Approximately 40 visual resources curators and librarians from four bordering VRA chapters (Great Lakes, Midwest, Southeast, and Mid-Atlantic) attended a two-day mini-conference held October 16-17 in Cohen Memorial Hall on the Peabody campus at Vanderbilt. The theme of the conference, organized by Chris Strasbaugh, director of the department’s visual resources center, was “Visual Resources and the Digital Humanities.”
Jay Clayton, William R. Kenan, Jr. Professor of English and director, The Curb Center at Vanderbilt, welcomed the participants Thursday morning and addressed the topic “What is Digital Humanities?” The morning session, Location, Location, Location: GIS and the Digital Humanities, featured Jeannine Keefer, University of Richmond, Mapping the Urban Campus in Philadelphia; Stephanie Schmidt, BA’12, Sazerac Company, Frankfort, KY, In Production: Establishing the Buffalo Trace Distillery Archives; and Lindsey Fox, GIS coordinator of Peabody Library, Introduction to GIS.
The afternoon session focused on Transforming Unique Collections through Technology and featured three presentations: Macie Hall, Johns Hopkins University, and Katie Knight, New York School of Interior Design, Unpacking Our Wares: Using Omeka for Virtual Exhibits; Jenna Rinalducci and Jen Stevens, George Mason University, Transforming Artists’ Books for the Online Environment; and Pam Hackbart-Dean and Sarah Prindle, Southern Illinois University–Carbondale, Sense of Place in the Digital Humanities and Online Image Collections. These presentations were followed by two workshops held simultaneously: a Vanderbilt geocaching (historical) tour of the campus led by Lindsey Fox; and a hands-on learning of digitization workflows in the department’s VRC led by Chris Strasbaugh.
The evening session, actually held at the Parthenon beneath Vanderbilt alumnus and sculptor Alan Lequire’s 40-foot statue of Athena Parthenos, was devoted to Parthenon Lectures in Archaeology: New Techniques for Age-Old Questions. Trudy Jacoby, Princeton University, addressed Excavating the Records: Bringing Archaeological Collections to Light; Julia Nations-Quiroz and Mark Ellison, Vanderbilt graduate students, Using DIMLI to Create a Digital Catalog of Early Christian Sarcophagi; and a video of James A. Herbst, American School of Classical Studies at Athens, ASCSA Corinth Excavations: New Technologies in the 2014 Season.
The Friday morning session opened with the overarching theme Changing Centers to Support Digital Humanities, featuring Jodi Hoover, University of Maryland–Baltimore County, Is This Thing On? Providing Access to Audio Visual Equipment in the Library; Kristen MacDonough, Bay Area Video Coalition, A/V Artifacts: Cultivating a Living Glossary for Audiovisual Errors; Chris Strasbaugh, Vanderbilt, Spatial Exploration: Building a 3D World for Student Exploration of Chinese Relics; and Barbara Brenny, North Carolina State University, VR Librarian as Liaison to Develop Content for High-Tech Displays.
After a “show and tell” session, participants broke into discussion groups for lunch at the Midtown Cafe according to the following categories: digitization, cataloging, and solo curators. The group returned to Cohen Hall where optional sessions and activities were held for the remainder of the afternoon.