Skills and expertise

interviewing skills – interpersonal communication, allow for silence/thought, contacting people, research, preparedness, question development, not leading discussion but having goals, technology, cameras, microphones, video editing, cutting


promotion, public relations for the project, outreach, attending community meeting,


photography – selecting subjects, taking good pictures, sifting through/selecting photos, editing/cropping photos, anticipating photo needs based on ongoing research


understanding limitations into taking on a large project, and understanding what project scope is reasonable and understanding how to delegate


rapid development and launch


victims – didn’t know what we signed up for, but were RESILIENT

collaborating using technology – Google Drive

photo research – finding relevant photos

sorting through a large amount of data and determining which documents are useful and which represent the best evidence of what we’re trying to argue

TRUST – not micromanaging, understanding that knowledge resides in networks, teaching one another skills

problem-solving on your own, taking initiative, researching solutions, finding answers on forums, finding and using snippets of code

group work – COLLABORATION, trusting people, organizing within groups

felt like a job rather than a class

real-world application

finding tech support through unconventional channels

project management – sustainability, working in project groups, delegating, budgeting time and resources, understanding and respecting other people’s time, scoping community needs, framing the project for an audience, defining the audience, understanding the audience, “client” communication, listening to what the clients wanted and yet giving them (in the end) what they needed, determined best software for project management/collaboration, determined best software for deployment to client, how to manage a group of people,

service learning – your skills provide access to information that community members can’t normally access (or don’t know how to access) – marshaling resources to benefit an under-resourced community

research – permissions, citations


writing, editing – collaborative editing, line editing, developmental editing

understanding there are multiple digital platforms and choosing among them to find information and/or build your project

launching projects with a very small budget

entrepreneurial approach – building something useful from nothing, for a specific audience

tapping into existing networks of knowledge and practitioners to conserve resources

research and advocate for the utility of a particular platform

In the fall of 2014, I was part of a sixteen-member team that, in the course of three months, launched the Central Rim Neighborhood Association Historic Survey. As part of that project, we worked with community members to [determine their needs], blah, and blah. I took special responsibility for a, b, and c. In fact, I played a pivotal role in the development of short-form documentary interviews. Overall, the 150 hours I dedicated to the project allowed me to further develop my communication, collaboration, and project management skills.


Executive summary

– Excellent communicator with special expertise in writing and collaborative editing

– Tech-savvy manager of diverse teams

– Expert researcher in online, library, and archival environments

Central Rim neighborhood walking tour

Screen Shot 2014-09-29 at 11.43.44 AM

See the neighborhood while the irrigation water still flows!

Tuesday, September 30, 6 p.m.

We will depart from the River Valley Church parking lot (1115 N Garden St, Boise) at exactly 6 p.m.


Storytelling on the web

Barbara Ganley, on the impact and connections made by sharing stories on the web:


Bryan Alexander on storytelling with Dracula:

RadioLab’s “Patient Zero” episode (also available here):


This American Life


NPR Storycorps podcast

True Story podcast


Digital Humanities Questions, Day 2

How has historical computing changed over time?

What are the digital humanities? What are its various “camps”?

What do digital humanists do?

What are the advantages of digital humanities over more traditional, analog forms of historical practice?

What do you see as the disadvantages or liabilities of digital humanities practice?

Digital humanities skills — as found in job ads

strong computer skills

website development

web-based publishing

data mining


digital collections

social media marketing

app development


programming skills

digital scholarship

digital cataloging

social network analysis

digital preservation

good communication through web

metrics and analytics

content specialization

current system architectures

research skills


database design and development

marketing and publicity

contemporary art knowledge

topic modeling

data visualization


online and in-person interaction and community-building


Welcome to Digital History!

Welcome to the Digital History course for fall 2014.


ARG Resources for November 28


World Without Oil overview

World Without Oil archive — use the “Time Machine” drop-down menu at upper right to navigate through the game

Nina Simon on WWO, museums, and ARGs

Mark Sample on ARGs as history games

Jewel of the Valleys Civil War ARG

Superstruct archive

More of Bryan Alexander’s writing on ARGs, from his blog Infocult

Questions for today

1. Futurists have been using ARGs to crowdsource forecasting and preparation for an uncertain environmental and social future. How can historians harness this technology and user energy to either (a) expand our collective understanding of the past or (b) help people better understand what we already know about the past?

2. Might/should/could your augmented reality tour incorporate elements of gaming, and particularly ARGs?


Storytelling in Games

Is your Boise wiki article an orphan? (If so, fix it!)

Questions for discussion:

1. In what ways large and small, as explained by Bryan Alexander, do games use stories?  Which of these methods might prove most useful to historians designing games?  How might the age of the player (K-6 students versus older players, for example) affect the game designer’s selection of storytelling methods?

2. How do players continue these stories, or expand the story-world of the games, outside of games?  How does such participation expand the learning opportunities for players interested in exploring an historical era?

3. Imagine that you have been asked to design a game about the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire for classroom use by eighth through twelfth graders.  Students should emerge from the game with an understanding of what caused the quake and fire, what residents’ and officials’ initial reactions to were to the disaster, and how San Francisco and other large American cities changed their planning and development as a result of the catastrophe.

  • How would you meet these learning outcomes through a game?
  • How much of this information would you provide through exposition in the game, how much of this information would you have available in the game for students to “discover” through quests (or other gameplay), and how much of it would students have to use outside resources to solve?  (So, for example, in early versions of Where in the World in Carmen San Diego?, players had to look up information (outside of the game) on currency, flags, etc. to figure out where Carmen San Diego was hiding.  In some more current games, players can find gameplay “secrets” planted by the game developer on the internet.)
  • Which methods of ensuring players learn such content do you find most or least appealing, and why?
  • If you were to design a version of this game for adult gamers and you wanted to preserve the learning outcomes, how might you change the design of the game, and why?

4. Search the web for information about digital games (broadly defined) that draw significantly on historical events.  After doing a brief survey of games in this category, choose one game, and in the comments of this post, leave a link to information about the game, then answer these questions:

  • Who is the intended audience for this game?  How can you tell?
  • What storytelling devices do these games appear to use?
  • What role does history play in the game?
  • How much historical knowledge must players acquire to successfully complete the game?  Do they acquire that knowledge through playing the game, or does the game expect the players to develop some of that knowledge elsewhere?
  • Are players using social media or developing secondary resources to improve their gameplay?
  • Did your search turn up a lot of games in this category? If so, did you note any trends? If you didn’t find a lot of games, what do you think accounts for their relative lack of popularity?

Photo attribution

Boise Depot photo by Katherine H, and used under a Creative Commons license

Digital history for U.S. elections

In this course thus far, we have discussed:

  • the digital humanities, broadly defined
  • big data (its uses and abuses, advantages and liabilities)
  • data curation
  • digital preservation (including preservation of election-related websites)
  • digitization of primary sources
  • text mining
  • metadata for museum collections
  • augmented reality
  • digital storytelling (including games)
  • the importance of place in historical interpretation (and different ways to approach the study of place)

Today I want you to consider the past 50 years of U.S. presidential elections and find a way to present them—or a portion of them—to the public (high school students and older) in an innovative way that uses digital history methods.  You might focus on a particular subset of the voting public (demographic, geographic), a period of time, media coverage of campaigns, or an issue that arises regularly in presidential elections (e.g. the economy, reproductive rights) and how it affects voting patterns. Write a blog post describing how you would research and build your project, its user experience, and what its intended audience would be.  Share as well why you chose your particular focus for this project.

So, for example, you might propose a project that tracks shifts in voting by race or ethnicity over the past 50 years, provide some explanations for these shifts, and ask your project’s audience to vote (or better yet, argue) for their favorite interpretation of this data.  I encourage you to be provocative.  You might, for example, begin with, “No Democratic presidential candidate has won a majority of the white vote since 1964, and it’s forecast that President Obama may win 80 percent of the minority vote this year. That said, some political scientists maintain that, because of changing U.S. demographics, this is the last election in which the Republican party candidate can win by relying on white voters. Why has such a racial divide emerged among voters?”

Note: for this activity, you need to work with classmates outside of your grant proposal group.  Mingle!

Please vote tomorrow

If you have not already voted, please be sure to vote tomorrow, November 6.  You can find your polling place using this tool provided by Google. Information on voting in Idaho, candidates for state and federal offices, and initiatives on the Idaho ballot this year, is available at the Idaho Secretary of State’s website.  The voter pamphlet available for download (PDF) includes arguments for and against each of the proposed initiatives.  If you are eligible to vote in Idaho, but aren’t yet registered, you can register at your polling place on Election Day–see question #10 on this FAQ.

Regardless of whether you are already registered to vote, remember to take a valid photo I.D.–Idaho now requires you to present one before voting.

Remember–tomorrow’s vote encompasses more than a presidential election. Educate yourself on local candidates and issues and vote.