Debates over the definition of the Digital Humanities are by this point very clichéd, to the point that many people have begun arguing that we stop worrying about it altogether. There is a building consensus that DH, however you define it, is above all a community, or if you like a social network; specifically, a community of practice that is open, public, collaborative, and above all welcoming. The main thing you have to do to get involved, is to just get involved. Express your interest by joining the community. One of the main ways people do that is by posting, blogging and tweeting their ideas, projects, and questions publicly on various platforms.
To that end, you will all be reading, writing, and sharing what we do this term on this blog and your own, which we’ll set up next week. This is not just about trying out the digital humanities. It is also about practicing skills that will serve you well beyond your college career no matter what you choose to do. Having control over your internet presence is crucial in this day and age, and building your own website is one of the best ways to craft and maintain a public, online identity.
For starters, you’ll register for this class site so you can comment on assignments, post to the blog and get familiar with the WordPress interface, if you aren’t already.
Follow these instructions to register for our course site and post your first comment.
Once you’ve done all that…
- Log in to the Hacking the Humanities class blog and make a new post sharing the 2D image of your house that you exported from SketchUp and telling us about your process. How easy/hard was it?, what elements particularly bogged you down?, what compromises did you have to make?
- Make sure to also share a tip for other novice SketchUp users about the tool that you found most useful, or a technique that you wish you had figured out sooner. Part of the digital maker philosophy is sharing the knowledge you gained, so make sure to pass it on.
Congratulations! You have posted your first blog post and can now share your interests and knowledge with the world.
We barely scratched the surface of what you can do with this platform in class, but we will get deeper into the weeds next week as you set up your own WordPress instance with complete administrative control.
Your task for next time is to write your first true blog post assignment.
Watch Miriam Posner’s video and read Johanna Drucker’s article on the components of a DH project, and then explore one of the sites below and write a post trying to reverse engineer one of these DH projects.
- New York Times Humanities 2.0: Any of the projects mentioned in the articles
- Virtual Paul’s Cross Project
- Brain Pickings Any of the projects featured: Republic of Letters, London Lives, Biblion, Darwin’s Library, Salem Witch Trials, The Newton Project, Quixote Interactivo
Make sure your post does the following:
- Introduces and links to the project you explored.
- Contains an image of the project that links directly to it.
- Breaks down the black box of your digital project by indentifying its
- Sources (assets)
- Processes (services)
- Presentations (display)
You may need to poke around the About or FAQ sections of the page to figure out this information, but see how far you can get.
As you write, remember that blog writing is a different beast that lies somewhere between formal academic writing and casual social media or email style. Try for a tone that is scholarly and informed but neither too stiff nor too sloppy. It can be a tough balance to strike, but think of your intended audience and try to find a voice that works for you.
Carleton College’s own web services group has a lot of good resources for how to write for the web effectively.