Picking Up New Digital Skills

It may be a bit early for New Year’s resolutions, but it’s never a bad idea to build time into your professional life for learning new digital skills.

Fortunately, you have plenty of great options for building new digital humanities skills whether you’re looking for a semester-long class, a one-week seminar, a single lecture, or just a list of tips.

Before you get too far, look at local universities’ offerings for classes, professional development opportunities, lectures and events that may help fill in gaps in your knowledge or connect you with people who have the skills you seek.

You might also be interested in the classes offered at Digital Humanities Summer Institute, sponsored by the University of Victoria, Canada.

Next, check out what’s offered at upcoming conferences. Not surprisingly, many professional organizations host seminars or workshops in concert with regional or national meetings. See what’s offered by the National Council on Public History, Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations and American Association of Museums, among others, that focuses on new trends, new software and technology, and other useful professional development topics in the digital humanities.

Another great option is to seek out a THATCamp – the Technology and Humanities Camp. Created by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University, THATCamps are collaborative, productive “unconferences” where participants shape the agenda based on their own needs and interests. If you don’t see an upcoming session that works for you, you can propose organizing your own.

You can also skim through archived notes from past THATcamps online at each camp’s web site, like the one from September’s THATCamp Philly (there’s a list of more past events here). Of course, THATCamps are not alone in posting session materials online after the fact. For instance, the organizers of the annual Museums and the Web conferences post a selection of past conference papers online here.

If one group’s programming is over your head technologically, don’t be discouraged. There are plenty of options out there. You may want to check out some of the events listed here: “Conferences for Digital Humanities, Digital Archives, Digital Libraries, and Digital Museums.”

Last but not least, you may want to take the initiative to teach yourself some new skills. With some creative online searching, can find any number of forums, wikis, list-servs, digital books, articles, and more to walk you through how to develop a strong digital exhibit, how to encode text, how to use social media, and much more.