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Charlotte Marie Cable


December 14, 2011

Composing in glass houses: Technology, social media, and the practice of writing

December 14, 2011 | By | 2 Comments


If you’re anything like me, scholarly writing is not the easiest or most exciting of activities. As useful as it is, I still rate it at about the level of fun as when I was 5 and accidentally smashed my own hand in the family minivan door.

It is for that very reason that the writing group was invented: for encouragement, commiseration, accountability, perspective, and yes, honing written communication. The writing group teaches us to write transparently: to demystify the writing process and make every step, from idea to final product, as clear to the reader as it is to the writer. This transparency can be frightening. There’s a lingering fear that showing people my work-in-progress will be like showing everyone my glass house: it’s fine if I have time to clean it up for planned visits, but if passers-by peeked in they would see it in complete disarray. And how Read More

Emily Niespodziewanski


December 12, 2011

Institutional Tweeting: Bridging the gap

December 12, 2011 | By | One Comment

A few months ago, I initiated a push to create social media accounts for the lab in which I am graduate student (read: free) labor. The Lab Director was curious whether such accounts would be appropriate for the Michigan State University Forensic Anthropology Laboratory (@MSUForensicAnth). After all, the lab consults with law enforcement across the state on sensitive cases. There are very real legal reasons in addition to the obvious ethical ones not to tweet: “We’re off to CityName to recovery a body from ClandestineLocation!” Nearly all lab activity is confidential. Although the reasons in our case are unique, hesitant bosses/leaders usually question whether their group has anything worth sharing when approached by someone eager to branch into social media.

The anthem of the resistant “I don’t care when someone’s eating a sandwich” appeared in my own conversations with other lab employees. It was difficult for me to articulate what is tweeted Read More

Katy Meyers


November 18, 2011

New Face of Scholarly Communication in Archaeology

November 18, 2011 | By | No Comments

Scholarly communication is changing. By reading this blog post you are part of the change. By tweeting about this post, you are part of the change. The internet is drastically altering academia at all stages of research, with dissemination at the forefront of this change. The landscape of scholarly communication is no longer between individuals, or limited to conferences, and resources are not only found in libraries. The rise of Web 2.0 has created new methods for communication and dissemination of information. While some academic disciplines have shifted their practices and evaluation of scholarship with the changes in technology, others cling to their traditional roots. Change in technology does not mean correlating changes in academic practice or evaluation. As Kathleen Fitzpatrick notes in “Planned Obsolesence”, the change is institutional and social, we need to change the way that we perceive scholarship. This is especially relevant to archaeology, a discipline that could Read More

Katy Meyers


October 27, 2011

Cyberinfrastructure and Archaeology

October 27, 2011 | By | No Comments

Cyberinfrastructure is a digital research environment. Imagine the Matrix, only instead of fighting Smith you are completing a site report with an 11th century ceramics specialist in the United Kingdom and an epigrapher from an Australian Museum, while using primary data from a medieval cemetery in Poland. Cyberinfrastructure includes all of the platforms, standards, hard and soft technology, as well as the human resources that facilitate digital research. When thinking about these digital research environments there is a tendency to focus on the virtual tools and technologies which allow for sharing, using, preserving, and combining of data from disparate collections. However the human component is just as vital since the cyberinfrastructure requires both technical expertise to create these interoperable workspaces, but also content expertise about the materials and data that are being used.

Archaeologists greatly benefit from the construction of cyberinfrastructures. The nature of our work requires specialist knowledge, large quantities of Read More

Rachael Hodder


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 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



October 25, 2011

Musings of a Novice Digital Scholar: Fayana Richards

October 25, 2011 | By | No Comments

Labeled the inquisitive one out of the bunch, I have always been attracted to the art of communication and storytelling. Whether this came in the form of a good book or eavesdropping in on my grandmother’s conversations, it didn’t matter. My name is Fayana Richards and I am a second year PhD/MPH graduate student in the Department of Anthropology and Program in Public Health at Michigan State University. My research interests include U.S. health care systems, chronic illness, intersections of gender, race and class, and immigration.

Outside of my anthropological studies, I also have an undergraduate background in journalism where I initially devoted my energies towards print journalism. Other than developing sound writing skills, I was trained to believe that essentials for a journalist simply included a pen, writing pad, and a recorder. Fast forward to 2007 when the world of journalism had to rapidly respond to a changing economic climate and Read More



October 18, 2011

Fútbol and Scholarly Collaboration – Alex Galarza

October 18, 2011 | By | No Comments

“A football club is the accumulated cultural capital and the historical memories of the group of people who have chosen to invest their time, their energy, and their love in it.” – David Goldblatt

I study football(soccer) clubs in Buenos Aires, Argentina. My dissertation examines political and economic change in Buenos Aires, using football clubs as a lens to view politics, associative life, and consumption. While excellent soccer scholarship has been produced for decades, there is a need for more dialogue and collaboration amongst academics who study the sport. In the spring of 2010, I co-founded the Football Scholars Forum with a historian of South Africa, Peter Alegi. The scholarly community has met over Skype to discuss recent works in soccer scholarship over the past three semesters. As a Cultural Heritage Informatics Fellow, I plan to dedicate my time towards continuing to grow the community, turn the website into a platform for Read More

Emily Niespodziewanski


October 16, 2011

Sense of Humerus: Emily Niespodziewanski, digital scholar

October 16, 2011 | By | No Comments

I am writing to you from the trenches of my second year of the graduate program in Physical Anthropology at Michigan State University (@msuforensicanth). And although this particular semester’s coursework is melting key bits of my brain, I’m in it for the long haul: I intend earn my Ph.D. in Anthropology with the goal of working as a professional forensic anthropologist. In an academic capacity, this will hopefully entail teaching, casework with local law enforcement, and bioarchaeological field research.

My advisor has already allowed me the opportunity to work on some very exciting extracurricular projects: cleaning, curating, and collecting data on 450 medieval skeletons in the MSU Nubian Bioarchaeology Laboratory; analyzing medieval human remains at the University of Salento in southern Italy; and collaborating with the military’s Joint POW/MIA Accounting Command Central Identification Laboratory (@JPACTeams) on a validation study. These are all opportunities to participate in research, although only the last project Read More

Charlotte Marie Cable


October 14, 2011

Adventures in Archaeology: Charlotte Marie Cable enters the digital world

October 14, 2011 | By | No Comments

Community archaeology, Mid-East anthropology, Alaska, Adventure, Cycling, and Logophilia

Archaeology is the search for culture through material: intangible ideas about the world are made tangible through the ways we arrange and rearrange our physical worlds to reflect those ideas. These physical remains are what we archaeologists study: and usually, we study these remains by their destruction. We learn by taking things apart – and in such a way that we can’t put them back together again (imagine rebuilding a ziggurat!). This poses a major problem: as our knowledge grows, what we have, physically, to show for it decreases. The challenge in archaeology is trying to make what we’ve learned as easy to see, to touch, and to understand as the earth from which it comes.

I was born and raised in Alaska, where it takes 12 hours to drive to the center of the state. Visiting the “Lower 48” usually involved a Read More

Katy Meyers


October 6, 2011

Defining Digital Archaeology

October 6, 2011 | By | 3 Comments

Within the last ten years there has been a myriad of ‘digital’ disciplines cropping up. What sets each apart from the analog version is their use of digital technology in their respective field of study. As noted by Cohen and Rosenzweig (2005) “new media and new technologies have challenged historians [and other academics] to rethink the ways that they research, write, present and tech about the past. These digital scholars engage with their research through technology at any level, from data collection, interpretation and dissemination. The most active of these is the Digital Humanities, which has been actively attempting to define and delineate the discipline, while at the same time is engaging in a wide range of computing technologies in their research. While this interdisciplinary group attempts to determine who belongs in their “big tent” of the Digital Humanities, archaeologists have yet to engage not only with the Digital Humanities, but Read More