The Day of DH is a national celebration of the range and variety of people, projects, and groups involved in digital humanities (DH). This year the event is hosted by MSU’s own DH center: MATRIX: The Center for the Digital Humanities & Social Sciences. It is a community sourced online publication and project to bring together scholars interested in DH. This year, Day of DH is taking place today, April 8th. Participants answer questions about what digital humanists do, how they work together, and provides them a chance to document their activity on this one day.
You can follow along today by visiting dayofdh2013.matrix.msu.edu or through Twitter with the hashtag #dayofdh.
As part of this day, I will posting updates on what I’m doing and discussing DH in general on facebook, twitter, and on this blog post today. You can also follow along at my Day of DH page: http://dayofdh2013.matrix.msu.edu/bonesdontlie
8:00am EST: Got into the office. Today I’m going to be double posting for the Day of DH as both myself and Campus Archaeology… which is going to be interesting. For those that don’t know, I am the campus archaeologist for MSU’s Campus Archaeology Program. You can learn more about what that entails and what I do at their website: campusarch.msu.edu. For this job I end of doing a lot of different digital projects, like working on an OMEKA museum site and working with GIS to track and coordinate our archaeological projects.
8:15am EST: This morning I’m working with one of the Campus Archaeology interns, Katie, on her poster for the upcoming undergraduate research symposium at MSU. I have been working throughout the semester with her and another student to catalog and classify a collection of artifacts from MSU’s first dormitory. The building burned down in 1876, and we excavated a portion of it during Fall 2012. It has been fun working with them to learn more about the students from this era!
9:45am EST: For my Cultural Heritage Informatics Iniative fellowship, I designed an OMEKA museum site for Campus Archaeology. We haven’t fully used this program- partially because there is so much to do and partially because I still have problems sometimes making it work properly. Today my goal is to finally add spatial data to the artifacts. This means assigning a geolocator (longitude and latitude) to every artifact we have online. Shouldn’t be too hard since many are located in the same area! Check out the progress here at campusunearthed.matrix.msu.edu/.
11:00am EST: For the next few hours I’m going to be off technology so that I can attend a couple important meetings on campus. They should be pretty exciting since it’s going to be my first time serving on a university search committee.
2:30pm EST: Taking a quick break from geo-coding the OMEKA site, I was able to get a free X-Box Tomb Raider avatar costume that will totally become my new gaming avatar as soon as I get home. I truly believe that playing video games can help us to free our minds and play around with new ideas. The more I’m gaming the more creative I am in my job- can’t explain it but its true. I’m also totally cool with playing Tomb Raider due to the fact that she is clearly not an archaeologist, but rather a collector. And let’s face it- its fun. If you’re interested in learning more about my view on video games and archaeology, I wrote a blog post on that: The Adventuring Archaeologist Trope. I actually hope one day I’ll get the opportunity to make a more realistic archaeology video game- until then I’ll continue with my treasure hunting games.
6:50pm EST: As the day comes to an end for me, I’m working on preparing the data for my GIS. In this GIS, I’ve spatially identified over 1,000 burials from an Anglo-Saxon cemetery. Now, I’m attaching data about those burials to the spatial locations. Once this is completed, I can do spatial analyses about the types of containers the individuals were buried in, ways they were treated (either cremated or buried), types of artifacts found with them, and who they are buried near. It will be very interesting to investigate- however it requires me to fill in 10 categories of data for every single burial by hand. Last week I finished all the inhumation burials, and I’m hoping tonight to finish coding the cremation burials. It is a long process, but once it is done I will have a lot of high quality data to use in my analysis. Part of being digital is doing tedious work like this. But you do it because you know the results will be totally worth while.
8:41pm EST: Coding is complete, which means tomorrow I can finally start using doing spatial analyses on my Anglo-Saxon cemetery! This has been a difficult project, so its nice to see it finally coming together.