iTunesU to deliver free video

LA JOLLA, CA, Mar 26 2008 (MARKET WIRE) --
University of California Television (UCTV) has partnered with YouTube and Apple's iTunesU to launch channels that will extend the reach and accessibility of its growing archive of free educational and cultural videos. Thousands of videos are available at UCTV's YouTube channel(www.youtube.com/uctv) and in iTunesU's Beyond Campus podcast directory. [Reuters LINK]

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

practical concerns and possibilities

During the 2007-08 academic year, I was invited to design and teach a couple of history courses at Boston University. The courses I taught (HI 570: History of U.S. Environmentalism and HI 351: Technology and U.S. Popular Culture) were the first courses in which I used blogger software as way to facilitate discussion outside of class. At the beginning of each of these classes, the blog functioned mainly as a way to post class announcements, remind people of upcoming assignments, etc.

I soon found, however, that some students were using the blog in a way that exceeded the limits of what I'd asked for or expected; these students were not only sharing relevant sources that they'd found on the Internet but were combining and interpreting these sources in ways that were original, engaging, and provocative. For example, this post explores the growing potential of "green car" technology while this post surveys the topic of bioethics in popular culture and contemporary politics by comparing a speech of by president George W. Bush with a scene from the film Jurassic Park and an article from Scientific American on cloning. While these posts would not be classed in the same category of scholarship as a research paper or an analytical paper, they clearly point to the potential of such forums for groundbreaking research and analysis by undergraduate students.

This year, while developing a course blog for HI 372: The 20th Century American Presidency, I've continued to be impressed by the potential of this medium in the hands of undergraduates. For example, this post takes a passage from Ronald Reagan's diary and relates it to the growing culture war over drug use in the 1980s, while this post attempts to place the recent Vice Presidential Debate in the broader context of the history of the GOP since the rise of the "southern strategy".

The ability of undergraduate students to combine new media with the analysis of print media sources has made me an incurable optimist about the future of digital scholarship at Boston University. In the area of practical concerns, the liabilities of the Internet have been lamented by professors and teaching assistants for over a decade now: it can be a tool for plagiarism, an endless reservoir of fourth-rate research and conspiracy theories, and an echo chamber for every form of partisanship and obsession. In the realm of possibilities, however, it can also be a place where students learn, teach, and create in ways that were never possible before. As indicated by the links on this site to growing projects for digital scholarship at Harvard and MIT, the best research universities now realize this and are advancing into this new field with abundant resources and determination.

RS Deese

Friday, November 7, 2008

evolving forum

This blog will be an evolving forum for the discussion of digital scholarship projects by students and faculty at Boston University. Digital scholarship projects (DSPs) should adhere to the following guidelines:

1. DSPs will contain three components: original video, original text, and rigorous citation of at least three types of research materials: primary sources, secondary sources, and print sources hitherto unpublished on the Internet. Electronic sources may also be included if they have been vetted for accuracy, but the inclusion of print sources not yet available on the Internet will be absolutely essential to the completion of every digital scholarship project. Just as most of the best music has never been digitized for consumption as CDs and Mp3 files, the vast majority of the best scholarship has never been digitized for perusal on the Internet. While undeniably cosmopolitan in terms of space, the Internet remains shockingly parochial in terms of time; a key objective of every DSP will be to bring hitherto neglected print sources into the meme pool of the Internet. Producing a DSP will require students to spend at least as much time in the stacks and archives as they do in front of a computer screen.

2. DSPs will be aimed at a general audience via the Internet, but will meet the same high standards of originality, accuracy, and citation that characterize all first-rate academic scholarship. The reasons for this shift away from an exclusive focus on the TF or professor and towards the broader audience of the Internet are threefold. First, students will be less inclined to use the obscurantist language and jargon that characterize so much academic writing when they are addressing a general audience. Second, students will be given the opportunity to create a lasting artifact that will be available to their family and friends in the near term and serve as a compelling addition to their resumes and career portfolios in the long term. And, finally, the production of first rate DSPs will add value to the Creative Commons of the Internet and enhance the online presence and reputation of Boston University.

3. DSPs will be open source and licensed for publication under a Creative Commons license.

RS Deese