By: Hayley Brazier and Heidi Kaufman
Welcome back! Before we jump into the blog, we would like to remind everyone that UO Libraries is running an Art-Feminism Wikipedia Edit-a-Thon on April 13 from 3-6 in Knight Library, Room 144 (Edmiston Classroom). Snacks will be provided. Please RSVP here.
Today on the blog, we are showcasing a collaborative DH project called Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age, which hosts a series of scholarly webinars. A webinar, simply defined, is a meeting that takes place on the internet. While often used in the business world as a popular conferencing tool, Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age is proving that the webinar is also an innovative tool for the digital humanities.
Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age is the brainchild of the Digital Library of the Caribbean (dLOC), which is an international, multi-institutional digital library. In creating the webinar series, dLOC partnered with UF Center for Latin American Studies, Association of Caribbean University, Research and Institutional Libraries (ACURIL), the Graduate School of Information Sciences and Technologies of the University of Puerto Rico, the Latin American and Caribbean Cultural Heritage Archives roundtable (LACCHA) of the Society of American Archivists (SAA), and the Seminar on the Acquisition of Latin American Library Materials (SALALM)
According to the dLOC website, the webinar series “provides a collaborative space for professionals to share on projects and experiences to foster communication and support our shared constellations of communities of practice.” Each webinar features one to three scholars who speak on a pre-determined topic related to DH and the Caribbean, such as “Demystifying Digital History,” “Ramble Bahamas,” and “Présentation du projet British Library” (which will be presented in French).
For those who want to tune into Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age, there are currently three webinars scheduled for this spring (April 9, May 7, and May 16). dLOC provides a description of the Caribbean for the Digital Age webinar series in an informational PDF, which you can access here. The PDF includes information about each speaker and a description of the presentation.
Scholars featured on the webinar series are drawn from a variety of institutions and backgrounds, including historian Dr. Debbie McCollin from the University of the West Indies, St. Augustine, Trinidad, who will present during the April 9 webinar. Dr. Tracey Thompson, director of the University of The Bahamas’s Oral History Institute, will speak with two fellow scholars on May 7. And the May 16 webinar features Marie-France Guillaume of the Bibliothèque Haïtienne des Frères de l’Instruction Chrètienne.
While webinars have been a popular video conferencing tool for many institutions requiring long-distance meetings, scholars are now adopting the webinar as an important means of communicating their research, as the Caribbean Scholarship in the Digital Age series proves. Webinars have the possibility of reaching a broader audience than traditional forms of scholarship, particularly for those audiences who may not have institutional access to journals or databases. With webinars, scholars and the public can tune in for free, an important benefit of many digital projects. And in contrast to podcasts and digital publications, webinars typically provide listeners the opportunity to chime into the live conversation. In this sense, webinars are similar to public presentations in allowing the presenter to connect directly with their audience. But unlike public presentations that are constrained by locality, webinars can draw a crowd from the around the world, connecting scholars who would otherwise never meet in person.
For anyone developing a digital humanities project that may involve podcasting or blogging, we hope you will also consider developing a webinar series as the ideal tool for connecting directly with other scholars or the public. And if you know of any digital scholars developing a webinar series, we would love to hear about it!