- Mar 2017
It was like a giant community leaf-raking project in which everyone was called a groundskeeper. Some brought very fancy professional metal rakes, or even back-mounted leaf-blowing systems, and some were just kids thrashing away with the sides of their feet or stuffing handfuls in the pockets of their sweatshirts, but all the leaves they brought to the pile were appreciated. And the pile grew and everyone jumped up and down in it having a wonderful time. And it grew some more, and it became the biggest leaf pile anyone had ever seen anywhere, a world wonder. And then self-promoted leaf-pile guards appeared, doubters and deprecators who would look askance at your proffered handful and shake their heads, saying that your leaves were too crumpled or too slimy or too common, throwing them to the side. And that was too bad. The people who guarded the leaf pile this way were called “deletionists.”
This such a delightful and useful metaphor. What a great way of explaining the real joy and challenges facing Wikipedians in 2008 and in the present.
The concept for the district, currently dubbed 1,300 Acres (previously called Innovation Village), is easy to visualize. May throws out examples like the Boston Seaport, where 200 startups have set up shop in recent years, or University City in West Philadelphia, where computer scientists can look down from office windows to boarded rowhomes that don’t look much different than those found in West Baltimore.
It would be really interesting to compare the size of these different neighborhood areas. And how they have changed over time in relationship to local anchor institutions. This might be best presented through maps of each area (both historic and contemporary).
For Mike Ford, the self-described “hip-hop architect” who teaches “design justice” at Madison College in Wisconsin, the song is also a poignant rebuke of architecture—particularly the buildings used to cage low-income black and Latino families in public housing projects.
This is a really fascinating argument to me.
Some approaches that initially seem to reduce maintenance requirements may over time actually accelerate deterioration.
I know I've heard anecdotes from people who work in building trades or restoration about "quick-fix" approaches that cause big problems later on. I'd love to collect a few examples and include them here!
small and medium size historic buildings
What is a small or medium-sized historic buildings exactly? Any person's understanding of what makes a small, medium, or large building may depend on the size of other buildings in your area and the amount of time and money you have available.
Over time, the cost of maintenance is substantially less than the replacement of deteriorated historic features and involves considerably less disruption.
This is a great point that could be illustrated with a specific example comparing the cost of maintenance over a ten year period versus the cost of replacing or repairs building elements if no maintenance took place.
Decay is inevitable but deterioration can accelerate when the building envelope is not maintained on a regular basis.
I'd be very interested in seeing some information about the typical life cycle for different building elements or materials. Of course, we want to save elements whenever we can. But how do you know when a building element is too far deteriorated to repair or restore in most cases?
- Jan 2017
That means original files, like Word files, which can be more easily edited and modified than a PDF.
Many people prefer to share their writing and resources as Markdown files. What is Markdown?
Markdown is a way to write content for the web. ... Unlike cumbersome word processing applications, text written in Markdown can be easily shared between computers, mobile phones, and people. It’s quickly becoming the writing standard for academics, scientists, writers, and many more. Websites like GitHub and reddit use Markdown to style their comments. If you have ten minutes, you can learn Markdown!
Learn more and practice with the interactive Markdown Tutorial.
find a platform
GitHub is one alternative to the educator-focused platforms mentioned in this document.
Examples of open educational resources published using GitHub or GitHub Pages include:
OER also represents an opportunity to have one's own materials enhanced.
This document talks about educational resources being "enhanced" but some educators and scholars may worry about their work being misused or modified in inappropriate ways or exploited for commercial gain. In "Forking the Academy", Konrad M. Lawson lists disciplinary and personal obstacles to sharing and collaborating:
- The Economy of Citations
- The Taboo of Plagiarism
- The Cult of Originality
- The Brick in the Wall
- The Fear of Transparency
- The Incompleteness Aversion
- The Stolen Idea
- The Fear of Misuse
Read Lawson's ProfHacker series on GitHub for more on how scholars and educators can collaborate on open resources.
Google can also find Creative Commons materials.
The CC Search Tool is a convenient way to search for Creative Commons licensed material on Google, Google Images, Flickr, YouTube, Wikimedia Commons, and other websites.
quality of the material
How do you assess the "quality" of educational materials or resources? One important consideration may be the accuracy or truthfulness of the resource.
Learn more about how to identify and see through "bullshit" with a free online resource Calling Bullshit in the Age of Big Data.
literally meet people where they are
Meeting people "where they are" is difficult when a university campus is literally or figuratively separate from the surrounding communities. Staff or volunteers with historic sites and museums often encounter similar challenges.
At UMBC, initiatives such as Breaking Ground try to bridge these gaps by bringing students into surrounding communities. Museums and historic sites may find useful advice in "Positioning Your Museum as a Critical Community Asset: A Practical Guide" available as an online resource and a 2016 book.
collaboratively owned and maintained spaces
How can scholars and educators create classroom spaces that work as "commons"? How can you seek this goal both online and in-person?
actively listening and responding to the ideas and stick-points offered by participants
full range of technical tools a community uses to support everyday activity and public life
Students and scholars may use tools that are unfamiliar to outside partners such as Blackboard or other learning management systems. Community groups or nonprofit partners often have limited time or resources to invest in buying or learning how to use a new tool. Recognize the limits of existing tech skills & infrastructure but don't be afraid to try something new.
Social infrastructure refers to the ecosystem of relationships and organizations in a community.
"Social infrastructure" is only one term that can be used to talk about this idea. Other similar concepts include:
- Community identity
- Organizational capacity (or capability)
- Social capital
Some approaches, such as network weaving or capacity building, seek to expand or strengthen these relationships to build more effective organizations. Read more in "Building Smart Communities through Network Weaving" (PDF) by Valdis Krebs and June Holley.
This engagement guide is written for readers with an interest in civic technology. But it remains relevant for many other domains. Try translating this guide by replacing the words "civic technology" with...
- Course design
- Educational technology
- Public history
- Public humanities
- Or some other topic of interest to you.
Are all five modes of civic engagement still useful to you? Which approaches work for your field? Which do not?
5 simple metrics
- Start with people: Work with the real people and real communities you are part of, represent, and/or are trying to serve
- Cater to context: Leverage and operate with an informed understanding of the existing social infrastructure and sociopolitical contexts that affect your work
- Respond to need: Let expressed community ideas, needs, wants, and opportunities drive problem-identification and problem-solving
- Build for best fit: Develop solutions and tools that are the most useful to the community and most effectively support outcomes and meet needs
- Prove it: Demonstrate and document that community needs, ideas, skills, and other contributions are substantially integrated into — and drive — the lifecycle of the project."
Community-driven technologies are built at the speed of inclusion — the pace necessary not just to create a tool but to do so with in-depth communal input and stewardship — and directly respond to the needs, ideas, and wants of those they’re intended to benefit.
The structure and rhythm of the academic calendar can make it more difficult for students and scholars to work closely with community-partners.
How do you make time for students and scholars to create something for a community, listen to community input, and incorporate ideas from community members into their work? Can this take place in a single semester?
empowered to present on projects
Could this be encouraged by providing students with sample presentation materials? Or creating a project style guide that students could optionally use to ensure the project is presented through a consistent voice or visual design?
guidelines for re-use of digital scholarly material
Open licensing with Creative Commons (or other open-source licenses) is one way of setting guidelines for reuse of project materials in whole or in part.
maintaining meaningful artifacts of students’ contributions
This is not only important for students but also for projects that involve collaboration with community partners.
If members of a community where you are doing research or teaching are contributing photos, stories, or feedback to a project, scholars need to ensure that community members can access their own contributions into the future.
To accomplish this goal for students and community partners, scholars need to make a digital preservation plan at or near the beginning of any project. Learn more about personal archiving from the Library of Congress.
meetings and project communication
Collaborative tools and equitable approaches can help make sure your meetings and project communication meet this important standard.
- Using Google Docs for collaborating on meeting agendas and note-taking (See ProfHacker on Google Docs and collaboration in the classroom)
- Using Trello for project planning and roadmapping (See examples of public roadmapping with Trello)
- Using conscious language when communicating by email, chat, or in-person (Get help from the Conscious Style Guide)
- Using techniques that encourage equitable participation (e.g. AdaInitiative's unconference session role cards)
Disrupting Digital Humanities
"Milking the Deficit Internship," January 6, 2016 (2016 MLA Position Papers, Digital Edition) by Spencer D. C. Keralis is another relevant reading on labor and power in the academy and the student labor economy.
not empowered to make critical decisions about the intellectual design of a project or a portion of a project
How do you empower student or outside partners to make "credit decisions about the intellectual design" when they may not share the same knowledge or approach as a scholar? In some cases, this is a difficult question to answer.
help students to formulate meaningful statements about their contributions
This is an excellent suggestion! If this support is built into the student-scholar collaboration, then it ensures all student collaborators receive credit for their contributions—not just students who seek that support from scholars.
names should appear on the project as collaborators
How do you give credit to collaborators? Think about an academic book. A work might include a dedication to a beloved partner or mentor; an introduction listing student researchers; citations of influential works; an afterword on the history of the research project.
To name your collaborators, write a list:
- Names for everyone who contributes to a project;
- each person's role or contributions;
- when those contributions took place;
- and how to contact them if you have questions later.
You need to tell collaborators how credit may be presented at the outset and tell them when you fulfill that promise.
Consider these questions:
- Are there any contributions that do not require credit?
- Do all collaborators receive credit in the same way or place?
literature on unpaid internships
Take five minutes to watch “Pay your F-ing Interns” by Elissa Frankle, an Ignite talk for the Openlab Workshop Unconference, December 1, 2015, in Crystal City, VA.
Here are a few tips and tricks from Grrrl Zines A Go-Go on how can you start a zine workshop group yourself:
This is a helpful introduction to organizing zine-making workshops that could be useful to librarians, historians, or educators.
It’s a tool both for testing and implementation. And we also have what we need to motivate ourselves and remind us what we’re trying to do, and why it is worth the effort.
Yes! We need to pay attention to our motivation and attention – especially when you work in historic preservation or another field where there are always a variety of urgent issues in your community or organization at any one time.
By framing challenges as questions starting with “How might we…,” you lead yourself to start thinking of solutions.
I wonder how this works in a classroom context and not just a workplace. Could you invite students to learn about a topic and then use this exercise to generate project ideas?
Through this, we’ve realized that all our efforts, no matter how big or small, have always started with two very simple questions: What kind of workplace do we want? What one thing will we do to help create it?
IMHO: These questions provide a lens to help the reader consider how to know when culture change works and when it doesn't.
“How might we make meetings feel like a hug?”
I love this strategy of expressing honest and earnest questions about how our feelings shape our work as people.
In our experience, successful ideas had a catchy name and a brief description that struck a chord and were short enough for people remember and pass on. At its most basic, then, a successful idea prototype has only two things: Name or identity Elevator pitch
This is a very useful summary of parts of what makes almost any advocacy project successful.