Literature Geek designing the future of digital+social reading

ACH Executive Council

I'm running for a seat on the Executive Council of the ACH (Association for Computers and the Humanities), the professional society for the digital humanities. If you're a member, please consider voting for me! I'd bring a focus on

  • support for undergrad and grad students (particularly in getting their DH work fully accepted as scholarship, whether as coursework or dissertation) and on
  • improving the DH social media community (making it easier for new DHers to be involved, expanding the teaching/learning we do via social media, and improving how backchannels like Twitter and Slack are preserved and made accessible).

Candidate statement

I'm honored to be nominated for a position on the ACH Executive Council. As a recent Ph.D., I'm especially interested in advocating for student digital humanists, such as reaching out to the Undergraduate Network for Research in the Humanities (UNRH) and assembling a central web resource for digital humanities dissertations: case studies, administrative documents used by successful dissertators, and links to supporting arguments and tutorials for DH forms of graduate research. (The structure of this resource could be cloned to support a paired second site focused on review and promotion applications by those in DH job roles—managed by another ACH volunteer—as there are considerable overlaps in these two challenging areas.)

I'm also interested in supporting and improving the ways the digital humanities community uses Twitter and other social media, especially as developing technologies such as Slack (online messaging and chat rooms) and (web annotation) become part of our online ecosystem. In the case of Slack, anchoring the new DH Slack team I've organized—which now has 197 digital humanist members!—to ACH would let us argue for non-profit status, which confers benefits like better chat history and search.

I'd like to standardize how we preserve DH social media, particularly tweets using various DH conference hashtags, by exploring whether a specific ACH role could be in charge of capturing these in a given year and storing them in a publicly accessible space. I'd also like to investigate ways of encouraging the DH Q & A site as a first-stop intro to DH (e.g. a wiki for FAQs like what conference acronyms and hashtags stand for) and whether social mechanics (favoriting, badges) might motivate more DHers to ask and answer questions on the site.


I am a DH hybrid: a web developer, as well as librarian, assistant professor, and the Digital Humanities Specialist at the Purdue University Libraries. I recently completed a digital humanities dissertation in the University of Maryland English Department, and I also hold a master's degree from the University of Michigan School of Information, where I tailored a Digital Humanities HCI specialization. I worked in a number of positions at the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH) fromm 2009-2015, beginning as an IMLS Model Digital Humanities Intern and ending as the Winnemore Digital Dissertation Fellow. I've been a professional web developer for over eight years, and most of my research takes the form of making things for the web.

I've been active in the digital humanities community since 2009, tweeting @Literature_Geek and keeping a popular DH blog at (11 posts have been highlighted on DH Now; My major projects include co-organizing the inaugural THATCamp Games with Anastasia Salter, applying one of the inaugural ACH Microgrants (now Incubator Grants) to visualize Digital Humanities Quarterly's citation network, the creation of a participatory digital edition (; over 13,000 unique visitors during its first month of open beta), and successfully designing and defending a unique "born-digital" digital humanities dissertation consisting of design, code, user-testing, blogging, and a whitepaper written in the final weeks of the project (

Invited Speaking

Contact me at or @literature_geek about speaking at your institution! You can read more about me on this blog's about page or on my online portfolio.

Possible topics:

Digital humanities

  • What is the digital humanities and why is it good for my department/university? How can I get started in the digital humanities?
  • Participatory digital editions and other DH projects that invite and support a public humanities
  • Scholarly social media for better and happier research (blogging and Twitter in particular)
  • Research blogging

Digital humanities dissertations

  • Designing and pursuing a successful digital dissertation (I successfully defended a wholly digital, no-chapters literature dissertation in April 2015 and am now in a tenure-track assistant professorship… and I blogged throughout both about my research and about the dissertation process.)
  • Supporting digital dissertations and other digital student work: how to evaluate digital work, support it and track effort while it’s happening, and how to argue for the necessity of a digital format and/or method

Digital humanities technology & training

  • Designing digital humanities websites (and other interfaces)
  • Web annotation for research, teaching, and learning
  • Digital humanities web development, design, and user/usability testing, including workshops on specific skills like GitHub/git for the classroom, Omeka for textual scholars, making and hosting your first web page (HTML5 and CSS3), or starting your own research blog (from setting up the website through writing your first post)
  • User experience design for the digital humanities
  • Teaching digital humanities

I’m happy to consult informally with faculty, students, and staff interested in learning a digital skill, pursuing a digital project, or doing/mentoring a digital dissertation while on campus.

Recent invited speaking includes:

  • Brown University (November 2016). Public lecture.
  • Northeastern University "Literature together: participatory digital editions, social annotation, and the public humanities" (October 2015). Public lecture plus guest lecture for NUlab graduate practicum course.
  • MIT Media Lab “Public => Participatory Digital Humanities: designing the past & present of human culture for everyone” (May 2015).
  • "Culture Analytics and User Experience Design” weeklong workshop at the Institute for Pure and Applied Mathematics (IPAM) at UCLA (April 2016).
  • Purdue University "Service +/- Collaboration for Digital Humanities in the Library” (July 2015).
  • Dr. Matthew Kirschenbaum’s "Critical Topics in Digital Studies” graduate course at the University of Maryland (October 2015). Skype panelist on participatory digital humanities sites and discussion of digital dissertation experience.
  • MITH (Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities) Digital Dialogue "Do read the comments: Designing digital editions for the public humanities" (April 2015).
  • Folger Shakespeare Library sponsored panel discussant: "Folger Digital Agendas III: Digital Futures". (Renaissance Society of America, March 2016).
  • Nebraska Forum on Digital Humanities "“What if we build a digital edition and everyone shows up? Public Humanities, Participatory Design, and Infinite Ulysses” (April 2014).
  • Dr. Hans Walter Gabler's Digital Ulysses Master Class at the Univeristy of Victoria (June 2013).

A small sample of cool digital humanities info visualization projects & tools

A handful of interesting projects, lesson plans, and tools for digital humanities information visualization (aka infoviz, sometimes aka data visualization).

There's lots of other great visualization, image, and network stuff out there! This was just to blog an email of relevant links I put together after discussing a humanities visualization course that was being designed. Eventually, hoping to combine links like these from various places (Instapaper, Twitter favorites, LibGuides, Zotero) and get them nicely tagged, so pulling out DH work relevant to a project or course being designed isn't entirely based on what I can recall off the top of my head...