This is similar in tone to Celia’s topic proposal, so perhaps we could combine them or have them run back to back?
Last year’s ThatCamp resulted in some great discussions of DH theory, project goals, and lots of “well, we built it but now what do we do/how do we do it better” thinking. But as a relatively new archivist, I’m more interested in how these projects happen in the first place. I’d like to attend a session that covers the basics of getting a digital project off the ground, including but not limited to:
- web hosting (who do you recommend?)
- servers, scanners, cameras, and hardware (what kind? how many?)
- do you need a dedicated IT/tech man or lady?
- web development and design software
- choosing your topic and audience
- would you use existing online resources like Flickr, Pinterest, or Facebook?
Horror and success stories both encouraged. Talking about the theory behind these projects is always inspiring, but I’d like to leave ThatCamp this year with a better handle on the practicalities of putting these theories into practice. And since we have a great mixed crowd of developers, archivist, academics, and people who have been through various kinds of projects, this seems like an especially good venue for this conversation.
As Christa noted in an earlier Session Idea, last year at THATCamp Philly there was a session on how one might set up a Digital Humanities Center for the Greater Delaware Valley. Among the possibilities that were discussed at that session was that digital humanists with particular skills might pool their talents as consultants to local public humanities sites that otherwise would not be able to do digital work, either from unfamiliarity with what is possible, lack of technical skills, or lack of time to undertake digital work.
That aspiration is admirable, but perhaps hard to achieve with the varied affiliations and responsibilities of campers at THATCamp. So I wish to propose a more modest aid to the small public humanities site community: a list of technical service vendors (soup-to-nuts website design firms, audio guide developers, database designers, digital photographers) with whom they might work to increase their familiarity with digital media and develop grant applications to support digital projects. The site would link to service providers and link to representative projects to illustrate their work. Ideally, such a list would make it easier for small sites to find technically skilled partners and also expand their imagination of what is possible in the digital realm.
I propose this as a separate session idea, but it could also be considered as part of the renewal of the Regional Digital Humanities Center idea that Christa proposed.