Blogs and Microblogs for Academic Research

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



Session Proposal: Teaching New Users (General Discussion)

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.


Session Proposal: The changing world of ebooks

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

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

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?


Registration Update

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

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

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 thatcamp.org/proposals/ 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.

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