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Quinn Dombrowski's blog

Conferencing from Home: ACH 2021 and !!Con

In 2019, I wrote a blog post about the experience of going to the DH conference in Utrecht, followed by the ACH conference in Pittsburgh. Two years later, it's time for another ACH write-up, with a very different point of comparison: !!Con, a tech conference celebrating "the joy, excitement, and surprise of computing". While I've attended and presented at other virtual events this year (including the CSDH-SCHN conference), as co-VP of ACH I was particularly committed to attending as much of that conference as I could, and volunteering as a chair, online respondent, and livetweeter. !!Con was a more serendipitous discovery thanks to a tweet from Scott Weingart. It was the first non-academic conference I've presented at, and while differences in both scale and nature make it hard to compare directly with ACH, there were some aspects of !!Con that may serve as useful provocations for how to run virtual or hybrid academic conferences.

DLCL ATS round-up, spring 2021

Spring quarter gave me the first chance in a long while to take some time off. The first week of the quarter was my kids' spring break, which we spent in a cabin in the woods near Mt. Lassen with just the right amount of internet: enough to quietly keep an eye on email, not enough for Zoom. We've taken some other long weekends, and there's been periods when school has been closed for one or more kids. Nonetheless, here's where things stand at the end of spring quarter.

Existing projects

I've been continuing to refine the static, Jekyll-based site for the Global Medieval Sourcebook, with a few CSS tweaks left to do. I had the opportunity to present what we've done so far with Mae Velloso-Lyons (and Elizabeth Honig, the faculty member behind a Jan Brueghel Catalogue Raisonné I worked on at UC Berkeley) at Stanford's WebCamp in April. This summer, a group of undergrad research assistants at CESTA have been doing a tremendous job adding new material to the old site, which will give me the chance to test how reproducible my data extraction, cleaning, and Jekyll-friendly transformation code actually is. We plan to launch the static version of the site before fall quarter.

DLCL ATS round-up, winter 2021

Winter quarter was a time of consolidation and slow progress, without much to share by way of exciting new developments. I worked on a lot of things that I expect will bear fruit down the road, but I can't point to anything concrete yet. Here's where things stand as of spring break 2021.

Existing Projects

With some advice from Matthew Lincoln at Carnegie Mellon, I'm close to finishing the migration of the Global Medieval Sourcebook into a Jekyll site fashioned after CMU's DH Literacy Guidebook. It's been a multi-step process, including some XSLT, some Python, some OpenRefine, and I've kept notes along the way. I'm planning to write it all up during the spring, if only as a set of tips for people considering migrating from Drupal to a static website.

Thanks to the tireless nights-and-weekends work of my CIDR colleague Simon Wiles, we launched the reimagined Palladio bricks (embeddable Palladio) as Palladio webcomponents this quarter. There was a lot of enthusiasm from the broader DH community about the possibility of being able to embed Palladio in other webpages, and we also got the go-ahead to start work on reimagining the Mapping the Republic of Letters site using this new version of Palladio. I'm looking forward to working more on that next quarter.

DLCL ATS round-up, fall 2020

2020 was the first year I taught in the fall -- and I'm very glad to have arranged teaching that way, so I have the rest of the year to continue supporting DLCL students on their projects.  Teaching either of my classes (Digital Humanities Across Borders AKA Multilingual DH, or Project Management and Ethical Collaboration for Humanists AKA the DH RPG class) has a way of being all-consuming, and having over 20 students  made it even more so! I was excited to explore some new languages with students: Arabic, Latin, Malay, and Vietnamese. The class was held asynchronously, though we started doing Friday hang-outs where I learned some new tricks, too (like changing the UI language in Netflix in order to get access to different sets of subtitles). It was a challenging quarter, with more than one student moving out of the state (or country), multiple hospitalizations, and the stress of the election getting to everyone, myself included. But I'm really proud of everything they managed to do despite it all, and I hope to share some of their work here (with permission) over the next few months.

Existing projects

Progress tends to be slower on my other collaborative  projects while I'm teaching. Discussions with the Global Medieval Sourcebook over fall quarter led to the decision to migrate the website to Jekyll (rather than our initial plan to use Wax).

DLCL ATS round-up, summer 2020

It’s hard to believe that fall is already here. A couple weeks of virtual first grade have given me some time to start preparing for teaching my non-English DH course this fall, but as usual, a lot of it will be worked out in the moment, responding to the students’ own languages, projects, and needs. Before getting too far into the work of fall quarter, here’s the summer 2020 round-up.


Over the summer, I held a workshop for CESTA’s summer interns about how to structure and organize data, and consulted with a number of summer projects on various code and data issues. I also had the chance to chat with a number of undergrads, recent grads, and people starting graduate programs in the humanities and library and information science about DH. Most of them had a background in some non-English language. It’s really beautiful to see the interest in DH from people who work in other languages — seeing DH methods make real inroads in non-English languages has been my dream for the last 15+ years, and now it’s happening. I have a great deal of hope for a future where people who want to use DH methods for non-English languages don’t have to justify that choice (beyond what anyone has to justify when doing DH), or feeling like they’re the only person doing that work in their language.


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