Session idea: What would a Delaware Valley Digital Humanities Center look like?

Recent years have witnessed an explosion of digital humanities projects throughout the Delaware Valley. Whether sponsored by universities, cultural institutions such as museums and archives, or commercial service providers, it’s clear that a lot of folks in our region are thinking about how to use digital technologies to explore all facets of the human experience across time and place.

That being the case, and presuming that a successful THATCamp Philly points to some interest in pooling skills and interests, might it be useful to consider possibilities for a Center for Digital Humanities right here in our own backyard? Centers are usually designed to connect people and institutions with the communities that surround them, usually by providing some kind of service. So, what kind of service(s) could/should our hypothetical Delaware Valley Digital Humanities Center provide? Who would be involved and how would it be structured? Is it possible to conceive of a DVDHC that gets real work done for real people while modeling a DIY, open-access ethic unencumbered by institutional affiliations and the sordid demands of fundraising?

5 thoughts on “Session idea: What would a Delaware Valley Digital Humanities Center look like?

  1. Like this one too. Could be a great result from the camp, something to keep the work and momentum going. And as someone from a campus in the Delaware Valley without a DH program/presence at the moment (Widener U), I would appreciate the local resources and colleagues.

  2. This session would be interesting to me. I hope it would allow for discussion about questions of how to facilitate at least two kinds of collaboration:

    1) Collaboration between a variety of organizations/institutions.

    2) Collaboration between the different categories of people (as demonstrated by the variety of campers) drawn to and needed for digital humanities work — librarians, archivists, programmers, faculty and students, others I’m not thinking of — both within their own institutions and across institutions.

    One place to look for potential cross-institutional projects would be the work of PACSCL’s Hidden Collections Processing Project (, led by Holly Mengel, one of THATCamp Philly’s organizers, which included efforts to group newly processed collections in 25 Philadelphia-area repositories by topic.

  3. I am very excited to discuss this! I first got interested in the digital humanities while living in D.C., where there are *two* excellent DH centers in easy reach, so moving here where there are no such centers was rather sad. I would really love to see a Philly DH center!

  4. Sounds fantastic to me. As a librarian at a community college, where we serve many people outside the traditional academic track of higher education, I love the idea of “real work done for real people while modeling a DIY, open-access ethic.” Getting community college students involved in a DVDHC, or just being able to use it as a resource, would offer a great vehicle for academic engagement and inquiry for the community as a whole.

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