THATCamp CNY 2017 Schedule

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Build-A-Bot Workshop

Automated text generation is interesting and provocative for folks interested in writing; I am thinking of provocations like the material created for NaNoGenMo; but more often, this sort of text generation appears in shorter forms, often tweets, from “bots.” Mark Sample has written about the power and political potential of such bots.

Whether folks are interested, and how they’re interested, would determine the shape of this session: we could talk about, or compare, people’s favorite existing “bots” (or note some of the challenges and problems with them; my favorite is pentametron), or we could work collectively to develop a bot. I’ll try to have the infrastructure ready so that we could get a basic Twitter bot off the ground and tweeting in the course of a session, if that is something people would be interested in; there’s a lot of unfun fiddly-business when setting up a “twitter” bot (or the mechanics of how to get to a script to run routinely or whatever), which I am happy to talk with folks about, but is way less interesting, than trying to imagine what such a project/device can do.

(For folks with previous bot writing experience, I have never used a Markov chain… but if anyone had such experience, and wanted to share, I would love to learn!)

Categories: Session Proposals, Session: Make, Session: Talk, Social Media | Comments Off on Build-A-Bot Workshop

HathiTrust: collections, datasets, potential

Many researchers are familiar with HathiTrust as a collections content-provider, particularly for public domain works. And, it is assumed that users at non-member institutions can’t really access the digital library’s features, nor get access to datasets to analyze. This librarian says that you can do it!

In this session, I will show how to set up a University of Michigan Friend Account (if you aren’t from a member institution), demo the collection builder, provide an overview of dataset options, intro the HathiTrust Research Center portal, and show tips and tricks about seeing the full metadata and rights for a volume.

Additionally, I’d like to discuss — How can the library support researchers who are wanting to work with HathiTrust data? I’d like to discuss options, especially with folks who have used or who want to use datasets.

Are there any researchers attending THATCamp who have used HathiTrust datasets in their research? if so, please volunteer to share them during the session!

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That Thing You Use

Whenever I’m around people using computers to do things I think are cool, I notice lots of unfamiliar applications and workflows. I’m wondering if a productive conversation for some of us to have would be to talk through our favorite software, hardware, and tools for the humanities things we use technology to accomplish the things we accomplish. Something along the lines of The Setup, but all together, in a room, where we can demonstrate things and recommend things to each other.

I’m thinking questions we could answer could include:

  • What is your favorite text editor/word processor, and why?
  • What is your screenshot workflow?
  • What databases, archives, catalogs, or collections are essential to your work?
  • What is your academic writing workflow?
  • What do you carry with you when you travel for research or conferences?
  • What technologies do you use in the classroom?
  • How do you read/manage/save things you read online?
  • What are some free/open source alternatives to well-known expensive packages?
  • What’s in your browser’s bookmarks bar?
  • What are your backup practices?

I’m mostly interested in bringing the practical matters of our work activities into the conversation. Sometimes learning a handful of new tools for personal use can transform the way we approach our work, but even if I learn about something that saves me 2-3 minutes or a modicum of frustration on a daily basis, I will be grateful.

Categories: Digital Literacy, Session Proposals, Session: Talk | 2 Comments

Discussion Group: Exploring the Sustainability of Various Digital Platforms

Since I started serving on our Libraries’ Digital Scholarship Committee, I have explored various digital platforms designed to showcase scholars’ research. However, there is always part of me that worries about the sustainability of the platform. What if this site goes down tomorrow? I have only recently begun to think about this topic but I think it’s worth discussing.  What options are available to researchers who store a lot of content on platforms like Scalar, Thinglink, Tableau or Omeka? This discussion group will raise questions about considerations of content/data storage for the long-term future.

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Parking Information for your THATCamp visit to Bird Library

We will be meeting in the lower level of Bird Library for Friday’s THATCamp–breakfast will be served by 9am in room 004.

For those traveling from outside of Syracuse University, limited free and metered parking (meters need feeding every 2 hours) is available on nearby streets (particularly on Walnut north of the library). Pay parking is available in the Booth Garage at the corner of Waverly and Comstock Avenues, in the University Ave Garage at the corners of University Avenue and East Adams and Harrison Streets, or in the Sheraton Hotel parking garage at the corner of University and Waverly Avenues. Please visit Syracuse University’s Parking and Transit Services’ Visitor and Guest Parking and Parking Directions web pages for more information.

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VPNs, Piratebox, and TailsOS

**Note: I teach a class MWF from 10:30a to 11:30a; any times outside of that are fine by me.


Given recent political events people are more interested in VPN and safe browsing. In this session I will introduce three tools: The Piratebox, TailsOS, and Virtual Private Networks.  Piratebox, a totally legal, open source project that converts a router into a personal file sharing device that is private, secure, and functions independently of an internet connection. Next I will show participants Tails, a legal linux distribution that prioritizes privacy and which you can install on a flashdrive.* The session will end with a discussion about  VPNs – how they work, what they protect against, and why people might want to use them – and the measure participants want to take to match the level of privacy they desire.
*for participants that bring a flashdrive of at least 6gb, there is potential for them to make a TailsOS drive during this session [note: all contents of the drive will be erased]

Categories: Digital Literacy, Session Proposals, Session: Teach, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Assistive Tech design BY individuals with disabilities

Assistive technology is any object that an individual with a disability uses to increase, improve, or maintain his or her functional capabilities. I want to propose a discussion about maker spaces as places where individuals with various dis/abilities can work independently or with others to make customized and contextually relevant assistive technology. Top-down approaches to assistive technology design consist of professionals and non-disabled people creating things FOR individuals with disabilities. I would like to brainstorm some of the possibilities that could stem from a consumer-driven maker space enabled approach to assistive technology development.

What new inventions and product improvements might result from individuals with impairments leveraging their experiential knowledge of disability and design in everyday life contexts? How can we ensure that people with disabilities play a central role in design regardless of their specific abilities? How do we supplement existing top-down approaches to designing things for individuals with disabilities with an inclusive, interactive, and sustainable model of creating solutions to everyday life issues alongside them? Let’s brainstorm ways to make maker spaces environments where people with disabilities can empower themselves through design.

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MakerSpace Tour and TinkerCad tutorial

I have booked the MakerSpace @ SU from 3:00-4:00. They have offered to give us a tour and to do a tutorial on how to use TinkerCAD to design a 3D printed object.

They are prepared to handle around 20 people and we can shift people in and out if need be.

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Making/Breaking Circuits

We propose a session that looks at making in the humanities. We are going to demonstrate how to use a MakeyMakey to turn bananas into a keyboard, making paper circuits that will add lights or sound to paper, and making a contact mic to pick up sound waves from everyday objects.

Our presentation will demonstrate what someone can do with a few hours of practice, what resources are available as tutorials, and a conversation about how/why you could include these in humanities classes.
We anticipate taking time to do an introduction to these resources and giving people some time to play around with them as well.

Categories: Session Proposals, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , | 3 Comments