Information Overload in Network Time I: How to Find Your DH Community

As definitional efforts in Digital Humanities and Media Studies are ongoing – which better be the case in any field deeming itself vibrant (see last week’s post) – news items in these fields become a maze of hyperlinks. So you want to find out what’s going on? Where the workshops, conferences, unconferences, not-so-much-talks and virtual happenings are? This requires some structuring. Which topics do you seek to learn more about, which skills should YOU like to acquire, organizations to tap into? Or, for now, finding the crowd that speaks your language, only in “digital”? Not so user friendly. Because once you get lost in network time (I roughly define that as a virtual dangling off vines: you swing from one link to the next, working the rhythm of however fast your wifi allows, while utterly losing connection to a world that hosts material objects or human needs; just read Kenneth Goldsmith’s new book, Wasting Time on the Internet, he knows )… Because once you get lost in network time, I predict you will need perspectives and platforms to rest upon. Here are some:

 

DH organizations and tools exist aplenty, with the global network of institutes a good bet for basic information. Their publication initiative, DHCommons, provides a plethora of information on “how to”, “with whom,” “where,” including peer reviews of projects in progress or completed. Ditto for the ADHO, who also offer all kinds of resources. If playing with tools is your thing, a good place to start remains the DIRTdirectory. It pretty much provides a list of what you can do in DH with links between your desired task and the program that may help you accomplish it. Experimenters welcome. Alan Liu’s DH Toychest is another collection worth exploring, with clear connections between task and tool. Alert for your calendar: Alan Liu will join us at the UConn Humanities Institute in February 2017!

 

Individual clearing-house-type news outlets exist abundantly as well. I usually benefit from MIT’s Hyperstudio mailing, “h+d insights,” to which you can subscribe on their site. Info galore on conferences, blogs of interest, hot topics and more. DH Now is another informative outlet for digital scholarship. This week I applaud the Editor’s Choice on selecting Jason Heppler’s syllabus for Teaching Digital Public History. He has some great pointers, including a list by the untiring Beth Nowviskie, director of the Digital Library Federation, on how to start your digital project without incurring immediate headaches…

 

Then there is HASTAC, “reputed to be the world’s first and oldest academic social network.” ‘Nough said. Just visit and click, join a group, follow your interests. Especially graduate students are invited to become HASTAC scholars and benefit from the enormous network the organization makes available. A great teaching resource is also Hybrid Pedagogy, a journal that offers info on conferences, tools, critical perspectives on teaching with tech, and professional development.

 

Phew… This just a quick intro from my own vantage point to some DH resources out there, but this virtual dangling off vines can be exhausting. I invite you to take a break and view this lucid narrative by Jeffrey Schnapp, founder and director of Harvard’s metaLAB, on how computers and the digital realm entered the traditional humanities and move us beyond print knowledge into ‘knowledge design’: