Joint NYCDH & NYC Museum Educators Meetup – Poll to Decide the Date

The NYC Digital Humanities Student Group is jointly organizing a meetup with the NYC Museum Educators Roundtable Technology Peer Group. All are welcome! We will discuss the possibilities and challenges of creating educational project sites for the public.

Please weigh in to decide the date (the poll will close on Wed, Nov. 13):

NYCDH Student Group Coffee Meetup, Nov. 16 @ 10am

Join the NYCDH Student Group for a meet up over coffee to discuss digital humanities-related topics!

The Details:
Saturday, November 16
NYCDH Student Group Coffee + Digital Humanities meet up
Think Coffee, 73 8th Avenue, NYC


For this first meet up, Grant Wythoff, Ph.D., will join us to talk about his position at Columbia University’s Society of Fellows in the Humanities and as lecturer in the Department of English and Comparative Literature. Through his work in digital humanities, “Grant is interested in placing theoretical reflection in dynamic conversation with practical innovation.” Read more about Grant’s work on the CU Society of Fellows site and visit his Twitter page to hear from him firsthand.
All are welcome. See you there!
Photo of Kristen Mapes-Kristen

NYCDH Student Group Social Tonight (10/18)!

Please join us at the NYC Digital Humanities Student Group social this evening from 6pm-9pm at Swift Hibernian Lounge (34 E. 4th St.).

Meet people interested in digital humanities from a range of backgrounds and fields.

Swap stories of your experience with DH tools and methods.

Find someone to collaborate with.

Have a drink. Eat shepherd’s pie.

This social is the first event of the NYCDH Student Group. We look forward to organizing other meetings and workshops and socials as desired by you! Come to this event and let us know what you’re working on (or would like to work on) and how we can help you do it (better)!

See you there!

Photo of Kristen Mapes-Kristen Mapes

Impressions of NYC Digital Humanities Inaugural Event, 9/25

nycdh-horizontal1The NYCDH Inaugural Gathering on September 25 was a great event, for DH in NYC and for Fordham DH specifically. I’d like to add another set of impressions about the event to supplement Alisa’s post.

(The working notes from the day are a more comprehensive resource on the projects presented throughout the day, so check them out.)


The day’s events began with talks by Ray and Lynne Siemens. I appreciated the traditional nature of this presentation format because it allowed the participants to begin conversation throughout the day with some shared knowledge. I was particularly struck by Lynne Siemens’ talk about management challenges in getting DH centers/institutes/projects off the ground. This topic prove to be fertile ground for discussions throughout the day. I hadn’t previously thought about the fact that DH’s focus on collaboration sometimes runs up against the research practices that many humanists have become accustomed to, namely working alone. Even for those who want to take on collaborative projects, doing so may pose unexpected challenges on a social/communication level. While this is an experience that I have not (yet) encountered myself, I continue to think of the human, social level of how DH scholars interact and produce great work.


I also enjoyed the short session that followed about what we (the group as a whole) wanted NYCDH to be. This involved an unstructured time for people to stand up, introduce themselves, and express their hopes for the group. It was exciting to see and hear where people were coming from and to have their different ideas incorporated into the group’s vision for itself. I even stood up and shared my goals for improving graduate student communication across institutions! It was exciting to take a vocal role in an organization that includes everyone from students to distinguished scholars on an equal plane.


The afternoon was comprised of unconference sessions. These are free-flowing discussions centered around a topic that the group votes upon. They are led by one or two people, but all are free to participate. First, I was with a group of people discussing how to structure the Wiki section of the NYCDH website ( We discussed ontologies and how information could best fit into the Wiki as opposed to the Groups (for example). I enjoyed working with fellow NYC DH-ers to improve the scaffolding for online community. Considering the debates within and about Digital Humanities between “hacking and yacking’, it was appropriate to spend some time building in addition to discussing.


The second session I attended was about building DH program and institutional support as well as how to integrate DH into the curriculum of graduate programs. This group was large and ambitious in the scope of its topic. The most supported idea (it seemed) for adding DH into the curriculum included having “lab-style” sessions throughout a “normal” course for an additional credit, integrating DH skills. Further discussion can be found in the notes, but the part of this session that I found most compelling was a discussion of ways to align DH (or whatever your project is) with the strategic mission of your institution in order to justify and receive support (financial/staffing/space).

Overall, I found the meeting exciting, both for the contacts that I made in the NYC DH community and for the projects and events that I see coming out in the future. In that vein, I’d like to highlight an event that I’ve been excited to help organize. On Oct. 18, 2013 from 6-9pm, the Student Group of NYCDH will hold a social! The event will take place at Swift Hibernian Lounge (34 E. 4th St.). We will get to meet students from across the NYC area. The goal is to follow up this social with coffee hours specifically discussing projects and tools with one another. Join us on Oct 18!

See you there!
Photo of Kristen Mapes-Kristen Mapes

NYC Digital Humanities Inaugural Event, Saturday, 9/25


The NYCDH Inaugural Event took place last Saturday at the Humanities Initiative at New York University.  Many attendees faithfully live-tweeted it at #nycdh, including a significant Fordham contingent: @kmapesy, @ecornell1, @mickimcgee, @diyclassics and @FordhamGSDH!

The two morning sessions on Building NYCDH were led by Lynne and Ray Siemens, two visiting professors from the University of Victoria, currently at NYU.  They discussed the process of building and running a digital humanities center, and the importance of dialogue, discussion and re-discussion, and interdisciplinary and inter-departmental (or inter-institutional!) work for the success of any DH project.  I can’t summarize their talks better than the working notes, so let me just say my biggest takeaway was that we may fail to conclusively define the digital humanities — and that’s okay, as long as we keep talking about it and trying to re-define it.

A summary of lightning talks on a variety of topics can alo be found in the working notes: the range of projects was fascinating, and a wonderful reminder of how lucky we are to be in a city like New York.

After the morning’s traditional conference presentations the afternoon was an unconference.  It was the first time I’d been to an unconference — I’ve heard a lot about them, but hadn’t ever attended one.  As it turns out, my unfamiliarity with the format ended up giving me a bit of a surprise!

During lunch, we wrote topics of interest on a whiteboard, and after lunch, we voted on which topics the group wanted most to discuss.  I was excited that other people wanted to talk about “metadata and DH project sustainability,” and it got through to be one of the final four sessions.  Then I found out I’d be leading it!  Fortunately, it was during the second time slot, so I had a little bit of time to prepare.  I have to admit, though, the first unconference session on pedagogy and DH drew me in pretty fast, and hearing the ways in which different people use DH tools in their classes, or even teach entire classes on the digital humanities, was fascinating, especially since I’m TA’ing this semester, and will be teaching my own classes next year.

The session on metadata was a small one, which isn’t all that surprising: not everyone is excited to talk about cataloging, project hosting and formatting our projects with the future in mind.  But we had a good variety of people in the room, library school students and academics, those with years of experience with DH and with technology and programming and those who were just coming to the field.

We ended up talking not only about metadata and its importance (why create something, if no one can find it?) and the persistence of projects, but about the role of digital humanities more broadly in the world of scholarship.  Questions of citation and of numbers of authors credited for a project came up, and the observation was made that the sciences seem to handle multiple-authorship more gracefully than the humanities.  We also discussed the question of the tension between open access and traditional scholarly publishing, and whether the digital humanities have any obligation to be open access, especially when they draw on open access sources.

The conference’s closing remarks included a list of recommended resources, which are listed in the conference notes (linked above).  At 5:30, we retired to the Swift Hybernian Lounge, just around the corner.

I would encourage anyone in the NYC area to join and be part of the process of creating the NYC DH community!  As a newly-formed group, the options for where it might go are still very flexible, and it promises to help draw together expertise and opportunities in really beneficial ways.

Photo of Alisa Beer
–Alisa Beer