The Promise and Perils of Doing History in a Digital Age

Andrew Torget’s February talk, “The Promise and Perils of Doing History in a Digital Age” is now up on iTunes U (listed as part of the Summersell Center talks):

If you were unable to attend this talk, this is a terrific resource for people interested in new DH projects as well as an overview of the field and its history.


Creating and Managing Your Online Presence

Melissa Fortson Green (Gorgas Information Services) and Franky Abbott (ADHC) presented their “Creating and Managing Your Online Presence” today in the ADHC. Here  is video of the workshop, their handout, and resources for more information (below).


Further Reading


These free tools make it easy to create and maintain blogs and websites with no HTML experience required. More advanced users or those seeking additional features might consider Drupal (, Joomla (, or (

  • Blogger:
  • Google Sites:
  • Tumblr:
  • Weebly:
  • Wix:
    Wix will be the focus of the next Lunchtime Learning workshop, to be held Wednesday, April 10, 12pm – 1pm, in the Alabama Digital Humanities Center (Gorgas Library Room 109A).
  • WordPress:
  • BrandYourself:
    The BrandYourself service helps you “control Google search results for your name,” submit and “boost” positive links, monitor changes, and see which companies have viewed your profile.

Document-sharing sites
Document sharing sites rank highly in search results. Consider using Scribd ( to embed a resume on your blog or website and using SlideShare ( to share your presentations.


  • Activity Log
    Your activity log is a list of your Facebook posts and activity, along with stories and photos you’ve been tagged in. Dropdown menus next to each story allow you to adjust the privacy and control its visibility on your timeline.
  • Privacy
    Information to help you control your sharing on Facebook.
  • A Guide to Facebook Privacy Options (WSJ)
    Facebook privacy options change frequently, but here’s a recent guide from the Wall Street Journal.


  • Dashboard
    When signed in to your Google account, you can use the Dashboard to view and manage your personal information stored in various Google services.
  • “Me on the Web”
    When signed in to your Google account, you can search for yourself, have Google notify you when information abut you appears online, and review your Google profile, all from this page.
  • Profile
    Creating a Google profile is one of the easiest ways to create a distinct online identity for yourself.


  • LinkedIn
    LinkedIn is a networking site for professionals. LinkedIn profiles are easy to complete and rank highly in search results.

People search
People search services (also known as peoplefinder sites), allow users to see lots of information about you, including your online profiles and photos. Consider using these tools to see what information about you is freely available online. UnlistMy.Info ( lists additional people search sites and offers directions on how to remove yourself from their results.

Personal homepages
These personal homepage sites (also known as microsites or splash pages) allow users to easily present bios, contact information, and links to social media channels.


  • SimpleWash:
    The SimpleWash app scans the content on your Facebook and Twitter profiles and detects keywords associated with things you might not want a potential employer to see.


  • Twitter
    The more you use Twitter, the higher it will rank in the search results for your name. Think about what you want searchers to see when they look for you.

  • IT Service Desk Web Publishing
    myBama account holders have access to web hosting on the server.
    The Office of Multimedia Services offers a simple tool UA faculty can use to create sites for professional use.

Save the Date for THATCamp Alabama!

We’ve been working hard organizing for THATCamp Alabama, a humanities and technology unconference, which will be held in the Ferguson Center August 9 and 10, 2013.   We are specifically interested in getting folks together from across Alabama to share ideas and resources about digital pedagogy, digital projects, and possibilities for inter-institutional collaboration. Funding the event is generously provided by the UA College of Arts and Sciences, UA Libraries, and UAB Libraries. Registration opens in early April.

For more information about this event and THATCamps in general, visit: 

Building Digital Editions

For those of you who are interested but could not attend yesterday, Nathan Humpal and Franky Abbott gave a “Building Digital Editions” workshop about basic vocabulary, project planning, and possibilities for creating digital scholarly editions. Resources from their presentation include video and their presentation outline with resources and examples. If you are interested in thinking through or getting started with a digital editions project, don’t hesitate to contact the ADHC to set up a consultation. Thanks Nathan and Franky!

Using Relational Databases

Understanding how databases function and why they are important is key to doing much of the project work we do in the ADHC. Steven Turner of Web Services gave an intro workshop this week: “Using Relational Databases for Digital Research.” He covered some basics about what relational databases are, how they work, and why they are important for organizing data and building web-based projects. Here are resources from the workshop: video, slides, and handout of useful resources. Thanks, Steve!

Intellectual Property Resources

Claire Lewis Evans, Editor for Digital and Electronic Publishing at The University of Alabama Press, gave a great workshop on intellectual property last week. She has made available many resources from her presentation: video (in Tegrity), slides, and two documents: Campus Copyright Rights and Responsibilities: A Basic Guide to Policy Considerations and The Association of American University Presses Permission FAQs. Thanks so much to Claire for giving us a great overview of the issues at stake within universities.

Accessibility in Digital Humanities

On Thursday, January 10, Melissa Fortson Green gave a very informative brown bag about accessibility and its impact on digital resources and practices. Here is her blog post about resources from the presentation:

The sources referenced in my session, along with some related resources, are listed below. They are also available via the Diigo collaborative bookmarking site: mbfortson’s adhc_a11y Bookmarks on Diigo.

A pdf of my slide deck is available here: Accessibility & the Digital Humanities. I am happy to share it in alternate formats!

Accessibility at The University of Alabama

Office of Disability Services – The University of Alabama
The Office of Disability Services is the central point of contact for students with disabilities at UA and works “to ensure that University programs and services are accessible to qualified students with disabilities.”

Office of Equal Opportunity Programs – The University of Alabama
This office “works with University Administration, departments, and committees to ensure that University policies and programs comply with applicable nondiscrimination requirements” and “serves as the Campus Coordinator for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) of 1990, as amended, the ADA Amendments Act of 2008, and Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act of 1973.” The Compliance with the Americans with Disabilities Act memorandum appears on the EOP website.

Technology and Learning Committee | OIT – The University of Alabama
The Teaching and Learning Committee, the University’s academic technology IT governance committee, “is currently working with the ADA Technology Compliance Working Group to develop a plan for the University of Alabama regarding technology accessibility in order to comply with new federal ADA regulations. The advisors for this project are the UA Compliance Officer, the Office of Disabilities Services, and the UA System Legal Office.”

Accessibility & Digital Resources

#a11y is the Twitter hashtag for discussion of accessibility and technology (a11y is sometimes used as an abbreviation for accessibility; the 11 refers to the number of letters between a and y). Due to Twitter search limitations, users may need to use a search tool like Topsy to find some older tweets.

Giz Explains: How Blind People See the Internet | Gizmodo
August 2010 Gizmodo feature discussing how “the blind browse the same internet as everyone else, every day.”

How People with Disabilities Use the Web | Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI)
“This resource introduces how people with disabilities, including people with age-related impairments, use the Web. It describes tools and approaches that people with different kinds of disabilities use to browse the Web and the design barriers they encounter on the Web. It helps developers, designers, and others to understand the principles for creating accessible websites, web applications, browsers, and other web tools.” This document is an in-progress draft.

Web Accessibility Tutorial – Screen Readers | YouTube
This short video demonstrates how a screen reader “synthesizes words on the screen into spoken text.”

Accessibility Challenges & Solutions

Considering the User Perspective: A Summary of Design Issues | WebAIM
Outlines design challenges and solutions for users with disabilities.

Accessibility in DH

The following represent some of the conversations happening around DH and accessibility.

“Accessibility and the Digital Humanities”

Accessibility and the Digital Humanities | ProfHacker
ProfHacker post by Jen Guiliano, assistant director of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities, and George H. Williams, a regular ProfHacker contributor. This “call to digital humanists” asked: “What is your project doing to address accessibility for people with disabilities?”

Disability, Accessibility, and the Digital Humanities
George H. Williams posted a link to this survey in a comment on the ProfHacker post he co-authored with Jen Guiliano, Accessibility and the Digital Humanities.

“Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities”

Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities | Debates in the Digital Humanities
Open-access edition of George H. Williams’s “Disability, Universal Design, and the Digital Humanities,” published in Debates in the Digital Humanities. Ed. Matthew K. Gold. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 2012.

The Principles of Universal Design | Center for Universal Design
Defines universal design as “the design of products and environments to be usable by all people, to the greatest extent possible, without the need for adaptation or specialized design.”

Principles of Universal Design Quick-Reference | Design Research and Methods Journal
“A simple guide that explains and illustrates the principles of Universal Design (UD), providing specific guidelines for implementing UD in any project.”

About UDL | CAST
“Universal Design for Learning is a set of principles for curriculum development that give all individuals equal opportunities to learn. UDL provides a blueprint for creating instructional goals, methods, materials, and assessments that work for everyone–not a single, one-size-fits-all solution but rather flexible approaches that can be customized and adjusted for individual needs.”

THATCamp Accessibility

THATCamp Accessibility 2012
THATCamp Accessibility 2012 was a one-day unconference exploring digital humanities, technology, and issues of accessibility. It was held October 27, 2012, online and at Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, Canada. This Google doc lists the day’s sessions:

#THATCampAccess is the Twitter hashtag used by THATCamp Accessibility participants. Due to Twitter search limitations, users may need to use a search tool like Topsy to find some older tweets.


MLA Annual Convention sessions:

#mla13dis is the Twitter hashtag for discussion of 2013 MLA Annual Convention sessions related to disability. Due to Twitter search limitations, users may need to use a search tool like Topsy to find some older tweets.

MLA Commons group: Universal Design in Digital Environments | MLA Commons
MLA Commons group for those interested in making “the digital environment accessible to everyone, including people with disabilities.”


Valerie Fletcher on redefining disability: “Disability is a phenomenon of the experience that occurs by the individual intersecting with the environment, including physical, information, communication, social and policy environments.”

The authors of “Accessibility and the Digital Humanities” evaluate their “own development and design practices by keeping the following questions in mind”:

  • Are we building accessible sites and projects?
  • Are we delivering our content (code, publications, digital objects, digital tools…) in forms that allow for use by blind and low-vision people?
  • What do we need to know to integrate the work going on in braille and low-vision research communities into the work we are doing as digital humanists?

“Accessibility and the Digital Humanities” concludes with these questions:
“What is accessible design? What can we in the digital humanities do to improve the work we are already doing? And how can project directors evaluate projects and tools to recognize accessible-compliant design and development?”

MLA and AHA Roundup, 2013

Here are a number of resources available about DH-related conversations at MLA and AHA:

MLA Presidential Forum “Avenues of Access: Digital Humanities and Scholarly Communication”
The Dark Side of Digital Humanities, MLA
Others from MLA:
From AHA:

There are undoubtedly more out there so feel free to send them to me and I will add them to the blog.

Keeping Your Digital Works Alive

At last week’s brown bag, “Keeping Your Digital Works Alive,” Jody DeRidder (Head of Digital Services, UA Libraries) led our discussion about important considerations for selecting items and avenues for long-term access to digital materials. She has also built this incredibly helpful wiki, Recommendations for Authors and Creators which offers info about standards, general suggestions, and resources for more information. Thanks to Jody for her presentation and this resource!



Video presentation about HootSuite

Sara Maurice Whitver, the First-Year Experience Librarian at the UA Libraries, has made a great video companion to her workshop, “HootSuite–Reclaim Control Over Your Social Media” using Camtasia. Watch her video to learn more about managing multiple social media streams through HootSuite. Thank, Sara, for making this video edition for those who missed the workshop! We appreciate your hard work.

Video edition of HootSuite workshop: