Saturday’s Sessions – What you need to know


Hello Philly THATCampers!

Here’s what you need to know about Saturday, September 28:

  1. If you haven’t already proposed a session idea, login to the website and post your idea for a conversation topic.
    You should have received your welcome/login details within the past several weeks (check your spam too).
  2. UPDATE: We haven’t yet maxed out on attendees for Saturday, so if you want to bring a friend or two, they’re welcome to come!  (If lots of people bring friends, we may have to turn away non-registrants — but it’s a gamble well worth taking.)
  3. If you can’t attend, please send a note to as soon as you know — that way we can give your spot to someone on the waiting list and alert them with time to spare (like earlier than the night before!).
  4. On Saturday, Session Proposal Voting runs from 8:30am-9:15am.
    You should be here for this…it’s this process that makes THATCamp unique! And it makes this THATCamp YOUR THATCamp!

    During the voting time, you’ll also have a chance to propose/pitch more sessions.
  5. Visit this page to familiarize yourself with how THATCamp works, for more tips about proposing a session, and details about the general timing of things.
  6. Before coming, you should read over the session ideas other campers have proposed on the website. (This may also inform your own proposal ideas.)
  7. Drinks will be available all day.
  8. Lunch break is 11:30am to 1:00pm.  There are tons & tons of places to get food close to CHF — check here.  If you want to buddy up and go to lunch with 1 to 5 others, there will be a “Dine Around” sign-up list available in the morning — here’s the Dine Around list.
  9. There will be a quick Snack Break from 3:15-3:30pm, just before the final session!  Throughout the day, please do be tidy — we want to be invited back to CHF!
  10. There will be some power strips in each room, but not enough for everyone to be plugged in all the time.  Be a good citizen.  And if you want to help out and make it easier for others to share the juice, your kindness will be appreciated.

See you there.  Bring your brains, ears, and mouths.

After launch, what next?: promoting and sustaining DH projects

The most exciting moment in the lifecycle of a digital humanities project is launch day, but that isn’t to say work on the project is done at that point. I would like a session to discuss ideas for promoting a finished project beyond the passive “If you build it, they will come” mentality. I would also like to talk about strategies for maintaining/sustaining DH projects after launch. How do you calculate what staff and resources will be needed and ensure that they will be available after focus has shifted away from the project?

Archiving a websites interactivity?

As more and more of culture and human experience is mediated through the web, many memory organizations are archiving websites for the historical record. However, most of these archives are simply snapshots of the content on the sites at the time, the, more or less, static content that is publicly available.

However, there is another aspect of a website that is not being archived. The logs of users actions and interactions with a site tell a rich tale about what was popular and what was not, when things were used and how they were used by the site audience. It’s the type of rich data a modern historian would love to have about historic newspapers, for example.

Do humanities researchers think this kind of data might be valuable to future researchers? What other kinds of “hidden” information about a website could be useful to archive? The admin interface to understand what web site stuff were seeing when they created the content? I’d like this session to be about exploring this idea.

Visual Ethics

I propose that we have a session to discuss how to talk about or show sensitive visual imagery in the classroom, at conferences, online, etc.  Visual representations grounded in traumatic experiences such as genocide, war, racism, and terrorism present ethical challenges. For example, many perpetrators of violence have employed photography as an oppressive tool. In the early twentieth-century people in the U.S. regularly photographed and purchased photographic postcards of lynchings.  The camera became a means for dehumanizing marginalized groups and demonstrating social control. These gruesome practices continue to haunt us in different yet related instances such as the Abu Ghraib photographs.

How do we study and talk about this kind of imagery? Is it appropriate, or even necessary, to show these photographs when we present our research on these types of topics? How do these images operate as historical proofs or constructions? Or, do we risk being duplicitous if we include this imagery in presentations? Are we perpetuating the violence by showing these kinds of photographs? Should we couch our presentations with disclaimers? How do we communicate our research in other forms such as poster sessions or on the Internet? How do concerns for contextualization shape our choices? How can decontextualization be a valuable pedagogical strategy? What qualifies as appropriate and ethical use? Who decides? What’s the difference between responsible use and censorship?

While I study art history and visual culture, I think this topic will resonate with people from various fields and backgrounds such as history, philosophy, jurisprudence, sociology, political science, anthropology, and cultural studies. I’m interested in learning how others negotiate these particular challenges.

Money and Imagination: E-commerce, Getting Paid for Creative Work Online

A business problem in newsletter publishing led me to a totally new design for e-commerce and more: financial and other online accounts that can reproduce (replicate), creating “children” and grandchildren accounts. The resulting “trees” of ancestor and descendent accounts may include many different human owners.

The key advantage: each new accounts can instantly inherit hundreds of different settings from its parent, at “birth.” These settings will control various services and applications inside the account itself, and allow payments without the hassle of typing in a bank card number, etc). The owner of the newly born account can then change (most of) its settings, as desired.

It would be too tedious to enter hundreds of settings manually whenever a new account is created. But with reproduction, a parent account can immediately create not only a new account with any amount of internal complexity, but also any number of equally complex throwaway accounts that can be given out, and will self-destruct when their work is done, cleaning up details first and leaving no mess. The result is easy management of far more complex and capable infrastructures than possible with conventional online accounts.

An important use of this design will be better ways to pay and get paid for creative digital work online. For example, if you are moved by a song, investigative article, or other work, you can “buy” hundreds of copies at a small per-unit price — making them free to hundreds of users who never need to register or have any money; you can target which groups of users get your access, and optionally provide a short sponsor’s message to anyone who streams or downloads a copy you paid for. So if the artist sets a bulk unit price of say 25 cents, you could buy 100 prepaid accesses for $25, almost all of which will go to the artist

I’m looking for people interested in building this kind of e-commerce capability — in the FOSS or academic worlds instead of the usual corporate systems.

For more information see


Taking the archiving out of the archives

How can we harness the current digital technologies to produce a relatively cheap, mobile digitizing kit that would allow for offsite accessioning and digitalization?

The revolution in digital collections and libraries has greatly increased access to archival and primary source material across the country. Now, if she desires, the average Jane on the street can examine and study millions of documents and images that had normally been restricted – not explicitly, but in practice – to professors, professional researchers, and individuals living in close proximity to the repository. Can we use some of the same technologies used to open access to the documents, in scaled down format, and increase access from the other end – from the collections end. Can we turn the letters, pictures, email, files, oral history, etc. of average Jane into a collection by having the archiving equipment and archivist come to her? I am inspired, I must admit, by the Story Corp project.

This necessitates the question of whether we would want her collection? As a social historian, I say yes – no matter who Jane is. But I know there are legitimate objections to this.  I’d love to have a discussion about the feasibility and desirability of this idea.

Digital exhibits and digital curation

I would like to host a discussion of digital exhibits and curation. I curate both physical and digital exhibits at Villanova’s Falvey Library. Possible topics include: What makes a good digital exhibit? How is a digital exhibit different from a physical one? What levels and types of interactivity can be incorporated? What are your favorite digital exhibits? What are your favorite physical exhibits (& can you think of ways to translate them to a digital environment)? Other matters of curating in the digital world?

This discussion is open to all perspectives, whether you create exhibits or visit exhibits!

Session Proposal: Selection and Memory

Common practice for organizations who want to increase access to collections is to digitize the popular items within a collection. Does your budget really keep you from digitizing more? Are you trying to conserve money while working through the project, which might keep the remainder of the collection off the Internet? Since many people access the digital collection from far away via the Internet, and might not ever come see the rest of the collection, don’t we run the risk of changing the public’s memory of an event or person by emphasizing the importance of one representation of a particular memory by regulating the others in the collection to the unseen background? I am interested in talking with others about whether we are forming a new historical memory through our digitization efforts, and if there should be a policy for best practice that includes as much of the collection as possible.

What Can “Traditional” Scholarly Journals Learn from DH?

The session I’m thinking about would allow participants to talk about the implications of digital humanities, its ethos, theoretical frameworks, and practices, for traditional scholarly journals.  Possible topics might include:  integrating digital with traditional journals; migrating traditional print journals into the digital space and what that might mean logistically, conceptually, etc.; open access/open peer review; editorial practices; multimedia; implications for tenure, etc etc.

Full disclosure:  I ran an online-only scholarly peer-reviewed journal that I would consider not-DH for about seven years; I’m on the editorial board for an online-only scholarly peer-reviewed journal that considers itself “DH” now; I’m also an associate editor for a print-only traditional scholarly journal; and I might be about to take the helm at a print-only traditional scholarly journal that is looking to do digital.  SO:  I have some experience, but am also about to embark on something that might require me to answer some of these questions — so I can share some ideas, but am also looking to learn.

Also:  not saying “traditional” and “DH” are all mutually exclusive terms — simply hoping to have a conversation about how shifts and developments in digital humanities are affecting various forms of scholarly/academic dissemination/publishing — and hoping to talk about this in a nuts-and-bolts kind of way.

Brainstorming session for KidsTHATCamp Philly next year

Some of the other ThatCamps have instituted a kids session, generally targetting middle and upper school age kids.  There are a number of organizations locally that work with kids and tech.  I’d like to do some brainstorming around the question of what a “Kid’s track” might look like for next year’s ThatCamp. — Mary Mark Ockerbloom


For lunches on both Friday and Saturday, dine-around options will be available for the below restaurants.  There is a 6 person limit per restaurant so if you’re interested in attending, sign up early!  We will have sign up sheets available at ThatCamp for those who are interested.


Continental Restaurant ($$) [American]  (MENU)

138 Market Street

*Saturday both Brunch and lunch options

 Red Owl Tavern and Bar ($$) [American]  (MENU)

433 Chestnut Street

*Saturday both Brunch and lunch options

Karma ($$) [Indian]  (MENU)

114 Chestnut Street

Roe Thai and Japanese Contemporary Cuisine ($$)!menu/c5hf  (MENU)

138 Chestnut Street

*Saturday opens at noon, reservation is for noon so they will be waiting for you.

Pizzicato ($$) [Italian] (MENU)

(215) 629-5527
248 Market St