Archive for the ‘general shenanigans’ Category

  • K-12 foreign language literacy and technology


    Den Letzten beißen die Hunde… Here is what I’m interested in.

    In the current economic climate, many K-12 foreign language programs are cut and the situation in Michigan is particularly dire. Part of the mission of the Community Language School at Michigan State University is to provide support to students and teachers in the community and to bridge existing gaps in language offerings.

    I am particularly interested in engaging in conversations about the crossroads of literacy and technology for K-12 students and the role foreign languages can play. We have experimented with a few online models and I would like to hear from others who have used online tools to advance literacy for young learners.

  • Meaningful and accessible digital oral collections


    I am working on providing web-based access to several oral history collections and would be interested in trading ideas about how best to make these materials as useful as possible for researchers, scholars, teachers, and students.  There are many approaches to providing meaningful access to this collection domain — some previously mentioned by other campers (Will Cowen and Megan McCullen).  But how can we afford to annotate the content, generate metadata, and link the histories to curriculum benchmarks?  How can we afford not to do this when the consequence might be that our target audiences can’t find these rich resources.

  • THATCamp Girl Geek Dinner


    I would like to cordially invite any girl geeks that will be in town for Great Lakes THATCamp to join us for our April Michigan Girl Geek dinner on Saturday, April 30th!

    Join us around 5:30pm and grab a beer. Introductions start at 6:00pm. Stay for dinner! This is our chance to get together and learn from each other. Bring a friend!

    We don’t have a sponsor so you will have to pay for your own meal and beverage.

    You can learn more about Girl Geek dinners here:

    We’ll have a table reserved! Look for the group of fabulous Girl Geeks. Big thanks to MBC for giving us meeting space!

    Michigan Brewing Company
    402 S Washington Sq
    Lansing, MI

    Men are more than welcome to attend! You just need an invite from a female attending the event!

    See you Friday!! 🙂

  • Special session on MSU Campus Archaeology


    I am proposing what technically amounts to a special session focuses on the MSU Campus Archaeology Program. We will take participants on a walking tour of the oldest part of the campus, while explaining what it is we do, why, and how we use digital media to do our work and to communicate to our various publics. We suggest that this event occur late in the afternoon on Saturday, so that anyone interested can join without missing much. Please visit our website: to see an overview of our program.

    We would LOVE to get feedback on the program, including your ideas on alternative approaches, new techniques, etc. We hope that at least some of you will want to join us.

  • KORA Contest Info


    MATRIX is giving away 10 accounts to use KORA, our digital repository application, for a year.  This amazing opportunity includes MATRIX hosting up to 10GB (value of $100) and a 1-hour individualized training/consultation session to ensure winners (and their projects) get the most out of KORA.

    To apply for a free account, please provide a short (1 page) overview of your project.  Include a description of your content (types and quantity of media, etc.), target audiences, and what you envision doing with your materials.

    There is a hard deadline of Sun, May 1, at 5am for submitting.  Earlier is better.

    Send your project overview to:

    Matt Geimer (thats me)  via email –  matt [dot] geimer [at] matrix [dot] msu [dot] edu

    Feel free to find me at GLTC ’11 or twitter (@mastermattg) if you have questions about KORA.  Comments on this post will also be answered.

    Good Luck!

  • Context Preservation

    I’d like to poke some brains about context preservation.

    For the last couple of years or so, I’ve been intrigued by the concept of context preservation. It happens whenever I check our web log server and see a big spike on a certain page on our website, or when there are many page requests coming from a certain domain/area. What’s going on that day? What makes this particular page suddenly so popular on that day? Did one of the librarians post bibliographic instruction? Has somebody added a link to our web page and announced it somewhere?

    The news that the Library of Congress will archive public tweets is also intriguing, especially when researchers or anthropologists start poring over the content and trying to make any sense of the myriad things people shared on Twitter. How to make sense of a conversation when it’s done between somebody with public tweets and another who has his Twitter account protected (and thus his tweets are not archived by the Library of Congress)? Do any of the hashtags make any sense at all? When a hastag is trending, does it get captured and preserved, too?

    My questions about context preservation have more to do with how scholarly communication seems to change. In addition to the traditional methods (writing journal articles and presenting at conferences), the communication is also happening in multiple, simultaneous channels such as unconferences, blogs, social media, even THATCamp. There is a high volume of relatively unorganized information, due partly to the preference for spontaneity. There are users who want to make personal connections across broader and broader groups. Discourse will take in multi-directional conversations. Given that trend, how do we preserve the context of information or conversations?

    Terry Brock’s (@brockter) blog post, Remembering the People Behind the Things, nicely explains context preservation from an archaeological perspective.  Many of you probably already know about this YouTube video about the Beatles, 1000 years later.  This is a fake video, but it points out precisely the problem of interpreting what’s happening in the past.

    P.S. I can’t resist including this as well: Turtles have it figured out.
  • Helpathon for digital projects and digital publishing


    According to the information on how to propose a session from the original THATCamp (“THATCamp Prime”), one session genre is a helpathon, where you “describe problems you want solved and questions you want answered, and strangers magically show up to hear about what you’re doing and to give you their perspective and advice.”  This is the opposite: I would like to offer help for people trying to translate a fuzzy idea into something more specific, approaching a data model and set of recommended tools for making it happen.  If you have some source material that you’d like to put online but don’t know where to start, or you’d like to create some sort of born-digital resource but are having trouble conceptualizing it, I’m your man.  My expertise is in documents and metadata but I can say a thing or two about non-textual documents and interactive resources.

  • KORA, Archaeology, Access, etc…


    I am currently working on a digital repository for materials relating to major Mississippian archaeological sites. My project involves the collection, digitization, and organization of materials such as maps, photographs, field notes, publications, gray literature, bibliographies, websites, and raw data within a single digital repository, which will be generally organized by site. The repository will function to preserve materials in a digital format while improving scholarly accessibility and providing an integrated, searchable network of relationships between diverse types and sets of information.

    I propose that we have a session on KORA and/or other digital repository platforms. I know that Matt Geimer already posted about it, and he obviously knows what he is talking about (unlike me), but I feel like this will be a great opportunity for me to get the information I need  directly from the experts, while hopefully contributing a little something to a discussion/consideration of the ways that these repositories can help researchers from a broad range of disciplines.  As far as I know, this will be the first time that KORA has been used for an archaeology project, and I am excited to share my ideas and get feedback/advice.

    Beyond the technical/organizational issues I have been working on, I am also interested in learning more about creating an outward facing website that would serve to publicize the existence of the repository among scholars and research, as well as to provide general public access to a limited amount of the materials. Although I envision the creation of some avenue for researchers to secure permission to access all materials, I anticipate that copyright, author permissions, and special issues particular to archaeological materials will likely prevent me from making the entire repository available to the public. I guess what I’m really getting at is that, in addition to the technical aspects of all this, I am also really interested in participating in a philosophical discussion of the ethics of access in the digital humanities, as a discussion of the costs and benefits of public repositories will eventually/inevitably lead to issues of ownership of intellectual property and control over cultural materials/heritage. This is the kind of stuff I really like to learn about. I’m excited. Let’s do this.

  • Film and Digital Humanities


    With the development of new and cheaper film technology the ability to tell stories and reach a broader audience with academic research is expanding. I want to use the example of my experience as a first time filmmaker to discuss some of these challenges and opportunities. Filmmaking poses some unique challenges and requires thoughtful adaptation of content. Telling stories on film requires more than merely reading a conference paper over some video images. One bonus it that film presents us with an unprecedented opportunity to control and communicate our message to a much wider audience.
    Using my film, Cahokia: Native American City of Mystery, I want explore the potential of digital media, including but not limited to film, to tell stories that engage multiple audiences. More specifically I am hoping generate discussion on ways to make the project accessible across multiple formats as there is a good possibility it will expand into a longer series of films.
    You can watch a 3 1/2 minute trailer of the film click here:

  • Thinking technology through the humanities


    Those of us using digital technologies for teaching often think of technologies as helpful and interesting tools that can help us make the humanities relevant, or that are fun and interesting to teach, in and of themselves. I have been teaching a unit in my library cataloging and classification class in which I use an example from the humanities to think about technology, rather than the other way around. I would like to think of other ways that the humanities can help us train technologists to design better tools for human (and non-human) flourishing.

    The unit in my class is small, but I draw it like a thread through the course material, which is about using library cataloging standards (a specific form of metadata application) to develop consistent and easy access to the entire library collection. We read a short piece from a queer poet who is also disability rights advocate. It becomes our touchstone for thinking about how technological infrastructures necessarily create inclusions and exclusions. We also read some excerpts from Bowker and Star’s Sorting Things Out, in which the authors make clear the moral force of categories (including categories writ small, as manufacturing and interoperability standards) and the moral obligations of the designers of technical systems to surface the exclusions their systems create even in a good-faith effort to create ease of access and functionality across local and global scales.

    I am trying to help my students avoid the traps of technological determinism, the idea that technologies will do their own things, irrespective of humans, and that it is up to humans to adapt. What other ways can the humanities illuminate how we use, assemble, and patch together technologies, and the consequences of doing so? And how can we be diligent in showing that the humanities are also fully germane and foundational to technologies in society, rather than appearing always to say that digital technologies bestow relevance on the humanities?

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