Tag Archives: hastac


Have you heard about the Digital Media and Learning Competition? Hear Cathy Davidson talk about it here.

And here is an article on the education initiative that Davidson is talking about. It was announced by President Obama at the end of November and has had excited almost everyone in the education field.

One last bit of HASTAC news. The deadline for applying to participate in the 2010 Global Innovations Conference has been extended to January 4th. Find out more here.


Digital Storytelling

So I admit it, I’ve been a bad HASTAC scholar lately. While I have been keeping up with social media and all things that seem to be related to HASTAC I have not participated in the new forum about Digital Storytelling. The concept is neat and something I have not looked into thoroughly.

The forum splits up the idea of Digital Storytelling into three different, distinct areas.
1. Community Empowerment
2. Re-Defining the Role of the Academic Library
3. Purpose, Practice, and Potential

The first thing I immediately think of when I think about digital storytelling is Youtube. While not academic, Youtube tells all sorts of stories. They can be funny, sad, insightful, silly. They can also inspire or give people their 15 minutes of fame. I also think of Twitter, because one’s Twitter feed can truly tell a story. I especially think of the hastag sixwordstories. I remember reading a few #sixwordstories and feeling like I understood what the person was trying to convey. One in particular that stood out was by Melissa Harris-Lacewell. It was from a few months ago and Harris-Lacewell had been doing the six word stories all night. The one in particular that I remembered read Diagnosed with cancer. She fought back. It puts such a vivid picture in your mind. I can imagine each individual picturing a family member, friend or something else close to their heart when reading that.

I think that the key to digital storytelling is getting your message across in a way that people remember. This rings true for Youtube; everyone has their favorites they love to quote, as well as Twitter.

What is your favorite form of digital storytelling? Any examples?


Today Fiona Barnett, the Director of HASTAC Scholars and a Ph. D. candidate at Duke University,  announced that there would be a new Twitter account for HASTAC scholars. There already is one for HASTAC in general, but now with the scholar one information can be more organized and readily available.

The HASTAC Scholars program has been doing a lot lately to make the program more visible in social media. There is a Facebook group and a listserv for members. Overall, it makes communication much easier.

Wikipedia Has a Discussions Section? Who Knew?

As I became more accustomed to the HASTAC forum Democratizing Knowledge I started to feel more comfortable responding to other people’s comments. A HASTAC scholar named Claire posed some questions and ideas about Wikipedia. Here’s just a sample of what she said in her post :

I have been thinking of Wikipedia throughout the discussion. This is an example of a place where the world community can exchange knowledge. However, it is seen as unreliable and is not accepted as a valid reference. Despite this fact, I know that I, and many of my friends, often check Wikipedia to get background information or an understandable description of course topics. One of the benefits of Wikipedia and shared digital communities is the accessible language that can be understood by multiple people with different levels of education.

Claire went on to talk about Wikipedia’s discussion page which was brought up earlier in the forum by another scholar.  Here is my response to Claire (the quotations are from a post Claire made previously):

Claire I like what  you discussed about Wikipedia. It really got me thinking.

“I have never been drawn to the discussion sections of Wikipedia. I viewed them as containing opinions about the subject, rather than debates about the reliability of article contents. Now I am motivated to check these pages out. Yet, even when experts post points and discussions on the site, can anyone really know if the author really has the credentials described? I guess I am always slightly wary about information on the internet, because individuals can easily use false identities on the Web.”

 I too never have explored the discussion section of Wikipedia. I find it strange that I never have but I believe it come down to your last sentence when you discuss your apprehension towards information on the internet. If as a whole we are so worried about information on the internet I wonder then how is Wikipedia so successful and widely used? Academically, Wikipedia is always condemned for its inconsistencies, or the human error element in the online encyclopedia, yet it is still used frequently as background source.

I must be honest I didn’t even know this discussion page existed, so I went and checked it out. What I found made me understand why I had never been there in the first place. The page is confusing, not that well-organized and seems like obsolete technology now with Facebook and Twitter. Check out the page for yourself and let me know what you think. Is Twitter and Facebook mini-feed what Wikipedia was trying to accomplish? Or are the three participatory media sites completely different? Do we expect different things from all three? Do we not expect to discuss things in an online encyclopedia like we would in social networking sites?


The HASTAC scholar program, open to students in under-graduate and graduate programs all over the country participate in several forums each year. Hosted by members of the scholar program, who put together the question and topic prompts, the first HASTAC scholars forum of the year is about Democratizing Knowledge.

The posts range in discussion from people already engaged in some form of community based research, how the internet helps/hinders education, public engagement, as well as how new media affects all aspects of academia.

The hosts for the forum are Bridget Draxler from the University of Iowa, Jentery Sayers from the University of Washington, Edmond Y. Chang from University of Washington, and Peter Likarish University of Iowa.

The website describes the forum in this way:

Obermann Graduate Institute for Public Engagement at the University of Iowa, the Center for Teaching at the University of Iowa, and the Simpson Center for the Humanities at the University of Washington aim to democratize knowledge to reach out to “publics,” share academic discoveries, and invite an array of audiences to participate in knowledge production.  Of course, emerging technologies and media offer the potential to widen even further the reach of public scholarship and the breadth of community partnerships.

More specifically, in the context of the digital humanities, democratizing knowledge often refers to making scholarship public, to opening access to university resources and research through, for example, the creation and preservation of digital archives and journals.

For scholars, these projects afford rich possibilities for deep collaborative work that is ongoing and historically absent from the humanities’ scholarly paradigm. 

Yet practitioners of the digital humanities can also democratize knowledge by collaborating with their community partners to produce public scholarship, often through action research, experiential learning, and civically engaged pedagogy, all of which ultimately re-situate and reformulate expertise.  According to Teresa  class=”hiddenSpellError” pre=”Teresa “>Mangum (faculty at University of Iowa and co-director of the Obermann Institute on Public Engagement), as with new information technologies, public scholarship can radically redefine who finds, owns, and gives knowledge.  Put this way, the goal is for practitioners to forward research and pedagogy while serving the community in a way that is a truly reciprocal partnership.

With democratizing knowledge and the digital humanities in mind, we are interested in learning more about people’s varying experiences in (and theories on) the use of emerging technologies and media to make scholarship public and/or produce public scholarship.

The specific questions that the scholars hope to answer are:

+ The requirements, terms, goals, practices and hopes for public scholarship or engaging with public(s) vary depending on the project and groups interacting. What are your best practices for developing and implementing projects with your community?

+ What are the benefits and risks to consider when developing community-driven or joint academic-community projects?

+ How are terms like “democracy,” “public,” and “scholarship” mobilized in digital humanities projects, for whom, and to what effects? What are the assumptions, definitions, and desires attached to each of these terms?

+ How do community partnerships affect perceptions and deployments of expertise? Does the notion of “the expert” change or collapse?”

+ How do you evaluate different forms of technology for your public knowledge projects? Have some forms of technology been more useful or productive than others?

Do any or all of these questions interest you?

Have an opinion on any or all of these topics?

Let me know by commenting.

Come Again?

I didn’t know what I was getting into when Dr. Maria Simone, Associate Professor and Director of Public Speaking at Rowan University, nominated me back in August. I had read about the program but still wasn’t completely sure what it entailed. I decided to do it anyway because it peeked my interest and so far I have really enjoyed the experience. Now, a few months in, I still sometimes feel like a chicken with my head cut off.

But you shouldn’t feel like that here at Needle in a HASTAC. Have no idea what I’m talking about in a post? Go to the About and What’s HASTAC? sections of the blog and that should help you.

Here I will chronicle my time as a HASTAC scholar by posting interesting articles or giving my two cents on some form of participatory media.  Hopefully you guys will help me and this blog will become a discussion/conversation for greater topics or interests.