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Final Reflections and See-Yous

These past eight weeks seem to have gone in the blink of an eye. This summer, I learned more than I have any other summer, and have evolved both as a person and as a researcher. As I look back on my first post, I realize just how much.

When writing “My DH” (my first reflective post), eight-week younger me didn’t quite know what she was talking about; she had read up a few articles and watched a couple of videos on digital humanities, but all she knew about it was theoretical. She didn’t know what a DH project would entail and didn’t have the slightest idea what doing one would be like. But she was eager and open to learning new things. 

In my first post, I had written that “The digital humanities are so much larger than just digitalized humanities research, and I’m only beginning to realize that”, and this statement could not have been truer. Throughout the course of these eight weeks, I have seen the vast scope of digital humanities, and its potential, not just for advanced presentation of scholarship, but also for change-making. Digital humanities tools are great in number and are versatile in that they can be adapted into so many ways to present data in the way the author hopes. 

For me, DH was an opportunity to learn more and to push myself and my creativity by taking up a challenge that scared me. It was “a diverse space that allows collaboration, constant feedback, and experimentation of a variety of ideas and techniques”, and 8-weeks later these still hold true to me. Working closely with the whole committee and gaining continuous feedback (detailed ones at that) proved to be especially helpful. As the weeks went by and I got to explore more and more new tools, I became even more open to experimentation and using new ideas, even when I did not know if they would be practically applicable. I think I internalized some DH values after a couple of weeks, which is why I found myself being increasingly open (and seeking) other people’s feedback and criticism. 

I have seen myself evolve as a researcher who is much more organized and holistic in viewing any project right from the start, and as a person who is much more open to challenges, setbacks, and criticism. 

As I wrap up my final thoughts, I cannot forget to thank the incredible cohort and committee for being kind individuals who have helped me grow this summer. Thank you to R.C., John (especially), Mary, Kevin, and Amy for being kind and helpful teachers. And to the cohort-Ana, Ben, Carlee, Nicole, and Theary- thank you so much for being stand-up individuals who made me feel listened to! I can’t wait to see you all (committee and cohort) in the fall! Till then, Goodbye and have a great end of summer!

Written by Shukirti Khadka, Gettysburg College Class of 2024, and part of the DSSF 2021 Cohort.

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A Reflective Reflection

As we finish with the DSSF 2021 Program, I look back at the Digital Humanities and how my perception of them has changed over the last eight weeks. On our first post, I wrote:

“On the surface, the digital humanities appeared pretty straight forward to me; the combination of humanities based works and technology. This means that the subject matter could be based in subjective works (the arts, culture, history, etc.) but the resources or hosts for this research could be on digital platforms like websites or computer files. As a student who frequently studies subjects in the field of humanities, I was initially nervous to look into the digital humanities since I had a somewhat low knowledge of technology.”

While I have a deeper understanding of both the Digital Humanities and technology as a whole at the end of these eight weeks, I would still go on record to say that I am not a technology wizard (please don’t make me fix your computer issues, it won’t end well), and as mentioned by Quinn Dombrowski this week, there are no experts in the world of DH. Even though I learned and grew, there is still more to understand in this field.

One of the upsides about not being done with the Digital Humanities is that I can still use digital tools in everyday life. Hopefully, in future courses, extra curricular events, or community activities, I can build a story map, timeline, or other visualization that can help the goals of my group.

It is also important to discuss community within the Digital Humanities. This past summer, I’ve had the pleasure to work with five driven students and build a tight community within the cohort. While all our work was set in the virtual realm this year, I cannot wait to see the whole cohort in person.

From left to right, Nicole Parisi (’23), Theary Heang (’24), and Carlee Mayo (’22), the in person members of the cohort, outside Musselman Library.

This experience was also made amazing with the invaluable help of the Digital Scholarship Committee, who guided us through the Digital Humanities. From day one, this team they built had to work on a microproject (the Albert Chance Collection), and all of us who were new to the world of DH certainly had to adapt to these new principles quickly. Ultimately, I feel as though our microproject was the perfect way to set us up for success on our individual projects.

Like I mentioned in my first reflective post, the world of DH allows for humanities and subjective based topics to be explored in a technological setting. Since I am not a digital genius, the context of humanities based technology allowed for me to expand on my skills by using my own interests in theatre and television.

Ultimately, as we draw to a close of this fellowship, I look back at the skills I have developed, and look ahead towards ways to expand these abilities. I am thankful for the community we have built and my guides along the journey. This may be the end of the fellowship, but it marks the beginning of my adventure with the Digital Humanities.

Written by Nicole Parisi, Gettysburg College Class of 2023 and member of the DSSF 2021 Summer Cohort.

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Reflecting on My DH Experience

Sitting down to write this post is bringing on a lot of emotions; eight weeks of this program don’t feel like enough, now that we’ve reached the end. I can’t even begin to express my gratitude for DSSF and this opportunity, and to explain how much fun this learning experience has been.

At the beginning of this project, we all wrote a blog post explaining our definition of DH and what it meant to us. I think each member of the cohort would agree that we didn’t know what we were in for, and would also agree that our concept of DH was minimal or average at best.

Specifically, I remember writing about how the Digital Humanities are different than writing a paper: “DH gives me the power beyond merely writing a paper because of how accessible and versatile it can be. The average person finds reading a paper or essay tedious or dull – but DH changes all that. Digital Humanities can reach a larger audience, appeal to a greater group of people, and provide a more interesting and interactive method for learning and teaching.”

While I agree with eight-week-ago Carlee, I also think she didn’t have any experience in what she was talking about. Working with such a variety of people to create my final project (although “final” is just a temporary state of being) gave me an entirely new understanding of just how flexible and interactive DH can be. Additionally, the ability to give a final presentation to such a responsive and inquisitive audience on Zoom was the perfect indicator of what makes the Digital Humanities so great – the goal of my project could never have been portrayed to an audience if not for the digital tools and virtual format of the site overall.

My definition of the Digital Humanities has also shifted from one that is impersonal and passive – “The general definition of digital humanities is taking work and research already done in the humanities field, and then presenting it to your audience in digital ways. These digital resources can vary from websites and software to virtual maps, timelines, audio and video, and graphs/charts.” – to one that is vibrant, active, exciting, and personal.

Now, I know that DH means people and their passions, the exploration of interests, and the convergence of knowledge and digital tools. In a more personal way, I’ll never be able to engage with online exhibits or other examples of DH without thinking of this incredible summer and how much I managed to learn and grow.

To the Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship committee and fellow students in our cohort, I’d like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. Each member of our little band of DSSFers gave 110% of their time, hard work, and passion in order to make this summer a complete success – and an awful lot of fun. #DSSF21 has been an experience I will never forget!

Without further ado I’ll be signing off one final time! Thank you for reading and following along with our incredible journey this summer.


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Final Reflection on Digital Humanities (DH) and Goodbye

As I am writing this final post, it is the last day of the Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship 2021. Summer has gone by so fast, sometimes I have not noticed that it’s coming to an end. One of the reasons is that I really enjoy working on my individual project, having a daily meeting and discussion with the cohort, and other activities we did that I lost track of time. It was the best summer I could ever asked for because it has not only transformed my perspective about Digital Humanities in a good way, but it has also helped me building a meaningful relationship with a group of people that I have grown to love and care a lot about.

But most important of all, it’s the knowledge and perspective about Digital Humanities (DH) that I have learnt and accumulated over the summer. I remember the very first reflective post I did about what DH is, and how much I understand about it then. Well, over the summer, there are a few things I have come to realize and further understand that I would like to highlight here.

First, it is the application of DH. When I first discover the term “DH”, I had thought that it can only be applied to the humanities field of studies; for example, history, sociology, art… However, I now know that DH can be applied to different field of studies whether it’s social science or hard science. Moreover, DH is highly collaborative, especially between traditional research in social science and application in hard science. I remember one of the speakers who talked about his work creating 3D model and virtual reality of Spanish theater. To make it happen, the project need contribution from history and architecture experts to consult the academic aspect of it, and computer science experts to build the 3D and virtual reality.

Second, it is the life of DH. I understand that DH project is continuous, and there is no end to it. It is just simply abandoned by the project owner. However, what I have never thought about is that some days, all these DH projects will become an archive that future generation would look back on it and says, “that’s old stuff”. It also makes sense that these projects might disappear one day because there is no space on the internet to put it up. That’s when the Internet archive come into play. Have never heard about the internet archive before, I am fascinated by what it does, and how we can make use of it.

Third, when it comes to DH, it is more about the process of doing it rather than the result. The talk by Ms. Quinn Dombrowski about the failure of DH helps me settle with my project and feel better about what I did this summer. Through the whole summer, I have enjoyed the process of doing my project a lot, especially of all the things I learn about my research in general, my protagonists’ stories, my research skills, and the relationship I have developed over the past 8 weeks.

I appreciate everything I have encountered for these past two months, and I am going to embrace everything I have learnt and earned through this process. Until we cross path again, goodbye temporarily, DH and DSSF.

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Revisiting DH

It’s hard to believe how quickly this summer went by. Over the course of Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship 2021, we as a cohort and community have explored the digital humanities through group discussion and lived experience. A summer’s worth of work has reinforced that digital humanities is truly what we make of it.

In my first reflection post, I explored Amanda Visconti’s definition of DH in A Digital Humanities What, Why, & How (DLF eResearch Network Talk): “Research, teaching, & learning about literature, history, the arts… (the humanities) in digital ways (building & using software, websites, datasets…).” This definition still feels like the perfect “elevator pitch” overview for those who are confused on the terminology associated with DH. The variety of ideas and digital tools found within each of our cohort’s individual research projects demonstrates just how different DH can be or mean to those in this community.

As I mentioned previously in my first post, there are five main values of digital humanities which Lisa Spiro spoke about in her book chapter “This is Why We Fight: Defining the Values of the Digital Humanities.” These five values are: Openness, Collaboration, Collegiality/Connectedness, Diversity, and Experimentation. All these values were meaningful to me throughout my work this summer. However, the value of experimentation most closely guided me when I approached my individual research project. I encouraged myself to integrate different tools, look at sources from multiple angles, and analyze how my website would be navigated and understood.

I went into this summer ready to dive into my research project. I was sure of my abilities to learn the tools of the trade. I initially understood digital humanities as another academic discipline; one that had a recognized definition and correct practices associated with it. I can’t adequately describe how thankful I am to have that preconceived notion shattered. I have come to know DH as an ever-evolving opportunity for thoughtful work available to everyone with the means and ways to contribute to it. That said, access to the internet and technology will always be a challenge connected to the inclusivity of DH.

As a DSSF cohort, we have had the opportunity to explore what DH means to each of us, through engaging in it every day. My exploration has taught me to experiment, and to challenge how I create effective research. My understanding of DH has changed over the course of the fellowship as my interactions with it have changed. Furthermore, how I approached constructing a data visualization differed after discussing the importance of user experience. I learned not only how to present my research so that it would be most effective, but also why I should do so. Eight weeks of exposure leaves me feeling that I’ve only touched the surface of what DH has to offer. I end my experience with DSSF 2021 feeling more curious about what the digital humanities are and mean than I did starting out. While I certainly feel more knowledgeable about what DH can do for individual researchers, and how to create and present the research I have done in the realm of DH, I understand that my experience is only one small part of the greater mosaic that is DH. But after all, isn’t that the point?

This post was written by Ben Johnson, Gettysburg College Class of 2022, and member of the Digital Scholarship Summer Fellowship Cohort 2021.