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:



Author: Micah Vandegrift

Micah Vandegrift is Florida State University’s Director of Digital Scholarship. He coordinates the digital scholarship activities for the library and directs the Office of Digital Research and Scholarship (DRS), which provides consultations, infrastructure, and project development in the areas of: academic publishing, research data services, digital pedagogy, and digital humanities. Micah serves on the editorial board for the Journal of Librarianship and Scholarly Communication and on the DLF Project Managers Group Steering Committee.

2 thoughts on “Digital Humanities “Hackathon””

  1. (Unfortunately I was not able to attend the “Hackathon”) Ander Monson (and Sean Meehan) stresses writing as process in his “hacked” essay, “Essay as Hack.” The “hacked” essay emphasizes process over product, and suggests our writing is never static or final.

    This piece reminds me of David Foster Wallace’s essay “Host,” where Wallace’s commentary on the main narrative about an afternoon radio disc jockey become a part of the text. In a certain sense this narrative becomes the “host” to Wallace’s commentary to his own text. Though the essay was about commercial radio, the form of the essay does show writing as a process. The potential for the digital form of writing allows readers to see the process and evolution of a text.

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