Matthew Lincoln, PhD Art History and Digital Research

THATCamp Prime 2013, day 2

Day 2 of THATCamp Prime 2013! After narrowly avoiding a single-tracking transit disaster, it was another packed day:

  • First up was a session on using scripting languages in humanistic research.

  • The most interesting part of this session for me was the minor methodological debate between making custom, but easy-to-use script GUIs accessible to the just-barely initiated digital humanists, versus pressing DH scholars to learn at least the basics of these core languages and tools much as they would learn a foreign language relevant to their area of study. Though I’d come in an advocate of the former, I found myself swayed to the latter by the end of this session.

  • A great point was made that, much as good scholars practice and publish for posterity, so must they code (and comment!) so that their work can be understood and expanded upon later. This was yet another example I’ve run into during this conference of the practical parallels between “traditional” humanities and the practice of coding.

  • A last great insight for me was the uncomfortable imperative of sharing our code-in-progress (a counter-example to the humanities-coding similarity argument.)

  • Also, I need to check out the data-cleaning tools available at OpenRefine.

  • Next up was a helpful introductory workshop on QGIS, the open-source alternative to products like ArcGIS. This was run by Fred Gibbs, who’s posted a helpful introduciton to the software. I can’t wait to do some georeferencing of my own now.

  • Lunch was accompanied by an invigorating discussion with Eric Remy and Kurt Luther about the interactions between histories of art, science, and music.

  • I tried my hand at R for a while, but finding it not so relevant to my own work I switched over a group of guerrilla web archivists. I came in a bit late to the game, but these guys and gals really seem to mean business, so I’d get in touch if you’re interested.

I will be posting up a synthetic reaction to this, my first THATCamp, a bit later on.

Cite this post:

Lincoln, Matthew D. "THATCamp Prime 2013, day 2." Matthew Lincoln, PhD (blog), 08 Jun 2013,

Tagged in: AcademiaDigital HumanitiesGISTHATCamp