Perspectives on Work and Workflow in Digital Spaces



Friday, September 19, 2014 -
9:45am to 11:00am


About This Session

There is a push in higher education to include under/graduate students in Digital Humanities (DH) and allow for students to be active learners and engaged scholars. The Digital Humanities Lab (DHL) in the English department at Texas Tech University has had great success in providing placements and the space for under/graduate students to do meaningful research and learn DH skills. This roundtable will include DHL participants—faculty, manager, under/graduate students, and volunteers—discussing their user experiences, working with textual media in a digital space, delegating workflow, and collaborating on editorial decisions.


Whose values? Whose stakes? Negotiating collaboration in DH by Dr. Ann Hawkins

Ann Hawkins will discuss the problems and pleasures of collaboration, both with students and other stakeholders, whether internal to the university (libraries, undergraduate research office, graduate school, first-year composition, etc) or external (community groups, historical associations, individuals and families, etc). As part of this discussion, Hawkins will address what DH skills students need to have mastered to market themselves as DH-literate in the larger job market.

Effective Collaboration in a DH Workspace: Preventing Project Mayhem with Project Management by Luke Iantorno

The delegation of workflow in any Digital Humanities (DH) lab requires three crucial elements: commitment from the lab manager, commitment from lab volunteers, and collaboration between the manager and each volunteer. The DH lab at Texas Tech University's English department houses three faculty projects that require consistent, active collaboration. As the current lab manager, my talk will address how collaboration between myself, faculty, and under/graduate student workers creates an environment necessary for the creation and maintenance of robust scholarly projects. I will also discuss how collaboration in our modest DH lab enhances group cohesion and participation among workers, reduces time to complete complex assignments, improves the overall quality of workflow, and reduces communication barriers.

Express Postage for Falcons and Pecans by Joya Mannan

The transition into the digital frontier poses innovative new ways to think and research, but it introduces challenges of usability and accessibility, too. Images and sounds are easily digitized, but issues of quality and user-experience are difficult to predict, which begs the question: What is lost during the electronic conversion process, and how can we compensate for these losses while simultaneously maintaining the integrity of a project? Moreover, what is gained? This paper will examine the unique demands of digital humanities projects that reconstruct and archive three-dimensional media in a one-dimensional space where the concept of control is often elusive at best. Additionally, it will highlight the benefits of under/graduate student collaboration, the challenges of meeting user-experience expectations for both academic and laic communities, and the opportunities available in utilizing technology that consistently advances at an exponential rate.

“In answer to your important question, yes” and “I am sorry about the baby”:  One-sided Conversations in Group Transcription and Annotation by Erin Bistline

Without a cohesive group that works well together, information is not shared and important points can be missed. Working with manuscripts in the Texas Manuscript Cultures database (TxMSC) involves a variety of decisions in regards to transcription and annotation and many of these issues can be exacerbated by the nature of collaborative projects. When an individual works on a project alone that person gains all the information available in the texts and begins to understand the writer on some levels. Collaboration spreads the possible information from the texts among several workers, volunteers, and/or public readers.  This spreading of knowledge requires collaboration to be more than a simple division of labor. Instead, successful projects require closer relationships between the workers that support conversations and support.

Collaboration and Close Reading: It’s personal! by Sewasew Haileselassie

The Texas Tech DH lab is more than archiving documents and preserving history; it also ensures the future of undergraduates like myself. The DH lab gives under/graduate students the unique opportunity to work closely with primary resources. Working with documents up close and personal reveals the lives of people living in 19th- and 20th-century Texas. The DH lab gives students the opportunity to learn how to preserve and analyze documents for TxMSC. I will discuss how, as an anthropologist, knowing how to deal with primary resources is crucial. In each letter the TxMSC archive preserves, one learns about personal opinions, supports, and significant events and moments in Texas history that public eyes would otherwise not notice. The DH lab gives under/graduate students unique opportunities to work with rare to find documents. I plan someday to work with primary resources such as original documents and material artifacts in order to preserve histories of indigenous populations.

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Tara Carlisle

Tara Carlisle is Project Development Librarian at the University of North Texas and is responsible for coordinating digitization projects for the Portal to Texas History. On a daily basis, she works with professionals from museums, archives, colleges and public libraries to add new material to the Portal.

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Joya Mannan

Joya Mannan is a PhD student at Texas Tech University. She specializes in digital humanities and film studies, and her research interests include reception studies of the nineteenth-century print trade.

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Erin Bistline

Erin N. Bistline is a PhD student at Texas Tech University.  Her focus is on British and American literature of the nineteenth century as well as Literature of Social Justice and the Environment and Book History.  She also works in the Texas Tech Digital Humanities lab.  Currently, she is working on a publication history of Anna Sewell's Black Beauty.

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Sewasew Haileselassie

Sewasew Haileselassie is an undergraduate student at Texas Tech University. She is interested in prehistoric civilizations and historical recollection of indigenous groups.

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Ty Berringer

Ty Berringer is a Masters Student in English at Texas Tech.

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