This Is What a Digital Humanist Looks Like

I had highfalutin plans to dive back into some research data from two years ago today, in preparation for archival research in LA this summer for which I just received a generous research grant from the Berkeley Center for New Media. As usual, though, my intentions have been waylaid by events; when I woke up this morning and scrolled through Twitter, still lying in bed (I don’t know whether I recommend this habit, but it’s definitely part of my morning routine), I saw a lot of tweets about two things: the Heartbleed bug, and Equal Pay Day.

Day of DH (2 of 1)

I just spent about half an hour reading up on the bug, trying to decide what steps I need to take now (minimal, though I’m keeping a list of the websites I logged onto today, and I’ll use the vulnerability detection tool to make sure that the websites I use have deployed the SSL fix before I change all my passwords starting tomorrow) and what, if anything, I should tell non-tech oriented friends on Facebook and Twitter about the bug. At the very least, I’m going to recommend they start using a password service, and it looks like it’s finally time to shell out that $12 a year for the iPad and Android LastPass apps.

Day of DH (1 of 1)

Equal Pay Day, however, got me to thinking about the fact that one of the many positive aspects of DH for me is that it’s pretty gender equal. I’m on the advisory board of the Ada Initiative, a non-profit that advocates for greater participation for women in open source and in open stuff, and so far in my career in DH I’ve encountered very little of the horribly sexist behavior I’ve come to expect from the tech industry. I’m not saying it doesn’t exist, just that my experiences thus far have been remarkably gender-equal. I’m the Digital History Coordinator at D-Lab this year, and D-Lab’s current director is a woman; the core of the planning committee for the #HackFSM hackathon is five women and two men; and everywhere I’ve gone as a digital humanist–however much impostor syndrome I sometimes have over my lack of advanced coding skills, my lack of knowledge, my whatever–I’ve never for a second had anyone imply that I was any less of a DH person on account of gender.  And that’s a big part of why I like DH a lot.

So what’s on tap for the rest of my Day of DH? I’ve got to review preliminary judging guidelines in preparation for my last #HackFSM planning meeting tomorrow, get some flyers made to advertise a digital history methods colloquium next week and, oh yeah, attend lecture and read some more books for my qualifying exam next Wednesday, as well as try to start organizing a meeting about DH praxis for history grad students next month.

Day of DH (3 of 1)

This is what a digital humanist looks like.