October Open Office Hours

Each week, the DSG hosts a “Digital Humanities Open Office Hours,” where beginning and experienced researchers share knowledge about how to use different tools, or to turn an idea into a solid project. We’ll also share current and completed projects, as well as our experiences with many different facets of the DH world. The month of October hosted some very exciting sessions. If you did not get the chance to attend, check out reflections on the sessions below.

October 3: Marketing your DH Skills in a Professional Setting

Many graduate students here at Northeastern in the English and History departments have considered what it looks like to market ones DH skills in both academia and beyond in fields like public history. What does this look like? For this session, Northeastern alums Jim McGrath and Caroline Klibanoff joined us for a discussion on this topic. Jim prompted attendees to think broadly about the following:

  • Write a biographical note about yourself.
  • Make a list of at least five people in and around your profession who you admire.
  • Name a conference or professional meeting in your field that you plan on attending in the next year and what you plan to do there.
  • List one professional accomplishment you’d like to achieve in the next two years.
  • Think of one way to document your professional interests online in the next six months.

After this self-evaluation, both Caroline and Jim offered advice in networking and navigating the job market. Some of the main points were:

  • Informational interviews are valuable to learn about various positions in the field and as a networking opportunity.
  • When applying for jobs, create a master resume or CV that can be tailored to the specific job one is applying for.
  • Using Twitter is a great way to learn about what is going on in the field and follow those who are doing similar work to one’s interests.
  • Regional, National, and International Conferences are very important social networking opportunities for emerging professionals. Can’t afford it? Look into volunteering opportunities at the conference so you can attend the sessions for free and meet people while you’re working.


October 10: Design for Diversity

Design for Diversity (Des4Div) is an Institute of Museum and Library Services National Forum Project at Northeastern which focuses on the ways in which information systems embody and reinforce cultural norms, asking how we can design systems that account for diverse cultural materials and ways of knowing. Julia Flanders, Head of the DSG, opened up the conversation talking about why Des4Div was important for the DSG to take on. The DSG is charged with organizing and supporting digital instruction throughout the university, and Des4Div came out of the needs and ideas of emerging projects.

Cara Messina, a Research Assistant for Des4Div, walked attendees through the digital toolkit that the project team put together with the support of many generous people throughout the field. The Des4Div toolkit is aimed at being a resource for cultural heritage practitioners and students to use in thinking about how information systems can become more inclusive. Cara talked about the case studies, study paths, and other foundational readings that make up the toolkit and how they can be used in a classroom or in practice. See here for a full list of foundational reading and check out the drafted Design for Diversity toolkit here.

October 17: AR/VR/360 Pop-Up Lab

Northeastern’s Discovery Lab, housed at Snell Library, is dedicated to connecting people with technologies to support agile and interdisciplinary innovation. Currently, the Discovery Lab houses the AR/VR/360 Pop-Up Lab, which introduces students, faculty, and staff to these new technologies and how they can be used. Stephanie Trowbridge, Associate Director of Northeastern ITS Academic Technology Services, presented on the new addition to the Discovery Lab and how it could be used by students to support projects. The Pop-up Lab hosts a variety of opportunities for the Northeastern community, and will be there to collect data for the upcoming year. For more information, please visit the Discovery Lab site, or visit in person to test out some of the equipment.

October 24: Decolonizing the Archive – Early Caribbean Digital Almanac (ECDA)

Traditional archives, particularly those focusing on the Early Caribbean, are often deeply rooted in colonial narratives. The ECDA aims to decolonize these archives around the world using digital means to create an open-access platform to look through narratives. Alanna Prince, Project Manager for the ECDA, joined us at this session to talk about the archive itself and some of the resources it provides. Some of the resources include:

  • The ECDA currently holds 57 early Caribbean texts, 30 of which are prefaced with scholarly introductions to the work done by the project team.
  • The project empowers scholars and educators to use this archive in one’s classroom and offers resources for assignments, syllabi, et cetera. Interested in using ECDA in your classroom and become a teaching partner? See here for more information!
  • The project team and partners use the materials from the archive to curate scholarly exhibits which connect ideas across the archive through the use of various materials.

Check out the Early Caribbean Digital Archive. If you have any questions contact info.ecdaproject[at]gmail[dot]com and follow them on twitter @ecdaproject.

October 31: Omeka Classic versus Omeka S

Patrick Murray-John, Associate Director for Systems at the Digital Scholarship Group presented on the differences between Omeka Classic and Omeka S, a Content Management System (CMS) developed through the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. Omeka Classic itself has been around for a little over 10 years. and was intended to support small cultural heritage institutions. The platform offers user-friendly means to catalogue collections but also be quick and easy web publishing tool for both collections and curated exhibits. Contrary to intention, it ended up being very popular among larger institutions.

The major difference between Omeka Classic and Omeka S is some of the vocabulary and the fact that it functions as one installation that can manage several sites. This, as discussed at Open Office Hours, can be very appealing in higher education because it allows for the maintenance of one installation that can be used throughout the classroom. At Northeastern, both Omeka Classic and Omeka S have been used and supported by the DSG as pedagogical tools for graduate students doing digital history and those often looking forward to a career in the cultural heritage field.

Have any questions or ideas for an upcoming DH Open Office Hour? Contact Megan Barney at m.barney[at]northeastern[dot]edu with ideas and feedback!