Week  nine was so crazy! I was so stressed about my project and getting everything done. But its so interesting to look back and see what we have created. My goal was to have everything done by the end of week nine. Although it was unrealistic, I think it would have made week ten a lot easier!

Thank you

I would just like to thank everyone that made this project possible. I had a wonderful time and really learned a lot. I really appreciate all of the time and work you all put into the fellowship. I hope you all have a wonderful rest of the summer… and I will see you in the spring! Have a wonderful fall!



During the first week of this fellowship my definition of DH was very theoretical. There is nothing wrong with theoretical definitions, but as the summer went on, my definition became more practical. I think the change in my understanding is like the difference between knowing what Storymaps JS is and actually being able to make a Storymap. I think after completing this fellowship I understand the strengths and weaknesses of DH.  I think it is important to look at it critically, but also appreciate what it stands for.

I am not sure which definition my project represents. In some ways, I think it represents the first “ideal” definition, but in some ways I think my project represents the practical definition.

Advice to the next year’s cohort

  1. Don’t be afraid to think big in the first few weeks.
  2. Accept that your project will not be as big as you would have hoped
  3. Ask lots of questions… during sessions, to specific people, or when you need help.
  4. Don’t be afraid to reach out to the greater DH community
  5. Don’t rule digital tools out right away
  6. Have fun
  7. Don’t be afraid to fail

A Look Back

The first week of this program, I went into the library and was asked to write a definition of Digital Humanities/Scholarship. That seemed like an impossible task, distilling all of DS/DH into a simple phrase. I know now that it is, it is supposed to be difficult, and that is the nature of DH.

I believe my initial definition was something along the lines of “the use of digital tools and platforms to create engaging and experimental scholarship.” It’s not bad for something I wrote in ten minutes while trying to comprehend everything I had read previously.

In the second blog post I made, I changed this definition to sound more articulate. Now, DH was “an endeavor that utilizes digital tools and platforms to enhance creations, are open to a larger community and perspectives, and are informed through risks and experimentation.”

Both of these definitions hold true for me in their own ways. DH does use the digital to enhance what is already there. Without good research, there cannot be a great project, even if the digital tools are top of the line. DH is open, both to a wider audience and experimentation, as that allows it to grow. One of the greatest aspects of digital projects is the fact that they do not have to be completely finished, they can change as needed over time. DH can also engage with audiences by making interactive sites.

These ideas guided me in creating my project. I made sure to use the digital platforms to augment my research, not distract from the lack of information with flashy features. I am not yet done with the project, but that is because I allowed myself room to continue working. I focused on what I could accomplish in a summer, and will build up my site as I can. I always kept my audience in mind, designing my site for their ease of use and comprehension of materials.

All that said, I do not have a definitive definition of Digital Humanities, but that is not for lack of trying. Over the summer, I have come to the conclusion that the scope of DH is much wider than initially perceived. I can define DH for myself and my project, and that definition will serve quite nicely. However, I do not know all the ways in which DH is being used, and I cannot speak for them all. I do not want to, as making a definitive definition might exclude some great DH that I do not know exists yet. DH should be thought of instead as a set of aspects. If a project utilizes many of DH aspects- digital tools, collaboration, openness- then it should be under consideration to be known as a DH project.

For those interested in joining the cohort next year, I urge you to try. Don’t be intimidated by the digital, embrace it and use it to your advantage. Have confidence in your project as a part of DH, it does have a place in this field. Most of all, ask for help. DH is collaborative by nature, it is the only way we all grow. I look forward to meeting you and seeing what you bring to the Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship.


Emma Lewis

DH in Traditional Scholarship

The book Digital_Humanities has been used for this program extensively. It was the first book I received on the subject, and it has helped to frame my thinking about DH. So, for one of the last blog posts this summer, I return to this book to look at a larger issue- where does DH, my project specifically, fit within traditional scholarship?

Digital_Humanities is of the opinion that DH is opposed to traditional scholarship in many ways. Where traditional scholarship is done by mainly one person, DH is collaborative. Where journals and books are out of reach to some audiences, DH is accessible to anyone with internet connection. In a way, the two are separate fields, serving different audiences. Traditional Scholarship is often self contained, while DH exists in the realm of the digital for all to see.

In creating my project, I steered away from traditional scholarship thinking and embraced some aspects of DH wholeheartedly. My project is not written to be used by other scholars or kept behind a paywall where it has limited use. It is open to the public online to be used by anyone who wants to learn more about the streets of Gettysburg. It is meant to provide a service to the public. That is not to say that scholars cannot use my work either. I have documented my research to be used by anyone, and I am open to critique by and collaboration with other scholars. That is, after all, an aspect of DH.

I did not, however, abandon traditional methods.  I used typical research techniques. I relied on the archives at the Adams County Historical Society and those who work there to help me find information. I dove deep into research to create solid interpretation, but had a wide scope to consider the history of Gettysburg with. According to Digital_Humanities, I acted like a Hedgefox. That is the book’s metaphor for a Humanist who is both traditional and open to DH. They advocate for a hybridization, where scholars embrace the best of both worlds. Like the fox, scholars should be curious and have a wide scope. Like the hedgehog, scholars should burrow and research in depth.

I certainly embrace this point of view. It is important to acknowledge new technologies and opportunities, but older methods should not be abandoned outright for their age. There is a reason why good research methods have endured. However, I think the problem falls to the issue of what is considered legitimate scholarship. Traditionally, something is known as legitimate scholarship because it has been published, peer reviewed, and is full of qualifications. DH cannot always have that because it is not always given its due. The book gives the example of Wikipedia as a DH project that is not readily embraced as scholarship despite its potential as a source of information.

That is where DH is most directly opposed to the traditional. DH puts power in the hands of many to decide what is important and should be written about, it is a decolonizing force. People are empowered to partake in this collaborative process. Most of all, DH is social and public. People can interact with it. That social aspect is what I strove for in my audio tour, as I felt it was most important that I connect with a larger audience.

These aspects may not be present in all Traditional Scholarship, but that does not mean it should be abandoned. The hybrid that Digital_Humanities described should be a model to strive for. However, to fully allow Digital Scholarship and Traditional Scholarship to coexist, the methods used to validate scholarship must be opened. Then, DH can have a place within scholarship.


Emma Lewis

Awesome. Wow.

Shameless Hamilton callback?

Look at us! We did it! We made it to week 10! Home stretch! Hooray!

This summer has been one of the more interesting summers I’ve had. I’ll give this program that. It was a similar emotional roller coaster to what I dealt with during the school year, because you can never have too many hills on that. But I’m getting off the ride, and I’m looking forward to continuing my own self improvement.

I’ve gained a lot of knowledge from this program. I’m grateful for that, because I think that knowledge will help me more than I thought it would at the beginning of the summer. Not only was this a study of art and humanities and academia, but it was a study of myself as well, and focusing on how to improve the problems I’ve been helplessly self-aware of and unsure how to fix. This summer was a good kick in the pants to get that taken care of.

I once said humanities is a documentation of the human experience. We all have our emotional outlets, and it’s good to look at the way other people from the past put their problems into pen and paper. Hopefully we can all do that and be not only healthier, but happier.

I hope that for everyone honestly.

Make good choices,


#transformDH Part 2: Electric Boogaloo

I’ve got no song for this, so we’re going for peak Mountain Goats

Back with another verbose rant about where my project fits in the grand scheme of things; my first one is right here.

I want people to first and foremost pay attention to the language and terminology they choose to use when describing actions in DH. Particularly, I was concerned about the use of the word “decolonization.” I see that as a poorly executed, disruptive, and failed attempt at rectifying years of problems that only ended up creating more problems. Decolonization is a poor choice of words, because when it’s been executed it has only ended with more infighting. This is because of how when the West decolonized, lines were drawn without speaking to the people who were being decolonized, and those lines merged old cultures that didn’t go together and wouldn’t acknowledge traditional lands. Basically, setting up for land disputes and war. I’m worried the use of this word in this setting will minimize the effects of this method.

How does that translate into DH? I worry that academia is going to eventually acquiesce to allowing DH to be a valid method of research, but it’ll only be for certain projects and certain types and certain fields. Those lines in the sand might not translate well into what seems to be the recurring themes and values of DH and the revolutionary writers we’ve been reading. Something major is going to get left out of what they want, and the community won’t like it. As I said before, the DH writers we’ve read have indicated a very utopian mindset that wants it all and wants it NOW, ALL AT ONCE, and honestly can get stubbornly uncompromising about those demands. I sympathize with them, but that mindset about it is extremely toxic and dangerous. That means there will be letdown, because there will always, always, always be a problem to solve. There is no such thing as anything or anyone who is perfect or unproblematic. That’s why we’re all here- to learn, because we came together about our love of learning.

I just read this article on Vox about the online revolutionary communities that took the form of the alt-right and what is described as the Tumblr left, which has a point of view that can get to “one mistake, one disagreement, and you’re out.” Don’t let DH turn into that utopian bubble, and don’t let academia turn DH into that mindset. Learning is about the diversity of ideas, and closing ourselves off can turn into a hypocrisy on our own values of accessibility.

As for my own project and how it will affect the community as a whole? I’m not sure. It wouldn’t surprise me if someone said interactive exhibits have been done better. It’s my first rodeo. I’m keeping my expectations low and hoping to get something done that I can be proud of. I didn’t really invite anyone to the presentations- mainly because I want it to be my own. It’s important to stand on your own two feet because I don’t give a shit what the academic community says. I don’t know them, and they don’t know me. That’s okay. Make our own good projects.

Make good choices,


Sneak Peek of a Final Project

The end of this fellowship is fast approaching, which means a lot of work for the Fellows. Instead of a regular microblog post this week, I thought I’d share some interpretation I’m doing and possibly get feedback. These versions of my interpretation have been edited a few times and looked over by Lauren, but fresh eyes are always welcome. Let me know of any notes or questions the interpretation provokes.



In the late 1800s, the streets of this town would have looked quite different from today – unpaved, devoid of cars, and (on this stretch of Baltimore Street) shared by a trolley.  In those days, travel options were limited. Trains brought people into Gettysburg, but getting out to the battlefield was harder. Cars did not exist to drive people around the battlefield, and so horses and carriages had to be rented if you didn’t want to walk- until this trolley came around.

Built by Gettysburg Electric Railway Inc in 1893, the trolley filled a need for transportation and made plenty of money off those who flocked to see the legendary battlefield landscape. This ease of travel meant more tourists came, some for only a day, taking advantage of both trains and trolleys to facilitate their travel. The sheer number of visitors was overwhelming!

The trolley did service townspeople, after the Borough government prompted the company to do so, making a regular loop through town. Most of its resources were dedicated to tourists, however. All the cars were named after generals, and most were made to withstand only summer weather, when most visitors would be around. This tourism culture did not last forever, and the service to both residents and tourists came to an end. On September 16, 1916, the trolley ran its last trip. When the World Wars came, the tracks were torn out for scrap metal. Now, visitors do not need trolleys to see the battlefield. Cars, buses, and roads provide the necessary transportation.



Emma Lewis

What is Necessary Information?

In one of the workshops this past week, the cohort was asked to do an exercise. To be more conscious of how we handled ourselves while presenting, we were given a slideshow with only a title and asked to explain the following pictures in three minutes.

Explaining was no problem. The point of the exercise was to practice presentation skills, not sharing information. My problem was that I took too long. I felt the need to give background information that was unnecessary. I knew this was a problem I had, yet I still felt the need to include this information to orient my audience.

That is what I am working on in my presentations- finding a balance between time and information. Since my project divulges information through audio, I need to make sure the necessary information is there. However, I also need to be brief so that I don’t meander and lose my audience. Finding the balance in there will strengthen my project as a whole.


Emma Lewis