Hacking the Scholarly Workflow CFP for MLA 2018

“Hacking Your Scholarly Workflow” is a free-of-cost workshop that would take place during—not before—the MLA 2018 conference in New York City. Led by Shawna Ross (Assistant Professor of Modern British Literature and the Digital Humanities at Texas A&M University) and Beth Seltzer (Educational Technology Specialist at Bryn Mawr), this workshop would be one of the two guaranteed programs sponsored by the MLA’s Committee on Information Technology.

A bewildering and ever-growing number of apps, programs, and software- or equipment-related shortcuts are available for the use of literature and languages academics. These technologies can help the scholar organize her research materials, connect with other academics, streamline her teaching, manage her calendar, or promote her work. But because of this proliferation, it is difficult for each scholar to investigate every new technology. This workshop, therefore, will share simple, real-life, low-cost, practical “hacks” that have truly worked. Examples might include applications for imaging and OCRing archival materials, creative methods for efficient grading, and accessible platforms for creating professional websites.

This workshop will be broken into two parts so that participants are exposed to a maximum number of new techniques. In this first part, there will be an hour of quick “lightning talks” in which each participant is allotted just a few minutes to explain their scholarly hack. Next, we will hold a series of ten-minute “breakout sessions” in which attendees choose a hack they were interested in during the lightning round. In each breakout session, attendees will watch a practical demonstration of the technique discussed in the lightning talk. In addition, during each breakout session, attendees will also have the chance to try out the software or equipment being recommended, as well as ask the presenter targeted follow-up questions.

To participate in this workshop and share your scholarly workflow with participants in this guaranteed session, fill out this GoogleForm by March 15, 2017. This form asks for name, affiliation, short biography (2-3 sentences), and the status of your MLA membership, then asks three questions:

  • In 100-200 words, what problem does your hack solve?

  • In 100-200 words, please describe the workflow of your hack, including the software or equipment it requires, the basic steps you take, and the resources required to use it (e.g., how much money, time, or other resources it takes, and how steep the learning curve is).

  • List the equipment you will need to give a demonstration of your hack. Will you be able to bring all of this to the conference yourself, or will you request the committee to supply equipment or other materials?

Priority will be given to hacks that use free and secure means solve ubiquitous problems that plague us in research and/or teaching. We welcome a range of all difficulty levels, from those that require little technological expertise to those that will benefit more experienced users. Direct any questions to Shawna Ross (shawnaross at tamu dot edu) or Beth Seltzer (eseltzer at gmail dot com); for Twitter contact, ping us at @ShawnaRoss or @beth_seltzer.

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