End of Day of DH 2015

So, it’s 5:30 PM ish and I’m about to head home for the day – but before I do, a few quick wrapping up Day of DH thoughts:

  • Definitely did not finish everything on my afternoon goals list! I did begin drafting an ER&L session write-up and decided on summer work blog topics (the Davidson-R.E.M. connection, something about flickerball, and another archives cooking blog, I think), determined my conference poster-printing deadline, and began a draft email to my cat-sitter, so progress.
  • I saw a few people on the Twitter stream discussing the date of Day of DH – last year’s and 2013’s days were both in early April, which might be a more representative sample day for North American-based, academically-affiliated DH-ers. I agree that today wasn’t necessarily a “normal” day for me – since Davidson’s spring semester ended last week, my schedule was definitely more relaxed today than it would have been at any point last month. BUT I think there’s value in exposing what academic staff do when classes aren’t on, and I know that some schools are actually in the midst of their finals right now (and many European unis are still in the midst of their class terms, no?). I think it’s impossible to pick a date that would be a representative sample of what all digital humanists do (I know mine tend to vary quite a bit!), particularly bearing in mind the differences in academic calendars across the globe (and that’s not even mentioning non-academic DH-ers! I’d love to hear more about what those based in museums, non-profits, and other organizations workdays are like).
  • Last year was my first Day of DH experience, and it happened to fall on a very busy day for me – I was in Raleigh for the Society of North Carolina Archivists’ Annual Meeting. Thinking about the differences between that day, and today (which was a fairly slow day for me, and spent entirely in Davidson) – I really liked that blogging and tweeting for Day of DH 2014 ended up making me keep better conference notes than I generally do, and I enjoyed spending part of Day of DH 2015 reflecting not only on what I did today, but how I can work more effectively. Different experiences, but both rewarding – I’m looking forward to Day of DH 2016 already!
Davidson's library in the summer - if it's after 5 PM, the lights are out and we're clooooosed.
Davidson’s library in the summer – if it’s after 5 PM, the lights are out and we’re clooooosed.

Practicing Good Goal-Setting (With An Eye to Summer 2015)

In my previous post, I quickly outlined what I wanted to get done this afternoon – a somewhat ambitious list, in all honesty, and I actually left out a meeting I attended at 3:00 PM (on the topic of filming a video for new student orientation – the Archives & Special Collections gets a few minutes of face-time in front of the entire incoming class, and this year marks the first time since 1994 that the senior college archivist [Jan Blodgett] will miss that event. So we’re brainstorming how Jan and I can still be involved in orientation while not being physically present – we’ll both be at the Society of American Archivists’ Annual Meeting).

I tend to struggle with goal-setting – I’ve always been one of the those over-scheduling, over-reaching types who takes on a bit more than they can chew. I’m hoping that by recognizing the tendency to even slightly overburden, I can work towards being more realistic in goal-setting. That’s definitely still a work in progress – I’ll be lucky if I finish half my to-do list by around 5:00 PM! But, bearing that in mind, here’s a few of my hopefully-totally-realistic, achievable summer 2015 work goals:

  • Compile a spreadsheet of the courses I’ve worked with since beginning at Davidson in fall 2013. One of my Archives & Special Collections colleagues keeps meticulous records of the classes she’s collaborated with, including department, course number, instructor, number of visits, etc. I’d like to be more formal in my class collaboration recordkeeping, in order to identify patterns in departments, instructors, and levels of course, so I can determine where and to whom I need to do more outreach to, as well as where our collections and instruction strengths lie (or how I’ve been using them, at least).
  • Make some sort of multimedia/video for new student orientation (as described above).
  • Get my fall 2015 course collaboration ducks in a row – go over the course offerings, and reach out to faculty who are teaching classes that sound like we have relevant archival material for.
  • Work on planning events/blogs/something for Ada Lovelace Day and Day of Data 2015 (in collaboration with the folks from the Center for Teaching & Learning and the digital studies department).
  • Get some work done on my Titanic sites of memory Neatline map – a very nascent project based on the research I did for my master’s thesis (“Going Down in History: The Collective Memory of the Titanic”). I looooved researching and writing that thesis, and I’d like to make use of the knowledge (and photographs and conclusions, etc.) that I gathered, so I figured making a map of all of the monument-and/or-memorial sites related to the Titanic would be a good usage of that data and my budding digital mapping skills. This project keeps on getting back-burnered – right now, I have basic data for about half of the Belfast locations mapped – because it’s really a labor of love that’s not directly related to my job, and finding the spare time on nights or weekends has been difficult. So any progress is good!

And that’s where I’ll stop – I think it’s completely doable to get those tasks done over the summer, even with all of my planned conference travel, some vacation, and my regular day-to-day duties taking up my time. Let’s see how my first semi-formal seasonal goal-setting goes!

Morning Meeting & Goals for the Day

Typically, I start my day by arriving in my office at 8:30 AM, then eating a breakfast snack (coffee and granola bars, generally) while checking emails. Today I actually began my day by walking down to Summit Coffee on Main Street (the Davidson coffeehouse), to have a meeting/work session with colleague Anelise Shrout (a postdoc in Davidson’s digital studies department).

Anelise and I are co-leading a pre-conference workshop at DH 2015, called “Starting from Scratch?: Strategies for Building Undergraduate-Centered #DH Programs.” This morning we scaffolded/outlined the whitepaper that is accompanying our session, emailed it to our program committee and the participants we already know signed up, and then shared the whitepaper draft via Twitter (please feel free to add comments or share the link!).

We were also joined partway through our work session by Tabitha Peck, a math and computer science faculty member at Davidson – it was great to get a little “outsider” feedback on our workshop prep, and to catch up with Tabitha. Davidson is a small college and a small town – I ran into four people I knew while on the coffee line – and that can be a real advantage when working on cross-departmental and cross-campus collaborations.

I snapped this shot of "new" Chambers on my walk back to E.H. Little Library from Main Street - campus is looking especially beautiful today.
I snapped this shot of “new” Chambers on my walk back to E.H. Little Library from Main Street – campus is looking especially beautiful today.

As I write this up, I’m holding down the Davidson College Archives & Special Collections reference desk, while my colleague Sharon Byrd takes her lunch break. It’s been a quiet hour so far – commencement was Sunday, and all other students finished up work last week, so most have left town for the summer. We’ve only had one faculty member drop in since I got back from my morning meeting. I’ve also sent out a few emails this morning/early afternoon – checking on poster printing processes for some upcoming conferences, setting a phone meeting time to discuss North Carolina punk archives, and discussing a possible publication with my supervisor from a previous position.

Goals for the afternoon: belatedly write up conference session reports for ER&L, get in some research/start writing drafts for upcoming summer work blogs (for Around The D), work on an outline for a conference poster, work on slides for a panel at HASTAC 2015, finalize some summer travel plans, send an email to my summer cat-sitter, and inch closer towards my dream of work email inbox zero. But first – lunch!

About Me

Hello! My name is Caitlin Christian-Lamb, and I’m an archivist/librarian/historian/digital humanist.

Currently, I live in small-town North Carolina and work as the Associate Archivist of Davidson College, a private liberal arts college of just under 2,000 undergraduate students. I also serve as a Review Editor for dh+lib, and as a member of the Society of American Archivists’ Standards Committee.

I’m interested in a lot of things, but mainly: public history, collective memory, intersections between pop culture and history, digital pedagogy, creative archives/library outreach methods, undergraduate education, the role of information professionals in academic discourse, social justice, digital preservation, and learning everything about everything.

Other places to find me: my website, LinkedIn, Twitter, work blog (Around The D).

This is my second Day of DH (see my 2014 site here), and I’m excited to share it with y’all!