Welcome to Great Lakes THATCamp

Great Lakes THATCamp (The Humanities And Technology Camp) is a user-generated "unconference" on digital humanities originally inspired by the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University.
  • Rituals and Symbols in Virtual Worlds


    Here is a session proposal from Sonja Sapach:

    In preparation for my thesis, I am studying the nature of ritual and symbols in virtual worlds – with a focus on the Durkheimian understanding of the creation of social solidarity through participation in ritual activities.

    I am interested in the typologies of persistent symbols from video games that can lead to solidarity in the “real world”. I would like to brainstorm to come up with mutually “sacred” symbols from video games – a good example would be the Horde crest from World of Warcraft.

    I am also interested in the festival-type nature of participation in virtual worlds – the ways in which we don masks (avatars) that alter our “real world” status and allow us to play freely with others whose real identities are hidden. In what ways do we change the way we perform socially when we are immersed in a virtual world? How does embodied (real) co-presence differ from virtual co-presence?

    Finally, I am interested in specific rituals performed both in-game and in the real world. This involves anecdotal sharing more than anything. How do you orient yourself in the real world before and during a gaming session? Are there rituals you follow in the game itself? (For example, whenever I log on to WoW, I follow a fairly strict ritual of checking the mailbox, reorienting myself to my inventory, ensuring that my skills are correctly hotkeyed, greeting online guildies, etc.)

    The discussion does not have to be specific to these ideas however, as I am still in the exploration stage, and would appreciate a diverse discussion on rituals in gaming in general.

  • Incorporating Digital Literacy into University Curricula


    I wanted to pitch a session idea that would be a discussion around around working digital literacy (which I know is in itself a possibly problematic term) into university curricula, both graduate and undergraduate.

    How should we approach this? Do separate courses make sense (i.e. ‘Digital Literacy’ for history, or for second year students)? Should we try to incorporate it across the spectrum, throughout departmental course offerings? How can we overcome departmental, institutional, and even cultural (i.e. the ‘digital native’) barriers? It would be also great to bring in hands-on experience from instructors with using technology in classroom, i.e. collaborative Google Docs, blogs, twitter feeds, etc.

    I’d see this as a discussion with the hopeful end-goal of us all having a sense of some best practices out there in the field, how to approach our own departments/faculties/etc., and a sense of some possible ways forward.

  • How to preserve the future’s past


    I have a session idea and was curious if others are interested in it. Here’s my pitch:

    We are all librarians now.

    Our combined desktops, laptops, and ereaders contain thousands of thousand of texts, images, and sounds that we have to pay some attention to if we expect them to exist and persist over the next five, ten, or fifteen years.  We can do this because those works are under our local control.

    But what of the texts, images, and videos that we contribute to sites like Twitter and Facebook?  These are readily available in the moment, but only weeks later they are increasingly difficult to find again and retrieve.  What about the years of own correspondence that are hosted on institutional email servers?  What about that amazing  website that we bookmarked 3 years ago, but has disappeared sometime since then?  Should we accept that our work is just a sand mandala?

    I’m interested in learning more about the tools and approaches related to personal archiving.  I was hoping we could share our own strategies that work and help each other around the roadblocks that stop us from  capturing, preserving and re-using the digital artifacts and interesting detritus of our lives.

  • Calling all Campers: Creative Session Ideas Wanted!


    Hey Great Lakes THATCampers!

    We’re just under a month away from what promises to be a very exciting unconference. We’ve got a full day of workshops on Friday (be sure to email us at glthatcamp2012 [at] gmail [dot] com with your workshop choices if you haven’t done so already!), topped off with a meet-and-greet hosted at London’s own UnLab on the Friday evening. Saturday will be a day of sessions, and it is truly a day that is up to you, the CAMPERS, to make your own. In order to get you started, we’ve put together a list of a few of the session ideas you have suggested in your applications. Now that you are all registered as contributors, you are able to post about what you’d like to see happen on the 21st and 22nd. The more talk there is about the sessions prior to Great Lakes THATCamp, the faster we can get going on the Saturday morning, so please join in and help us out!

    A few ideas from your fellow campers:

    1. Citation studies : Statistical clustering, word usage, what does it all mean?
    2. Open source software: Community support, expanding limited resources.
    3. Special libraries: Aiding and developing web projects, their role in DH.
    4. Enriching DH in our institutions: Helping less tech-savvy colleagues, skill development.
    5. Metadata: Tagging systems, user-generated tags, word clouds.
    6. Research Analysis: How to bridge the gap between qualitative and quantitative studies?
    7. Online Communities: Development in blogs or gaming sites, incorporation into education, virtual worlds.
    8. Reading Technologies: Digital vs analog, history of the book, pros and cons.
    9. Museums: Intersection of technology and museum for education
    10. Apps: Techniques, tools, practicality or “charming junk”?, Augmented Reality platforms for mobile devices.

    We’ve booked the UnLab for Sunday as well, so there will be plenty of space to get hands-on projects started, have a hackathon, create collective deep thoughts, or expand on those Friday workshops. If you have an in-the-works project that could use some feedback, there will also be some space for that on Sunday, please email us at glthatcamp2012 [at] gmail [dot] com with details!

    Think creative. Think fun. Think crazy.

  • Announcing Great Lakes THATCamp 2012


    Following on the success of Great Lakes THATCamp 2010 and 2011 at Michigan State University, we’ve decided to do it again… but in Canada, eh?

    For those who are unfamiliar, Great Lakes THATCamp (The Humanities And Technology Camp) is a user-generated “unconference” on digital humanities originally inspired by the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) at George Mason University.

    Great Lakes THATCamp will take place on the lovely campus of Western University in London, Ontario on April 20th, 21st and 22nd, 2012.

    We will be accepting applications until March 15th, 2012 – but don’t wait too long because we can only accept about 80 attendees and we will be admitting people on a rolling basis.  To apply, just visit the Apply section of this website, fill out the form, and you are good to go.  Its really that easy!  No complicated submission processes like other academic conferences.

    If you are interested in digging deeper into how Great Lakes THATCamp works, who should apply, or what constitutes the “digital humanities” (hint: it isn’t just for humanists), check out the About section.

    We encourage all applicants, participants, organizers, and onlookers to sign up for a Twitter account and follow news, announcements, discussions, and general hype coming from our profile (@GLTHATCamp) and the global THATcamp hashtag (#thatcamp).  Also, if you don’t already have one, go sign up for a Gravatar account.

    For more info, check out the About page or send an email to Bill Turkel at william [dot] j [dot] turkel [at] gmail [dot] com

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