Collaboration (resources and session ideas)

[I’ve had this post in the works for a couple of days now, and Blake Wilder beat me to the punch with an interesting session proposal. I hope the thoughts and links below will inform his and other sessions. –Melanie]

Digital Humanities is a highly collaborative field. There are some practical reasons why this is the case – DH projects tend to be large and complex, and they often require skill sets as diverse as humanities research design, digitization, programming, and organization and description of digital resources. However, the collaborative nature of DH is also a result of its interdisciplinarity. A DH project may involve cutting-edge work, not only in the humanities, but also in computer science, library science, the social sciences, etc. Keep reading for more thoughts on collaboration in DH and some ideas for THATCamp OSU sessions on the topic…

While I think we can all agree that collaboration is good in a motherhood-and-apple-pie kind of way, it does present challenges. This is especially true in academia, where the single-author article or monograph is king, and where the idea of the individual scholar toiling in solitude holds a lot of power. One challenge presented by collaboration is how to give credit to collaborators. (Also see the FairCite initiative for work in this area.) Another is how to go about working together in the first place. A fascinating recent New Yorker article by Jonah Lehrer debunks some common misconceptions about the best ways to collaborate and offers some interesting examples of successful collaborations. Some takeaways from the Lehrer article:

  • Brainstorming doesn’t work, but criticism does
  •  Spaces where different people are thrown together are most effective at producing innovative ideas
  • The best work is done by teams with some familiar faces and some new ones

THATCamps are collaborative by nature, but we could see some sessions specifically devoted to exploring collaboration in our environment. Here are some ideas:

  • An ‘idea generation’ session where a group of people come up with solutions to a problem or ideas for a project, using one or more specific collaboration techniques
  • A discussion about how to encourage collaboration and cross-pollination at OSU

Other thoughts on collaboration or ideas for collaborative sessions?

Categories: Collaboration, Resources, Sessions |