Digital Humanities Hackathon II – Digital Public Library of America

Monday, April 21, 2:00-3:30 p.m.

Strozier Library, Scholars Commons Instructional Classroom [MAP

The Digital Scholars Reading and Discussion Group will simulate its second “hackathon” on April 21, allowing participants to learn more about the back-end structure of the Digital Public Library of America.With its April 2013 launch, the DPLA became the first all-digital library that aggregates metadata from collections across the country, making them available from a single point of access. The DPLA describes itself as a freely available, web-based platform for digitized cultural heritage projects as well as a portal that connects students, teachers, scholars, and the public to library resources occurring on other platforms.

From a critical point of view, the DPLA simultaneously relies on and disrupts the principles of location and containment, making its infrastructure somewhat interesting to observe.

In this session, we will visit the DPLA’s Application Programming Interface (API) codex to observe some of the standards that contributed to its construction. We will consider how APIs function, how and why to use them, and who might access their metadata and for what purposes. For those completely unfamiliar with APIs, this session will serve as a useful introduction, as well as a demonstration of why a digital library might also want to serve as an online portal. For those more familiar with APIs, this session will serve as an opportunity to try on different tasks using the metadata that the DPLA aggregates from collections across the country.

At this particular session, we are pleased to be joined by Owen Mundy from FSU Department of Art and Richard Urban from FSU College of Communication and Information, who have considered different aspects of working with APIs for projects such as the DPLA, including visualization and graphics scripting, and developing collections dashboards.

 As before, the session is designed with a low barrier of entry in mind, so participants should not worry if they do not have programming expertise or are still learning the vocabulary associated with open-source projects. We come together to learn together, and all levels of skill are accommodated, as are all attitudes and leanings.

Participants are encouraged to explore the Digital Public Library of America site, especially information about the API, prior to our meeting and to familiarize themselves with the history of the project. Laptops will be available for checkout, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own.

“Spatial Humanities”: Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives

Monday, March 24, 2:00-3:00 p.m.

Strozier Library, Scholars Commons Instructional Classroom 107K [MAP

Please join us for a discussion with John Corrigan, Professor of History and Religion at Florida State University, who will talk on “‘Spatial Humanities’: Deep Maps and Spatial Narratives,” the title of his forthcoming book, and a sequel to The Spatial Humanities: GIS and the Future of the Humanities, which he co-edited in 2010. While the term “spatial humanities” has no clear origin, Corrigan — along with his collaborators David Bodenhamer (IUPUI Polis Center) and Trevor Harris (WVU) — have helped it to find a home in the academic glossary. Since 2010, numerous proposals to the NEH Digital Humanities Start-Up Grant have incorporated the “spatial” as their premise, practice, or goal.

Participants are invited to read the following ahead of time:

and to browse the following projects and applications:

21st Century Literacies and Reading/Learning in Public: A Discussion with Richard E. Miller

Friday, February 28, 12:00-1:30 p.m.
Williams Building “Skybox” (fourth-floor conference room)

After N. Katherine Hayles’s call in Poetics Today to consider media-specific analysis (MSA) as a way of extending hypertextual values to print, some devotees of literary study are arguing that the digital has provided a renewed and timely attention to the materiality of “texts” over “works,” in turn provoking new ways of thinking simultaneously about print as a medium and about non-print-based mediums. Since then, the question of what makes a text material has become salient for other questions regarding reading, learning, and the production of knowledge. What constitutes reading in different im/material forms? What constitutes more or less public ways of learning these forms, within and without of the university? How do various ways of reading and learning publically reflect or inform various attitudes toward knowledge production?

Join us for a special discussion with Richard E. Miller of Rutgers University, where we will consider how Miller’s work can problematize the idea of reading in public beyond a mere acceptance or rejection of material forms or digital mediums — beyond merely lauding permanence or change. Miller’s own online experiment in writing (text2cloud) calls for a more “meditative” approach to thinking about institutional change, inviting readers to take up learning controversies in dimensions other than traditional vs. modern. We will take him at his word. This discussion group may be of special interest to students and scholars of book history, text technologies, 21st century literacies, technological consumption, and digital pedagogy, but all are welcome.

Miller’s visit is sponsored by the Literature Program in English, and lunch will be provided. For planning purposes, RSVP to

Participants are invited to read the following in advance of Miller’s visit:

and to browse the following:

NB: For those who cannot attend the discussion, Professor Miller will also be giving a departmental lecture in English on Friday, February 28, from 4:00-6:00 p.m. in Williams 013 (a.k.a., the “Common Room,” basement level). All are welcome.

Defining the “Maker” Space: Collaboration and Innovation Across Disciplines

Monday, January 27, 2-3 p.m.

Williams Building 013, a.k.a., English Department “Common Room” (basement level)

Digital Collaboratories occur in multiple forms – symbolic, intellectual, virtual, and physical. One unique model combines the intellectual and physical center to result in something like a “maker” space – a simultaneously brick-and-mortar and virtual location where students and scholars can collaborate on specific projects, where partnerships get formed, and where field experts can work within and across their disciplines building repositories, tools, or theory. But “maker” spaces require a unique kind of infrastructure and a commitment to inter-disciplinary thinking. What ethic should drive these spaces so as to make them sustainable? How do we ensure that they serve cross-, inter-, and extra-disciplinary functions, when there are varying (often divergent) definitions of “digital” work? Join us at this semester’s first Digital Scholars meeting to consider various models of such spaces where they have occurred, and to discuss the possibilities for such a space at FSU. Participants will be encouraged to consider real examples of institutional collaborations or “maker”-space projects that show potential for innovating across disciplines. They will also be invited to discuss projects or ideas of their own that could benefit from such a collaborative arrangement, or have benefited without it.

Participants are invited to read the following:

to browse the following projects:

and/or to browse the following collaboratories:

Digital Humanities “Hackathon”

Wednesday, December 4, 12:30-1:45 p.m.

Strozier Library, Scholars Commons Instructional Classroom [MAP

Research methodologies in humanities disciplines from history to rhetoric to literature to religion are more frequently taking up an ethic of “hacking” — what the Internet Users’ Glossary 30 years ago defined as “having an intimate understanding of the internal workings of a system” (RFC, 1983); what Larry Polansky in 1998 described as a learned cultural or artistic aesthetic (“Singing Together,” 1998); and more recently, what Roxanne Mountford and Debra Hawhee have referred to as the antithesis of handing over (or receiving) stable traditions or beliefs in a course of graduate study (Advances in the History of Rhetoric, 2012). And yet, this ethic already underscores collaborative research models in a number of disciplines. The final meeting of Fall 2013 Digital Scholars will consider what can occur — or does occur — when “hacking” is taken up or shared, not only for building program code, but also for rethinking historical proximity, re-imagining graduate instruction, and fostering professional mentoring across the disciplines.

Our December 4 meeting will simulate a “hackathon,” allowing participants to fulfill 1 or more tasks related to projects posted on the DHCommons. The session is designed with a low barrier of entry in mind, so participants should not worry if they do not have programming expertise. In fact, projects posted to DHCommons often ask for various levels of peer review, proofreading, data entry, or beta testing, in addition to programming and other particular collaborations. Projects range from digital tools to digital archives, short- to long-term. This session will introduce participants to the broad range of projects available, giving us an opportunity to consider the nature of such collaborations, learn how to contact the project leads, and navigate various options on the site.

Laptops will be available for checkout, but attendees are encouraged to bring their own. RSVP to the attendance form is not required, but it will help us to know how many attendees to expect. ENG 5998 enrollees might find the following sources interesting for browsing:

Readings to browse:

The (New/Digital) Archivist: A Conversation with Katie McCormick and Krystal Thomas

Thursday, November 21, 12:30-1:30 p.m. Strozier Library, room 107K [MAP]

Recent challenges to archives and archival repositories in Florida raise new questions about what can and should constitute our public and institutional archives, and what paradigm shifts are occurring – or need to occur – as we argue for their enduring value. In part reprising a 2012 Digital Scholars meeting on archival silences, the next meeting of Digital Scholars will allow us to specifically consider the role of an archivist in this work, and to ask (and answer) what role archivists do and can play in digital scholarship projects and for the Digital Humanities at large?

Join us in welcoming Katie McCormick, FSU Libraries Associate Dean for Special Collections and Archives, and Krystal Thomas, the FSU Libraries’ first Digital Archivist, to discuss their perspectives on digitization and “born-digital” archives, to highlight the evolving role/definition of archivists and librarians, and to describe the critical and creative opportunities made possible when archivists enter into the digital project lifecycle at its inception. Focusing on two case studies – the William C. Burroughs archive project at FSU and Florida’s statewide Islandora project – McCormick and Thomas will ask us to consider what new perceptions DH makes possible for rethinking the library or archive as a scholarly partner not just a resource, and how FSU Libraries are proactively addressing issues of collaboration, expertise, and the intricacies of managing shared digital corpora, as well as the challenges that digital humanists face in collaborating on their exhibits and prototypes. These intricacies and challenges likely include negotiating production, outcomes, metadata, and systems; as well as working with DH Scholars to achieve sustainable yet creative interfaces for their projects.

In advance of our meeting, attendees are encouraged to explore any of the following readings.


“Big” and Hybrid Scholarly Projects: A Conversation with John Walsh

Wednesday, October 16, 12:30-1:30 pm
 Williams Building 415

The Digital Scholars Reading and Discussion Group is pleased to announce John Walsh, Ph.D., Associate Professor of Information Sciences and of English at Indiana University, as its guest speaker on October 16, via videoconference. Professor Walsh teaches courses on digital humanities, digital libraries, electronic publishing, web development, and comic books and graphic novels, and will be speaking about the possibilities and challenges of crossing over from traditional to hybrid scholarship, funding models for “big” projects, and building a tenure case on the basis of hybrid or digital work.

Walsh is creator and Editor of The Algernon Charles Swinburne Project, Technical Editor of the Chymistry of Isaac Newton, Technical Editor of Digital Humanities Quarterly, and lead developer of Comic Book Markup Language and TEI Boilerplate. In addition, he is a member of the Steering Committee and Victorian Editorial Board of the cross-disciplinary repository on 19th-century scholarship NINES and an Editorial Board member for Textual Cultures, which is the journal of the Society for Textual Scholarship. Together with H. Wayne Storey, Walsh is preparing an electronic edition of Petrarch’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta, which will be housed at, and will include various texts, ancient and modern, related to the study of material philology and visual poetics.

In advance of our meeting, attendees are encouraged to explore any of the following readings or resources:



The Big “O” of Open Scholarship / DH Openness and Giving Things Away

Wednesday, September 11, 12:30-1:30 pm
 Williams Building 415

Openness—a core value in digital scholarly work—is nothing if not complex. In our growing reliance on intellectual and cultural commons, our expectations of large data-store projects such as the newly launched DPLA, and our calls for new critical paradigms for humanities work, the question of what constitutes agency, power, and control in such open arrangements remains pervasive and recurrent. There is much to cause both Open Access advocates and skeptics some discomfort, if for no other reason than the discussion often stalls in debate. In light of recent events—N. Katherine Hayles’s proposal for Comparative Media Studies [FSU-accessible ebook]; campus decisions to accept or reject open-access mandates; the AHA’s proposal to embargo students’ intellectual work; Wikileaks’ defense of shared metadata; even MLA President Marianne Hirsch’s selection of “vulnerability” as the 2014 conference theme for its influence on the acts of critical imagination, political resistance, and social change—what are our possible stances towards openness, and what questions should those stances invite? What are some alternative ways to understand and question the ethic of “giving it away”?

We invite you to complicate this topic with us at the first meeting of this year’s Digital Scholars group. We will be prepared to discuss particular projects whose involvements with intellectual property and metadata raise concrete questions about openness, but more importantly, we will invite Open Access experts and dabblers among us to give their perspective on other consequences of this debate, including how it has evolved since Digital Scholars first broached the topic in 2010, and what questions  should guide the future development of open scholarship. In advance of our meeting, attendees are encouraged to explore any of the following resources:



Open Library of the Humanities

Proceedings of THATCamp tagged Open Access

Open Access Now

Disembargo – a recently launched project by Mark Sample

Altmetrics and Digital Impact

Monday, April 22, 2:00-3:00 pm
Williams Building 454

Altmetrics and Digital Impact

A conversation with Micah Vandegrift, Scholarly Communications Librarian, FSU

How do we measure the quality and impact of our scholarly output? And how might that be changing in our networked environments for scholarly communication? The value of scholarly production gets measured on a shifting field of evaluation, varying by discipline and institution. Traditionally, whereas the humanities rely heavily upon reputation of publishing outlets, the sciences privilege a journal’s “impact factor.” But the social web and the open sharing of scholarship online demand a different yardstick. Enter “altmetrics” (a term first proposed in a tweet): the study of how a work of scholarship has the potential to count, and be counted, in new and emerging ways. Altmetrics takes a different approach than bibliometrics, the traditional information science of measuring citations. Instead, altmetrics proposes that the sum of impact is greater than the sum of citations. How can online impact be assessed? How do altmetrics relate to existing disciplinary systems of scholarly value? Our discussion will survey this emerging domain and experiment with some of the tools for measuring impact online.

Attendees are encouraged to review the following in advance:

And potentially to experiment or play with these tools:

Micah recommends you also sign up for:

Micah Vandegrift is FSU’s first Scholarly Communication Librarian. In that capacity, he oversees the open access repository DigiNole Commons and conducts research and outreach to assist the campus in moving toward a future of digitally-engaged scholarship. Micah is a three-time FSU alum, one of Library Journal’s 2013 Movers and Shakers, and the reigning Mr. Tattooed Tallahassee.

New Media and the Creative Economy

Friday, March 22, 10:00-11:00 am
Williams Building 013, Common Room

New Media and the Creative Economy: A Colloquium with Alan Liu

For the next meeting of the Digital Scholars group, we have the special opportunity of hearing from a leading scholar in the field. Alan Liu will be presenting as part of the FSU English department’s colloquium on “Creative Labor and the Humanities” at 10:00 am on Friday, March 22, in the basement floor of the Williams Building (013). Liu is professor of English at the University of California, Santa Barbara, where he is also affiliated with UCSB’s program in Media Arts & Technology and the Transliteracies Project. Trained as a Romanticist, Liu has also worked extensively in new media and knowledge work, and has made several notable contributions to the digital humanities community. Here’s a short selection of his writings and projects you might wish to check out in advance:

Liu’s talk is titled “Mickey Mouse Creativity: New Media Arts after the Ideology of Creativity.” The colloquium description and full day’s schedule follows:

This colloquium explores the relation between the Humanities and what scholars have recently termed the “creative economy” — post-industrial work regimes that profit by abstracting, exchanging, and marketing ideas rather than manufacturing objects or commodities. What does this latest phase of capitalist production mean for the academic professions? How are students prepared for this economy and what does it mean to participate in it?

10:00-11:00: Alan Liu, University of California, Santa Barbara
11:30-12:30: Jan Bultman, political media consultant and social media strategist
2:00-3:00: David W. Robinson, formerly of Georgia Southern University, now at Microsoft
3:30-4:30: Andrew Ross, New York University
4:30-5:00: Roundtable Discussion