Annotation Studio, Anyone?

I’m curious about Annotation Studio, the MIT HyperLab web app for mutli-user textual markup and annotation. I’d love to be able to use it in an upcoming seminar and in my teaching going forward, but I don’t have any personal experience with it. If anyone does or has used it before, a session introducing it and workshopping getting started would be hugely helpful to me, and I’m sure to other scholars in history, literature or other humanities fields.

THATCamp VA session on using twitter for narratives, analysis, and data presentation

How can Twitter be used on a sustained basis to advance analysis, interpret narratives, and present data? How can the medium of short postings with illustrations be useful in attracting, capturing, and deepening attention to a continuing project? In my case, I’m looking for strategies to use twitter to reach several academic communities in preparation for a workshop on medical history and digital humanities to be held in April 2016 at the National Library of Medicine and funded by the National Endowment for the Humanities. I hope to use twitter over the course of several months to publicize this event, but also to create and sustain an intellectual community interested in images and texts in medical history and the digital humanities. I would welcome the chance at THAT Camp VA to learn from others about effective strategies and tools.

Digital humanities + design records

Hello everyone! I’m interested in getting together with some like-minded scholars and practitioners to talk about how architecture and design records in archives can be incorporated into the digital humanities. This is just a simple blurb. I’m excited to see where the conversation might take us. Some ideas for discussion:

  • How do DH folks use architectural and design records?
  • What keeps them from using architectural and design records?
  • What prevents archivists and other cultural heritage professionals from making these records accessible?
  • What can we do about these barriers?
  • What would our ideal future look like? Would it have emulation environments for CAD drawings? 3D printing? Virtual reality viewers?

We produced a Google Doc to capture the salient points of our discussion. Check it out here:




Mobile Apps for Teaching Digital Humanities

This is my third THATCamp, and I’m really looking forward to some great conversations on the 10th and 11th. One topic I’ve been interested in recently is how we can make better use of mobile apps in the classroom, and I hope a few other people will want to join me for a “Talk” session on this subject.

For the past few semesters, I’ve had the good fortune of participating in Virginia Tech’s iPad project, which loans iPads to students in particular classes for a full semester. In my undergraduate Writing and Digital Media class, we tested several apps for digital storytelling on mobile devices, and in my graduate seminar on the Digital Self, we used the iPads to experiment with various tools for taking notes and organizing scholarly research. These class projects have been fascinating (and a lot of fun), but I know they can’t be replicated on all campuses (or even in all of my classes). And some of my students have grown frustrated with adding yet another device to their already heavy backpacks.

So I’ve started thinking about how I could take advantage of the devices that my students already carry with them — their own cell phones and tablets. Taking this approach adds a few new layers of complexity (finding apps that work on a variety of platforms, dealing with tech support issue for not just one but several different devices, acknowledging that not all students own or have access to such devices, etc.), and it’s those issues (and others I haven’t even considered!) I’d like to discuss at THATCamp Virginia.

If you’re interested, let me know in the comments — or just find me at the camp. I can’t wait to see everyone in Blacksburg next week!

UPDATE: Here’s the Google Doc we composed during our session.

Talk Session on Cultural Anthropology of Video Games

I would like to engage in a conversation among peers who work with video games as investigation and learning environments.  I am a scholar of religion and I offer a class called “Gaming Religion”.  The class has three components.  In the first part. we look at three games representing gaming genres where religion is an important part of the cultural landscape and the virtual world of the gaming environment.  Students are asked to engage in participant-observation of these cultures online and produce ethnographies.  In the second part, we look at religion as imaginative or mental games that evolved to manipulate human cognition and behavior.  Practitioners give themselves over to these cultural overlays, on this reading of religion, and develop their own emergent self-representations (avatars) through immersion in the heroic struggles of the religion’s narrative.  In the third section of the course, students design their own video game using a multi-agent simulation platform called Netlogo.

The three games used by me at the moment are posted below.

The Binding of IsaacDishonoredGods and Kings


THATCamp Virginia 2015


As the big weekend approaches, we’ve added some additional resources to our page.

First, we have decided on four workshops that we will be offering to kick off THATCamp on Friday April 10, and we’d love to hear from you! Check out the descriptions of what we’ll be offering, and then let us know which one you’d like to attend. Please RSVP as soon as you can, so that the facilitators who have volunteered know how to plan.

Additionally, because we don’t think the fun should end after the final session of the day, we’ve added a Google Map with tons of restaurants, bars, shopping, and cultural opportunities. Check out our Visiting Blacksburg page and explore the map to learn more about what Blacksburg has to offer, including the Islamic Worlds Festival at our newly renovated arts center.


Welcome to THATCamp Virginia 2015! This year’s event is proudly hosted by Virginia Tech, located in Blacksburg, on April 10–11, 2015. We are excited to welcome everyone and anyone interested in the digital humanities to join us for open conversations, a bit of brainstorming, and deep discussions about technology and the humanities in THATCamp’s “traditional” unconference style!

If you have registered for the camp, don’t forget to propose a session and read through the other campers’ proposals (found below) before you come to Blacksburg.

The pages in the navigation menu contain more information about the schedule, lodging, program, and other logistics, but if you have any questions about these items, please don’t hesitate to email us.

The best way to connect with us and other campers is to follow us on Twitter and tweet with our hashtag: #THATCampVA.

We look forward to seeing you in Blacksburg for THATCamp Virginia 2015!