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We are proud to offer the following workshops at THATCamp Theory!

1. Evaluation and Critique of DH Projects – Shannon Mattern

This workshop will focus on developing a critical vocabulary for responding to DH and systems for providing meaningful evaluative feedback, including 1) developing critical evaluative criteria for various formats of multimodal work and 2) identifying theoretical frameworks that inform those criteria. We’ll consider both professional and student projects and spend some time considering how to make project evaluation an integral part of the DH classroom. Depending on the interests of the group, our case studies might include data visualizations, map-based projects, crowdsourced archival projects, and other interactive publications.

2. Code Meets Item – Patrick Murray-John

This workshop will be an introduction to what features of code and databases might be worth noticing from a theoretical perspective. It picks up an idea that I blogged about a while ago, that we have lots of experience of that with “texts”, taken very broadly. But that very broad notion of text does not yet extend to code and databases. This workshop picks up an idea that I blogged about a while ago. Concentrating on the Omeka content management system, we’ll start with analyzing an oddity at the user experience level, the fact that an item in Omeka can only belong to one collection. From there, we’ll look at how that assumption in the interface is reflected in the code and in the database structure. That will give us a basis to notice other aspects of Omeka’s database structure that reflect other, perhaps more subtle, assumptions. We’ll focus on the database structures that reflect assumptions about what an “item” of cultural heritage is, with an eye toward group discussion about what theoretical inroads we can make into explicating the code and database the same way we would explicate a text.

3. Database as Theory – Jean Bauer

Databases, I argue, are normative statements. By choosing which aspects of our source base we record, index, search, analyze, and publish we are creating a model of reality as theory laden as our original data. Picking up from Patrick Murray-Johns’s specific introduction to databases via Omeka, this workshop will teach you the basic principles of relational database design and discuss what kinds of questions and sources work best with these tools.  Workshop participants will then take a current (or prospective) research topic and brainstorm a basic database model that could represent their source base and theoretical approach.

4. Re-imagining and Re-connecting Networks – Wendy Chun and Andrew Lison

Unfortunately, Wendy Chun is unable to join us; Andrew Lison will lead the workshop.
We connect to networks everyday, but do we know what it means to be connected? This workshop will focus on revealing how the promiscuous exchange of information drives our network cards through the use of basic networking tools: packet analyzers, port scanners, traceroutes, etc. We will also attempt to create an alternative mesh network with our computers and thus think through different modes of connectivity. The focus will be on understanding the necessary vulnerability that enables networking and on interrogating the drive for “safe spaces,” which usually leave us more vulnerable to being phished and surveilled.


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