Engaging in the DH Community

The emphasis on community in the Digital Humanities field is one of the defining characteristics that distinguishes DH from the traditional humanities. From the very beginning of our fellowship, the importance of collaboration between other digital humanists has been emphasized as essential. Although we are all completing our own individual projects, sharing our process and reflecting as a group on the challenges of researching and creating a DH project has been a significant component of the fellowship. Being able to ask for and receive weekly feedback has been so important for the gradual improvement of my project. For example, with their feedback, I was able to fill in some of the information gaps I hadn’t realized that I left as well as reorganize pieces of my project which didn’t fully make sense to a viewer. Additionally, my project would not look nearly as polished if I was not able to go to others for help with the things which I lack prior experience in. For example, I had no experience with CSS before this summer, yet with the help of our librarian mentors I was able to make my desired changes like adjusting colors and resizing my header images. I really appreciate that, unlike the traditional humanities field, DH promotes and relies upon collaboration. Building a community in the past seven weeks with DSSF has definitely altered my perspective to look more favorably upon group work. Sharing knowledge can only improve a project, after all.

In addition to collaboration within the DSSF cohort, we’ve also had the opportunity to engage in our communities of practice through the PCLA Digital Scholarship Student Symposium at Lafayette College and spending the day presenting to the Bucknell DSSF fellows. Although I was unable to meet with the Bucknell Fellows (why would they schedule the LSAT for a Monday?), being able to view the vast array of DH projects created by other undergraduate students and discuss their research processes was a very cool component of the fellowship. It certainly demonstrated how diverse both the projects and digital humanists themselves can be.

In terms of how I see myself fitting into the larger DH community of practice, although I’m still very new, I feel as though the DH community is so open that it allows people to contribute at any stage. DSSF has allowed me not only to create my own project, but also to become informed and promote awareness of DH as a field. When people ask me what I’m doing this summer, they have almost all never heard of DH before. Being able to discuss DH in the context of my project as well as the projects of my DSSF cohort introduces others to the values of DH.

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