Digital Cultural Heritage DC


The DCHDC crowd Summer 2014


One of the reasons I love working the Digital Humanities is the people. Not having a traditional DH program or track in my department, I had to go outside to find information, guidance, and inspiration for my DH projects. I have already written about how valuable local DH events have been to my journey (events like RailsGirls and THATCamp) and we all know how amazing Twitter is to find a community of DH enthusiasts like myself (@litambitions), but these events are infrequent even in DC and Twitter lacks a human touch. Enter the Digital Cultural Heritage DC Group. Founded in 2012 and run by our fearless leader Bill LeFurgy, the DCHDC group is a haven for DHers from all backgrounds. The group consists of a wide variety of DH enthusiasts from the many cultural institutions and technical programs in and around the DC Metro area. In July 2014 they graciously invited Lori Brister and I to talk about how we are attempting to grow DH in our department and in our school at large. I was honestly intimidated and awe-inspired when we went around the room and heard about the jobs everyone had and the projects they were working on.  The general format for a DCHDC meeting is one or two lightening talks to start, then a wider discussion and exchange of information and news and, of course, drinking (the last few meetings have taken place in Stetson’s bar in U Street). For the July meeting, I spoke about my initial interest in DH and how we had to look outside our department and school to learn what we needed to know to start our own DH projects. I talked about how we created a DH Working Group, how we attended local DH events, and how we support each other as we continue to develop our projects. Lori spoke also on our future plans for the DH Working Group, our plan to study DH modules covering theory as well as practical tools, and potentially broadening our DH group to include others outside of our department and our school. Both of us enjoyed the experience immensely. We made some amazing contacts, learned about some interesting digital initiatives, and ultimately felt welcome and supported by the whole group. Past meeting topics have included preserving digital materials at the Library of Congress and the future of DH with the National Endowment for the Humanities among many other exciting topics and presentations. Want to know more about the DCHDC? Follow them on twitter (@DCH_DC) or visit their Meetup page.