THATCamp CNY 2014 details & tentative schedule

Howdy Campers! We are looking forward to seeing you in Syracuse on Friday. Everything will take place at Bird Library, on the campus of Syracuse University. Our central meeting room will be the Peter Graham Scholarly Commons, located on the first floor of the building near the University Place entrance. (If you requested parking, we’ll be in touch shortly with details.)

As THATCamp approaches, we wanted to give you some details about events this weekend. Our first order of business will be to collectively hammer out a schedule for Friday and Saturday. We will begin gathering at 8:30am on Friday, and start setting the schedule at 9:30, with a goal of first sessions beginning at 10:00am. Below is a tentative schedule for how each day will be structured.

Finally, please continue to submit, and comment on, session proposals. When we meet Friday morning, we’ll be taking these proposals and trying to wrangle them into a schedule.

Categories: Administrative | 1 Comment

Can I Trust You? Exploring Social Deduction Games

This proposal is in the PLAY category, as we will play some games.

One genre of games that is popular in the tabletop games space, but not in the digital space, are social deduction games.  Growing out of the public domain game Werewolf/Mafia, these games are team-based games where you don’t know who is on your team.

Players in these games are assigned secret roles and have different goals based upon what role they have.   The core mechanism in the game is roleplaying, as players attempt to deduce what sides people are on.

During this PLAY session, we will play several of these social deduction games, and then talk about how they could be re-skinned in different domains to be used as a training or learning activity.

Categories: Games, General, Session Proposals, Session: Play | Comments Off on Can I Trust You? Exploring Social Deduction Games

Text Analysis: Hows and Whys

comment on another proposal mentions algorithmic text analysis. I would love a session focused on how people are taking advantage of digital tools to deal with particularly textual information and questions of textual (or even literary) analysis. This could include tools like Voyant, approaches like topic modeling (with software like MALLET), or using a language like Python (with a package like NLTK) to manipulate text in other ways. (Indeed, I’d be just as interested to learn about other things that I’ve never heard of!) And, as I hope my title suggests, just as interesting as questions of what software to use, and how to use it, are questions of why folks are doing such analysis. What sorts of questions can we ask?

If there is a critical mass of interest in these sorts of questions, we could have a couple sessions focused on different technologies—one on topic models, one on Python and NLTK (for instance), et cetera.

Categories: Data Mining, Research Methods, Session Proposals, Text Mining, Visualization | 4 Comments

New NEH grant: “Digital Projects for the Public”

I would be honored to facilitate a session where ideas are discussed that might lead to grant applications for the following:

NEH has announced a new funding program titled “Digital Projects for the Public:”

“The Digital Projects for the Public program supports projects such as websites, mobile applications, games, and virtual environments that significantly contribute to the public’s engagement with humanities ideas. Projects must be analytical and deeply grounded in humanities scholarship in a discipline such as history, religion, anthropology, jurisprudence, or art history.  While these projects can take many forms, shapes, and sizes, you should apply to this program primarily to create digital projects or the digital components of a larger project. NEH is a national funding agency, so these projects should demonstrate the potential to attract a broad, general audience.”

Awards are up to $30k (Discovery grants) or $100k (Prototyping grants).

Details below.  First applications due on June 11.

Proposer: Thomas Beebee ()

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proposal: Social Network Analysis using NodeXL

I can present for discussion a recent attempt at Colgate to apply the concepts and technology of Social Network Analysis (SNA) to data in the Humanities. We use NodeXL (Hansen et al, 2011), a relatively recent addition to SNA software, remarkable by is simplicity of user interface, based on MS Excel. While not as powerful as, e.g., Pajek (De Nooy et al. 2011), NodeXL is best suited for introductory projects because the base of competent Excel users is huge, and any such user needs only conceptual foundations in SNA and no new software skills to start experimentation. This is not to belittle the intellectual challenge of acquiring such foundations, but the learning curve to initial competence is short and relatively painless: many interesting concepts and almost no drudgery.

So what I would do is briefly present the concepts and illustrate on simple examples; describe the pedagogical materials for learning and practicing those concepts; and present two humanities projects currently underway at Colgate and one project outside Colgate that I’m involved in.

Much of this has been supported by Colgate’s Faculty Development Council.


De Nooy, Wouter, et al. (2011). Exploratory Social Network Analysis with Pajek. Cambridge University Press.

Hansen, Derek, Ben Shneiderman and Marc Smith (2011).  Analyzing Social Media Networks with NodeXL: Insights from a Connected World, Elsevier/Morgan-Kaufman.

Categories: General, Session Proposals | 1 Comment

Emulation show and tell (and learn and hack)

At Cornell, we have a grant to come up with a digital preservation framework for CD-ROM art — art created for now-obsolete operating systems and hardware platforms. Of the many activities we are engaging in to develop this framework is looking at emulation strategies for providing access to these works. We’ve got a few working systems going from older Macs to PCs. The purpose of this session will be to have a show and tell (and possibly learn and hack) on various emulation strategies: I can show what I have put together for our project and I’m interested in seeing if others have done anything similar* and could offer advice or feedback. (*Other handy uses for emulation include retrieving old files that are stuck in a long-lost proprietary format.)

Categories: Session Proposals, Session: Play | Comments Off on Emulation show and tell (and learn and hack)

SWOTing at Humane Newspaper Based Research Practice – A Three Act Dialogue

They have been called a first rough draft of history.  They relied upon child labor. They have seen advertising dollars and established business models erode.   They have transformed from offline to online artifacts, leading to both newer formats and issues of excitement and challenge tied to access, preservation and observation.  They are relevant for all disciplines.  Newspapers continue as key information bearing entities collected by physical and digital libraries and examined by scholars and students in the humanities.   Some of you also may contribute to them as author, journalist, archivist, editor, entrepreneur, publisher, technologist, blogger, photographer, videographer, designer, advertiser or subscriber.

I am proposing a ninety minute session (one hour if scheduling consensus recommends) called SWOTing at Humane Newspaper Based Research Practice – A Three Act Dialogue. 

Our “Playbill” for this talk session will employ a loose dramatic metaphor, with conversation in three parts. This talk will include a few game-like cue card elements meant to enable brainstorming.    Any directorial guidance will feature a light touch, and participant actors at this session can contribute not only activity within the three acts, but suggestions on re-shaping the acts entirely.  Borrowing from the management field, we’ll employ a twist on the framework for a SWOT analysis (“strengths,” “weaknesses,” “opportunities” and “threats”).  Along those lines, our chat will consist of these two meta-questions.  These will not be the only questions we explore, but they will animate our back-story. 

1)    What are strong & the weak attributes tied to your interaction with newspaper sources originating from any historical time period? If you prefer to think in terms of an extended dramatic metaphor, one might ask, what characteristics exist within our protagonist and antagonist?  What abilities and obstacles, excellence and flaws reside in our main character, which character may be “you” the scholar, who personally intersects with newspapers online or offline? Alternatively, that character may be a newspaper title itself, or perhaps all newspaper titles past and present, both extant and extinct.

2)  What points of view might our collective share about opportunities and threats linked to newspaper creation, dissemination or preservation? If you prefer the dramatic metaphor, once again, what factors external to our drama, and the literal mounting of our work today, impact our expectations and experiences pertaining to newspaper based information and research practice, including economic, historical, social, educational, military, political, technological and personal influences?

What might we think if Facebook owned or generated a newspaper?  Perhaps they already do?  Or Amazon?  Is YouTube a newspaper?.   Does privacy decrease with an overall online news increase?  We may find ourselves brainstorming ideal newspaper information systems or creative projects to take place at future THATCamps meant to further address these issues.  We’ll consider technological elements, in light of the humanities and perhaps even some social justice factors.  We shall also address our posture as to news environments we have never experienced, and those quite familiar, and will reach for conclusions tied to the two meta-questions at the heart of the session.   As newer technologies continue to intersect with this very well-known format (or need that be re-examined as well), we’ll chat about what works and not within established and emerging news environments.   How do humanities scholars and students wrestle with the ontology of what we now call “newspaper?”


Categories: Libraries, Session Proposals, Session: Talk | Comments Off on SWOTing at Humane Newspaper Based Research Practice – A Three Act Dialogue

Smash the Bot for Fun and Profit

I’ve become interested in the scholarly possibilities of Twitter bots. From bots that tweet a line from Walt Whitman’s Leaves of Grass, “over and over” (@TweetsOfGrass), to generating tweets that sound like Buddhist koans (@Horse_ebooks), to automating the writing of Modernist poetry (@MoPoBot), Twitter bots have invaded our timelines faster than we can block them. I’m proposing a session where participants can discuss ways in which scholars could use bots for our own pursuits. This would include using bots to isolate lines from longer pieces of literature, creating algorithmic methods for writing poetry, randomizing highlights from a collection, helping with vocabulary learning, or just making witty comments to amuse ourselves during office hours. If interest exists, we could also try to hack together a Twitter bot of our own.

Categories: Session Proposals, Session: Make, Session: Talk, Social Media, Teaching, Your Categories Are Inadequate | Tags: , | 1 Comment

Games for Change in CNY

The goal of this session is to explore the different ways that Games are being used for change in Central New York.  During this round table, attendees will be invited to talk about how they have used games for change, serious games, or educational games in their institutions or about projects that they are aware of.  As we share what we have been doing, it will set up some networking possibilities to help people connect around similar challenges, and perhaps lead to some grant writing partnerships or interesting programs.


Categories: Games, General, Session Proposals | Comments Off on Games for Change in CNY

DPLA: SearchFest

I am interested in how the Digital Public Library can be used (in your teaching, for an assignment, or in your own research) and am in search of folks who want to experiment together. Let’s explore the DPLA through multiple kinds of searching. I am interested in exploring New York State history, but am open to all kinds of topic suggestions—ballet, vaudeville, shipwrecks!   Perhaps we could work as a team to search 1 or 2 topics as deeply as we can think to do so across all the ways of searching. How would you use the content of the DPLA and its search interface for gathering historical and cultural materials and images? We all have a touch of the curator in us.  Let’s work on one another’s research areas and have a mass search of the DPLA to uncover content.  I continually find big surprises in it.

If the group wants to we can also take a look also at OpenPics Application (free via iTunes):  to gather a personal “collection.”

Anyone who is interested in DPLA can come!


A librarian’s guide to DPLA:
Howard, J. (December 3, 2013). “DPLA: Young but Well-Connected,” Chronicle of Higher Education.

–Inga H. Barnello, librarian, Le Moyne College & DPLA Community Rep.


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