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Growing a digital humanities community

November 27, 2012, was the inaugural meeting of the new regional group for digital humanities in the Delaware Valley. There are already over 100 members in the Google Group and 34 of us showed up at the Chemical Heritage Foundation for the first meeting. I’m so excited that so many people are interested in creating a regional DH group! I first got interested in DH while working on my master’s degree in the Washington, D.C. area, which is fortunate to have two really excellent DH centers (CHNM and MITH), so I’m really excited to help bring some of that vibe to Philly!

At the meeting, we discussed a few topics including what our vision for the group is and what sorts of things we would like the group to do. In order to facilitate this, we broke into a few smaller groups. You can read the minutes from the meeting here. If you’re interested in helping out, our working groups are: the web & social media team, the programming team, and the outreach team. If you don’t want to help out actively at this time, you are welcome to stay in touch via the Google Group and Twitter (more social media accounts to follow).

As we start our own DH initiative here at Falvey Library, I’m wrestling with a lot of the same questions the regional group is. It’s easy to say that we should support DH, but it’s much harder to make that vision into a concrete reality. What is/are the digital humanities? How can we “sell” it to people who would be interested in the kinds of projects you can do with DH, but maybe don’t understand what DH is? How do we evaluate DH projects? How do we integrate DH into the classroom? There are a lot of questions and — at least for now — not as many answers. But that’s okay. DH is a growing movement and, more importantly, a growing community. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can grow here at Villanova.

Photo of pumpkin and gourd seedlings.
“Seedlings” by Ed Mitchell.

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Last Modified: December 7, 2012

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