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Podcast: The Archipelago of Multimedia Publishing

Cheryl_Ball Cheryl Ball, Associate Professor of Digital PublishingWest Virginia University@s2ceball
MITH Conference RoomTuesday, October 13, 201512:30 pm

As academic publishing turns more and more toward peer-to-peer review, multimedia-rich work, and publication of data sets, the Vega team is developing a modular, open-source platform that can accommodate a broader range of publishing models that scholars and practitioners want to and can publish. Vega will be a free, editorial-management platform that supports peer review, copy-editing, and publication of multimedia-rich and data-driven scholarship and creative works in all areas of research. With the support of an Andrew W. Mellon Foundation grant, Vega is being designed with a unique editorial workflow that recognizes and values the importance of screen-based multimedia research, including digital humanities projects and electronic literature. What many journals and presses that publish this kind of work lack is an editorial management system that will move a piece of scholarly multimedia through the submission, review, and production processes as a single, scholarly entity. I will discuss the platform, its authorial and editorial features, and welcome questions and comments from an audience of potential users of Vega, which is only part-way through its first year of a three-year development cycle.

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Fall 2015 Digital Dialogues Pre-Season Mixer

Good news! So many of you expressed interest in having a Fall 2015 Digital Dialogues Pre-Season Mixer, that we will definitely be holding the event here at MITH on Tuesday, September 27, 2015 at 12:30pm. Although we asked all of you to express initial interest by this past Tuesday the 14th through the online survey, you can still RSVP up until the day before the event.

For those of you who didn’t see the original announcement, the mixer is a chance for you to come see our our offices, meet MITH staff members, and engage with other faculty and staff members on campus who are interested in digital scholarly work in the humanities. There will be refreshments served, as well as a few brief lightning talks with graduate students discussing their research and projects.

Starting in Fall 2015 with this event, MITH will begin posting its events on our Facebook page. If you haven’t done so yet:

Podcast: What Counts as Contemporary Fiction? Scale, Value, and Field

James-English James English, Professor of English and Director of the Penn Humanities ForumUniversity of Pennsylvania
MITH Conference RoomTuesday, October 20, 201512:30 pm

Scholars of contemporary fiction face special challenges in making the turn toward digitized corpora and empirical method. Their field is one of exceptionally large and uncertain scale, subject to ongoing transformation and dispute, and shrouded in copyright. I will present one possible way forward, based on my work for a special issue of Modern Language Quarterly on “Scale & Value” that I’m co-editing with Ted Underwood. My project uses quantitative relationships among mid-sized, hand-made datasets to map the field of Anglophone fiction from 1960 to the present. Some significant findings of this research concern a shift in the typical time-setting of the novel and a concomitant change in the relationship between literary commerce and literary prestige.

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RSVP by Tuesday September 17th to join MITH for a Digital Dialogues mixer!

Doing digital scholarly work, or curious about the digital humanities and related digital studies? The Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) is a digital humanities center located right at the heart of campus in Hornbake Library. During the semester, MITH hosts a signature event series, Digital Dialogues, featuring talks by local and visiting scholars on a wide variety of topics related to the digital humanities. The Fall 2015 season of Digital Dialogues starts soon, but first, to kick things off, MITH would like to hold a pre-launch meet-up for interested students and faculty.

This would be a chance to meet others on campus who are interested in digital scholarly work and share your research interests, as well as to meet MITH staff and see our space.  We especially encourage new graduate students and faculty to attend and give a brief 3-5 minute lightning talk about their research interests—whether you’ve just begun thinking about some topic, or are further along on a project.  These talks can be brief and informal, but you are welcome to share graphics or a presentation if you wish. . . . Continue Reading

Podcast: A Woman's Touch: Manual Labor, Pink Collar Workers, and Feminist New Media Origin Stories

Elizabeth_Losh Elizabeth Losh, Associate Professor of English and American StudiesCollege of William and Mary@lizlosh
MITH Conference RoomTuesday, October 6, 201512:30 pm

The study of computational media still has far to go when it comes to contradicting the solo white male inventor myths that are often reified in mainstream culture, although recent work in media archaeology that emphasizes the manual labor of participants with the apparatus is changing the narrative about the rise of software culture. It is perhaps useful to make comparisons to film studies, where scholarship about the role of labor, organizational communication, institutional rhetoric, domestic politics, systems of credit, and “below the line” production activities has long challenged the model of the lone auteur. Just as women were critical actors in the Hollywood saga in intensely collaborative roles such as casting and editing, pioneering work in computer graphics, virtual reality, interactive entertainment, and multimedia publishing reflected a collective production culture and its associated conflicts. Media studies could still do much more to recover social histories currently stored in informal archives, often in obsolete file formats, to support feminist scholarship, as part of the larger theoretical project of acknowledging the material, embodied, affective, situated, and labor-intensive character of technology. This talk focuses specifically on manual labor in the supply chain of digital media and how many hands don’t make light work. . . . Continue Reading

MITH partners in $1.25 Million Mellon Grant Awarded to UMD’s Arts and Humanities College

A $1.25 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will fund research, education and training at the intersections of digital humanities and African American studies at the University of Maryland. The grant will help to prepare a diverse community of scholars and students whose work will both broaden the reach of the digital humanities in African American history and cultural studies and enrich humanities research with new methods, archives and tools.

The grant, Synergies among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture: An integrated research and training model, awarded to the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) and co-directed by the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy (Center for Synergy) and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), will support a faculty project director, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and staff in ARHU and the University Libraries. It also includes money to run workshops, to deliver public programming, to digitize materials from significant archival collections, to support faculty research and to integrate digital work into a number of innovative undergraduate curricular initiatives including UMD’s First-Year Innovation & Research Experience (FIRE) program, a new initiative to expose first-year undergraduates to rich research experiences, mentorship and social activities that are known to impact academic success. . . . Continue Reading

Hacking MITH’s Legacy Web Servers: A Holistic Approach to Preservation on the Web

Editor’s note— This is the second post in MITH’s summer series on stewarding digital humanities scholarship. For more background, see the previous post.

In September of 2012 MITH moved from its long-time home in the basement of the McKeldin Library on the University of Maryland campus to a newly renovated, and considerably better lit, location next to Library Media Services in the Hornbake Library. If you’ve had a chance to visit MITH’s current location, then you’ve likely noticed its modern, open, and spacious design. And yet, for all its comforts, for all its natural light streaming in from the windows that comprise its northern wall, I still find myself missing our dark corner of the McKeldin basement from time to time: its cubicles, its cramped breakroom, Matthew Kirschenbaum’s cave-like office with frankensteinian hardware filling every square inch, and especially its oddly shaped conference room, packed to the gills and overflowing into the hallway every Tuesday at 12:30 for Digital Dialogues.

In preparation for the move, we delved into those nooks and crannies to inventory the computers and other equipment that had accumulated over the years. . . . Continue Reading

Stewarding Digital Humanities Work on the Web at MITH

A digital humanities center is nothing if not a site of constant motion: staff, directors, fellows, projects, partners, tools, technologies, resources, and (innumerable) best practices all change over time, sometimes in quite unpredictable ways. As small, partly or wholly soft-funded units whose missions involve research, or teaching, or anchoring a local interest community, digital humanities centers face fundamental challenges involving the long-term digital stewardship of the work they help to produce.

The importance of stewarding digital scholarship will only grow and the work will need to be shared by the entire digital humanities community. Founded sixteen years ago in 1999, MITH is proud of the way it has faced and continues to face these challenges. We would like to take this opportunity to document our practices in a series of blog posts, beginning with this one, in the hope of providing a clear and potentially useful record of our principles for digital stewardship, the issues we’ve faced, and our practices for dealing with them.

In this initial post, we’ll provide an overview of the actions MITH has taken to steward the variety of digital humanities work created here. . . . Continue Reading

Recap Part II: Engaging the Public: Best Practices for Crowdsourcing across the Disciplines Workshop (CrowdCon)

Last week, we posted Part I of a series of two blog entries detailing the outcomes of our workshop entitled Engaging the Public: Best Practices for Crowdsourcing across the Disciplines (CrowdCon). For the second entry, we’ve gathered the final storified tweets and videos of the event, covering big challenges in research crowdsourcing, best practices and next steps. Click on the links below to read more about the final panels and discussion from this fantastic event!

  1. ‘Big Challenges for Research Crowdsourcing’ panel
    (Thursday May 7, 2015)

  2. ‘Best Practices’ panel, Q&A (Friday May 8, 2015)
  3. Pitches for Next Steps after #CrowdCon (Friday May 8, 2015)


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Recap Part I: Engaging the Public: Best Practices for Crowdsourcing across the Disciplines Workshop (CrowdCon)

From May 6-8, 2015, MITH teamed up with Dartmouth College and the iSchool at University of Maryland to host a workshop entitled Engaging the Public: Best Practices for Crowdsourcing across the Disciplines (CrowdCon).  The goal of the workshop was to expand the ongoing conversations about best practices for engaging the public across both the humanities and the sciences, in order to build a networking bridge for crowdsourced research projects and to build a consortium to support such work.

Much attention has recently been given to ​“crowdsourced,” or “citizen science/citizen humanists” projects, which have developed across numerous fields, including the sciences, government, and education, both for knowledge generation and for increasing the level of engagement between online resources and the public. Crowdsourced projects now increasingly draw the attention of funders who recognize the value of these methodologies for public engagement and the generation of new knowledge.

Over three days, CrowdCon discussed standards for evaluating and incorporating user-generated contributions and directions for the implementation of crowdsourcing efforts; established a national consortium among groups involved with these projects; and provided a means for funders to understand the opportunities and challenges for crowdsourcing. . . . Continue Reading