Thursday, June 13, 2013

Whatcamp? THATCamp? Oh.

Several months ago, I attended a monthly meeting of digital historians (translation: nerds) here in DC. Among the attendees were several programmers, developers, and contributors to George Mason University's Center for History and New Media (CHNM). These wonderful people develop the incredible platform called Omeka, an online repository designed for digital archivists, cultural heritage specialists, and digital historians. I became fascinated with this platform, and I intend to use it in order to  publish the project I was working on in Kansas over Christmas break.

Being a somewhat cautious tech nerd, I didn't want to dive in and mess up anything within the program, so I thought I'd be intelligent and ask some questions and get some advice before I did anything. After a conversation with one of the developers, I walked away with some very valuable insight: "Just get in there and mess around a bit. Have fun." So I did. I created a short and sweet site with a few items, but I was still a little confused by it all. As my archives class continued, so did my knowledge and understanding of how archives work - and how Omeka complemented that structure (or lackthereof).

THATCamp Prime

The same developer suggested that I look into attending a THATCamp, which I cannot recommend highly enough. Last weekend, I followed my flock of digital archivists to CHNM for THATCamp Prime. The best way to describe THATCamp is a sort of tech retreat for nerds. Space camp, but with code and concept-heavy discussions rather than gravity walks or any sort of physical exertion.

Look! We went outside!

The entire weekend was full of a strange balance of technobabble and abstract discussions on the future of the digital world. It was incredible. Rather than try to explain in detail about what I learned or did, I'm just going to share some links and hopefully you'll see the fruits of my labor some time in the future. :)

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