THATCamp Chicago is a user-generated “unconference" where humanists and technologists work together for the common good. As a famous Chicagoan might have said, "THAT is more." Join us November 20, 2010 at Northwestern University for THATCamp, then stay for the 2010 Chicago Colloquium on Digital Humanities and Computer Science.

Latest Posts

GIS and Database Interests

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 |

I’m a little late to the party, but wanted to introduce myself before we all meet at Northwestern.

I’m currently an Assistant Professor of German Language & Literature at the University of Notre Dame, where I’ve been teaching since 2007.  I’m fairly new to the digital humanities, but eager to learn more and make more sophisticated use of available tools in both teaching and research.

After doing fairly low-level stuff with wikis and blogs for a while, I’ve recently become interested in geographical information systems as teaching aids and alternate means of assessment.  Two years ago,  one of my first-year literature classes used KML and Google Earth to create a geographical companion to a bulky German novel that is now available online here:

I’m working on  more ambitious version of this project with a current class and am hoping to get some feedback from you all on some of their preliminary results, which I’ll bring along.  Ideally, I’ll also get some ideas for more advanced GIS work  – a colleague of mine and I have recently applied for a grant to create a language course anchored by digital geographical materials, and I could talk about that too.

My research has recently also taken a more digital direction, though it’s too early to share any results.  But I’ve just started collaborating with Notre Dame’s Center for Research Computing on creating a database of nineteenth-century German novel production, which will hopefully end up being searchable both in traditional ways (titles, number of books published per year, etc.) and through a GIS interface (visualization of places of publication, etc.).  Franco Moretti has been hugely influential in my thinking as well, so I look forward to talking with Derek and other literature scholars.

See you all next weekend!

To Chicago with Databasic Questions

Tuesday, November 16th, 2010 |

Greetings, everyone. I am excited to be attending my first THATCamp this Saturday.  I will be traveling to Evanston from Ypsilanti, Mich., home of Eastern Michigan University, where I joined the English Language & Literature faculty last year as an Assistant Professor of Written Communication.  I’ve found it energizing to read your introductions and to learn about everyone’s exciting work. I look forward to hearing more about these ideas and projects, as well as exploring possibilities for collaboration across our institutions and organizations.

The questions that have been most persistent for me center on computational processes applied to a growing archive of scholarship linked with rhetoric and composition.  I’ve learned much (although it never feels like enough!) in the last five years about technically viable methods for this sort of work, and I am equally interested in the conceptual value of data-mining and visualization for apprehending patterns that are not obvious at the customary scales of reading (e.g., one article at a time). My motives are not far removed from Franco Moretti’s rationale for “distant reading.” I have also been thinking and writing lately about the relationship between databases and narratives, particularly for field narratives (sometimes called discipliniographies or stories of disciplinary emergence and status). What role have databases played in shaping these narratives? Further along these lines, I am also sorting through issues of metadata proprietorship (e.g., how does copyright apply to mined data?), metadata standards, and processing methods. Looking ahead to Saturday, I am also interested in finding conversations at THATCamp around writing and rhetoric, new media and undergraduate writing curricula, assessment, pedagogy, and interdisciplinary partnerships.

SLAC & R1 DH Collaboration

Monday, November 15th, 2010 |

I’ve just graduated from a Ph.D. program at an R1 institution and digital humanities hub (see I’ve started an assistant professorship at a small liberal arts college ( where I’m the lone scholar interested in digital humanities work. I’m interested in running a session about cross-institutional collaborations in the digital humanities. How can scholars at smaller institutions (or larger institutions without an established DH program) find partners to collaborate with on digital projects, and how can we build a more robust infrastructure to support such collaboration?

The new DHAnswers (, cosponsored by the ACH and ProfHacker, can be seen as a step in the right direction. I’d like to think through the next steps. As I recently wrote to a colleague back at UVA, “DHAnswers is nice, but it’s no substitute for having experts in PHP, Ruby, or Javascript right across campus and ready to help me solve a problem on my website.” But what would be? Can any virtual collaboration bring scholars at smaller institutions closer to the dynamic, collaborative DH environments springing up at R1 schools?

Also driving this session: I’m currently organizing a THATCamp which will be held at St. Norbert College in Green Bay, Wisconsin this summer. THATCamp Liberal Arts Colleges ( will focus on scholars doing digital humanities work at Liberal Arts Colleges, where they are more likely to be the lone DHers on campus and must build stronger off-campus networks. This session would help me start thinking about how to frame THATCamp LAC, and I will welcome input about how the THATCamp model could specifically target the needs of Liberal Arts College faculty.

Digital Commons

Sunday, November 14th, 2010 |

A team at Wright State University has been looking at launching a campus Digital Commons with individual and project websites, blogs, wikis and social networking tools. I have been following work at the University of Mary Washington and CUNY as well as other models. These discussions began some time ago but the process has been slow as a result of other commitments including a shift from WebCT to Desire2Learn and the selection of a CMS for the university website. Our eventual goal is a resource open to faculty, staff, and student users. We have been trying out WordPress MU for several months but we are also testing out Drupal Commons, OpenScholar, and Drupal Gardens (the latter runs on Drupal 7 only) in order to see if we can marry the functionality of the Drupal Commons with solutions for individual and project websites as well as web exhibit type productions that are possible in WordPress MU and BuddyPress. The team includes faculty from the College of Liberal Arts and staff from the Office of Computing and Telecommunications Services, the Center for Teaching and Learning, and the Office of Marketing and Communications. I would like to share some of my thoughts on the process and the solutions and I look forward to hearing from others involved in similar projects.

Users and DH tools

Saturday, November 13th, 2010 |

Hello all,

My name is Harriett Green, and I’m the English and Digital Humanities Librarian at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. In addition to my MLIS from University of Illinois, I also have an M.A. in Humanities/Creative Writing from the University of Chicago. I’m excited to attend my second THATCamp (the first being THATCamp Great Lakes at Michigan State this past March–any alums from that one?) and I look forward to hearing more about these great projects and ideas.

For my part, I am primarily interested in how scholars work with the digital humanities tools and resources that have been developed, and how they incorporate them into their research workflows.  I observe these interactions in my daily work with patrons, and my initial research has centered on the tool I teach and use most frequently, the MONK textual analysis tool.  I look forward to meeting all of you and participating in an exciting unconference!

Greetings from a noob

Thursday, November 11th, 2010 |

Hi all! I’m a first-year PhD student in communication at the University of Illinois at Chicago. This will be my first THAT camp, and I can’t wait. I have an M.A. in Communication Studies from Northern Illinois University, and I previously worked as a newspaper reporter in the southwest suburbs. My research interests include the intersection of new media and journalism, virtual worlds, and participation via social media. My master’s thesis was a content analysis of “newspapers” in Second Life. I hang out in the Twitterverse, or Twittersphere if you prefer, and you can find me there as TeachGuz. See you all soon! Andrea Guzman

The Football Scholars Forum: Online Academic Communities

Thursday, November 11th, 2010 |

¡Hola! My name is Alex Galarza and I am a History grad student at Michigan State researching Argentine soccer. I am very excited to participate in my first THATCamp as a BootCamp fellow. As my department’s IT specialist and tech evangelist, I am interested in teaching ‘hard skills’ to academics and learning how to best use technology to achieve my scholarly goals.

Academics discussing football

I have begun using web meetings as an academic platform for scholarly discussion outside of the traditional seminar. I co-founded an academic book club that meets monthly over Skype to discuss books on soccer. We always include the author in the discussion and engage directly with the material to assess its relevance and impact on our own research. This group includes graduate students, professors, journalists, and authors and averages around 10 people per session.

How do we best use videoconferencing tools, social media, and podcasting techniques to keep the group academically stimulating, fresh, and inclusive? What are the possibilities offered by tools like Anthologize, Twitter, and Omeka? Beyond book discussions, the Football Scholars Forum could become an academic community that actively shares its research, theoretical contributions, and collaborates with digitized sources to better inform investigations involving soccer and society. I also want to incorporate a digital humanities perspective into my dissertation process at an early stage, exploring the possibilities of a digital dissertation and scholarly collaboration via the web.

Lunch @ THATCamp

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 |

To discuss a particular topic over lunch, please comment and organize yourselves below. Possible lunch locations:

BootCamp Workshops

Wednesday, November 10th, 2010 |

BootCamp Workshops have finally been finalized! Here’s the schedule and all the info:

Look for workshop materials in the navigation bar on the right.

Language Preservation & Music

Monday, November 8th, 2010 |

I am excited about joining the discussions at THATCamp. I am a computational linguist living in New Mexico working on lesser-known languages and am interested in generating new ideas for language preservation. I teach courses in databases (including non-SQL) and data mining.

My undergraduate degree is in music performance (University of Wisconsin at Milwaukee). I have a passion for music and teach a first year seminar on mashups and remixes and a course on physical computing using Processing and the Arduino. I am interested in any discussions related to these topics. I have a particular interest in hearing people’s opinions about using Processing as a first programming language.