Blog Post #3: Reacting to Scholars’ Lab

On Thursday April 30, our class traveled from Lexington up to the University of Virginia in Charlottesville. We toured the Scholars’ Lab there and met with several people to discuss digital humanities and our final project.

I enjoyed my experience at the Scholars’ Lab at UVA for several reasons. First, I was able to learn more about digital humanities by listening to different scholars talk about their research and how they are able to incorporate DH. I also learrned that the role of research questions in DH is super important. At this point we have refrained from learning about the tools available in DH to analyze and manipulate physical items, so the entire project is being driven by the choosing a research question. Our friends from the Scholars’ Lab also emphasized the importance of making sure to discriminate among the many areas of interest and narow down a project to a feasible number of good research questions.

The second reason that I enjoyed our field trip to the Scholars’ Lab was that I feel that we received valuable input about the direction for our final project. We were able to brainstorm together about our project, including the materials we have, some potential research questions, and possible audiences. I was most surprised that our primary audience should be ourselves, or at the very least that we should be our own starting point.

And the thing that I found most exciting about my experience at the Scholars’ Lab was how excited everyone from UVA was about the materials in our collection. Over and over again they reminded us how lucky we were to be able to have these materials, especially the personal letters between Ezra Pound and Thomas Carter. To actually have other people excited about your project and looking forward to what you will create, gives the whole process a new sense of purpose and motivation.

To be honest, I am still not sure within DH what is and what is not feasible given that we only have three weeks to complete our project. Knowing our own constraints is certainly important and hopefully over the next few days we will be able to nail down realistic boundaries for our project.