One thing that not many digital humanists write about directly, but has become increasingly clear to practitioners in the field, is how ephemeral so much of our thought and work is, especially in comparison to traditional humanities products likes articles and books. What if, while still trying to make our projects more sustainable, we were also to accept ephemerality as central to digital humanities practice?
This past week, I attended the 2015 United States Intellectual History conference in Washington, DC, and participated in a panel sponsored by the wonderful folks at The Junto. Read more for the whole megilla, as storified by Michael Hattem.
This is the first time I’ve designed a DH course (though far from the first course I’ve designed, of course). It wasn’t an easy process, and the product is necessarily idiosyncratic, but, writing the afternoon before the class’s first meeting, I’m pretty excited. I started by thinking about what I wanted students to come away with. A great way to get one’s thoughts together, for those of us who may be visually-oriented, or think non-linearly, or just like playing with toys, is to compose a mind-map. In my case, I used coggle.it, a free web-based tool that is easy-to-use and allows both for downloading mind-maps in a variety of formats and for inclusion in other pages in an iframe; you can see my results on the course home page. I wanted students to get a sense of the main ideas circulating in and about the field (if it is a “field”—that’s a class discussion for another occasion), to gain a basic level of proficiency in some basic skills, and to give them some examples of how people have used or engaged with DH. Plus, I wanted to give them some experience doing.