what have you done for us lately?

May 18th, 2010 |

Okay, professional societies, large and small — what have you done for us lately? Are you ready to do more of what the digital humanities crowd needs? Less of what we don’t? (And, um, what is that, precisely?)

Because I’m in thorough agreement with the THATCamp mantra of “more hack, less yak,” I’m not actually proposing the following as a session — instead, I just want to put this concept out there with an open invitation to all of you, to corner me between sessions and share your views. I’m volunteering to take them back to the following groups:

  • the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH), the primary professional society for the digital humanities;
  • the program committee for the annual Digital Humanities conference;
  • the Information Technology Committee of the Modern Language Association (MLA);
  • NINES & 18th-Connect, established peer-reviewing bodies for 19th- and 18th-century electronic scholarship;
  • the Scholarly Communication Institute (SCI), which is well-positioned to liaise with professional societies (and publishers and libraries and centers and institutes) around issues that matter to THATCampers.

I’m currently Vice President of the first organization (and a member of its outreach and mentorship committees), Vice Chair of the second group, an incoming member of the third, Senior Advisor to the fourth (for my sins as developer emerita), and Associate Director of the fifth. That’s a lot of administriva and service activity for a gal who hates to waste time — so I’m highly motivated to hear from the people these groups should be serving — that’s you — about how to serve you better and make what we do immediately meaningful to your lives as digital humanists.

There will actually be a few people at THATCamp who are involved in these organizations. I’m not naming names — although they’re free to self-identify in the comments section. I will, however, be quite cheerful about dragging my colleagues into any discussions you initiate. (Fair warning!)

Basically, I’m volunteering to be a walking suggestion box. Professional societies, by and large, can do better. How, exactly? You tell me.

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7 Responses to “what have you done for us lately?”

  1. Dan Cohen Says:

    Great idea. I’d like these ideas for changing orgs and meetings as well, and will bring those ideas to the AHA meeting committee this fall.

  2. Jeremy Boggs Says:

    As someone affiliated with a small organization, the AAHC, I’m very interested in this conversation. I’m happy to serve as a suggestion box for them as well. And I think a frank conversation about what the role and responsibilities of academic organizations and meetings in the digital age should be is long overdue.

  3. kfitz Says:

    Okay, self-identifying as a member of the MLA Program Committee. I’ve only been on the committee for one year, but thus far have seen a real desire on the part of the organization to make the kinds of changes that THATCampers would like to see. So yes, bring on the suggestions; I’d be happy to pass them on!

  4. nowviskie Says:

    Kathleen’s message reminded me of the program committee of the annual Digital Humanities (DH) conference, so I’ve updated this post to add that.

    And so far, my ploy is working. We’ll have lots of walking suggestion boxes, which later will turn into walking megaphones for the voices of THATCamp. More of you could step up!

  5. ethan.watrall Says:

    ok…how about this (and this is something Stephan and I talked about at Great Lakes THATCamp). What can the ACH (which looks from the outside as an organization geared almost exclusively to cater to the literary/textual/uber-humanist types) do to be more inclusive of the humanistic social science types.

  6. Mark Sample Says:

    I hadn’t even read your post until after I had written about underconferences. But many of my ideas there seem applicable. I’d love for an official conference to sanction and support a parallel underconference, emphasizing spontaneity and discovery.

  7. cwillifo Says:

    The Digital Library Federation has recently been brought back in to the Council on Library and Information Resources as a new program. I’m lucky to be spending part of next week with our brand new DLF Program Officer, Rachel Frick. I’d be happy to pass along anyone’s best ideas for what you think this program’s top priorities should be.

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