Collaboration and Connection at LACs with DHCommons

One of the most significant reasons for having a THATCamp organized specifically for liberal arts colleges is to address the not uncommon isolation of digital humanists at smaller institutions.  Some  – maybe many – of those attending THATCamp LAC may be the only person doing DH in their department, and so are without the support structures found at larger research institutions or major DH centers.  Such isolation can easily leave lone DHers without access to or awareness about ongoing projects, standards, technology, and expertise for their own work.

THATCamp LAC will itself help by forging connections and discussing the dynamics of the profession, but one other initiative that would be useful to discuss here is, a digital humanities collaboration initiative and hub that was born out of THATCamp Chicago.  DHCommons hopes to connect isolated digital humanists and break down larger silos on several fronts:

  • A new hub at to help digital humanists discover and contact potential collaborators and to find and join projects.
  • Microgrants to encourage scholars to develop curriculum in conjunction with existing projects, travel to partner digital humanities centers for training or project mentoring, etc.
  • Expertise sharing among schools without digital humanities infrastructure to promote mentorship and expansion of the field

Both myself and others from the core group organizing this effort – Rebecca Davis, Quinn Dombrowski, and Ryan Cordell – will be at THATCamp LAC and would love to have input on two fronts.  First, we seek the opinion of DHers who are at LACs as to how this site and initiative might be made (more) useful to you, how we might encourage participation among DHers at small institutions, how we might create or improve functionality of the site, etc.

We would also like to get your direct participation in if you have (or know of) an ongoing DH project that could benefit from collaboration of any kind.  One of the major efforts in getting the hub off the ground is populating it with projects in order to show functionality to others in the DH community.  We’d like for anyone interested to add his or her projects, thoughts, and opinions during a panel.


Categories: Panels |

About Christopher Dickman

Christopher Dickman is a Ph.D. candidate in English Composition and Rhetoric at Saint Louis University, focusing on cognitive approaches to the writing classroom. His research not only explores the revision of pedagogy in light of contemporary cognitive theory, but his dissertation project is also creating a digital, multimodal textbook for the first-year writing classroom that applies principles of multimedia learning. His project is currently under consideration for a grant from the Institute of Education Sciences.

7 Responses to Collaboration and Connection at LACs with DHCommons

  1. Can you please link the location of the DHcommons to this post? I don’t know where it is or what it is. Thank you!

  2. Michelle,

    The address is, but it’s still in the prototyping phase and so not wholly public (though we’ll be able to kick that over before June 3). The basic idea of the site is to help link those who are running or starting DH projects with others that might be interested in helping or collaborating, and it’s very much geared towards helping those at small institutions who might not have the total support or skill set to complete projects. The site is the hub where one would go to actually search and find people or projects, but we’re currently trying to partner with a number of institutions to create a nationwide DH collaboration network. Hope that helps some.

  3. Dick Brown says:

    Christopher, a community resource for digital humanists who may be quite isolated on their campuses could make a great difference. I’m eager to see the site and where it goes.

    Will the community of DHCommons consist of humanists only? As a computer scientist interested in exploring DH collaborations, my disciplinary perspective would certainly differ from a lot of folks’ (although I hardly see myself as some kind of alien being).

  4. John Ottenhoff says:

    I’m interested in the idea of DHCommons but would also like to talk about a project I’ve been involved with for some time, Academic Commons. This site arose out of a couple of conferences about technology and liberal education I helped to organize at the Center of Inquiry in the Liberal Arts at Wabash College several years ago. Mike Roy at Middlebury College has been the primary force behind it and has made important linkages to NERCOMP and NITLE. But the site has not been as dynamic as we had hoped, and we’ve been contemplating its future. We’d greatly appreciate it if you poked around the site and were willing to help us think about how this project might be useful to the DHCommons group and larger THATCamp group.

  5. Ryan Cordell says:

    Dick: we should definitely talk about DHCommons, which would serve anyone interested in DH–computer scientists, humanists, librarians, etc. We hope it can help start some inter-institutional partnerships like those we’ve started discussing.

    John: when you sent me Academic Commons a few weeks ago, I looked at it with the early plans for DHCommons in mind. There are points of intersection here that we should explore at THATCamp LAC.

  6. John Ottenhoff says:

    Sounds good, Ryan. Please note that the URL for AcademicCommons is (I got it wrong in the earlier post).

  7. Pingback: Session 1: Making Our Schedule | THATCamp Liberal Arts Colleges 2011

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