Archive for March, 2011

  • Active Learning in a Web 2.0 environment


    Since I really want to make sure and post something, I am going to post a somewhat incomplete thought in the hopes that I will be able to add to it in the next couple of days!

    As a public services librarian I am interested in discussing the ways digital humanities and web 2.0 tools are being used to enhance active learning models. While I do not think digital surrogates can — or should — completely replace physical objects as education tools, I believe they can be used together to teach and encourage critical thinking in students.

    I went to a really great workshop this past week, “Not Just History Anymore: Using Special Collections and Primary Sources to Teach Critical Thinking,” which was held as a preconference to ACRL.  I found the workshop really engaging and am very excited to implement what I learned into some of my teaching activities.  One thing that was absent from the workshop was a discussion of how Web 2.0 tools could be utilized in conjunction with some of the exercises that were presented to the group.

    “Reframing Information Literacy as a Metaliteracy,” by Thomas P. Mackey and Trudi E. Jacobson that appeared in College & Research Libraries earlier this year (Vol. 72, no.1, pp. 62-78: sparked my interest in this topic of rethinking how we define literacy, and therefore how we construct learning exercises.  How we have come to define “information literacy,” is lacking.  Mackey and Jacobson call for a new understanding of what it means to be “literate” today.  Just being “information literate,” as defined in years past, is not enough, in today’s environment individuals need also to be media-, digital-, visual-, and cyberliterate.

    I would like to move away from over-reliance on prefixes such as “trans” and “meta.” While discussions regarding a new definition of “literacy” that embraces all of the various components that go into making one literate in this century are extremely useful in thinking about the marriage between digital and analog, these prefixes tend to fog the development of that definition, rather than clarify it. The development of critical thinking is sorely lacking in the United States. Rather than get bogged down in terminology, we need to address how we — as information professionals, librarians, archivists, digital humanists and professors, etc. — can step up and change this.  With the proliferation of Web 2.0 tools, there is a real opportunity to create new approaches to how we teach.   There are some excellent models of teaching, such as I learned during the workshop I recently attended, and there are some excellent Web 2.0 tools — now how can we merge the two?

  • Digital publications and archives


    I don’t have a proposal per se, just some thoughts about the main topic that interests me, which is digital publishing of scholarly texts and editions and archives.  I’m interested in learning more about best practices for digital publishing, especially the TEI, which seems to be emerging as a standard. I’m concerned with issues regarding access to digital scholarship and the relative merits of open access versus subscription based texts and collections whether based in academic presses (like UVAs Rotunda Press) or commercial operations (like Adam Matthew Digital). Does open access threaten preservation? Do subscription based collections undermine the democratic possibilities of digital scholarship?

    Having just come back from a visit to a collection of 19th century letters and journals preserved at the Massachusetts Historical Society for my own literary research, another issue I’ve been thinking about even more speculatively is the future of archives in the digital age. What will researchers have to look at in the future, when so much of the day to day communication in which people are engaged is unpreserved/preservable? What kinds of written communication are really in the “cloud” (ie. text messages, facebook posts and chats)? This may be a non-issue, but I thought I’d throw it out there!

  • Technical Glitches


    Many thanks Dael for getting the discussion going. I know there are other THATCamp participants interested in games and hope we can assemble a great session about that.

    Meanwhile, at the risk of destroying my technical credibility before the conference begins, I wanted to “go public” with some technical glitches which may be keeping some people from participating.

    1) The application page underwent a couple of editorial adjustments while it was up. I know of at least one applicant who thought he was registered, but wrote to me for confirmation and I did not have him in my database. New evidence suggests that there may be several more who submitted applications that did not make it to my database. I’m assuming that there is a connection between the editing of the page and the failure of some applications to make it to the database. Unfortunately, there is no way for me to reverse search for those people who applied and didn’t make it to the database. It could be one or two, it could be many. If you submitted an application and have not heard whether it has been accepted or not, assume that it got lost in that digital ether. E-mail me and I’ll enter you by hand.

    2) For those of you who managed to run the gauntlet of getting your application through to the database, there was a second technical glitch. The plug-in that I used to generate invitations to log in to the website was balky. It successfully sent out about ten log in invitations, but was very idiosyncratic as I tried to re-submit those who didn’t get receive an invitation the first time. If you received an acceptance to THATCamp Jersey Shore, but never received log in information for the site, email me about that. And if you received multiple log in emails, my apologies.

    There will be free wifi access at the Carnegie Library and, we hope, enough surge-protector outlets to keep laptops charged.

    See you on April 4!

  • Thinking With and About Games:Proposal for a Convo @THATCamp JerseyShore



    Hi everyone:

    Games and gaming ideas are everywhere these days – running through conversations about teaching, social media, law, and social justice. The ways conversations about games are happening seems to me to be interesting, too; hosts of popular gaming podcasts, journalists, and academic cultural critics are all part of the discussion in various ways — talking to each other, even —  something that strikes me as rare, if not unique, for a medium that is also a multi-billion dollar industry.

    So I think it might be fun and productive to use some of our time at THATCamp to think with, and about, games.

    There are bunch of different ways this kind of conversation could go. Are games good to teach with? That seems to be the philosophy beyond a recent spate of flash games sponsored by British cultural institutions on particularly nasty episodes in British history (Nelson at Trafalgar, the Opium War, the Battle of Hastings, etc). Can games change the world? That’s the question Jane McGonigal’s Reality Is Broken: Why Games Make Us Better and How They can Change the World takes on. How should we critique games as cultural objects? That’s the theme that has launched a thousand podcasts and blogposts, as well as more explicitly academic projects like Kill Screen Magazine or The Brainy Gamer. In addition to these issues, the conversations around games seem to be engaging with a theme dear to the heart of digital humanities work: what’s the relationship (economic, political, emotional, or social) between creators and communities of users?

    The thesis here is that games, and the communities and industries they sustain, are potentially useful tools to think with; and the themes of the developing conversation about games seem to be parallel or perpendicular to those happening in the digital humanities world. At least, I suspect they are – but I’d like to hear what other and wiser heads besides mine think about all this.

    Anyone in?

  • Logistics


    A reminder that THATCamp Jersey Shore will be held at the beautiful Carnegie Library of Richard Stockton College at Pacific Ave. and Dr. Martin Luther King Blvd. in Atlantic City, NJ. This building is the original Carnegie Library for Atlantic City and has been listed as one of the “Top 150 buildings and places in New Jersey” by the American Institute of Architects.

    Directions by car to the Carnegie Library are available here. Parking is in a lot of Pacific Avenue. If you will be driving to THATCamp, let me know and I will forward a parking permit for the Carnegie Library lot.

    The Carnegie Library is about ten blocks from the NJ Transit rail station in Atlantic City. There is a regular casino shuttle, the Atlantic City Jitney, that connects the rail station with Pacific Avenue.

    We have arranged for a great deal on accommodations for those of you staying over in Atlantic City. We have a block of rooms reserved at the Courtyard Marriott Atlantic City at 1212 Pacific Ave. for April 3-4 at $65 a night. The Courtyard is about four blocks from the Carnegie Library and one block from the Boardwalk.

    An interactive map of Atlantic City can be found here.

    Looking forward to seeing everyone in Atlantic City!

  • Apply Now!


    The “official” deadline for applications to THATCamp Jersey Shore will be March 15. After that date, we will continue to consider applications on a space available basis.

    So register now. Here’s the registration link.

  • Contact


    Looking over the site, I see that it is hard to figure out who to contact for questions about THATCamp Jersey Shore. Sorry. The central contact for THATCamp Jersey Shore is me, John Theibault, Director of the South Jersey Center for Digital Humanities at Stockton College. I can be reached on gmail using my first initial and full last name without punctuation or spacing. Stockton addresses all go to; mine begins with my first and last names separated by a dot.

  • Micro-Fellowships for BootCamp at Jersey Shore


    Time flies!

    In just over a month, THATCamp Jersey Shore arrives. We are still eager to get your application. We will have BootCamp sessions for relative newcomers to digital humanities, allowing for hands on immersion in programs and processes that are valuable for getting up to speed. If you are coming from a bit of a distance, I am pleased to remind you that through the generosity of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the Kress Foundation, and the Council on Information and Library Resources, we have a small number of fellowships offering $500 to participants in BootCamp sessions. Too learn more about BootCamp fellowships and how to apply you can go to the central THATCamp homepage here. If you wish to be considered for one of these fellowships, you must fill in the THATCamp Jersey Shore application (available here) and the separate fellowship application (available here) by March 15. Don’t let this opportunity pass you by!

    The fellowships are designed to help defray travel and accommodation costs, so are not designed for “locals.” Locals are, however, very welcome to attend all BootCamp sessions. We expect to have an assortment of 5-7 BootCamp sessions to choose from. If you are applying (or have already applied) and think that you could offer an excellent prospective BOOTCamp session, please let us know. We would be pleased to expand our offerings.

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