THATCamp Libraries 2013 The Humanities and Technology Camp Tue, 26 Feb 2013 19:47:39 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Read ALL the Tweets! Tue, 26 Feb 2013 19:46:23 +0000

Rebecca Darling (@darlingbec) created a Storify of all the tweets for THATCamp Libraries posted under the #THATCamp and #THATCampLib hashtags. It includes retweets. Enjoy!
-Your THATCampLib Organizers,
Beatrice, Hailie, Becca, and Laura

Proposed Session: DIY Ebook Sat, 23 Feb 2013 14:26:22 +0000

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As tech-savvy library folk, ebooks are naturally of direct professional relevance to us, and it can’t hurt to undertand a little more about how they are produced

I’ve been making eBooks for a few years and would be happy to share what I’ve learned about the tools and workflow involved in making an eBook and distributing it through the major commercial vendors.

Tom Dodson

Session Proposal: Talk about the new White House policy on open access Sat, 23 Feb 2013 12:42:24 +0000

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Yesterday, as some of you doubtless know, the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy released a new open access policy that may have a drastic effect on scholarly publishing (unless, of course, it changes nothing). Discussion on Twitter with the hashtags #publicaccess and #openaccess was lively, and I thought we could spend some time talking in person about the policy generally, and specifically how it might affect libraries. One question I have, for instance, is whether projects that IMLS funds will come under this policy; another is how libraries can help with the increased requirements for data management mentioned in the policy.

Here’s some key links:

Session Proposal: Collaboration Across Professions Sat, 23 Feb 2013 02:53:01 +0000

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As distributed technology projects call for our collaboration with a more and more diverse group of people, what are some simple, day-to-day methods for working with folks from very different professions?

This is partially a project management question, I think, so I’d be interested in learning from others’ experiences in large, diverse working groups. When starting a project, what are some methods for information gathering and getting to know new departments? Determining best project roles and communication methods?

What do archivists and curators wish librarians knew? What do librarians need to learn about working with IT departments? What do educational technologists wish IT professionals knew about them? What about cultural differences when working with partners from the corporate sector? How do we incorporate diverse practices into a larger functional whole?

Session proposal: obstacles to learning code (and how we surmount them) Sat, 23 Feb 2013 00:25:17 +0000

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There’s been a ton of interest among librarians in learning to code, dovetailing with the advent of MOOCs.  However, in my experience, many librarians have struggled with this approach.  I’d like to facilitate a discussion on the obstacles we face in learning to code, and any techniques or support people have found for getting around them.  Have you thought about learning to code, tried and failed, or tried and succeeded? Do you have opinions?  Then this session is for you.

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Session proposal: emerging technologies for futurists Fri, 22 Feb 2013 22:20:57 +0000

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I propose a blue-sky dreaming session wherein we collaboratively imagine the best possible future for libraries, 2, 10, and 20 years from now. What kinds of cool innovations in tech and shifts in library philosophy will get us to where we dream of being? What secret projects do you (want to) work on that, given time and scale, could be transformative?

On my mind:  machine learning, RFID, text mining, 3D printers, Raspberry Pi, virtual/augmented reality, quadcopters, privacy concerns, internet of things.

This is inspired by NISO’s Future Perfect virtual conference. I found some of the ideas proposed there really exciting (and scary).

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Session Proposal: How best to support faculty-driven digital initiatives Fri, 22 Feb 2013 18:51:45 +0000

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Taking part in new faculty-driven digital initiatives is an exciting opportunity for librarians in academic/research institutions.  What specific skills and competencies can or should a librarian bring to this kind of collaboration?

I’m involved in such a digital project right now, one that is developing an interactive framework for collaborative commentary on Dante’s Divine Comedy.  The site is hosted by the college, being developed by an outside programmer, and imagined/driven by a group of faculty members and me.  What specific value can the librarian offer?

Logistics Info Wed, 20 Feb 2013 21:08:07 +0000

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Location: School of Management Building (SOM), Simmons College, Boston Once inside the building, follow the signs to the registration.

Parking and Directions: Simmons is graciously discounting parking for us in the garage on Saturday. Follow the signs for parking near SOM (School of Management) upon entering the Garage. Discounted parking is $6 with a coupon. $50 WITHOUT the coupon. Parking is paid with a credit/debit card at the ticket machine on the way OUT of the garage. EXITING the Garage: You will have two tickets when you exit, put the one you received upon entering the Garage FIRST, then the coupon. Then follow instructions for payment. It’s all very 21st century and automated. NO CASH…sorry. We strongly recommend using the T if you are traveling from within the greater Boston area.


Wifi: There will be wifi. Instructions will be available when you register

Food: There will be coffee/tea and light breakfast goodies in the morning, a boxed lunch and snacks in the afternoon. Healthy and vegetarian options will be plentiful. Should we deplete our coffee supply, The Coffee Grounds Cafe at Simmons is open 8a-4p just across the quad from the SOM building for your (re)caffeinating pleasure and convenience.

The AfterCamp: We hope you will join us after THATCamp Libraries for more socializing and networking at the Squealing Pig, It is a short walk from Simmons to there (about 10 minutes):

Session Proposal: GLAM Workshops with Impact Thu, 14 Feb 2013 21:19:36 +0000

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Like it or not, the typical “outreach session” for any GLAM institution is a single, one-shot, sixty minute workshop. I’ll set aside our desires to be better integrated into the semester curriculum, or museum summer series, or after school high school programs, and have more time. Instead, I’d like to focus on how to make the one-shot as meaningful as possible. (I’m taking on faith that we can can make it meaningful.)

I’d like to in particular talk about creating meaningful one-shot sessions focused on digital cultural heritage objects. In academic libraries, this might be a research session on primary sources. In state archives, an outreach session on genealogy databases. In museums, a digital art workshop for high schoolers.

However, the content is less important to me than the format — how do GLAMs create a short but powerful learning experience that will encourage participants to come back and see us again? How can online tools extend connections with our patrons, and create new spaces for public arts and humanities? I have a few thoughts:

  • Give participants a task before the session. (Something as simple as saying “Before attending this museum session, pick your favorite painting to re-mix.”)
  • Minimize lecture, maximize hands-on creation. (E.g., “Use digital art tools to create a new painting based on your favorite.”)
  • What participants create, they take home as a reminder. (E.g. a nice printout of their artwork, plus a permanent online home for their artwork.)
  • Give participants a platform for discussion after the session. (E.g. online commenting and easy Twitter/Facebook/other sharing of their artwork.)

However, I have a feeling that public institutions, archives, and museums are far out ahead of me and my fellow academic librarians! So I’d love to hear about what you’re doing and develop a set of recommendations to bring back for my own teaching and outreach efforts.

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Session Proposal:Teaching Media, Digital, Computer and Information Literacies Thu, 14 Feb 2013 17:05:18 +0000

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The more I teach infolit courses, the more I realize I have to teach little tricks of computer use, like ctl-F for find, or where the address bar is, or that you don’t have to go to Google, you can just type in the web address.  When students use their own laptops or tablets, we have to spend class time getting them on wireless, and then there’s the general troubleshooting that comes up in any technology heavy class.

I hoe this will turn into a skill-sharing/problem solving session.

  • What are some of your best Media, Digital, Computer and Information literacy teaching hacks?
  • How do you handle students who are computer illiterate?
  • BYOD/smartphone/tablet teaching

I’m coming at this from an academic library perspective, but I’d love to hear what public librarians are doing with this, too.


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Additional Campers Wanted! Wed, 13 Feb 2013 21:29:53 +0000

Due to a few cancellations, a limited number of spaces have opened up for THATCamp Libraries. To sign up visit Please share with colleagues and friends who might be interested as well. Hope to see you on February 23.

Lightning Talks Wed, 13 Feb 2013 21:18:53 +0000

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Want to tell us about your project, the great tools or apps that make your life worth living, or anything that you think is relevant and worth telling about? Our lightning talks are your chance.

In the morning, after we have voted on sessions, we will have time for anyone who would like to give a very, very brief presentation of his or her project, idea, or tool. Here are the rules:

  1. You get two (2) minutes. No exceptions. No extensions. Loud noises will be made to notify you that time is up.
  2. First come, first served. We’ll let people present in the order that you sign up, first here on the website, and second on the morning of THATCamp.
  3. All you get is a web browser. No PowerPoint! No thumb drives ! If you sign up below with one URL, it can be ready for you in advance; otherwise you’ll have to waste some of your 120 seconds typing. (Pro tip: use bitly!)

So if you want to do a lightning presentation, leave a comment with a link below. Give it a shot, it’s fun!

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Alternate proposal–Smarter screencasting Tue, 12 Feb 2013 20:47:15 +0000

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In case my first proposal is too much like what is already being offered, I’ll put forth an alternate proposal:

With many screencasting programs the basics are easy to learn, but most of us did not attend film school.  The hours spent creating a screencast make updating it a chore.  If we could screencast more effectively, we could keep our videos updated and more useful.

  • What are some common mistakes that novice screencasters make, and how can we avoid them?
  • How can we create a more polished product in fewer takes?
  • What are best practices for those who don’t have a dedicated studio space for screencasting?
  • Are there times when a rough screencast is better than a polished one?
Session Proposal: Gaming the Library Tue, 12 Feb 2013 19:33:28 +0000

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“Gaming” as a subject crosses many disciplinary boundaries: literature, music, art, math, computer science, physics, education, media studies, and business — not to mention the application of game theory to still more areas.

  • How do we best support and encourage game studies, gaming research, game development in the library?
  • What technology, materials, platforms, media, spaces, collections, services do we need in libraries to support gaming culture at our institutions?
  • What skills, knowledge, competencies, literacies do we need as librarians?
  • How can we use games in and as library instruction?
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Session Proposal-Supporting DH Pedagogy for Undergraduates Tue, 12 Feb 2013 14:48:43 +0000

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I’d like to have a conversation with like-minded folks who support classroom pedagogy about the library/ed tech role in teaching DH to undergraduates. I suspect there are more of us at smaller liberal arts colleges than at larger institutions, but I welcome and hope for surprise. Some initial question:

  • How are DH competencies taught to students at our institutions, and what is (or should be) the library’s role in that?
  • How does this role mirror or diverge from our more traditional involvement in teaching and pedagogy? How should it?
  •  How best do we teach undergraduate students to think in the terms of DH methodologies? Is embedment a better model than single-sessions? Do we collaborate with faculty beyond (or in lieu of) class sessions? How?
  • Where’s the line between library support and educational technology support for DH pedagogy? Where should it be?


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Session proposal– Beyond the container: Teaching genre awareness for digital information Tue, 12 Feb 2013 00:10:01 +0000

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Digital information becomes separated from its traditional “containers.” To a novice user a journal article, for example, can resemble a book chapter or a conference report.  Even experienced users can find the genre lines blurry in an electronic environment.

  • How can we best foster genre awareness in this context?
  • Why does genre matter?
  • How do we deal with blurred, hybrid, or emerging genres?
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Session Proposal: Rethinking Online Exhibits Mon, 11 Feb 2013 22:38:20 +0000

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Many libraries and archives exhibit material on their websites or on blogs and social media platforms. They range from full-on interactive experiences to duplications of existing physical exhibits to “object of the month” style photo blogs. While there are decades of theory behind physical exhibit design, for the most part, institutions are on their own in deciding how they should present their materials online, how much they should present, and what content and functionality their users actually want. In this session we would discuss our experiences with creating online exhibit material, the methods and tools used in creating such exhibits, and perhaps ask some larger questions: What do users want/need out of online exhibits? Should institutions try to duplicate the physical exhibit experience as much as possible? Is there something more that can be done with online exhibits than what we are already doing?

Session proposal: Born-Digital Collections: Where to start? Where to stop? Mon, 11 Feb 2013 21:05:23 +0000

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In the age of Twitter, Tumblr, and a million blogs, the pool of digital content libraries can access expands daily. More and more libraries are digitizing content already in their collections, but what about born-digital content? How can libraries find digital content, and how should they decide what to collect and what to ignore? How can born-digital content be preserved (given that links may break or sites go down), and what copyright restrictions apply to common types of digital content? Should collecting digital content be a routine part of library business (for example, an University library that captures tweets from the official University Twitter feed, much as it archives the University newsletter), or should it be sought out for special collections (for example, a library building a collection around the history of the Arab Spring finding and archiving tweets documenting the protests), or both?

Session Proposal: Using and Tracking All of That Tech (General Discussion) Fri, 08 Feb 2013 20:39:14 +0000

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Part of my job is to explore new technology solutions for our library to improve the workflows of our students, faculty, and staff.  I find myself often feeling overwhelmed and without direction when it comes to researching technologies and keeping track of it all.  There are just so many cool things!  I’m interested in engaging in conversation with others about:

1. How/where they get information on new technologies.

2. How they keep track of all of that information once they find it.

3. How and when they decide to move forward with a particular tool to implement it at their library–which ones make the cut and why?

I do this, but feel I could be doing it better.  I would love to hear from others with similar questions or with answers to this bit of a quandary.

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Session Proposal: After the End: How Libraries can Support the Continuity and Preservation of Digital Humanities Projects Fri, 01 Feb 2013 02:15:58 +0000

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Sure, the fun part is actually doing the project – digging into the data, creating cool models and maps, driving the discussion and exploration of a chosen topic. But what happens after the project concludes? How are the products created during the project managed? What about the documentation and systems used? The responsibility for a digital project humanities project does not end when the final product is created and shared. Libraries are uniquely placed to provide support not only during a project, but afterward as well. I’d like this session to explore ways that libraries can create and market the services needed to support digital humanities projects when they’ve reached their end. At what point should libraries become involved in the project? Should DH projects consider the limitations of library information systems when being planned, or should libraries be flexible to handle a wide range of data and products?

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Blogs and Microblogs for Academic Research Thu, 24 Jan 2013 15:06:38 +0000

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The traditional scholarly publishing cycle can take years to get information out to an audience. Newer platforms for scholarly communication, such as blogs, Twitter, and Facebook, virtually eliminate this lag time and facilitate warp-speed sharing of ideas.

·         What social media sources have you found relevant to your own or your patrons’ research?

·         Is there a type of research that lends itself better to using social media sources?

·         What tools and strategies can librarians use help students and faculty find high quality social media sources that are relevant to their research?

·         How can librarians help students and faculty evaluate the quality of social media sources? What considerations make them similar to traditional sources? What differentiates them?

·         How can librarians promote social media sources to faculty members? Are there examples of high-quality research using social media sources that can serve as a model to skeptical faculty members?

Proposed by Dawn Emsellem & Laura Kohl


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Session Proposal: Teaching New Users (General Discussion) Thu, 24 Jan 2013 02:00:34 +0000

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On one side, we have the creation, preservation, and presentation of content. On the other, we have our users. With so many fantastic resources available, how do we help our users find exactly what they need? I would like to share and hear about techniques and tools used to connect researchers of all levels with the repositories we’re creating.

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Session Proposal: The changing world of ebooks Wed, 16 Jan 2013 15:25:37 +0000

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The changing world of ebooks

Given: Patrons will increasingly use ebooks in the coming years.

What can librarians do to:

  • Provide the titles they need (purchase outright, purchase-on-demand, provide changing content in the form of vendor packages such as ebrary)
  • Ascertain what titles they need (solicit patron input, offer purchase-on-demand)
  • Make ebooks easily accessible (for reading online or downloading, simplifying digital rights management, providing mobile apps)
  • Provide hardware (loan equipment such as PCs, ebook readers, tablets; and perhaps provide pre-loaded content on these devices)
  • Help them find the digital content already in the library’s collection (web-scale discovery layer, one-on-one or classroom instruction, pushing instructional content to patrons by electronic means such as email, social network locations, Twitter, RSS feeds)
  • Promoting electronic publishing; publishing titles sponsored by libraries themselves; working with university publishers

Please bring your suggestions—what is your library doing, what should we be doing, what is in the works—for improving our service to patrons in this changing environment.

Campers Cap Reached Mon, 14 Jan 2013 15:31:04 +0000

THATCamp Libraries has reached it’s capacity of 75 registrants. If you haven’t received notification that you registration is approved, you are on the waiting list.

If you have registered and you can’t make it, please let us know at

Thank you!

Session Proposal: The MOOC Experience Thu, 10 Jan 2013 14:05:45 +0000

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It may be a fun word to say, but that little acronym is changing how we approach education.   I took my first MOOC this fall (a programming course), and as a student, it was a worthwhile experience.  I’m also signed up to take the E-Learning and Digital Cultures course that starts at the end of January (and will most likely be wrapping up during the camp).

I’d like to convene a discussion group at camp around MOOCs to discuss our experiences with them (as student, instructor and librarian).   Some possible topics for discussion include (we certainly do not have to limit ourselves to these topics):

1.  How has experience in a MOOC changed your approach to library instruction or reference service?

2.  What MOOC platforms work best for learning?  What would be your ideal MOOC platform?

3.  What should the future business model of the MOOC be?  Paid? Free?  Hybrid?

4.  What subjects do you feel lend themselves best to the MOOC?  Why?

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Registration Update Thu, 20 Dec 2012 17:29:29 +0000

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Registrations are rolling in for THATCamp Libraries. Initial registrations will be approved in early January. Stay tuned for an e-mail about your registration status. Due to space limitations, the event is capped at 75 registrants. After that, we will keep a waiting list for anyone else who might be interested. Stay tuned for more info and thanks for your interest in THATCamp Libraries!

THATCamp Libraries Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:38:11 +0000

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New technology is coming on the scene all the time. Digital Humanities, MOOCs, social media, and more are transforming the content and services libraries, and their staff, provide to their constituents. Even ‘old’ technologies, such as databases and metadata are evolving in the face of these changes.

THATCamp Libraries will provide a venue to further explore on-going conversations about strategic partnerships and services libraries are uniquely situated to offer to the humanities, moving away from a support model to a truly collaborative framework in which librarians foster and contribute as experts and scholars in their own right.

THATCamp Libraries will take place on Saturday, February 23rd at Simmons College in Boston, MA. Visit the Register page to sign up.

About THATCamp Tue, 27 Nov 2012 16:36:23 +0000

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What is a THATCamp?

Here are the key characteristics of a THATCamp:

  • It’s collaborative: there are no spectators at a THATCamp. Everyone participates, including in the task of setting an agenda or program.
  • It’s informal: there are no lengthy proposals, papers, presentations, or product demos. The emphasis is on productive, collegial work or free-form discussion.
  • It’s spontaneous and timely, with the agenda / schedule / program being mostly or entirely created by all the participants during the first session of the first day, rather than weeks or months beforehand by a program committee.
  • It’s productive: participants are encouraged to use session time to create, build, write, hack, and solve problems.
  • It’s lightweight and inexpensive to organize: we generally estimate that a THATCamp takes about 100 hours over the course of six months and about $3000 to organize.
  • It’s not-for-profit and either free or inexpensive (under $30) to attend: it’s funded by small sponsorships, donations of space and labor, and by passing the hat around to the participants.
  • It’s small, having anywhere from 25 or 50 to about 150 participants: most THATCamps aim for about 75 participants.
  • It’s non-hierarchical and non-disciplinary and inter-professional: THATCamps welcome graduate students, scholars, librarians, archivists, museum professionals, developers and programmers, K-12 teachers, administrators, managers, and funders as well as people from the non-profit sector, people from the for-profit sector, and interested amateurs. The topic “the humanities and technology” contains multitudes.
  • It’s open and online: participants make sure to share their notes, documents, pictures, and other materials from THATCamp discussions before and after the event on the web and via social media.
  • It’s fun, intellectually engaging, and a little exhausting.

What is an “unconference”?

The shortest answer is this: an unconference is a highly informal conference. Two differences are particularly notable. First, at an unconference, the program isn’t set beforehand: it’s created on the first day with the help of all the participants rather than beforehand by a program committee. Second, at an unconference, there are no presentations — all participants in an unconference are expected to talk and work with fellow participants in every session. An unconference is to a conference what a seminar is to a lecture; going to an unconference is like being a member of an improv troupe where going to a conference is (mostly) like being a member of an audience. Unconferences are also free or cheap and open to all. For more information, see Wikipedia’s entry on the unconference.

Who should attend?

Anyone with energy and an interest in the humanities and/or technology.

What are “the humanities”?

Good question. Turns out there’s a legal definition! As the National Endowment for the Humanities puts it: “According to the 1965 National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, ‘The term “humanities” includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.’ ”

What is “technology”?

We suggest you read this brilliant article by Professor Leo Marx, American cultural historian at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous Concept.” (Side note: those who love technology should be those who are most aware of its hazards.)

What should I propose?

Sessions at THATCamp will range from software demos to training sessions to discussions of research findings to half-baked rants (but please no full-blown papers; we’re not here to read or be read to). See the list of sample sessions at for ideas, or come up with a creative idea of your own for a session genre or topic. You should come to THATCamp with something in mind, and on the first day find a time, a place, and people to share it with. Once you’re at THATCamp, you may also find people with similar topics and interests to team up with for a joint session.

Is a THATCamp only for scholars / grad students / librarians / archivists / programmers / instructional technologists? Can scholars / grad students / librarians / archivists / programmers / instructional technologists apply?

No to the first, yes to the second. THATCamp aims at the broadest diversity of backgrounds and skills possible.

I’m poor. How can I get funds to travel to THATCamp?

Some academic participants have mentioned that their universities will not fund any travel unless for the purpose of presenting a paper, and since there are no presentations and no papers at THATCamp, they cannot come to THATCamp. We have a few suggestions. First, you might frame your trip to THATCamp as “professional development,” if such a category exists at your organization — coming to THATCamp is definitely much more of a learning experience than a showing-off experience. Second, you might wait for a THATCamp to pop up nearby so that travel will be cheap: you can sign up for THATCamp News to be notified of new THATCamps. Third, some THATCamps offer fellowships — be sure to check individual THATCamp sites to see if there are fellowship funds available. Fourth, you might consider simply organizing your own THATCamp — that way, the world will have to come to you.

Write the THATCamp Coordinator at with further general questions about THATCamp.