The DH 2014 Conference in Lausanne – A feedback

The most important conference in Digital Humanities has taken place last week (7-12 July) in Lausanne. Co-organised by Frédéric Kaplan for DHLAB (EPFL) and Claire Clivaz for LADHUL (UNIL), it happened on the Dorigny Campus, and hosted more than 700 participants–a record! Here is a short feedback from that experience.

During this week, I was part of the team of volunteers, and had the chance to be entrusted (along with welcoming people at the station or verifying video material in the auditoriums) of making a good use of the conference twitter account, together with my good old pal Martin Grandjean. Everything went smooth, and it has been a pleasure to read everybody’s tweet (in fact mostly those with the hashtag #DH2014, and mentions), to answer to some, and retweet or favourite others. After attending the DH 2013 conference in Lincoln, Nebraska, this time I’ve been able to see the other side of such a big conference! Hopefully, Kevin Baumer was taking care of all the logistics, but for the academic part, everybody among the organisers had to act.


And since in Digital Humanities we love so much to analyse our field itself and the community behind, trying to understand how far it spreads (see the conference poster), and who is involved, this post is at the meeting of both the tweeting task and the will to show what a DH conference looks like. Thus, here is the conference, based on the online activity of its attendees (not that conferences in other fields would look different, but we DHers are pretty effective with digital means), and viewed from all tweets (n1 = 8448) and retweets (n2 = 8455) posted (n = 16’903), 10 minutes by 10 minutes, from Monday to Saturday:

Click to enlarge.

This plot doesn’t take into account the content of the tweets (maybe in another post? maybe someone else?), but only their temporality: it is a simple overview of the program we’ve gone through during the week. On Monday and Tuesday, we recognise the workshop sessions, taking place during the preliminary time of the conference. On Wednesday, Thursday and Friday, we recognise the eight paper and panel sessions (3, 2 and 3 respectively). Finally, we can see the four keynotes, happening everyday from Tuesday to Friday, around 17h or 18h, and sometimes heavily followed from abroad thanks to the live stream. The poster session, on Thursday afternoon, was a more intense period of activity (in good ol’ real life), meaning that people didn’t find many opportunities to tweet about the posters. Saturday was the day of the excursions, with no more eduroam of conference wi-fi.

Now, Martin has released a post with a network analysis of this dataset. If you wanna get a glimpse of what was discussed and what these tweets contain, please have a look at the wonderful storifies made by the ADHO. The dataset itself will be released soon, but I am for sure not the only who has recorded them [update! see below].

The week of the conference, I made a talk I am proud of (thanks Mélanie Fournier for your help!), I received the best paper award from the Texas Digital Humanities Conference in Houston which took place in April, and we signed to rent a new (idyllic!) flat. As from now, it is time to go back to my normal work. I am going to bring the last corrections to my Ph.D. thesis, that I will defend in September, and before that take two weeks of “holidays”.

However, more important than all the rest, here is a new post in my blog, the first original and academical one for this year. I hope it means I’m back on tracks: discussing on this blog stuff I don’t understand, in order to understand it better.


Here is the dataset of tweets from Monday 0.01am until Saturday 23.59pm, CEST.

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