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What do you do if you’re curious about DH but aren’t at a school with a DH program?
(View a recorded version of this presentation here.)
As my colleagues on this panel show, there are some great reasons for American studies scholars to get interested in digital humanities, and vice versa. So let’s say you’re a scholar or staff member who’s interested in doing DH, but you aren’t finding support for it on your particular campus. I’d like to talk about some ways you can find some of the support you need, even if you don’t have like-minded colleagues close at hand.
My first suggestion is to look to the library. You might be surprised at how conversant—or at least curious—library professionals are about trends in digital scholarship. Start with your subject librarian and ask him or her if there’s any affinity group in the library that you might get hooked up with.
I bet you’re not actually the only one interested in DH on your campus. Why not reach out to see if you can find others who share your interests? Back when I was in grad school, we did this by organizing a working group and a conference. Check with your campus’s library, humanities center, and likely departments to see if there might be funding available to start a working group. It’s worth a shot! And remember that it’s not just students and faculty who do DH. Reach out to people in the library and in instructional technology, too.
If there’s a particular technology or tool you want to learn—say, you want to learn how to build a website—my favorite place to go is the video tutorial site Lynda.com. My experience has been that these tutorials are very high-quality and well-paced. Many universities have institutional subscriptions. Definitely check to see if yours does. If it doesn’t, ask if your library or instructional technology group might consider investing in it. And if that fails, it may be worth the $25 monthly subscription for your own use, at least for a little while.
I also recommend The Programming Historian, a set of programming lessons that are designed to be relevant to humanists. Iâ€(tm)m involved with The Programming Historian as the community outreach lead, which means that Iâ€(tm)m very interested in your ideas for how we can make the site even more useful for you.
You should also investigate some of the training opportunities that the digital humanities community is developing to address the needs of people in exactly your situation. There’s the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, at the University of Victoria, which is accepting scholarship applications right now. There’s also the Digital Humanities Winter Institute, at the University of Maryland. And there are opportunities abroad, too, in Leipzig, Oxford, and Bern.
Digital humanities people love to get together, and one of their favorite ways to do that is through what we call THATCamps: The Humanities and Technology Camps. In fact, ASA just played host to one! These are really fun, very informal weekend conferences where people who are interested in digital humanities can share interests and learn new skills. They take place at different times all around the world, so check out the THATCamp website to find one near you.
Want a mentor? Again, the DH community is looking out for you. The Association for Computers and the Humanities has a mentor-matching program designed for people in exactly your situation.
Want to get involved in a project? Try DHCommons, where people who are working on DH projects can connect with people who want to get some project experience.
If you have specific questions about tools, technology, or anything DH-related, check out Digital Humanities Questions & Answers, a Q&A site that’s specifically designed to be friendly and nonjudgmental.
Want to keep up with the latest DH conversations and scholarship? Digital Humanities Now is the place to go. The best and most widely discussed work gets posted here, and it’s a great crash-course in what’s happening in DH.
One important thing to know about digital humanities is that a lot of conversation takes place on Twitter. You may be skeptical, but I really recommend giving it a shot. Start by following one of the many lists of DH practitioners on Twitter. You might be surprised to find how accessible people are through this medium.
Itâ€(tm)s really important to many of us in digital humanities that you have welcoming entry points if youâ€(tm)re curious about the field. They’re there for you to use! We hope you’ll take advantage of them; we’d love to welcome you into our community of practitioners.Miriam K Posner, Thu, November 15, 2012 - 2:19 pm