Blog Post

10 New Year’s Resolutions for Budding Digital Humanists



A just-for-fun post to ring in 2012, here are some ideas for digital humanities-related New Year’s resolutions. Organized from perceived effort needed to accomplish the potential resolution. Feel free to add more in the comments!



1) Find like-minded colleagues on Twitter or Google+.

  • Follow

  • Be followed (go public!)

  • Microblog daily

  • Engage in conversations at least once per week

2) Start that research blog you’ve been envisioning

  • WordPress can build a simple self-publishing website

  • Blogger serves basic blogging functions and easy for those who already have a Google account

  • Tumblr makes for easy re-blogging and microblogging through online social networks

  • Need an archives-based exhibition online space? Check out Omeka.

3) Hug a developer (who needs an excuse?)



4) Learn what the heck makes people love Tumblr or Pintrest (a.k.a. explore another social media tool conducive to meeting new colleagues--pseudonymously or real-named--and new ideas.)

5) Flesh out the information architecture of your new research blog

  • What tabs or basic navigation do you want? Do you answer those basic journalistic questions of Who, What, Where, When, and Why?

  • Do you give yourself enough credit without becoming a target for a Humblebrag? (We don’t need to know about your 4.0, but titles, honors, and fellowships are newsworthy enough.)

  • Do you identify what it is that interests you and who you’re looking to engage with?

6) Follow along with an Academic Earth class about programming. Have access to classes through your university? Try out a XML tutorial!

7) Blog about your research once per week

Time and Effort Required

8) Feeling ambitious? Enroll in a free Stanford University online course like Natural Language Processing or Human-Computer Interaction. You may get a statement of accomplishment!

9) Learn Gephi for data visualization experiments

10) Submit and present your DH research at a conference! Microblogging and blogging are great ways to get feedback as your work develops, but presenting IRL to colleagues raises the ante.




I began a microblog called Microblog to which I have posted six of the past seven days.  I am not yet committed to keeping the blog running but I think it will meet my needs.  What I see as the reason for the blog is detailed on the "Home" and the "Posting Guidelines" pages.

I did post a link to my most recent blog entry titled "Multi-Author Blogs in the Classroom and Between Classes" in Facebook.  I also sent out a couple of e-mails to individuals who might be interested in giving responses to help me develop and to clarify my thinking.  One person has posted a comment in Facebook and I am awaiting her response to my request that she repost her comment--or allow me to repost on her behalf--in the blog itself.

I do not see the micro-blog replacing or competing--in writing time or content--with Etena Sacca-vajjena, my teaching blog. 

Now to see how it goes...




Love this list - while it fills me with anxiety about all of the things I need to accomplish in the next, oh, 30 days, it's still fun to see DH resolutions up on the HASTAC blog.

One resolution I hope many DHers will share with me is to continue to find culture in our technology and to keep theorizing and/or experimenting with ways that DH can become a tool for social justice. This is thinking outside the box for a lot of us, so it's worthy to put it down on the list.

Coming from a queer/feminist perspective, one of my New Years' resolutions, for example, will be to integrate more critical race and disability studies into my own work!

Happy new year, y'all!


You might have already imagined that this list came together from my own ideas of what I should be doing. I have found it very hard to blog once each week, even though that's what's recommended to stay on people's radars. Some people do it daily, so what's from keeping me from doing it weekly? Honing in on one's own challenges is a great place to start for setting this year's goals. 

I like your point about bringing critical perspectives to the forefront of our work, as well. Those are areas of study that you know belong in the work, but that don't always interlock as perfect puzzle pieces. Perhaps "engage in interdisciplinary discussions at least once per month" could go on the list? 


Love the list and the comment.  Thank you both!


It's been very inspiring to see all the discussions on here. The blogs are a great place to throw out ideas, get feedback, and to see where people are in their own thinking.


Melody, I love your idea of microblogging about your research once a week. I have tried, and failed, to microblog in the past. But the microblogs *always* turn into macroblogs (just check out my hastac blog for examples). And then I polish excessively, because it's a long post and because it represents me in more textual real estate to the community of scholars who might read my work. And then I've spent half a day on a blog post that is helpful for my thinking, but that took me away from what I really must get done (dissertate, grade, etc.).

I assign microblogging to my students once a week, and this, I think, is a great opportunity to learn from them. They get it done and they have told me that it's worthwhile on the whole. I give them a very generous question that relates to the reading, and they either answer it or write about something else that suits their fancy (and ideally relates to the reading). 300 words is the minimum. But I wonder if I would be able to turn the tables, for my own assignment, and make it my maximum. HASTAC blog would be a great place to try this out: 300 words, 1x/week. It's a microblogging challenge.



I'll ask the curmudgeonly question: Why microblogs instead of response papers? As both an undergraduate and a graduate student I've had many classes where response papers, both short and long, were posted online in advance of class meetings.

I ask because a 300 word minimum and highly polished writing sounds like a response paper to me -- perhaps just with embedded links instead of footnotes or parenthetical citations.


Etena Sacca-vajjena is my teaching blog.  My goal is to post an essay about once a week.  I have a clear focus of my perspective which I briefly describe on the blog’s home page.  Blog posts currently run 600-800 words. 

Like Kirstyn Leuner , I found that the time for a posting was equivalent to half a day’s work or more for writing, editing, publishing, and distributing notifications.   However, I find the time to be well spent because I think about the blog daily.  Even when I don’t write about them, I often process experiences in terms of how I could write about them.  As a result, I remain mindful of key values (specifically the four Brahama Viharas) I try to incorporate into my life as a professor.  The constant reflection has improved my teaching.  Sharing on a weekly basis also builds connections with students who do read—and often cite in classes or conferences—what I have written.

During the past couple of months, I am finding that I am writing quicker; in part because topics are frequently in mind.  I am also learning that I do not need to polish excessively—which does not mean that I do not polish blog entries or take my on-line persona seriously.  (I realize that I am in a very different career position than is Kirstyn.)

Melogy Dwarak’s suggestion to microblog daily is fascinating.  However, I am not sure that I would put it into the “Easy-peasy” category.  Yesterday, I purchased a new journal which, in part, is intended to be a personal micro-blog.  While there are parts of the journal for notes, sketches, and so forth, I am intrigued by the idea of publicly microblogging on a daily basis and want to think about it more.



Who do you see as the audience for the daily microblogs?  As I mentioned yesterday, I am intrigued by the idea and decided to begin blogging today.  (I wasn't going to announce the blog until I was comfortable with it and was confident that I planned to continue it.)  However, I ran into difficulty because I was not sure of the audience for such postings.  Without understanding audience and purpose, I see no reason for me to publish the blog instead of just putting the notes in a private journal.

Because comments do not include non-verbal cues, I want to assure you that this is a legitimate question asked in kindness by one who wants to understand.  Throughout the day, I have given the question thought and have some ideas as to possible benefits of the daily blog.  But I would be interested in yours as well.

Steve Berg


Steve, that's a good question, and I think the answer may vary greatly.

One approach might be to ask, what would you gain by keeping it private? Changing your default assumptions might generate interesting answers.

For me, I've been running Aporia for nearly four years. It started as a place to post book reviews for an independent study: at first the sole audience was my supervising professor, but I chose to blog rather than turn in "papers" in order to maintain a central and comprehensive locus for my work. I used the blog for assignments in several subsequent classes.

I didn't actively publicize the blog for years: I saw it as a place to practice, with a small audience of friends and fellow students. As I've grown in confidence, my network of peers has grown in pace, and I've gotten comments from a number of the authors whose work I've reviewed.

In short, the blog has grown along with me, and having a central repository of much of my work has been a great convenience along the way.

I read a lot of other grad student blogs: they challenge me to step up my game, give me insights, and provide a sense of being part of a community of scholars extending far beyond my home institution. I think that's an invaluable gift from my peers.


One approach might be to ask, what would you gain by keeping it private? Changing your default assumptions might generate interesting answers.

John, I just discovered that my response to your posting isn’t actually here.  I’m not sure what I did wrong, but I will try again—in a modified version because I have continued to think about this issue since I “posted” my response yesterday.

You are correct that changing the default assumptions does change the answer.  As soon as I read your question, my immediate response was “Nothing.”  This then caused me to reconsider what could be gained by micro-blogging. 

The main difference between the journal and the micro-blog is that is gives the possibility for feedback and discussion.  There is also the incentive to keep on publishing the micro-blog because of its public nature.

Because I am up for evaluation this year, for two months I recorded my activities as they related to service and professional development in a blog.  However, the purpose of this was to simply record facts; not to do any reflection.  And reflection is a key component of a micro-blog/journal.

I have experienced the benefits of blogging while writing Etena Sacca-vajjena in which I try to publish approximately one essay a week during the regular academic year.  I have also created an author page on Facebook where I can share teaching thoughts with students and others.  And my website (which is being massively revised during semester break) has included detailed information about my teaching. Therefore, the thought public sharing does not bother me.

I am now thinking that if I were to begin a micro-blog that I would need to be comfortable that I am not trying to reach a large readership; that I am doing more of a public journal that few people would read.  Even though there will be few readers, there will be more than if I confined my thoughts to a private journal.  It would also be possible for me to publicize individual entries in the micro-blog with students or others.  For example, I might reflect on something from class and ask students to voluntarily respond.  Or I could send the link to an entry to selected colleagues and ask them for feedback on some issue.

There are two other issues which I think are important for a daily micro-blog.  First, it does not have to be written in daily.  That is a set up for failure. 

The second is that reflections do not necessarily need to be posted on the exact day they take place.  For example, were I to begin the micro-blog later today, I could still post yesterday’s notes and give them a January 2 date.

Thank you for your response which helped clarify my thinking.