The Humanities and Technology Camp (THATCamp): An "unconference" experience LLRX readers might enjoyBy Celia Caust-Ellenbogen, Published on September 29, 2013
If you read LLRX, it is probably because you are interested in various facets of a massive constellation of issues surrounding technology, legal research, jurisprudence, library and information science, and related subjects. You are probably also a curious, open-minded person, seeking to broaden your horizons and eager to try new applications and tools. If you appreciate the diverse, knowledgeable perspectives given voice on LLRX, the curated resource lists introduced here, and the forward-thinking embrace of technology on the site, you will probably enjoy THATCamp too!
THATCamp stands for "The Humanities and Technology Camp," and various iterations across the world and bridging a wide variety of focus areas are held all the time. The low-overhead, informal nature of an "unconference" means that there is no set program or speakers. Attendees propose sessions without needing to prepare materials in advance, and their fellow attendees vote in the morning on which sessions they would like to attend during the day. Sessions can range from group discussions, to project or product demos demonstrations, to active problem-solving or “hack" sessions.
The topics vary wildly, but can be anything relating to technology and its intersections with the humanities. Sessions I have attended include a Wikipedia hack-a-thon, a discussion of linked open data, and a forum for sharing and demonstrating mobile apps useful for academic research and writing. The best part of THATCamp is that you can propose a session about anything you are interested in, and then mine the expertise of a room full of smart, engaged, knowledgeable, and savvy people. THATCamps are attended by a diverse group of people, with varied levels of technological skills ranging from interested novices to experienced professionals, and specializing in humanities areas such as history, literature, law, linguistics, information science, or other disciplines.
Dozens of THATCamps are scheduled or in the works across the US and internationally, so chances are there is one coming up near where you live. The cost of attending is free or cheap, usually under $30. Search the list of upcoming THATCamps here. I can personally vouch for THATCamp Philly, which I attended last weekend--mark your calendars for September 2014 if you are nearby! To get a feel for the tone of THATCamp even when you cannot attend, follow Twitter streams at #thatcamp.