NERtwork is Released!

July 22, 2020

I’m excited to announce that I’m formally releasing NERtwork, a Shell and Python script-enabled workflow that takes a directory of plain text files and constructs a network of co-occurring named entities (people, locations, organizations) within that collection. The name is a horrible pun, and I will not be apoligizing for it.

The Path of Most Resistance: Embracing ‘Messy’ Humanities Data and Unpolished Projects

July 03, 2020

This is a minimally edited transcript of a talk I gave for the DHRI South Bend Speaker Series at Hesburgh Libraries at the University of Notre Dame on February 19,2019. Thank you to Sarah Noonan (Saint Mary’s College) and Daniel Johnson (University of Notre Dame) for the invitation and the opportunity to meet the fantastic folks at Saint Mary’s and Notre Dame.

Critical Data Literacy in the Humanities Classroom

August 13, 2018

This is a lightly edited and slightly expanded version of my presentation of the same name at DH 2018 in Mexico City.

Yes We Can. But Should We? (Cultural Heritage Edition)

June 24, 2014

Over the last few days, a post entitled “Yes We Can. But Should We? The unintended consequences of the maker movement” has been circulating around my own filter bubble. I’d recommend reading it - it’s a nice critique of the disruption mythology as it surrounds the maker (and specifically the 3D printer) movement - but it actually has little to do with my interests here.

'Harvesting' Community Knowledges: Crowdsourcing and Community Representation

March 21, 2014

I presented this paper at the James A. Rawley Annual Conference in the Humanities on March 15, 2014 in Lincoln, Nebraska. Disclaimer: I worked as project manager for History Harvest for over a year, and was involved in two of the History Harvest events (I participated in my third after this presentation). I want to clarify that I am no longer officially associated with the project, and I do not speak on its behalf, nor on the behalf of the UNL History Dept. The slides for this talk are also available.

Building "The Military-Masculinity Complex"

November 22, 2013

In my last post I discussed the conceptual framework behind the design of my History MA thesis. In this post, I’ll describe the workflow I ended up using as I completed the project. This workflow changed quite often, and ended up being more complicated than I would have liked. My development environment was largely dictated by a requirement that had little to do with my actual project. The Graduate College required a PDF of my thesis for submission to DigitalCommons, and this (meticulously formatted) PDF was essential to the granting of my degree. So, I had to write my thesis in such a way that I could quickly and easily flip my web project into a viable PDF which would (unfortunately) be accessed by interested scholars alongside my project.

Conceptualizing "The Military-Masculinity Complex"

November 04, 2013

Now that I’ve had a bit of time to get settled in to my new program and think about things that aren’t my thesis, I feel comfortable reflecting on the project and my process a bit. The structure and scope of my project were the result of a long tug-of-war between conceptual experimentation and pragmatism. First, here’s a bit from my ‘About’ page explaining my goals for the project.


October 25, 2013

Over the summer, when the aptly titled “#AHAGate” controversy broke out, I considered writing a post about Open Access publishing and embargoes. I never got around to putting my thoughts to words, however, as I was busy finishing up several projects and packing up my things. After sitting back and reading for a few days, I felt as though the community had spoken with resounding disdain for the statement, and had said most everything that needed to be said.[1] I began to revisit the topic when a number of students spoke against the use of Creative Commons licensing and Open Access scholarship in the Humanities in a recent class discussion. They echoed many of the same troubling (to me, at least) sentiments that informed the AHA statement, those which resigned all ownership and control of scholarship to publishers. The conversation reminded me that I had developed a filter where I only encountered people who I agreed with. All of the Open Access Week events here have encouraged me to revisit #AHAGate a bit, and put some of my thoughts down.

An Update

September 06, 2013

I’m finally returning to blogging after a bit of an absence, but this time I return from a new location with new credentials. This summer was unbelievably hectic - full of anxiety, excitement, and more coffee than any person should ever consume. Through May and early June, my plans for the Fall remained up in the air as I searched for employment and funding for further education. Things finally came through for me in mid-June (more on that in a minute), and I was able to fully focus on my MA thesis again. My defense came soon after – I successfully defended my thesis just in time for DH 2013, which was conveniently located six blocks down the street from my apartment. I was able to enjoy the conference and meet some amazing scholars despite my need to continually shuffle away and anxiously finish my edits and fix some pesky javascript errors. Once the conference ended, I was still reeling from the shock of being done and not having writing guilt hanging over my head. I had three and a half weeks to sit back and relax for the first time in years. Oh, and reorganize myself, pack up everything, and move to a new city and program. In mid-June I was offered a pre-professional graduate assistantship with Grainger Engineering Library at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. It was a fantastic opportunity for me to gain experience in academic libraries while attending the top-ranked Graduate School of Library and Information Science at Illinois. I’m currently leaning towards a Data Curation specialization with a focus on Digital Humanities. I’ve also been fortunate enough to be able to continue my DH work on Emblematica Online! I’m now finishing up my third week in Champaign, and I couldn’t imagine a better group of people to work with. I’m hoping to post here more regularly than in the past, but it has taken me three weeks to put together this blog post, so I suppose I should temper my expectations. In the meantime, here is some valuable information I’ve recently learned:

If this is a monument to the past, why is there a line to use the computers?

April 25, 2013

I recently came across a statement from a Lincoln (Nebraska) City Council candidate who, in my opinion, completely missed the public library’s role in society. I’m not writing this to attack him or politicize his statement, but rather to address a common misconception of what libraries are, and what services they provide to the community. These same sentiments arose in the past year when the city discussed the future of Bennett Martin, Lincoln’s downtown library. Here is the relevant passage from Nebraska Watchdog:

Alt Academy Professionalizing Unconventional Academic Careers

September 07, 2012

I wrote the following review in the Spring of 2012 as part of my ‘Internship in the Digital Humanities’ graduate course at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. My classmates and I have other blog posts and reviews located on the class blog, DH Internship @ UNL. — BL

Pursuing a Hypertextual Argument with 'No Reservations'

August 28, 2012

Over the last few weeks, I’ve been thinking a lot about how, exactly, I want to arrange the navigation of my digital MA thesis. I’m creating a digital project that examines the depictions of masculinity and gender in a corpus of media created by the US military. I feel as though a digital medium is the best medium for this project because it allows me to fully integrate the media (movies, posters, comics, and potentially radio presentations) in their complete form. Because my analysis of the visual aspects of these pieces drives my project, I want these sources to be central to the reader, and fully integrated within my argument. I’ve given a lot of thought to the kind of navigational structure that allows for a clear and cohesive argument, while also taking advantage of the free navigation and hypertextual benefits the web facilitates.

About this blog

August 27, 2012

I’m a graduate student at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, studying 20th century American History, Digital Humanities, and Women and Gender Studies. My MA thesis (in progress) examines depictions of masculinity in movies, comic books, and manuals produced by the US military from 1940-1963.

After lots of encouragement from Brian SarnackiJason Heppler, and Dan Cohen, (via this post), I realized I have waited far too long to put together a blog. I will be posting some reviews and papers from my coursework, as well as some thoughts on my fields of interest and my MA thesis. I’ve really been enthused by the amount of feedback some  of my colleagues have received, so some of my posts may read as much like a question in a forum as they do a blog post.