(recent) beginners’ resources for dh

In conjunction with a class I’m taking this semester, I’ll be posting over the next few months responses to readings on digital history, digital humanities, and technology in museums. My hope is that blogging about topics that are tangential to both my day job and my research interests will keep me posting! My first response post will be up in a few days, but in the meantime, here’s what I’m thinking about this week. 

As anyone who follows me on Twitter (my medium of choice) knows, I’ve been interested in digital humanities for years, but I don’t feel that I can say that I’ve really engaged with the community of practice in any meaningful way. My experience, and therefore any expertise, lies on the library side of the fence, where I’ve been tangentially involved in DPLA (the Digital Public Library of America) and have been doing some exploring of the relationship between traditional metadata (including cataloging and classification), philosophical ontologies/structures, and linked data/linked open data.

In digital history, the lines between digital research and digital archives/collections seem to be particularly blurry: curation, connection of disparate resources, and interpretation are crucial to both.  As I mentioned in my last brief post, to get myself more in tune with the community, and to offer a starting point for classmates new to dh and to Twitter, I put together a Twitter list of some accessible institutions and projects that tweet about their digital initiatives. A Twitter connection also recommended that I and my cohort check out this undergraduate class on digital history being taught at Carleton University and offered online via Slack (a new-to-me platform!) by a colleague of his.

In other related news, this week’s dh+lib review included a CFP for articles inspired by Miriam Posner’s “How Did They Make That

For anyone interested in the “pretty pictures” side of digital curation, I cannot recommend tumblr strongly enough – it’s not always a well-designed site, but the content is rich and wide-ranging. Just make sure to install the “tumblr savior” plugin for Firefox or Chrome if you’re going to be browsing at work; nsfw materials tend to pop up at the most inconvenient times, no matter how sanitized your dashboard or innocent your search terms.



Some short thoughts on Google Reader

(In case you’re not caught up on the Reader kerfluffle, here’s a great post about what’s happening — ironically, in Google+: https://plus.google.com/u/0/109372531542734504522/posts/fHsSwwY4HUK)

I rely heavily on Google Reader to get my information about what’s going on in the library world. I follow blogs on mobile computing, library operations, and intellectual property law in my own feeds, and I get a lot of news about other aspects of library and info science from my friends’ shared items. Once upon a time, I used Livejournal’s RSS functionality to get my blogs because I was on it constantly (every day, at least twice a day – this is the days before Facebook, people). Livejournal was, like Reader is currently, social but asynchronous — you could catch up on things and people because they were in a static, logical page. Reader has added functionality, of course, but the ability to highlight specific stories of interest from the deluge of news and information – WITHOUT getting lost in the stream of “meh” and “omg awesome” and party pictures — is the key aspect here.

I like Google+. I’ve been wishing since I started using it that there was a way to export my Reader shares into Plus (like I do to Twitter). What I never wished for was a reduction in usability of Reader in favor of Plus. If Google can keep ALL the functionality of Reader in a smooth integration to Plus, then bully for them. If they can’t, I think we’re going to start to see the beginnings of the exodus of power users and content creators out of the Google world.

The best and brightest of my LIS class are Reader users. They are thoughtful, insightful, and engaged with the world around them. They understand information use and they understand tech. These are the people Google needs to be listening to.

Don’t be evil, Google, but more importantly, don’t be dumb.