Omohundro Institute of Early American History & Culture

Leading Early American Scholarship Since 1943

THis Camp

Thanks to the Lapidus Initiative, the OI has a new resource for Early Americanists interested in digital humanities projects: THis Camp. The first camp took place on Thursday, October 15, just before the start of the “Emerging Histories of the Early Modern French Atlantic” conference.

A response to the popular THAT Camp meetings in which humanities scholars get together to teach each other useful software packages for academic research and presentation, THis Camp teaches software of special use for historical research and, moreover, does so at a Beginner’s level. Participants in THis Camp workshops do not need to have any advanced or specialized technical knowledge, but can learn enough to begin using the resource immediately.

At the 22nd annual OI conference in Worcester, Massachusetts, June 23–26, 2016, two THis Camps took place over lunch on Friday, June 24.

  • Megan Brett of George Mason University led a beginner’s session in Omeka, the popular online software that lets you build and curate a digital exhibit. Megan reports, “The Omeka workshop had a lively crowd of graduate students, faculty members, and independent scholars, whose interests ranged from simple curiosity in the project to classroom use to plans for a specific research project. After a guided tour of the basics of the administrative side of Omeka, participants signed up for a basic account on ( and added the first item to their site. The group then discussed some of the nitty gritty of exhibit building, creating custom item types, and the always thorny questions of copy and image rights and fair use. We look forward to seeing the new Omeka sites that workshop participants will build!”
  • Elizabeth Hopwood of Northeastern University led an advanced beginner’s session in TEI mark up language, a protocol used for the digital encoding of scholarly texts. Elizabeth says, “This workshop moved through the “what” and “why?” of using TEI for scholarly and research projects, including a particularly robust conversation about the challenges of balancing the needs and goals of a project with the almost-limitless possibilities that the TEI markup provides. We looked closely at the Guidelines and discussed the syntax of TEI and some commonly used tags. Finally, participants practiced encoding a short snippet of text using oXygen, and took away with them resources to continue transcribing, encoding, and publishing their markup.”

The October 2015 camp was taught by University of Virginia professor Max Edelson, co-creator of the popular online resource Map Scholar program. At the end of the session, participants were be able to create a basic digital atlas and annotate maps.