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Day of Digital Humanities 2018 at Carleton College -- Recap

The poster for the 3rd Annual Day of Digital Humanities at Carleton College, held June 1, 2018

On Friday, June 1, Carleton College in Northfield, Minnesota hosted the third annual Day of Digital Humanities. Day of DH is a free regional conference for faculty, staff, and students involved with digital humanities in a variety of ways. As we start a new academic year, revisit our conference from the beginning of summer!

The day began with lightning round talks, with various practitioners of DH shared their on-going work. These talks included discussions of how faculty and staff have been using digital humanities methods and tools in the classroom, research projects utilizing digital tools, and students who had done digital humanities projects in the classroom. One presentation was done by a group of Carleton students who presented their Computer Science senior capstone project, in which they explored topic modelling of Bede’s Ecclesiastica and a way to make that exploration accessible without knowledge of code.

During lunch, Jack Giesking gave an incredible interdisciplinary keynote, incorporating geography, history, queer studies, critical digital humanities, oral histories, and social media analysis. Exploring the production of queer space in New York, he challenged us to think about how we can tell the stories of those who are often made invisible by society. A particularly thought-provoking point Dr Giesking made was in regards to “small” and “big” data. How do we treat data differently based on how we classify it? What does it mean if some data is never “big” enough? Should we disregard that data and their experience? Dr Giesking argues that “small” data still offers many important insights for researchers (something humanities researchers do not need convincing of), and there is a point in which data is “good enough.”

Another important point he made was about the importance of considering if all data should be analyzed. Just because data is accessible or can be gathered, should we do that? In Dr Giesking’s project, he has examined the social networks of trans tumblr, which is a particularly vulnerable population in many ways and frequently the individuals are also underage. Locations could be extracted from the tumblr posts and photographs, but should they? Dr Giesking stressed that we have an obligation to make smart choices about our data and protect certain populations – and that means not using the data from trans tumblr in that way.

The afternoon capped off the day with breakout sessions in the form of hands-on workshops. Participants attended three workshops: “Digital Storytelling for Museums,” “Harvesting History and Curating Community,” and “AR/VR/MR and Pedagogical Innovation Through Ten Lines of Code.” These workshops provided spaces for presenters to share their own work and participants to get hands-on experience with the different technologies and methods.

Check out some more highlights from Day of DH with the hashtag #dayofdh18cc on Twitter and see the full program on our website.

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