I did it! I certified as instructor trainer for the Carpentries!

Design by The Carpentries.
This is the personal certificate issued to Annika Rockenberger. All rights reserved.

During the first quarter of 2020, I was one of roughly a dozen successful applicants that got a spot on the Trainer Training that the Carpentries holds once per year and for 8 weeks my group and I worked through a packed syllabus. In addition to weekly discussions and learning how to get good at using Zoom as a teaching platform (before anyone else had to become a pro, too, thanks to COVID-19) as well as taking on different roles in an online discussion setting, we got to be observers of teaching demos and an online instructor training.

Even though the workload was heavy (I was taking the Creative Commons Certificate at the same time thanks to very ambitious scheduling…), being part of the Carpentries community is such a joy! There’s such an incredible niceness and kindness in this community: It really feels like home.

As a certified trainer I will host four teaching demos per year. Teaching demos are a mandatory part of the instructor training checkout process, which all of our aspiring Carpentries instructors have to do after their two-day training. It’s about showing that you can handle the lesson material, have gotten the core idea about how we teach in the Carpentries, and a really valuable opportunity to get feedback on your teaching and participatory live-coding.

I addition to hosting teaching demos, I have pledged to co-teach at least two online instructor training events per year. The Carpentries do the majority of their instructor training (i.e. where you learn how to teach Carpentry-style and get to know the community and the spirit of the Carpentries) online. There are always a fair number of open training events to which you can apply, but there are also quite a few training events that are held for applicants from member institutions. In addition to these online training events, some member institutions will host on-site training, too. I did mine at the EMBL in Heidelberg.

Lastly, I will also host two or more discussion sessions during the year. Discussions are a vital community part of the Carpentries: they are the place for instructors to talk about upcoming workshops they’re going to teach or do a short recap of past teaching experiences. Discussions can also be on specific topics – or put a region or local community in the focus. Participating in a discussion session is a mandatory part of the instructor checkout, too, but apart from the formalities, it is really where the global community of the Carpentries meets!

The thing is that all these events are online-events, and they are time-zone based. Which means that you get the chance to meet people you would otherwise probably never have met. Oslo being in UTC+1 means that you will likely be meeting people from all over the African continent. With many other academic events being incredibly Europe and Northern America centered, this is such a refreshing change. It not only means having the chance of discussing workshops or learning with each other, but it also means that we can teach each other – and together with each other!

In the spirit of Greg Wilson, founder of Software Carpentry and the Carpentries spiritus rector:

Be kind! All else is details.

Greg Wilson: Teaching Tech Together. https://teachtogether.tech/#the-rules

DHN – Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries – was supposed to have its 4th International Conference and Annual Members’ Meeting in beautiful Riga/Latvia in March 2020. Then COVID-19 happened and the conference was postponed to late October 2020 – and with it the Members’ Meeting and the announcement of the results of the Board election and the election of the officers of the Board.

Nevertheless, work for the Board did not stop – with very short notice, serious and long-sighted decisions had to be made in times of great uncertainty, stress, and worry. So, it was without the appropriate festive framing and severity that we said farewell to our retiring Vice-Chair and long-standing Board member Bente Mægaard who had substantially shaped DHN and chaired the DHN2019 conference in Copenhagen/Denmark last year. And it was under equally modest circumstances that we welcomed our new Board member, Costanza Navarretta, and to welcome our re-elected Board members Olga Holownia and Ditte Laursen for three more years. Due to Bente’s retirement, the office of Vice-Chair had become vacant and the election of officers by the Board members was to be held during a virtual meeting, too.

I have been on the Board of DHN since its foundation on April 23, 2015, in Oslo/Norway. I had been one of the small group of people who had been working on getting the first Nordic DH conference going and who came to the assumption that it would be good to have an association officially backing a conference of that scale and to serve as a meeting place for all the disparate Nordic digital humanities scholars and ‘alt-acs’.

During the 5 years of serving DHN, I have been serving as deputy treasurer, then as treasurer and helped consolidating DHN financially and in this capacity also helped organising the membership management. I have been the EADH AO Forum liason and served in this role for more than two years. I’ve been handling a plethora of tasks as a Board member of a young association, and boy has it been a ride!

Since Monday, May 4, 2020, I have been elected as Vice-Chair of DHN! It was not an easy decision for me. I had stepped in as a deputy treasurer in 2017 and when I was officially elected as Treasurer in 2018, I set out to sort out DHN’s financial obligations, the membership management, the intricacies of DHN’s membership affiliation with EADH and the day-to-day business of a medium-sized, international association that has to handle a budget. My aim was to tidy up the workflows of the treasurer business and the membership management, to document tasks, and establish good routines. Even though I think I succeeded, it still feels like there is a lot to do. It’s no easy task if you are an association dealing with international membership and lots of cross-border payments (exchange rate fluctuations…) and the challenges that come with DHN being officially registered in Sweden but the treasurer is a German citizen living permanently in Norway.

So, when I was asked if I would consider becoming Vice-Chair of DHN, I felt that while I was acknowledged for my many contributions to DHN throughout the years and offered more responsibilities but also more visibility, that I was abandoning the treasurer office without having achieved everything I set out to do. Objectively, that is not the case. However, human nature is such that the person who has been working on a task long enough often only sees all the tiny threads they were not able to gather instead of the sturdy rope they have been twisting. I’m happy to be handing over the treasurer task to fellow DHN Board member Veronika Laippala whom I trust completely in that she will be doing an awesome job handling DHN’s account and membership obligations.

With this being said: I am proud to be now the Vice-Chair of the association that I helped bringing into life. I will be continuing the former Vice-Chair’s work on the DHN constitution and together with the other Board members shape DHN’s strategy and its short and long-term objectives. DHN-members should not expect anything less from me than passion, dedication, and excellence in fulfilling the office of Vice-Chair. It is my pleasure!

Home office during Covid-19 set up in the guest room. CC-BY-ND 4.0

The room that I call ‘kontoret’ (‘the office’, in English) at home is actually the guest room. It has already a small desk and we attached one of the screens for the PC unit to the wall with a mounting, so it could work as well as an extra monitor as it could serve as a screen for watching something online. I also use this room to hide my remaining analog books, mostly language learning textbooks, and a few fiction titles in various languages.

The microphone is a leftover from when I was incapacitated during a long term illness and couldn’t type, write, or use a mouse or touchpad so I had to dictate all my writing. I had planned to sell it since I no longer had use for it, but forgot about it after the move. Lucky me!

I also have a good amount of office supplies. It’s a bit of a passion, actually, and something I’ve enjoyed since my teenage years. Yes: I like browsing for – and owning – office supplies. Beat that! So I was lucky again to have a good supply of pens, pencils, rulers, notebooks in all shapes and sizes, a hole puncher, a magnifying glass, reading support, post-its, and whatnot. I also have a fair amount of adapters, extenders, and power cables (even though I found myself lacking adapters for the work laptop…). So I’m pretty well set up for doing the home office in that regard.

We bought wireless noise-canceling headphones and a proper webcam for the remote teaching and meetings we are having (a lot of), so not too much stuff and it will have a use afterward…

However, it turns out that there’s a significant difference between using a desk a couple of hours per month, on occasion, for short periods of time and using it every day for a full day of work. It’s not adjustable, it’s not deep enough, and it has these protruding knobs on the inbuilt drawers that poke me quite uncomfortably. There’s generally little space since the room is dominated by a daybed (which is not used at the moment). It’s also pretty cold in the room since we removed the electric radiator to replace it with a nicer one – which obviously didn’t happen because the room is so seldomly used…

I found out, however, that running folding at home on the old gaming PC hidden behind the daybed creates so much heat that it works as a veritable radiator replacement!

I’ve considered buying a small printer so that I can print out stuff to read (I get very quickly very tired and strained from reading long texts on pdfs on the computer screen), but I really don’t want to have it clutter the apartment. So I’m considering getting an eReader with notebook functionality instead. Yet another device, but it might work better in the longer term and it is smaller.

It’s day 15 of the Covid-19 physical distancing measures here in Norway now, let’s see how things develop in the future. My partner and I need to share the little office, so one of us will sit in the living room instead, which works well enough for reading and working on the laptop. But the sitting position is even less ergonomic and the environment invites for procrastination. There’s nothing else to do than trying out how to work from home like this and make adjustments where and when possible.

I consider myself incredibly lucky living in where I live – if I get cabin fever, I have the woods right behind the house. Stay safe!

Mushroom hunting in Lillomarka, Norway. © Annika Rockenberger

Norway responded to the Covid-19 pandemic on March 11 with broad restrictions and preventive measures. On March 13, my employer, the University of Oslo was closed for all students and staff which is not necessary for safety and security. Everyone who does not serve a critical role in society is to work from home, and those who have been abroad from February 27 onwards, have to go into quarantine for at least 14 days. So: as of March 11, I have had ‘home office’ and as of March 12, I have been in quarantine at home.

Today, on Twitter, Remi van Trijp coined the neologism “procoronastinate”, meaning “Not being able to concentrate/work because of the coronavirus” in his tweet while sharing an article in the BBC’s Worklife section on “Why procrastination is about managing emotions, not time.” – Yes, this is exactly what has been happening to me. Even though I have an actual office/guest room at home, had brought my work laptop, have stable WiFi, a high-quality microphone, extra screen, and whatnot and no children, cats, or dogs to care for, I was not able to get anything done. My motivation was non-existent, I was feeling easily irritable and frustrated, not able to focus, let alone work! I am not afraid of contracting the Coronavirus, and I am not afraid of society breaking down. But I have never been in a remotely similar situation in my life, I have no experience to draw on, no frame for understanding what is going on.

Instead of working (or reading something), I found myself feverishly checking Twitter – my only Social Media platform – and the websites of the Norwegian Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Ministry of Health for up-to-date information about what is going on, what to expect, what I am allowed and not allowed to do. I hit the refresh button in the browser constantly, checked emails, messenger apps. There was no panic, no drama, no one in my family and friend circles who is immediately threatened, but I could not let go.

Since then, a couple of days have passed, and I am slowly, very slowly, settling into the new situation. I’ve had a remote meeting with my colleagues from work, I’ve set up a couple of remote meetings with the StudyGroup I am part of, and I am looking forward to joining a webinar and a virtual Stammtisch in the next few days. I have also started doing “office-stuff”, nothing big or important, but some Zotero maintenance, replying to emails, cleaning up my Desktop and Downloads folders, etc. Small things, but it felt good to get something done, small accomplishments, progress.

This is only Day 7 of the Covid-19 restrictions, and it might be weeks, or even months of mainly doing work from home, remotely, and with reduced physical contact with friends and colleagues, going out and being around people. I want to try taking care of myself: taking it a day at a time, doing what I feel like doing, rather than trying to get as much as possible done. Let’s see how this will turn out. I am optimistic: All will be well, eventually.

See you all on the other side! Stay safe and #stayhome!

Yesterday, I gave an introductory lecture on Digital Humanities to master students of history at the University of Oslo. I thought it would help to show how and when going digital could be useful by telling them about how I came to embrace DH from being a very traditional book history student. So I went back to my masters thesis project, a study on the first print run of the famous “Narrenschiff” (Ship of Fools), by Sebastian Brant, printed in 1494 in Basel for the first time.

While doing some browsing of images of said print, I found out that the Berlin copy (I used this copy of the 1494 print run mostly), had been digitized and made available open access by the Staatsbibliothek zu Berlin Stiftung Preußischer Kulturbesitz. It included not only the full-color digital reproduction of the entire book (incl. the bookbinding and the Exlibris of former owners), it also included the IIIF-manifest and a link to the Mirador Viewer running on the SBB-PK servers.

I became really curious and checked out whether other libraries which held copies of the 1494 print had also digitized it, and yes: Basel, Heidelberg, and Darmstadt had – and to my surprise, the Library of Congress, Washington D.C. had digitized their copy, too! All of them also provided digitization with an IIIF-manifest. Awesome!

Today, I had the following idea which I shared on Twitter: (Since I cannot integrate Twitter-feeds into this website anymore, here’s the content of my tweets – or check them out on Twitter).

It’s a challenge that I put out there:

Reproduce (the Empirical Part of) My Study!

/1 I want to put a challenge out there (this is a primer, I have to flesh the thing out a bit): I want (someone) to reproduce the empirical part of my study on the 1494 print of the Ship of Fools.

/2 The study can be found here: https://peterlang.com/view/title/13048…, I will make it #openaccess but I have to negotiate with the publisher first. In the meantime, drop me a line if you want the pdf.Produktion und Drucküberlieferung der editio princeps von Sebastian Brants «Narrenschiff» (Basel…peterlang.com

/3 Now, many of the 12 surviving copies of the 1st edition of this famous print are digitized and accessible, which makes it significantly easier to compare the copies. I had to this manually, with no two copies in the same place.

/4 And for most copies, I had to rely on the old printed version of the Gesamtkatalog der Wiegendrucke, where *some* of the differences between the copies of the 1st edition had been recorded; this also had been done manually (more than 100yrs ago).

/5 I think this #ReproducibilityTest could be done in the form of a BA or even an MA-thesis: Digital humanities, book history, print history – something like that.

/6 I will put ALL materials for this project online (I have started here: https://github.com/arockenberger/Narrenschiff…). I will also investigate if my alma mater @FU_Berlin can make a digital copy of my Magisterarbeit available open access.arockenberger/NarrenschiffMaterials for my finished project on the early German Ship of Fools prints – arockenberger/Narrenschiffgithub.com

/7 What do you think?

The first Digital Humanities event of the year was the annual conference of the Italian Association for Digital Humanities, AIUCD. Held in Milan/Italy from January 15–17, 2020. The website of the conference (in Italian) has information about the event via this link: http://www.aiucd.it/convegno-annuale/.

January 2020 started fresh off with the call for hosts for the 2022 conference of DHN – Digital Humanities in the Nordic Countries. Previous conferences have been in Oslo, Gothenburg, Helsinki, and Copenhagen. This year’s conference will be in Riga and next year DHN is back in Sweden with its annual conference – in Uppsala. DHN makes an effort to host the annual conference and members meeting in a different country of the Nordic and Baltic region each year, we are thus especially looking for hosts from Iceland, Faroe Islands, Estonia, Lithuania, or Norway, since it’s been quite some time since DHN has had its inaugural conference in 2016 in Oslo.

The annual conference of the German-speaking Digital Humanities, DHd, will this year be held in Paderborn/Germany, from March 2–6, 2020. The title is “Spielräume” – a wordplay somewhere between “leeway”, “clearance”, and “playroom”. The full program can be accessed via this link https://dhd2020.de/programm/.

The francophone Association for Digital Humanities, Humanistica (L’association francophone des humanités numériques/digitales), will have its annual event from May 12–14, 2020 in Bordeaux/France. The program has not yet been published, but will be available via the conference website here: https://humanistica2020.sciencesconf.org/.

The DARIAH.eu annual event will be in Zagreb/Croatia from May 26–29, 2020. This year’s topic is “Scholarly Primitives” (a term coined by John Unsworth some 20 years ago). DARIAH annual events are less of a conference and more of a networking event, workshops, and working group meetings. Info about the event can be found via this link: https://dariah-ae-2020.sciencesconf.org/.

DH Benelux, the association of digital humanities in Belgium, The Netherlands, and Luxemburg will be held in Leiden/The Netherlands from June 3–5, 2020. The call for papers is out and can be accessed via this link: http://2020.dhbenelux.org/2020/01/10/call-for-papers-dh-benelux-2020-3-5-june-leiden/. DH Benelux 2020 explicitly calls for contributions from the humanities and the social sciences.

The largest annual conference, the International DH Conference organized by ADHO (Alliance of Digital Humanities Organisations) will take place in Ottawa/Canada from July 20–25, 2020. It’s going to be at least a bilingual event (English and French), but contributions in Spanish and German are to be expected, too. Even though “The DH” is my least favorite DH event, it is likely to be the one where you meet the greatest variety and full diversity of the field, with a truly international perspective. Find all information about DH2020 on their website via this link: https://dh2020.adho.org/.

In November last year, the European Association for Digital Humanities announced that its 2nd international congress will be held in Krasnoyarsk/Russia. The call for papers for this event has not yet been published, but it is confirmed that it will be held from September 23–25, 2020. The topic is “Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Data”, the host is the Siberian Federal University which has a strong DH research community, the event is co-organized by DH Russia. Languages will hopefully be English AND Russian! For more information about the congress, check the website via this link: https://eadh2020.org/.

It seems to be popular to list achievements and major events of the 2010s this time of the year (especially on Twitter…), but I have so far refrained from doing so. Partly because they often come across as somewhat braggy, partly because they mix private and professional (aka more public-suitable) achievements, which I don’t want to do. I’m still feeling unsure about the function of such a list – as a public item, not as a personal log – but anyways, here it goes:

  • 2010: Finished my Magister Artium degree with Honours and published my first book
  • 2011: Taught my first Masterclass (on Digital Editions)
  • 2012: Got accepted into the Ph.D. program at the University of Oslo (and moved countries)
  • 2013: Received a Digital Humanities Fellowship at the Herzog-August-Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel
  • 2014+2015: Got sick and later diagnosed with a rare autoimmune disease followed by a long-term sick leave.
  • 2016: Picked up Ph.D. dissertation again
  • 2017: Handed in my Ph.D. thesis
  • 2018: Passed my Ph.D. defense, taught another masterclass and got my first “real” job after graduating (at the National Library of Norway as Research Librarian). Also: appendicitis and burnout.
  • 2019: Resigned and accepted a new job offer (at the University of Oslo Library as Research Data Management Advisor)

I am still most proud and most fond of my master’s project on the Ship of Fools – and I think it is mostly because the time was untainted by health issues and other troubling life events (there were quite a few later which I didn’t list because of their private nature). I can now say that I am glad for the opportunity the Ph.D. program in Norway gave me: moving to a different country, learning another language and mastering it, and most of all: being independent. But where the journey will lead me, that I don’t know.

It’s mid-December, 2019 is almost done. This year, I have been supporting the following organizations with donations. Perhaps you want to donate something, too?

5.000 NOK to gieffektivt.no, the official donation portal of the Norwegian chapter of Effective Altruism. Check out EffektivAltruisme and consider giving!

208 NOK to the Wikimedia Foundation. I use Wikipedia almost on a daily basis and I am very appreciative of the work done here. I also love WikiData. Consider giving, you too!

25 USD to the Tor Project. Tor is awesome! Download the Tor Browser and protect your and others’ anonymity online. Consider supporting the Tor Project.

25 USD to the Internet Archive. I use their WaybackMachine for every link that I want to add to my Zotero libraries, to any article or blog post I write. Link rot is a big problem, and the Internet Archive helps to keep the knowledge of the W3 accessible. Consider donating to them!

2019 isn’t over yet – let’s see if I can make even more donations – and perhaps inspire someone else to give well! If you want to know what charities out there most effectively use your donations to save and improve lives, please check the GiveWell website.

30. October 2019 · Comments Off on Norwegian Correspondences (NorKorr) · Categories: General · Tags: ,

I am working on a longer blog post about a project I created in 2018 about Norwegian Correspondences (NorKorr), linking the collections of letters and other correspondence materials in Norwegian cultural heritage institutions and other institutions that archive and curate such materials by making use of the CorrespSearch framework.

In the meantime, you may take a look at the paper “Norwegian Correspondences and Linked Open Data” that was published in the DHN2019 conference proceedings. You may also want to check out the GitHub repository for NorKorr and read about project-related activities on the NorKorr website.