May 19, 2011
Teacher-scholars unite! I’ve been testing some possible applications of Omeka archives and Zotero as collaborative tools organizing the development of literary research methodologies classes, and I’d like to take the wonderful opportunity of THATcamp to begin developing the structure and content of project I see as The Next Step. I’d like your help to discuss, plan, and/or block out a template for a full-class, full-term student project that works toward researching, annotating, and encoding a small number (perhaps just one per term?) of thematically-selected texts in our shamefully neglected special collections room. Ideally, this project would therefore include study of the texts themselves, research about their material and digital existences (using the ESTC, Google Books, and something like Eighteenth-Century Book Tracker) a basic practical/theoretical framework for DH, collaboratively writing a useful and accessible overview and producing an XML version of the text. Each term or year, students and faculty would work together to select, create, and grow the entries according to a broader thematic logic that can expand over time, based on the strengths of the collections. I’d like to use this template as a basis for a grant application that would allow the project to grow and, ultimately, link faculty, students, and resources at area institutions.
I think this would be a viable model for an advanced undergraduate seminar, and it has the benefit of drawing together a variety of practical and theoretical facets of the digital humanities. Some questions to consider include how we can best design the arc of the class? What specific parts of the project would have as their goal which practical or conceptual outcomes? What are the technological hurdles to be 1.) aware of, 2.) avoided, or 3.) embraced? What should the Omeka site look like/allow, in order to help the project grow over time? How might faculty help students approach the text encoding portion of the project? What are the most useful introductory text-based sources providing a theoretical framework for such a practical project? And what might steps after The Next Step look like?