What is an ‘unconference’ you ask? It is an attendee organized gathering focused on a common theme – in this case digital humanities. In the days leading up to the camp, attendees will post their ideas for discussion topics – but the final schedule will be sorted out on the ground during the gathering itself.
The original THATCamp event, organized by the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University, was a full two day weekend event. THATCamp Austin 2009 will be held on a single evening during the same week that the Annual Meeting of the Society of American Archivists is being held in Austin (and has the blessing of the CHNM).
Session Title: Digital Curiosities: Resource Creation Via Amateur Digitisation Speaker:Melissa Terras
Overview: Review of 100 virtual museum websites and multiple flickr groups plus surveys of amateur website creators, memory institutions and Arts & Humanities academics leads to new perspective on digitization and creation of collections online by dedicated enthusiasts.
Areas of “Amateur” endeavor have a long history of launching collections, such as:
cabinet of curiosities
foundation of astronomical research
british flora and amateur botanists
open source software movement
Being an amateur doesn’t necessarily mean being bad at what you do!
Within the realm of self-defined museums some common topics often emerge:
Session Title: Digital Lives: How people create, manipulate and store their personal digital archives Speaker:Peter Williams, UCL
Digital lives is a joint project of UCL, British Library and University of Bristol
What? We need a better understanding of how people manage digital collections on their laptops, pdas and home computers. This is important due to the transition from paper-based personal collections to digital collections. The hope is to help people manage their digital archives before the content gets to the archives.
How? Talk to people with in-depth narrative interview. Ask people of their very first memories of information technology. When did they first use the computer? Do they have anything from that computer? How did they move the content from that computer? People enjoyed giving this narrative digital history of their lives.
Who? 25 interviewees – both established and emerging people whose works would or might be of interest to repositories of the future.
Navigating the rapidly changing landscape of new technology is a major challenge for archivists. As quickly as new technologies come to market, people adopt them and use them to generate records. Businesses, non-profits and academic institutions constantly strive to find ways to be more efficient and to cut their budgets. New technology often offers the promise of cost reductions. In this age of constantly evolving software and technological innovation, how do archivists know when a new technology is important or established enough to take note of? When do the records generated by the latest and greatest technology matter enough to save?
Below I have include two diagrams that seek to illustrate the process of adopting new technology. I think they are both useful in aiding our thinking on this topic.
Amanda Ross, project archivist for the Forest History Society, sent me 57 EAD finding aids to include in the ArchivesZ project. These are the data challenges that the current data extraction script does not address:
Titles with embedded tags or punctuation. Generally the script drops anything after it hits either, so rather than a title like William E. Towell Papers, 1941 – 1988, my database ended up only with “William E Towell Papers,” based on this encoding: <titleproper>Inventory of the William E. Towell Papers, <date normal=”1941/1988″>1941 – 1988</date></titleproper>
There are still spaces available in a workshop I am giving May 6, 2009 at the University of Maryland’s iSchool. The workshop, titled Benefits of Blogging: Why you should start a blog today!, is free and open to anyone in the University of Maryland community.
This is the workshop description:
Blogging is an easy way to build your professional network, improve your writing and get your ideas out there. Information professionals need to understand how to take advantage of the promise of blogs, both to support their careers as well as a tool for institutions. This workshop will be led by an active blogger who has found great success in becoming part of a broader community via her blog. Learn about free tools, things to keep in mind and why you should start a blog today.