Scott B. Weingart, Carnegie Mellon University’s Digital Humanities Specialist, opened the conference this morning with his keynote talk "Connecting the Dots." With humor and visualizations, Weingart helped wake us all up this morning as he called us to action. Through a discussion of interdisciplinary connections and the production of knowledge, Weingart asked the audience to think about isolation and the way we speak to others as we get further and further entrenched in our specializations. "We can say the universe is expanding," he said but, as it expands, "it gets larger" and "things get further apart." This is why, according to Weingart, "it's hard to talk to each other once you get a PhD."
Through a discussion of a history of visualizations of knowledge (from the infamous use of the tree metaphor to a less hierarchal view of knowledge as it exists in visualized networks), Weingart insisted that the HASTAC community "design the community we want to live in." How do we want to communicate with each other? How do we want to create and disseminate knowledge? How do we want to make ourselves heard to other disciplines and to the public? These are all great questions to consider as we head into the next two days of this conference. How do you want to make the most of this experience and how do you want to connect to others within and outside of your field?