DEH Workshop: Summary of Day 2

September 27, 2013 7:41 pm
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DEH poster

The second day was dedicated to research tools and how they can be used by the environmental humanities community. I gave a quick tour through a bunch of tools that I think could be used.
• Journal of Digital Humanities –
• Érudit –
• Old Bailey Online (and the API that connects to Voyant)- and
• Voyant Tools –
• TAPoR –
• broaDHcast –
• DH Questions and Answers –
• All Our Ideas –
• Around the world conference –
• Metis in the courts –
• Crowdfunding –
• fAR-Play –
• Omeka –
• Neatline –
• Hyper Cities? –

We had an interesting exchange on crowdsourcing and how to motivate people. Some ideas:
• Keep the task simple enough that someone can contribute without having to learn too much.
• You need to advertise widely and invite people to participate.
• You need find ways to reward or recognize people. Badges, leaderboards and personal contact help a lot.
• Often crowdsourcing or citizen science is more about connecting to a new audience than getting work done.
• You get a long tail of participation – a small number of people do most of the work and a lot of people do a little
• There is a literature now on motivation in crowdsourcing.
• Above all, make the barrier to entry low

Susan Brown then spoke about “digital evangelism”. From her perspective, literacies regarding tools, methods and standards lead to uptake and wider literacy. This wider literacy, in turn, leads to critique and therefore the generation of better tools and better practices. Brown then presented some other tools:
• Orlando –
• Fry’s visualization of Darwin’s Origin of the Species –
• Scalar –
• CWRC –

Renée Sieber talked about GIS tools and techniques:
• Geocommons –
• Geolive
• Geography of Hate (homophobic tweet map) –
• Dolly project –
• Ushahidi –
• Newfoundland Nature –

She was asked a question about hiding data in crowdsourcing. If citizen scientists tag things then the wrong people might find the information. If people tag wolves then others might use the tags to hunt them. This provocation brought upon an interesting discussion about the merits and downfalls of crowdsourcing.

Matthew Milner talked about tools for time, addressing the problem of quantification as well as the benefits of the visual experience of time:
• Temporal Modelling project –
• Spatial history project
• Similie
• Timeline JS?

Stéfan Sinclair showed us Voyant Tools ( He began by showing us Adam Crymble’s Distant Reading and the Digital Humanities short video. He showed the RezoViz tool that does network analysis.
We then had an interesting breakout session where we imagined what we want to do with digital tools. Some of the cool ideas:
• Slow violence
• Critical cartographies
• Alternate worlds
• Analyzing literature for EH concepts
• Curated online publishing initiative which can output e-books
• Online installations that mash together locative media and a Rome Lab? like interface
• Curation of events with tools for supporting symposia with online outreach tools
• Having physical or virtual labs for incubating projects
• NINES-like curation and review of materials
• Shorter, pedagogically-oriented papers

The development of the portal was then discussed. Some issues that were raised included:
• Added value of creating of “cookbook of recipes” for textual analysis of EH material
• EH needs the digital to address large-scale problems
• Should the portal be exclusively Canadian?
• Introduction of collaboration between DH and EH individuals
• Issue of bilingualism
• Projects page as an “ideas in germination” section
• DH listserv of updates?
• How do get more traffic to the site?
o Provocations through blog posts
o Short, reflective pieces
o Preliminary content
o Interviews with workshop participants
o Aggregated content

We then had another breakout group session to try to identify concrete projects that could be pursued. We merged some of the smaller groups and I ended up in a group with folks interested in publishing. Some of the ideas discussed included:
• An E-Arts project incubator or lab where projects could get the support needed.
• An integrated curation environment that could support documentation of projects, the curation of new research exhibits and so on. This would connect with publishing tools for hybrid outcomes. There was some tension between the physical lab idea and the online curation idea.
• I tried to interest people in the idea of an environment for being able to create virtual 3D spaces for interpretation, documentation and speculation. Something like Hyper Cities, but in 3D. Many felt this would be too expensive.
• A NINES-like architecture for “federated” full-text searching and data visualization/generation

Written by Geoffrey Rockwell, with annotations by Veronica Poplawski

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