DM and the Brainstorm

DM and the Brainstorm

I intend today’s class to accomplish two goals:

  1. To introduce the class to the DM tool and give an example of its usage.
  2. To use a part of class to Brainstorm on the final student presentations.

Here’s my proposed schedule:

Getting Started:

  • Practicalities – attendance and announcements.
  • Offer more details on the required blog posts.
  • Answer questions about the Old Chapel Project tools.


  • Student presentation (Elizabeth Seibert), introduction to DM.
  • Instructor presentation, application of DM at Pompeii.

The Brainstorm:

  • Write down your favorite topic (in or out of school) at top of the page.  Draw a line across the page under it.
  • Write down what you think a DH project might look like. Write fast!
  • Fold the paper from the bottom to meet the line you drew. Pass the paper to the right.
  • Write down what the topic makes you think of. Define it as you understand it.
  • Write down what you think a DH project of someone else’s topic might look like. Write fast!
  • Pass the paper back to the left.
  • Let’s talk.

The intent of the Brainstorm activity is to approach your interests from both a constrained and unconstrained perspective. That is, for your own topic, you know so many things  and likely care deeply about the subject that  it becomes very difficult to see the tree for the leaves. This is a constrained perspective. Giving your attention to someone else’s subject, offering your  unconstrained perspective, allows for your imagination to flow free of the many important details and the worry of having to actually implement the project.

Let’s see how well it works.

In my experience, this kind of mental exercise is especially valuable in creating a flexibility of mind and a openness of sprit necessary to do the digital humanities today. DH moves so quickly that one also has the worry that she doesn’t know about the latest digital resource or that someone will find out that he can’t really code. On one hand, impostor syndrome runs rampant, putting anxiety between you and your goal. On the other hand, the genuine pace of change makes it difficult to employ best practices when those practices change faster than they can be implemented. In the context of continual creation of new tools, unconstrained imagination is the strongest force  bond these new realities. Be thee not afraid!

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