Digital cultural heritage and the gamification of the past

“Digital cultural heritage,” a field with a wide variety of definitions, has benefited greatly from the use of several emerging technologies to increase accessibility to cultures and historical content for a larger audience. As an example, Virtual Reality allows for users to simulate an embodied experience in geographic and temporal locales that would otherwise be difficult or impossible to experience. Similarly, entertainment media such as videogames often take inspiration from aspects of history and cultural heritage to situate their gameplay mechanics in a generally known world. This marriage of sensory and ludic experience with historical or cultural content allows for many opportunities to teach users about various aspects of the human condition. However, there are some aspects of these technological experiences that are not always beneficial to a user’s intellectual understanding of the complexities of the past.


Historical VR experiences generally lean toward “tourist”-type experiences, where users experience a notable location primarily through passive observation, often receiving some form of explanatory content or enrichment through text or audio commentary.These experiences are often closer to academic lectures than they are games and often leave users disinterested or disengaged from the content. On the other end of the spectrum, historical and cultural heritage materials have also been used as mise-en-scene for historically-themed games that seek to entertain users more than educate them. Using these experiences to convey accurate and useful information in cultural heritage education is therefore not always the best idea.


In this session, I would like to invite participants to discuss the benefits and drawbacks to approaching historical and cultural heritage education through the guise of virtual reality and video games, and discuss ways to thoughtfully evaluate how/whether the GLAM sector can learn from and engage with these materials to inform our work. In particular, I would like to discuss methods for adapting strategies used in Virtual Reality experiences and videogames to inform the outcome of ongoing work to digitize cultural heritage materials.

Blender in Cultural Heritage

Blender’s versatility as a free, open-source computer graphics program makes it popular with diverse audiences, from professional CG artists to gamers enthusiastic to build their own assets. While these communities have created a wealth of online material for self-teaching, they rarely touch on Blender’s potential for humanities projects, leaving humanists to fill in the gaps as they learn.  I propose a 30-minute session to discuss 

  1. How humanists interested in 3-D modelling and virtual reality can read existing blender workflows in relation to their own interests 
  2. The unique needs of humanists in using Blender or other VR software outside of conventional settings 
  3. How these questions extends to software beyond blender

Python as an Interdisciplinary Necessity

This 30-minute discussion session addresses Python and its claim to being the fastest-growing major programming language in the world.  Discussion topics will include:

  1. Overview of Python
    1. Why it is considered the most important coding language to know
  2. Practical Uses of the Language
    1. What Python can be used for generally 
    2. How it can be utilized across multiple sectors, not only digital cultural heritage
  3. Importance Across Disciplines
    1. Why it is becoming increasingly necessary to learn Python no matter your field

I am open to discussing other topics as well as participants see fit.

What’s Up With Archival Digitization?

This 30 minute session will work as an open forum to discuss general knowledge and experience surrounding digitization projects. The session will also be interested in exploring issues faced by digitization projects. As an undergraduate who is new to the digital humanities and currently working on a digitizing project, I am interested in learning more through opening a dialogue about methodologies, workflow, personal experiences, and issues you’ve come across when working with digitization projects.


Key Questions:

What is your own baseline level of copyright knowledge? How can the correct use and implantation of copyright law be achieved/ maintained?


What are some successful ways that you or your institution has undergone digitization efforts, what problems have you run into within various digitization projects?


Should the digitization of obsolete formats be made available to stream or should it be digitized to another tangible format, ensuring that they will always exist physically? Should it be both?


What does your institution prioritize, more efforts towards learning and curating new technology or focus on preserving the past? How does this selection process work in your institution? How are these decisions made?


The Digital Public Library of America: A Tool for Humanities Pedagogy and Research


A 50-minute presentation and discussion around the Digital Public Library of America (DPLA) as a tool for teaching and research. The DPLA provides a platform where over 30 million digital cultural heritage materials from institutions across the country can be found. DPLA aggregates metadata for these objects and has made this metadata freely available on their API for users to employ in their research or in the creation of applications that can take advantage of the materials for further use. Many of the objects found in DPLA are primary resources related to the history of the United States and relate to the human experience.

The DPLA has also utilized these resources to create curated resources, including exhibits combining resources from multiple contributing institutions that would not have been linked together otherwise and primary source sets that can be used in classrooms to help students think critically about history, literature, and how to analyze various source types.

During this session attendees will learn how to access and search the API as well as explore the curated content in DPLA and learn how to create their own resources for teaching from the materials found in DPLA. Attendees will also discuss how they would use this resource in their classrooms as well as how contributing institutions can improve the resources and metadata for use in Digital Humanities projects and research.


Augmented Reality

Emily Allen & Hannah Geerlings
Musicologists/Digital Cultural Heritage Interns

This 50-minute session addresses HP Reveal, a free AR app for mobile devices. We have used this app for a local music venue called the Bradfordville Blues Club and wish to discuss the following:

  1. Introduction to Augmented Reality & Sound
    • Overview of how we’ve used augmented reality & future directions for implementing sound components
  2. Ideas for Including AR in Learning Environments
    • How to use AR for classrooms, museums, and libraries
  3. HP Reveal Workshop: Create Your Own Augmented Reality
    • Download HP Reveal and test it with us!

We are also open to discussing other topics as participants see fit.

Call for Proposals – THATCamp Tallahassee

We are now welcoming short proposals for our THATCamp Tallahassee Unconference. Proposals should be short (less than 300 words) and should explain the topic and the format of the presentation. Common formats for sessions include:

  • Tech skills workshops
  • Discussions and roundtables
  • Presentations (with ample time for discussion)

If possible, you should include information on the type of participation required from the session attendees (e.g. will they be expected to speak, provide feedback, learn, etc.). We will also be accepting proposals for lightning talks, which will be conducted at the end of lunch.

In order to submit a proposal, please register and then login to your account ( once your registration has been approved. Once you have logged in, you will see your dashboard, which should include a link to “posts.” To write a proposal, add a new post, provide a descriptive title, and author your proposal in the body. If you want to, you can add categories to your post by selecting topics from the sidebar.

Once you have finished authoring your post hit “Publish” (please know that all proposals will be visible to the public). On the day of the event, we will determine the schedule based on the proposals that are on the website. You will also have the opportunity to propose new topics during the opening session, so don’t worry if you don’t get a post together in time. You can also author posts all the way up to the day of the event.

If you have any questions, please contact Sarah Stanley.

THATCamp TLH 2019

Florida State University is hosting a THATCamp for digital humanities practitioners in North Florida and beyond. This free event will bring together both aspiring and long-time DH-ers to engage with new tools and methods, showcase nascent projects, and discuss issues in the field. Whether you are a long-time user of digital methods, or merely curious about digital scholarship, this event will give you the opportunity to engage with fellow scholars to talk about partnerships, skills, and collaboration.

When is the event?

Thursday, June 27, 2019 from 9am-5pm

Where will the event be held?

Strozier Library at Florida State University, on the lower level

How much does the event cost?

The event is free!

The event is titled THATCamp Tallahassee, but I’m not from Tallahassee. Can I still attend?

Absolutely! We welcome participation from anyone who can attend on the day of the event.

Tallahassee is a bit far for me to take a day trip. Any recommended places to stay?

Yes, check out our Travel and Accommodations page.

There will be another post to follow about submitting proposed sessions, but for now make sure to save the date in your calendars and please register