To Do

I now have a window of time between activities here at VCU to write some of what I had planned for a ‘night before Day of DH’ post that succumbed to my schedule.

What’s on my to-do list:

  • My HIST 390 The Digital Past class on Wednesday evening. We’ve begun to work with digital tools to analyse the material the students have on the Civil War soldier whose story each of them is telling. Last week we graphed some of the wealth of statistical data available on the Union military, to produce visualisations of data that places their soldier in context: how many men enlisted from their state; how many men from their regiment were killed or wounded; the heights, occupations etc of Union soldiers. On Wednesday we’ll be looking at geo-spatial projects and mapping the soldier’s lives and military service, which means using the Programming Historian tutorial to map my own soldier to try to anticipate what will cause the students problems.
  • The weekly seminar with the three first year DH Fellows at the Center, Amanda Regan, Janelle Legg and Anne McDivitt. They’ve now spent time in each of RRCHNM’s three divisions, and we’re pulling those experiences together with an exploration of the Center’s history, feeding into planning for our 20th Anniversary event, November 14 and 15.  The Fellows have been using a plan put together by Sheila Brennan and Sharon Leon to build an Omeka site to collect information on the Center, its staff and its past projects, and each looking at the proposal and reports for one of our major projects (Zotero, ECHO, Teachinghistory.org) to see what information they contain on how the Center works that could be used to hack the Center’s history on the first day of the 20th conference – watch out for registration information for this free event!
  • A paper for the Mapping New York symposium at Bard Graduate Center on 4/25 – another opportunity to talk about Digital Harlem. Face to face presentations are an important part of finding an audience for digital projects!
  • A meeting with development staff from various offices at GMU — RRCHNM has a small endowment, raised with the help of an NEH Challenge grant, which we’d love to increase to a level that gives us more flexibility in what we can do. I’m trying to raise RRCHNM’s profile within GMU’s fundraising, especially for our 20th anniversary year
  • A meeting with the Dean of CHSS at GMU — RRCHNM relies almost entirely on grant funding, more so than any comparable DH Center, and we need more support from our home institution to sustain ourselves and grow – as does everyone meeting with the Dean!
  • A meeting of the Honours 353 seminar, the capstone of the Honours Program in General Education, where I will be a guest for a discussion on new media and big data — more DH outreach, this time within the GMU community
  • A two page proposal for a tool that we’d like to build, which I’m working on with Sean Takats, to present to our Planning Group for feedback and brainstorming ahead of submission to a funder
  • A proposal for a digital project on private detectives and the invasion of privacy in the first half of the twentieth century, using mapping to visualise surveillance and data visualisation to examine the use of licensing to regulate private detectives – the next step in my research on the history of undercover surveillance in the US, on which I hope to work as my end-of-semester treat