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Keeping the ‘L’ in digital: Applying LIS Core Competencies to Digital Humanities Work

Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, M.S.L.S. • University of South Carolina Lancaster

ABSTRACT: Digital Humanities (DH) has struggled with an identity since its contemporary emergence in the early 2000s; however, a succinct definition exists, placing many core activities of the field squarely in the domain of modern librarianship. This article briefly reviews American Library Association’s Core Competencies for Librarianship and summarizes the continuing development and characteristics of DH projects. The author also reveals how LIS competencies have been applied to a Korean popular culture DH project at Elon University.  Positive implications for DH’s impact on professional development for librarians, information literacy integration, and opportunities for librarian/faculty or community collaborations are also included.

Read more:  http://bit.ly/14r4QeQ

While the world has been familiar with online video for a while now, “screencasting” is a relatively new term in our technological vocabulary. Screencasting is similar to a screenshot, but instead of having static images, it’s a video of what is happening on your computer screen. This can be a powerful tool to teach people using visuals and audio. At least that’s how Dr. Crystal Anderson, a professor in the English department, uses it.

Read more at Elon University – Instructional and Campus Technologies!

 

Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, M.S.L.S

University of South Carolina Lancaster

When you click the “KPK Members” link on our site, our bios’ upbeat language states we have certain skill sets that match well with the work of KPK, and you know that we are Kpop fans. I think our identification as Kpop fans is one of the unique characteristics of our collaboration.

While KPK members approach the work of KPK as people who truly enjoy and participate in Kpop culture and some associated activities, our passion for Kpop is a minimum requirement for the work we do. Our work also requires the courage to forge a path in a niche research area within a discipline that is still developing, a willingness to perform due diligence, and not unlike the most successful Kpop idols, the will to perform seemingly repetitive actions in pursuit of a professional and cohesive body of work for an audience who’d like to consume a quality product.

This past January, KPK marked its second anniversary, and in that time we have improved our artist profiles and expanded our research projects. In the same amount of time, the DH discipline still struggles with its very identity – literally. In a recent article in The Chronicle of Higher Education, William Pannapacker (with KPK’s apologies) pleads:

Stop calling it “digital humanities.” Or worse, “DH,” with a knowing air. The backlash against the field has already arrived. The DH’ers have always known that their work is interdisciplinary (or metadisciplinary), but many academics who are not humanists think they’re excluded from it….it seems more inclusive to call it digital liberal arts (DLA) with the assumption that we’ll lose the “digital” within a few years, once practices that seem innovative today become the ordinary methods of scholarship.

DH (or DLA) labels aside, KPK is performing the unique work of organizing Kpop artist information and Kpop fan activities during a time when DH standards are wide-ranging and many actions that were once considered within the discipline have been challenged as the field evolves. When KPK considers adding new projects or updating current ones, we revisit the evolving rules of DH and work to reconcile them with the KPK educational mission. Because of this evolution, our passion for Kpop (“let’s gather every single photo we can find of Eric because Shinhwa is awesome!”) has always been tempered by the scholastic/research activity of due diligence (“which photos of Shinhwa reflect a certain aspect of the group’s position in/influence on Hallyu’s development”). Burdick et al. assert that one of the characteristics of DH is “an emphasis upon curation as a defining feature of scholarly practice” (2012, 122). KPK’s projects reflect this characteristic because of our ongoing commitment to adhere to the latest standards where we can, and to question any standards that seem exclusionary to scholars who are doing good works in unconventional DH environments.

Hand-in-hand with due diligence is the time it takes to seek, evaluate, master,  train others, and implement new technologies and curate our information so KPK’s work can be made public and is easily disseminated. When we started KPK two years ago, we used two tools for content creation: WordPress and Google Docs. As our work evolved towards curation, we discovered more tools and applied them to our work.  More recently, KPK members have been trained on or exposed to a variety of digital curation platforms, including Omeka, Timeline JS, and Mindomo.

While these technologies make information gathering and presentation easier, it still takes quite a while to get work done. For instance, it takes about 4 hours to gather and curate all the items for the average KPK artist profile, and another 2 hours to input the items into KPOPIANA. That doesn’t take into account how long it takes to set up the artist’s exhibit. Since a lot of Kpop information is strewn all over the Internet (and in some cases, is contradictory or not available at all), this work can be tedious and repetitive – especially if you’re working on an artist that you don’t know well (or know, but who is not your favorite). Add this time to the hours we spend tagging and adding news to our information archive, annotating interesting articles, locating scholarly work, talking to fans, and preparing data for presentations, it becomes quickly apparent that my while my enjoyment of Kpop helps me get the job done,  it isn’t the actual work of KPK.

The interesting thing is this: when I’m looking for information about an artist who I don’t know that much about; watching a music video of a group that makes me wonder how they ever made even one comeback; or analyzing a concept photo that leaves me questioning the entire cordi-noona empire –that is when my passion for Kpop kicks in, melds with my love of scholarship, and stokes my determination to get our work done right for the long-term fulfillment of the KPK mission.

Sources

Burdick, Anne, et al. Digital Humanities. Cambridge: MIT Press, 2012. Web.

Pannapacker, William. “Stop Calling it ‘Digital Humanities’.” The Chronicle of Higher Education. 18 Feb. 2013. Web. 5 Mar 2013.

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Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Elon University

While collaboration is a huge part of digital humanities, is it the only way to do DH? If you are working on a digital humanities project by yourself, does it count as DH?

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So, like a lemming, I’ve signed up to do DigiWriMo, a challenge to write a ridiculous number of words in the month of November online, or complete some similarly Herculean task.I thought this would be the perfect opportunity to jumpstart my iFans digital project.  iFans: Mapping K-pop’s International Fandoms, examines K-pop fan behavior and attitudes.

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Seo Taiji, Gaon Chart

Seo Taiji: President of Culture is the first digital essay for Hallyu Harmony: A Cultural History of K-pop.

Pioneering a hybrid Korean popular music with global aspirations, Seo Taiji set the tone for contemporary K-pop through his fusion of multiple music genres with a Korean sensibility, global fan activity, and groundbreaking industry practices.  These activities continue to be staples of K-pop today.

Read the entire digital essay at Hallyu Harmony.

Image: “Seo Taiji, Gaon Chart,” Hallyu Harmony, accessed October 9, 2012, http://kpop.omeka.net/items/show/48.

Seo Taiji, Gaon Chart

Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Elon University

I just finished my first digital essay, Seo Taiji: President of Culture, for my digital humanities project on the cultural history of Hallyu-era Korean popular music, 1992-2009. But as I continue to build this Omeka site and design the project, I wonder:  Is my project a digital humanities project? What am I doing? And am I doing it right?  Such questions reflect recurrent anxiety about doing digital humanities with a popular culture project and how it might be perceived in the digital humanities and Korean popular culture studies realms.

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Crystal S. Anderson, PhD

Elon University

This past spring, I attended my first THATCamp at the University of Virginia.  I was nervous. Although I’ve been a humanities person practically all my life, I was unsure if the collaborative projects I manage on Hallyu (Korean wave) popular culture on the Internet qualified as a digital humanities enterprise.  After attending THATCampVA,  I realized that my projects embraced  several central elements of digital humanities.    

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Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, M.S.L.S.

University of South Carolina Lancaster

This past May I presented at a Library and Information Science (LIS) conference to talk with my colleagues about how I am using my professional skills at KPK (and why they should do similar work). If you browse the KPK site, you will quickly come across the essays and Shout Outs pieces I’ve published, and my main projects –Digital Documentation, News Archiving, and KPK Intern training — rely heavily on the data mining, information organization, and emerging technology skills and tools I’ve honed and come across in my work as an academic librarian.

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I Can Do That (Too)! Using LIS Core Competencies in the Digital Humanities

Central Savannah Library Association – 3rd Annual Conference

http://csralibraryassociation.com/2012-conference/

Kaetrena Davis Kendrick, M.S.L.S. (University of South Carolina Lancaster) will discuss her role in a IRB-approved digital cultural studies project at Elon University, where she uses fundamental and advanced library and information science skills to forge natural and mutually beneficial relationships with teaching faculty members, support institutional research missions, and be more deeply involved with teaching and learning activities of graduate and undergraduate students and community members. Attendees are encouraged to discuss symbiotic projects and digital humanities developments in higher education.

Link to Presentation: http://bit.ly/LCJo98

Dr. Crystal Anderson, Associate Professor of English, publishes her research in a medium that many scholars avoid: A blog.

Anderson, who teaches classes in Asian film and literature, stumbled upon “Kpop,” or Korean popular music that is part of culture (“Hallyu,” a cultural movement) that strives to spread Korean culture throughout the globe through music, film and television. As she continued to explore Kpop, she found that there was no centralized place to get information. She launched her blog, Kpop Kollective, as both a vehicle for her research and as an online Kpop information hub that fosters collaboration.

Read more at Instructional and Campus Technologies at Elon University. (originally published on May 17, 2012)

 

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U.S. K-pop Fan Survey

Are you a fan of Kpop in the United States? Are you a K-pop fan of color? Make your voice heard in this brief survey for research!

U.S. K-pop Fan Survey

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