Celeste’s Spring 2018 Update

This term I’m drawing inspiration from the presentation and conversations I participated in at Reed College’s Transforming Undergraduate Student Research In The Digital Age conference. I co-presented with Sarah Calhoun and Austin Mason (always a delight!) on deepening connections between curricular and co-curricular research and learning opportunities on our campus. Each institution has its own approach, and it was interesting to see how conversations from disparate institutions (SLAC and research university alike) came back to a couple key points: how we create sustainable processes for managing and preserving research within digital ecosystems, and how we can better support faculty, staff, and students in pursuing collaborative projects.

Keynote speaker Laurie Allen, Director for Digital Scholarship at UPenn Libraries, put her own spin on the oft-cited (and mocked) motto of Facebook and tech at large: rather than “move fast and break things,” she urged us to “move slowly and conserve things.” And that’s an ethos that I think leans into the strengths of liberal arts colleges, where an emphasis on carefully considered interdisciplinary work can thrive.

It also resonates with some of my current interests, like the conversations building out of the Public Works digital curriculum taskforce, the ongoing process/question of turning my dissertation into a publication, and my continuing involvement on a NEH-funded project working with Rick Hill’s Indigenous Knowledge Centre at Six Nations Polytechnic and Dr. Tim Powell and Sasha Renninger at UPenn. I’m also excited to see upcoming events like the Future of Publishing initiative’s Data Refuge and Preservation event tackle these questions head on in Spring, and dig in deeper to these readings:

Reflections on #budsc16

view from airplane window of small white clouds

On October 26-28, I attended the Bucknell Digital Scholarship Conference with my colleagues Janet Russell and Sarah Calhoun. It was my first time attending that event, and I was struck by how well it was organized and how the size seemed just right to balance presentations and chances for informal conversations. As always, I was happy to see a mix of presenters, from undergraduates to tenured faculty to folks from libraries and technology areas.

Main takeaways:

1. I cannot overstate how thrilled I was that both keynote addresses were given by women of color. Tressie McMillan Cottom and Safiya Noble spoke compellingly about critical issues related to higher education, technology, and society that (in my opinion) are far more urgent than calls to “disrupt,” “break,” and “hack.”

2. I was reminded by Jim Egan and Patrick Rashleigh’s presentation about the power of collaborating in a common environment. Their story about how working together on data in Tableau, rather than jumping straight to d3 or something more hefty, showed the benefits of starting with small tech to build trust in the collaboration.

audio synthesizer sits on table next to monitor showing digital project 3. Thrilled to see that the poster session allowed for digital presentations of work. It’s great to be able to see the digital projects in their native environments, and the conference provided a booklet of abstracts for each presentation that helped provide context. I do wish there were signs or some other visual identification for each project/table, but I enjoyed wandering from end to end hearing and seeing snippets of conversation.

Taken altogether, it was an enjoyable experience and I look forward to next year’s conference!