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Rachael Hodder

Rachael Hodder

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September 15, 2012

Corridor: Redux

September 15, 2012 | By | No Comments

After many months of holding you in suspense, it’s now time to show my CHI fellowship project and bid you all adieu with this final post as a CHI fellow.

To refresh your memory, the project I proposed last spring was called Corridor. It was a web application that would serve as a reference for academic conference hashtags while also helping to resolve the competing hashtags in play for the same academic conference. Proposed in the wake of some recent conversation about Twitter backchannels at conferences – particularly, what the use of it is, why people should join in, and how it could be made better. With the spotlight on the larger issue of scholarly communication, it seemed the time was right to try building a backchannel tool as a means of exploring the issues and questions at hand. Keeping the philosophy of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative in mind, “building as Read More

Rachael Hodder

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July 2, 2012

APIs and Cultural Heritage

July 2, 2012 | By | No Comments

Word cloud based on the text of this blog post about application programming interfaces and cultural heritageAn essential area of focus for cultural heritage scholars should be application programming interfaces, or APIs. APIs are, in very simple terms, code libraries assembled by web service companies to enable third-party applications to communicate with the web service platform. Though an API is an interface, it is invisible to the human eye; indeed, it’s an interface that facilitates computer-to-computer communication. Within the domain of cultural heritage, there is incredible potential create tools that can revolutionize not only the presentation of collections, but the way that people experience and interact with cultural heritage. But before we can leverage APIs in useful ways or even build APIs of our own, I think it’s important to think about the implications of utilizing these interfaces.

APIs often include software development kits (SDKs), documentation, and other tools for web developers to use to leverage the functionality of the web service for their own projects – be Read More

Rachael Hodder

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May 29, 2012

Dismantling the Troubling Monolithic Representation of Coding in the Humanities

May 29, 2012 | By | No Comments

Coding in the humanities has been the topic of much heated discussion. The conversation has spanned the shoulds-and-should-nots, the whys-and-why-nots, and the who-and-who’s-nots. What troubles me most about the conversations surrounding coding in the humanities is that the notion of coding is constructed as almost monolithic which dangerously lends to the construction of Coding, Coders, and Coding Culture wherein all Coders have ascended some pre-determined set of skill markers to attain the same knowledge, skills, and motives. The fact of the matter is that this just isn’t true – people code in a variety of different programming and markup languages at varying skill-levels to accomplish any number of goals and aims. This monolithic representation of Code is damaging to both people who build on the web and aspiring builders; it creates a tense climate and alienates potential teachers from new/potential learners, making the literacies, skills, and rationale involved in coding even Read More

Rachael Hodder

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February 23, 2012

Chewing on Digital Rhetoric

February 23, 2012 | By | No Comments

“What does a digital rhetorician do?”
“What is digital rhetoric?”
“What is rhetoric?”

To most people outside my field, it’s not immediately obvious what my field of study means or what I do. As a degree candidate in Digital Rhetoric and Professional Writing, I hear these questions often from my friends, family, even some of my own colleagues! As rhetoricians, my colleagues and I are often concerned with these types of epistemological questions and end up deeply entrenched in these what does it all mean rabbit holes.

Certainly, we can be sure of some things: many of us are humanists and writers; we live in writing programs such as English or literary-type disciplines or communication programs; more often than not, we’re trained in those types of programs. Because we’re located in different places from university to university, there is some ambiguity over the location of rhetoric. Rhetoric is defined by one of those long-dead Greek Read More

Rachael Hodder

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February 2, 2012

Introducing Corridor

February 2, 2012 | By | No Comments

Twitter has been an invaluable tool for me as a new grad student and growing scholar. Communicating and building connections over Twitter has helped form relationships with my colleagues and professors in my program and across the university. Using Twitter has also afforded me access to the growing domain of digital humanities through the tweets of scholarly publications, organizations, thought leaders, and my own colleagues – in fact, it was through a tweet that I learned of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative at MSU.

Though I have been a Twitter user for years, I first experienced its utility in a scholarly context while attending my first major academic conference. I had never been to a major academic conference before and I thought that the conference backchannel might be a good way to get acclimated to the new practices and setting. I was right: using the Twitter hashtag for the conference, I scouted Read More

Rachael Hodder

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January 5, 2012

Reflecting on HASTAC V: Forking Scholarship

January 5, 2012 | By | 2 Comments

Like Alex, HASTAC V was the first digital humanities-centric conference I have attended. However, I have not had the pleasure of attending any THATcamps yet, so it was the first time I’d shared the same physical space with so many other scholars who are as excited as me about DH. It was invigorating and I left the conference feeling inspired and motivated.

The conference’s theme was digital scholarly publishing and many scholars’ talks focused on how they have been doing digital scholarly publishing already or their vision for why or how the current model of scholarly publishing is flawed and in need of change. Highlights for me include a keynote panel featuring Richard Nash, Dan Cohen, and Tara McPherson as well as Doug Eyman and Cheryl Ball’s discussion of managing Kairos, an online scholarly journal founded in 1996. These talks, both reflective and rallying, felt like exciting calls to action by scholars Read More

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December 19, 2011

SOPA and Invention in Cultural Heritage Informatics

December 19, 2011 | By | 3 Comments


A doorway labelled "Internet" with black bars blocking entrance

If passed, legistlation like SOPA will have a detrimental effect on cultural heritage informatics work. (Photo by kyz; CC BY 2.0)

If you’re reading this, you’ve likely heard of a piece of US legislation called SOPA, more formally known as the Stop Internet Piracy Act. It is less formally – but perhaps more popularly! – known as The Internet Killer. Though SOPA is intended to give the government greater power in halting Internet piracy – the illegal downloading and streaming of copyrighted material – it is a highly dangerous bill that, if passed, will change the web as we know it and, as such, have a drastic effect on the field of cultural heritage informatics.

The Electronic Frontier Foundation describes the bill most succinctly in their one-pager on the topic [pdf]:

The Stop Online Privacy Act (SOPA, H.R. 3261) is a dangerous new “anti-piracy” bill being debated in the House Read More

Rachael Hodder

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October 25, 2011

Rachael Hodder: aspiring maker of cool things

October 25, 2011 | By | No Comments

My name is Rachael, but online I go by @zenparty. The name that I use in digital spaces is as important to me as the one that’s on my driver’s license. Check out my blog post at rachaelhodder.com for more information about my online identity.

Here’s a quick and dirty introduction:

A picture of Rachael Hodder's face

Greetings, Earthlings.

In my MA studies as a rhetoric student thus far, I’ve focused on building technical skills in web development and a theoretical foundation for how to do ethical, user-centered work. I place a high value on the ability to produce work that is accessible and useful to its intended users and stakeholders. At the core of my philosophy for composition and design is user advocacy, open access, and beauty in simplicity. Previously, I earned my BA from MSU in American Studies where I focused on postcolonial histories and cultural studies. Although I am now a rhetoric student, Read More