How hours get eaten up by five minute tasks

One of the things that I constantly feel is that I never have enough time anymore. Having a 18 month old baby plus another one on the way probably contributes to this fact but I think it is also very related to DH. DH is exciting and there is so much stuff that I want to do but sometimes I begin to feel a bit over stretched.

Sometimes I wish I could concentrate on one big project (like when I was doing my PhD *sigh*) but I always seem to have an endless to do list of little things that take up my whole day. Quinn wrote in her blog today “Most days are filled with minutiae like this, and sometimes it feels like an endless email/to-do list treadmill, particularly when I don’t carve out time to make progress on my bigger projects” and I completely identify with that.

So I spent most of today writing emails and following up on several DH related projects/events/publications. A quick summary that will hopefully exemplify the diversity:

1) University of Illinois has very generously provided funding for Miriam Peña, a member of the RedHD to travel to the HASTAC conference in Peru. So glad that someone is going and an excellent opportunity for networking. So I can check that one off the list!

2) Checking up on review process for the conference Ages of the Book in October this year. I am on the organizing committee.  Organizing conferences is an endless stream of little to do’s which take up loads of time as anyone who has organized an event will know. And still many months away before I can check this one off the list.

3) Following up on a few issues related to the Encuentro de HD that will be held in May here in Mexico City.  I haven’t done so much work on it this year as I did the first time round but still helping out with website, liaising with venue director, chasing people etc. Unfortunately I don’t think I will be able to go as baby is due that week. It promises to be an exciting event and it is a bit of a downer when you don’t get to participate in the event that you have been working on. But I have a much more starring role to play elsewhere!

4) Trying to start a book chapter on DH in a global context. So far getting nowhere with it. I don’t really have the time to sit down and concentrate which is what I need. I think this is common to all researchers but even more so for DH researchers! Chapter is due in October but as taking maternity leave I really need to get a head start. No check on that one yet.

5) Reviewing two students master thesis proposals. I am on the committee for the MA in Library and Information Studies at the UNAM where I also teach the Digital Library course. One of the thesis is on quality control in digital libraries and the other quite interesting in fact, is on museums and digital libraries. Managed to write about half of the review. Hopefully will finish tomorrow.

6) Very excited about a book we are planning on DH. Booked room for meeting that we are having tomorrow. We are currently working on a chapter proposal. Has been fun! Check on booking room! No check on finishing the book though and that is still a long way off.

7) Trying to wrap up project on Digital editions that was funded by the UNAM and where I studied the development of three different digital editions, as classified by the researchers developing them.  The editions are: a painstakingly constructed PDF that must of taken months of work and it is so not useful that I feel sorry for the group, a wonderful  collection of ancient texts in Nahuatl that you still have to download the zip file and install it in your computer but with fantastic tools and a Latin dictionary that we are helping out with the markup in TEI using Textual Communities. I have to document the research process and results and hand in a final report by the end of this month. It is moving slowly! No check on that either.

And yet, as I look back at the work we have done at the RedHD over the past few years I realize that even though all of this looks like minute tasks, they do add up and in the end you manage to produce things. I am immensely proud of all that we have achieved. Just difficult to see the big picture when sometimes you feel you are drowning in the details!








Check! Best practice guidelines for DH projects

*This is a translation of Check! Formulario de evaluacion para proyectos de humanidades digitales as part of the RedHD en traducción group project*  The checklist in itself is also an example of collaborative translation work and I am grateful to Elika Ortega and Josh Honn for their translation skills.

One of the biggest challenges for DH is the recognition of DH projects as valid and valuable scholarly output. Although there are places in the world where advanced and sophisticated DH projects exist, the vast majority are individual and modest efforts with little access to or knowledge about best DH practices.  This issue becomes particularly acute in emergent DH communities, such as Mexico, where there is little accumulated practical experience.  In previously held workshops of the RedHD we concluded that one important aspect was providing both DH creators as well as evaluators with mechanisms for recognizing and evaluating the importance and impact of DH projects.

We therefore decided to develop an online tool for the evaluation of DH project in order to promote the recognition and evaluation of DH work, consisting of a set of guidelines coupled with an online checklist that allows users to evaluate a particular resource using an interface that displays the results of the evaluation, indicating areas of weakness and of strength. The aim of this tool is threefold:
1) step-by-step evaluation tool for committees
2) a resource for developers
3)informal compliance of a minimum standard.

After several meetings we have the first version of the checklist available:

We hope it is useful!

Check! Formulario de evaluacion para proyectos de humanidades digitales

Uno de los grandes retos para las Humanidades Digitales es el reconocimiento de los proyectos como formas válidas de producción de conocimiento. Aunque hay lugares en el mundo donde existen proyectos de HD avanzados y sofisticados, la gran mayoría son esfuerzos individuales y modestos con poco acceso o conocimiento sobre las mejores prácticas en HD.  Este problema se hace especialmente agudo en las comunidades emergentes de HD como México, donde hay poca experiencia práctica acumulada.

En talleres de la RedHD realizados con anterioridad llegamos a la conclusión de que un aspecto importante era proporcionarle tanto a los creadores como a los evaluadores de HD, los mecanismos para el reconocimiento y la evaluación de la importancia y el impacto de los proyectos de HD.  Por lo tanto, decidimos desarrollar una herramienta en línea para la evaluación de proyectos de Humanidades Digitales, con el fin de promover el reconocimiento y la evaluación del trabajo, la cual consiste en un conjunto de lineamientos, junto con un checklist en línea, que permite a los usuarios evaluar un recurso en particular mediante una interfaz que muestra los resultados de la evaluación, indicando las áreas de debilidad y fortaleza. El objetivo de esta herramienta es triple:
1) tener un instrumento de evaluación paso a paso para los comités
2) un recurso para los desarrolladores
3) certificación informal de una norma mínima.

Después de numerosas reuniones de trabajo tenemos la primera versión de la guía junto con la herramienta disponible:

¡Esperemos que sea de utilidad!

Starting up

My day actually began many hours ago but only now have I got time to sit down and blog.  There are currently lots of things going on right now so I will mention them during the day even though I won’t be working on all of them today.

First few notes:
a) Email from somebody in Colombia to our RedHD distribution list asking for more info about DH. It never fails to amaze me how people find you and how you find people and how these sometimes fortuitous events lead to building communities .  Elika Ortega wrote about it this morning.

b) Digital Neplantero (Victor) mentioned in his entry a text by Walter Mignolo. That’s the second time I have heard about his work in relation to DH. Paola Ricaurte wrote a blog post in the RedHD blog a few weeks ago as well. My background is in Library and Information Studies so I am not too well read in this area but will definitely look into it.

c) Have agreed to participate in the Translation Group, where the idea is to translate, discuss and encounter the work of others.  Tim Thompson just posted a translation of What are the DH? which I published in 2011 as one an introductory text in Spanish when we had just started work on the RedHD.

Just another Day of DH 2014 site

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