Author Archives: David Naranjo

Outreach: collaborative promotion

To promote a project in development is not an easy task but it isn’t impossible. Like other projects of the DH class, the outreach approach of Beyond Citation has been conceived as a collaborative effort from all team members.We all feel confident that the project has much to offer.  The question really is: how to make it known to our potential users.  However it is hard to measure what a strong audience is.  Right now we have a monthly average of 285 unique blog  visitors.  Is this number enough? What is considered a success in the online world?

Also, it is important to keep in mind that outreach isn’t a popularity contest; it is a combination of individual and collective actions working toward a common goal of engagement with the project. And that entails more than just counting the number of visitors.

Therefore, it was imperative to understand who is our core audience.  Based in the type of found on Beyond Citation, we believe that scholars and users of academic databases will be our core audience. But what is the best way to reach them?  Once the website is fully operational, having a minimum of 28 monthly users could be considered an outreach achievement. That could tell us that at least 10% percentage of our blog audience understood what Beyond Citation is.

WordPress is used for blogging, with different members of the group contributing. They have covered topics from understanding what is an academic database to questioning the importance of digital tools in the academic world.  We are having a good response from the on-line community, many of the post have gotten feedback through comments, tweets and retweets. The blog has become the main voice of the project while the platform is still under construction.

Since Beyond Citation is a digital project it seemed logical to use digital tools such as WordPress, Twitter and  LinkedIn for online promotion.

Twitter  has provided us with valuable ways to interact with scholars and members of the academy.  This powerful tool is the main social network to promote Beyond Citation. According to our Google Analytics report 95% of social referrals come from shared links from Twitter.

On the other hand, LinkedIn is a relative new outreach strategy.  The principal reason to have a LinkedIn account is to create a deeper online presence. This social network allows us to find specific users (based in their professional profile) and to establish different paths for promoting our project on the web.

Nevertheless there are some concerns surrounding what to do next. Press kits, tutorials and even podcasts are possible future outreach actions. However, we still need a final product, something more tangible to promote. Then each member of the team will have another task: keeping the interest of the users.

Beyond Citation Lab Journal

Beyond Citation is a website that makes essential bibliographic information about the structures and content of academic databases accessible to scholars, and will take an important step to updating the scholarly apparatus to encourage critical thinking about databases and their impact on research and scholarship. The site will launch by Spring, 2014.

For this matter, in the past week the members of Beyond Citation stared to develop individual and collective tasks for fulfilling the projects goals:

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What’s next?

Hearing the different doubts of fellow classmates gave me some kind of relief in my own uncertainties around the DH seminar, as seeing that many of us are slightly sure of the future of the DH seminar in the upcoming spring semester. Even though, I’m still concern of the main objective of the class, I understand the broad possibilities of DH pedagogy and I agree with many others that every class is worthy and no time has been spent without knowledge; however I wonder if just two semesters are good enough to have a deeper understating of what DH’s are and how can we approach them.

These new concepts and ideas, that are so intriguing and extensive, gave me the impression that the time of the seminar isn’t enough to have a deeper knowledge of them because of how briefly discussed they where.   I’m still delighted with the idea of exploring more of these DH fields rather than expending a full semester focusing in a specific DH skill or technology.  Could more workshops be an alternative, taking into account schedules restrictions?

Physical computing as a DH approach

Within the last weeks different approaches to DH have been presented to us, many of them based in outstanding research projects of respected academy professors and investigators.  Many of us (I think) are developing ideas for our final project, with a certain doubt if we will manage to mature our projects through this DH research tools, we might be asking if they are suited for our own research or event if we could truly understand how to use a data visualization program or hack a kinect device without even knowing how to code.

William Turkel has made a good point in approaching technologies through direct acts, “Just because the separation between thinking and making is longstanding and well-entrenched doesn’t make it a good idea. At various times in the past, humanists have been deeply involved in making stuff: Archimedes, the Banu Musa brothers, da Vinci, Vaucanson, the Lunar Men, Bauhaus, W. Grey Walter, Gordon Mumma. The list could easily be multiplied into every time and place, but the main point is that getting your hands dirty might be worthwhile, even if you’re not da Vinci.”1 from a personal point of view, I tend to see that the first step to clarify how or when certain DH method could be used we must “play” with it.

Physical computing provides a tangible example of getting right into the work, like making a laptop produce a sound based in the variation of human heath with the help of a thermal sensor plugged into a PC/MAC (Example from the workshop). Someone could think that this exercise lacks of concept, but in fact it can be the first step to approaching to a particular DH research technic or tool.

1. http://digitalhistoryhacks.blogspot.ca/2008/11/few-arguments-for-humanistic.html 

Programming in the 19th century

As I was searching more info in of typewriter history I found this fun fact: Today is the day of Ada Lovelace (1815 – 1852) , this british woman is considered as the first programmer, for her work in  creating an algorithm designated for being processed by a machine.  As part of this celebration Brown’s University organized the second edition of the Edit-a-ton, in which women are invited to create or edit articles in Wikipedia about other women whom contributed to Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

You can look for more info in this links:

http://www.sdsc.edu/ScienceWomen/lovelace.html

http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/the-switch/wp/2013/10/15/happy-ada-lovelace-day-go-add-some-nerdy-ladies-to-wikipedia/

 

 

 

DH Definition

Beginning of the class:

Experimental space where the humanities and technology are studied based on their influence in contemporary culture.

After the class:

Evolving community field where technology an its influence in humanities is studied in behalf of new approaches to research and academic treatments.

I consider DH as a transitional field,  between individuals and societies whom consider contemporary and upcoming technology as an alternative non tangible place and a community  that creates a new dynamic space (without losing their own particular characteristics), where human kind embrace digital concepts and tools as part of their daily life.  As utopian this thought is, is not far away the fact that men and women are being affected by digital tech; therefore, DH could be the bridge to understand and integrate this two “worlds“.