So, how do you summarise a 4-day conference with 159 papers, 52 posters, 13 workshops and 9 panels in one blogpost? You don’t… But I am going to try anyway!
I had the pleasure to attend and present a poster at the DH2013 conference this year, which took place two weeks ago in Lincoln, Nebraska. It was my first time attending the event and I was not disappointed! After a 14 hour trip (and a good night’s sleep) I started off my DH2013 experience with a wonderful workshop about Voyant, a web-based reading and analysis environment for digital text. All the material from the workshop is available online: http://hermeneuti.ca/workshop/dh13.
After some introductions of the people there, but also the tool, we formed groups to discuss how Voyant would be of use in our work. I was happy to see that we had quite a big group of librarians there, so of course we discussed how we could either show our own data to the users, but also how we can introduce the tool to students or professors for the university libraries. I’d love to see what our data looks like, so that’s a nice task for the coming months!
The main part of the conference started on my second day and I mainly spent my hours in the various short paper sessions that were held in the conference hotel. There were five papers in a sessions, each with a similar topic. And, being a text junkie, I listened to a lot of text analysis and stylometry, but I also found the time to visit papers on how to best serve researchers with tools, environments and other helpful equipment.
Some of my highlights included the paper of Anna Jobin and Fredric Kaplan on Google’s adwords lexicon, which not only consists of expensive and cheap words, but also of misspelled and non-existents words. The team at the DHLab of EPFL is undertaking a case study on the linguistic effects of autocompletion alghoritms and keyword bidding.
Another paper that stuck with me was that of our colleague from the British Library, Nora McGregor, who introduced their Digital Scholarship Training Programme. The BL has set up a training programme, consisting of 15 courses, all about anything digital. Their (not so digital?) curators can take a class on, for example, HTML, metadata formats, the BL’s digital collections or linked data. These low level courses can be taken by everyone in the library with an interest in the digital world.
Most of the people took about three courses, but there was also someone who completed the entire programme. Food for thought here at the KB! We have, what we call, kennis sessies (knowledge exchange sessions) and also offer some excellent courses in-house on copyright and digital preservation, but we have never looked at these as an entire course load. Perhaps we should!
And then the absolute top highlight of my DH2013 experience, our poster! The organisation arranged for a very nice and spacious room where we had our poster up on our own board, giving us the opportunity to have a big crowd of people around us. Luckily, this was also the case for us! I spoke to many people about our data (there actually ís an interest in Dutch data in the US!) and about what they would expect from a national library like ours or the BL. Want to leave your feedback as well? Please fill out our survey and help us improve!
So, with this blogpost I have NOT done justice to the conference at all, but have given you a very short overview of some of my wonderful experiences while in Nebraska. Please do read other posts to learn about the rest of the talks, such as the wonderful keynotes by David Ferriero, Willard McCarthy, and my favourite, Isabel Galina.
I met many very interesting people while there and was happy to find out I was accompanied by a lot of librarians. However, most of them were from university libraries. So, national librarians, we need you! Want to share experiences on how we work with digital humanists? Please do get in touch! And researchers? I just want to mention our survey once more.