November 20, 2015 by Amanda Visconti

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 Hypothes.is (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.

Biography

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 LiteratureGeek.com (11 posts have been highlighted on DH Now; LiteratureGeek.com/tag/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 (InfiniteUlysses.com; 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 (Dr.AmandaVisconti.com).