Data Literacy: Ein 21st Century Skill (nicht nur) für Mediävist*innen

Cite as: Ulrike Wuttke, Data Literacy: Ein 21st Century Skill (nicht nur) für Mediävist*innen, Blogpost, 17.06.2022, CC-BY 4.0 https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/deed.de. Link: https://ulrikewuttke.wordpress.com/?p=2010

Anfang des Jahres flatterte eine sehr nette Anfrage in meinen Briefkasten: Ob ich einen Vortrag über die Chancen und Herausforderungen der alltäglichen Arbeit mit DH-Methoden im Rahmen einer Vortragsreihe des Studierendenprojekts “Alte Bibliotheken – Neue Perspektiven” an der FernUniversität in Hagen halten würde (das Projekt ist finanziert aus dem Stifterverband Digital Changemaker-Accelerator-Call)? Da konnte ich schlecht nein sagen, auch wenn mein Semester immer sehr voll ist. In der Vortragsreihe sollten Expert*innen Fragen mit den Studierenden diskutieren, wie: Muss ich unbedingt programmieren lernen? Warum ist das wichtig? Was sind die Vorteile von Methoden der Digital Humanities? Welche Herausforderungen stellen sich? (ein wenig dazu in dem Blogpost Als Studierende unterwegs im digitalen Zeitalter des studentischen Teams). Ziel war es, dass ich einen Impulsvortrag gebe und es dann eine Fragerunde gibt. Ein Blogartikel vom Projektteam soll die Veranstaltung zusammenfassen.

Ich schlug den Veranstalter*innen als Titel “Daten, Daten, Daten?! Data Literacy als 21st Century Skill für Mediävist*innen” vor, da es inzwischen deutlich geworden war, dass es sich bei den Zuhörer*innen der Vortragsreihe insbesondere um Historiker*innen, vor allem Mediävist*innen, handeln würde, die sich sehr für digitale Methoden interessieren und andere für selbige interessieren wollen.

Abbildung: Screenshot von Preview von Wuttke, Ulrike. (2022, June 16). Daten, Daten, Daten?! Data Literacy als 21st Century Skill für Mediävist*innen. Zenodo. https://doi.org/10.5281/zenodo.6652003

Für eine Fernuni typisch (und so mitten in der inzwischen fast wieder nur präsentischen Hochschullehre fast ein wenig ungewohnt) fand mein Vortrag dann am 15.06.2022 komplett auf Zoom statt. Das ist natürlich recht praktisch, aber auch schade, denn ich war noch nie in Hagen, dennoch war die Gruppe außerordentlich interaktiv. Und das digitale Format hat auch seine eigenen Herausforderungen. Diesmal klingelte nach der sehr kompetenten Anmoderation mein Festnetztelefon (!), das sonst nie klingelt, weil nur 3 Personen die Nummer haben… Zum Glück trugen es alle mit Fassung und konnte ich mich danach ganz darauf konzentrieren, in ca. 30 Minuten zunächst die Begriffe Daten und Data Literacy problemorientiert aus geisteswissenschaftlicher und informationswissenschaftlicher Sicht zu diskutieren und abschließend Impulse zu Chancen und Herausforderungen interdisziplinärer datenorientierter Forschungsansätze in den Digital Humanities und daraus folgende Implikationen für das Studium und sogenanntes life long learning zu geben. 

Mein programmatischer Titel “Daten, Daten, Daten?! Data Literacy als 21st Century Skill für Mediävist*innen” nahm natürlich schon vorweg, dass ich Data Literacy für sehr wichtig halte. Im Mittelpunkt des Vortrags standen dann auch Metareflexionen zum Datenbegriff und zum Begriff Data Literacy. Ausgehend von der Konkretisierung der Frage, welche Veränderungen die sogenannte Datafizierung der Geisteswissenschaften mit sich bringt, betrachtete ich die Data-Literacy-Definition der Data-Literacy-Charta des Stifterverbands sowie die darin avisierten Kompetenzbereiche und Kompetenzdimensionen. 

„Data literacy ist eine grundlegende Kompetenz, um in der digitalen Welt in Wissenschaft, Arbeitswelt und Gesellschaft bestehen und teilhaben zu können. Data literacy ist die Fähigkeit, planvoll mit Daten umzugehen und sie im jeweiligen Kontext bewusst einsetzen und hinterfragen zu können. Dazu gehört: Daten zu erfassen, erkunden, managen, kuratieren, analysieren, visualisieren, interpretieren, kontextualisieren, beurteilen und anzuwenden. Data literacy gestaltet die Digitalisierung und die globale Wissensgesellschaft in allen Sektoren und Disziplinen. Gleichzeitig müssen Hochschulabsolvierende aller Fächer über fachspezifische Datenkompetenzen für die Wissenschaft und für die Arbeitswelt verfügen.” Quelle: Data-Literacy-Charta des Stifterverbands  

Bezüglich der Data-Literacy-Kompetenzbereiche und -Kompetenzdimensionen stellte ich zur Diskussion, dass es spannend ist festzuhalten, dass es nicht nur um praktische “Skills” geht, sondern auch um Werthaltungen (“Values”). Angesichts der Anforderung strukturiert und qualitätsvoll mit Daten umzugehen, stehen nicht nur programmatische skills zentral, sondern z. B. auch ethische Aspekte und grundlegende Kenntnisse des Forschungsdatenmanagements, insbesondere ein geschärftes Problembewusstsein. Diese Anforderung besteht selbstverständlich nicht nur für (angehende) Mediävist*innen, sondern weit darüber hinaus. Zum Abschluss schnitt ich den Themenbereich Digital Humanities & Interdisziplinarität an. Diesbezüglich war es mir wichtig, noch einmal zu betonen, dass Data Literacy einerseits eine wichtige Basis für interdisziplinäres Arbeiten im Kontext datengetriebener Forschungsansätze ist, weil sie zum gegenseitigen Verständnis beiträgt, aber auch heutzutage zum allgemeinen Rüstzeug gehören sollte, um datengetriebene Forschungsansätze besser zu verstehen und bewerten bzw. verwerten zu können.   

Die Folien zu meinem Vortrag mit Links zu Quellen, Beispielen aus den mediävistischen Digital Humanities sowie eine Sammlung von Anregungen für Unterstützung, Netzwerke und Selbstlernressourcen finden sich hier: 

Ich bin gespannt, wie das studentische Team den Vortrag und die Diskussion in seinem Blogartikel reflektieren wird und werde diesen selbstverständlich dann hier verlinken.

If you build it, will they come? Humanistic research with digital GLAM collections, corpora, and editions

Introduction

Cite as: Ulrike Wuttke, If you built it, will they come? Humanistic research with digital GLAM collections, corpora, and editions, blog post, 01.11.2021, CC BY 4.0, Link: https://ulrikewuttke.wordpress.com/2021/10/31/if-you-build-it-will-they-come/

This blog post has lingered around as a skeleton in my closet since 2019. Only recently the vDHd workshop “Wissenchaftsbloggen experimentell” inspired me to finalize it and sent it out into the world. I hope you enjoy reading it. 

Timinilya, Лежка моржей на острове Нортбрук, CC BY-SA 4.0

“Ulrike, why don’t you write something about how the use of digital collections, digital corpora, digital editions has led humanities research to new insights? Something like “Showcases DH” that librarians and other GLAM-professionals can use to justify and underline the importance of digital activities.” This request sprung from a lively discussion with Katarzyna Slaska, Deputy Director of the University of Warsaw Library, during ILIDE 2019. I found it intriguing that something like this was considered necessary, especially as Katerzyna’s request was also not so much concerned with what to digitize and how, e. g. levels of digitization and accessibility , requirements for FAIR data or conceptual shifts and challenges regarding digital collections, topics I am often concerned with in my research and training activities, but bluntly speaking, with “success stories”. 

The first thing that came to my mind when I started to write this blog post was that my PHd-research would not have been possible without the numerous digitized catalogues and materials concerning medieval (Dutch) eschatology and prophecy. Even though only a fragment of the relevant materials was available online, it saved me a lot of time and money. As I mainly used the digital materials for deep reading or qualitative analysis, just as I would have used analogue materials, this kind of use neither did take full advantage of the possibilities of their digitality nor justifies calling it “a showcase DH”. So tapped into the wisdom of the Twitter crowd and asked my fellow tweeps for more (advanced) uses. 

In the remainder of this blog post, I will reflect on some of the responses that I got (thanks to everybody!) and that I tried to categorize. You can check all the answers starting from my tweet.

Creative Engagement and the wisdom of the crowd (Twitter and Co.) 

@SLevelt pointed me to examples of the use of Twitter and other social media by Early Modern Studies to create multimodal knowledge ecosystems and communities of readers and learning around digitized materials. One example he provided is the hashtag #MarginaliaMonday started by Annotated Books Online which scholars and non-scholars use to share and discuss images of marginalia. He discusses this and other inspiring examples in his chapter “Early Modern Marginalia and #earlymoderntwitter” in the collection Early Modern English Marginalia (ed. by Katherina Acheson, 2019). He also recommended diving into the section on Labor and Play in the collection Disrupting the Digital Humanities (ed. by Dorothy Kim and Jesse Stommel, 2018).

Digitisation as driver for epistemic change

@SLevelt also commented that digitization can be the driver of transformation for whole fields as notably evident from Katherine Acheson’s introduction to the collection Early Modern English Marginalia (ed. Katherina Acheson, 2019), that discusses how digitization has laid the basis for the material turn in this field of study. Even though one would probably not first think of ‘digital’ materials when hearing ‘material’ turn, the underlying driver is very likely the wide availability of materials to inspect from one’s desk (top). 

Digital Collections as Data Source 

@CoKLdb pointed out that the project (Corpus Kalendarium: a relational database of calendars from Book of Hours) would have been impossible without the use of digital collections. The only feasible possibility to collect enough data was being able to collect data from digitized manuscripts remotely. @KathyAcheson stated “EEBO changed my life” as it was very valuable for her quantitative research into visual features of Early modern print (EEBO = Early English Books Online). 

@magistraetmater highlighted the praise of Michael McCormick in his book Origins of European Economy: Communications and Commerce AD 300-900 (2002) of his searches in the Patrologia Latina. @b_hawk reported that he used digital collections etc. for the networks in his 2018 book Preaching Apocrypha in Anglo-Saxon England (and writing about it in his blog). @violawiegand reported that online corpora of 19th century fiction are central to the projects CLiC and GLARE that allow to identify patterns across novels and systematically compare fictional speech vs. narration and other digital analysis and are used to let students discover new ways of reading. Digital Humanists (and others) often have special requirements on the digital data provided by GLAM institutions that need to be taken into account. Check out the Impressio Project recommended by @EstelleSzmidt that works on this topic in the field of digitised newspaper archives. @mrchristian99 drew my attention to the work of Daniel Pett at Fitzwilliam Museum who is concerned with 3D data and visuals and especially open practices in this field.

Video Daniel Pett — Democratic museum interventions: applied digital methods–you can do this too (ca. 1h)

@dbrgeo recommended the 2012 CLIR report One Culture: Computational Research in the Humanities and Social Sciences. @fkraeutli analysed digital collections through timeline visualizations and gained insights that are of interest to digital humanists and GLAM professionals alike (read more about his findings here).  

Reflection: Pain Points and Lessons learned

Pain Point #1: The use of digitized materials is often invisible in the scholarly record. Scholars – even though they are using increasingly digital materials and resources – often seem to be reluctant to cite them. It is not so easy to explain this reluctance. One reason may be that they are afraid of broken links or that it is generally perceived as rather troublesome and editors don’t like it, but there seem to be also epistemic considerations that fuel this unwillingness, especially the greater perceived value of analogue resources. This phenomenon has a negative impact on actors who put effort in bringing these materials online, as Andrew Newman puts it based on findings from Jonathan Blany and Judith Siefring: “the broad pretense that we are using physical books instead of electronic ones drastically underrepresents the impact of e-resources and may have negative consequences for both subscription-based  services and open-access initiatives” [to learn more about this phenomenon and how to overcome it, see for example the post by Andrew Newman that contains this quote and the chapter by Lisa Spiro and Jane Segal in the collection by Amy E. Earhart and Adrew Jewell]. Lesson learned for Scholars: If you like it, cite it!Lesson learned for GLAM-institutions: Make citing as easy as possible, e.g. by providing the necessary information, if possible PID’s. etc.! 

Pain Point #2: Digital resources are often nice to look at, but not fit for computational use. The conception of digital collections etc. and the digitalisation of materials should anticipate scholarly uses (cf. Klaffki, Schmunk, Stäcker 2018). The latter more and more include computational use (Digital Humanities,  mining, data and network visualization), yet “cultural heritage institutions have rarely built digital collections or designed access with the aim to support computational use” (Santa Barbara Statement on Collections as Data). Lesson learned for GLAM-institutions: Go the extra mile in digitisation and aim at datafication (also ask digital scholars about their needs, these discussions may spark vivid networks around your digital collections)! 

Pain Point #3: The licencing practice of digitized materials is often too restrictive to fuel digital humanities (and other) reuse. Materials without open licences are nice to look at online. But if one cannot use them on websites, blog posts, digital editions, databases, apps etc. they are not of much use for digital research. So, while we are at it: Have a look at this chart to identify truly open licences from the CC-family. Last but not least: Even though digital humanists like to have “ready at hand” machine readable data, if digitization resources are limited, they are also happy to work with what you can provide and enhance it further. Non-restrictive reuse-rights are the key. Lesson learned for GLAM-institutions: Make your materials available under a liberal open licence to facilitate reuse! 

I hope this blog post highlights interesting examples of the uses of digitized materials and therefore is of use to GLAM-professionals in justifying and planning digitization efforts. I hope it also inspires (aspiring) digital humanists. You are welcome to add more examples in the comments! 

Examples of collections of digital collections, editions, etc.: 

“DH ist kein Ponyhof”: Erfahrungen vom Super-Experiment #twitter101dh bei der vDHd2021

Zitierempfehlung: Ulrike Wuttke, “DH ist kein Ponyhof”: Erfahrungen vom Super-Experiment #twitter101dh bei der vDHd2021, Blogpost, 12.04.2021, CC BY 4.0, Link: https://ulrikewuttke.wordpress.com/2021/04/10/dh-ist-kein-ponyhof/

Die erste Eventwoche der vDHD2021 ist vorbei und damit auch die vier Datensalons von des “#twitter101dh: Superexperiment zu Twitter, Bibliotheken und COVID-19”. In diesem Blogpost möchte ich ein wenig über unsere Erfahrungen berichten.

In der Einreichung und Ankündigung des Super-Experiments haben wir, d. h. das Organisationsteam (Daniel Brenn, Lisa Kolodzi, Mareike König und ich) von einem “Twitter-Labor” gesprochen, in dem wir verschiedene Experimente rund um Twitterdaten durchführen wollen. Im Mittelpunkt sollte eine ergebnisoffene Auseinandersetzung mit den Möglichkeiten der Analyse von Twitterdaten sowie die ersten Schritte der praktischen Durchführung stehen, ganz im Sinne des Mottos der vDHD2021 “Experimente”.

Wir waren sehr froh, dafür mit Paul Ramisch und Sophie Schneider zwei erfahrene Tool- und Datenbuddies gewonnen zu haben, die uns auf unserem Weg begleiten wollten. Außerdem hatten wir über Twitter noch weitere Teilnehmer*innen gesucht, eine kleine Webseite mit Github-Repo und einen Discord-Kanal für die Kommunikation erstellt und so konnte das Experiment losgehen.

In insgesamt vier Datensalons widmeten wir uns unterschiedlichen Aspekten der Analyse von Twitterdaten, vom Tweet-Scraping und ersten Analysen mit R (1. Datensalon mit Paul Ramisch), über die Entwicklung von Forschungsfragen (2. Datensalon mit Mareike König), bis zur Netzwerkanalyse mit Gephi (3. Datensalon mit Sophie Schneider). Für die ersten Schritte mit R und Gephi haben Paul Ramisch und Sophie Schneider jeweils fantastische Tutorials und Ressourcen zur Verfügung gestellt, die über die Webseite zur Nachnutzung zur Verfügung stehen. Danke!

Wir hatten uns als Fokus die Analyse von Twitterdaten zum Thema COVID-19 und Bibliotheken genommen, um anhand dieses Use Cases das Werkzeug für die selbstständige Analyse von Twitterdaten zu lernen. Was haben wir nun in den vier Datensalons gelernt? Darüber haben wir sehr ausführlich im 4. Datensalon reflektiert. Hier kann ich natürlich nur für mich sprechen, aber denke, dass es einigen der Teilnehmer*innen durchaus ähnlich gegangen ist, wie die Diskussion zeigte.

Zunächst war es eine tolle Erfahrung zusammen mit dieser Gruppe zu experimentieren und unseren beiden Daten- und Toolbuddies Fragen zu praktischen und theoretischen Aspekten zu stellen. Denn gerade das Erlernen des Umgangs mit Tools hat eine hohe Lernkurve und manche kleine Probleme stellen Newbies vor große Herausforderungen. Dabei ging es nicht nur um praktische Hürden, wie z. B. die komische Fehlermeldung in RStudio, die ich erst beheben konnte, nachdem ich eine Weile gegoogelt habe (denn Paul sagte: beim Coden ist Google unser bester Freund), es stellte sich heraus, dass ich auf meinem neuen Computer R noch nicht installiert hatte (phu!). Es ging auch um Metathemen wie Daten- und Tool-Literacy. Was sind Twitterdaten eigentlich, was können sie uns sagen und was nicht, wie interpretiere und überprüfe ich die Ergebnisse? Welche Fragen kann ich mit Hilfe quantitativer Statistik beantworten, welche Rolle spielen qualitative Analysen und wo setzt die Interpretation an? Vor allem zu den Möglichkeiten und Herausforderungen der Netzwerkanalyse mit Gephi hatten wir mit Sophie Schneider eine sehr angeregte Diskussion. Denn ohne tiefgehendes Verständnis der unterliegenden Konzepte der Netzwerkanalyse und der Parameter ist es zwar sehr spannend mit Gephi zu experimentieren, aber das Tool und die Ergebnisse sind eigentlich eine Black Box. Besonders spannend fand ich es auch, dass wir als Daten- und Toolbuddies zwei Studierende gewinnen konnten, was wieder zeigt, dass jede*r ein*e Expert*in sein kann!

Ich habe mich dann für meinen praktischen Teil auf R konzentriert und einige erste Analysen zum Thema des Superexperiments, der Twitterkommunikation von Bibliotheken zu COVID-19, durchgeführt, dazu hoffentlich an anderer Stelle mehr. Ich habe dafür nicht nur die Twitterdaten analysiert, sondern auch versucht, jeden Schritt ausführlich zu dokumentieren. Und das kostet wirklich viel Zeit (hallo Ressourcenplanung für das Datenmanagement)! Schon alleine deswegen sollte meiner Meinung nach eigentlich jeder einmal ein wenig coden und dokumentieren, der*die auch nur ansatzweise mit solchen Themen in Berührung kommt (oder gar Aufwände abschätzen oder absegnen soll), oder jemanden fragen, der*die sich da aus der Praxis auskennt.

Paul Ramisch hatte uns gleich am Anfang seines Tutorials gesagt, dass er mit uns mit  dem Konzept der permanenten Überforderung arbeiten wird, d. h. dass wir erst einmal ein paar Dinge mit R machen werden, die wir vielleicht noch nicht vollständig nachvollziehen können, das käme dann später. Und das war auch für mich eine zentrale Erkenntnis: Alles braucht seine Zeit. Das wir in vier Sitzungen umfassend R und Gephi lernen werden, war doch etwas optimistisch gedacht. Was wir erreicht haben und das ist eigentlich viel wichtiger, ist eine kritische Auseinandersetzung mit diesen beiden Tools anhand der praktischen Anwendung und ein tieferes Verständnis für die mit ihrem sicheren Einsatz verbundene Deep-Learning-Curve. Der wissenschaftlich fundierte Einsatz von Digital Humanities-Methoden und -Tools bedeutet mehr als nur auf irgendwelche Knöpfchen von Tools zu drücken (nicht das ich das jemals behauptet hätte, aber daher auch der ironische Titel dieses Blogposts), sondern erfordert umfassende Daten-, Code- und Tool-Literacy (Digital Literacy) und theoretische Reflexionen, beides Themen, die in letzter Zeit zu Recht im Fokus stehen.

Franz & P, Das Leben ist kein Ponyhof, St. Oberholz, Berlin, Flickr, CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

Noch mehr zu #twitter101dh gibt es im Blogpost von Sophie Schneider “#vdhd2021 – Erste Eventtage”. Wer Twitteranalysen in Python durchführen will, auch hierzu hat Sophie Schneider ein Tutorial geschrieben. Weitere Links zu Tutorials und Ressourcen finden sich auf den Seiten der Datensalons. Einige spannende Gedanken in diesem Zusammenhang sind auch in Markus Krajewskis Artikel “Hilfe für die digitale Hilfswissenschaft: Eine Positionsbestimmung.” in der Zeitschrift für Medien- und Kulturforschung 10: 1 (2019), S. 71–80 zu finden [Link zum PDF].

Über weitere Hinweise zu Twitterdaten-Tutorials zu R, aber auch daraus entstandene Studien freue ich mich über die Kommentare, Twitter oder andere Kanäle!

How to Maintain Mental Wellbeing in Times of Crisis: Some Insight against the backdrop of the Corona Pandemic

Disclaimer: I am not a doctor or psychologist or professional coach, the following blog post is based on my experiences of the last semester and previous crises and is inspired by my yoga teacher training and practice. Anyone who feels at risk of having depression or burn out should take these signs seriously and seek professional help, e.g. your GP or a specialised therapist.

Feeling the attention span of an amoeba? Bad mood? No appetite or binge eating while video streaming? No motivation to get out of bed or off the couch? Since March at the latest, the whole world has been in the grip of the Corona pandemic. While at first we may have thought it would pass soon and may have even enjoyed spending more time at home, now in January 2021 we are still at home and there seems to be no end in sight anytime soon. 

Rhododendrites, Four pears, CC BY-SA 4.0

In the following, I want to discuss some methods and strategies for dealing with the mental challenges of Corona. This collection arose from a rather gloomy mood and from actively dealing and reading on this topic (some resources are linked below). I thought about what has helped me through times of crisis, recently or previously and wrote some points down. The motivation to share these rather private thoughts publicly are several conversations with students and their requests for pieces of advice. I hope you find some of the points below useful. 

Acknowledgement: The most important step is to accept that there is a crisis and that it is doing something to you. Whether you lose a loved one, go through a break up or suffer under social distancing. Then you can start thinking how you deal with the crisis, one step at the time.

Be gentle with yourself and take your time: Whatever the crisis is, it is completely normal to be affected by it. It’s okay to be less motivated, it’s okay to do nothing for a day, you are okay. Don’t judge yourself too harshly. It really takes effort to overcome low points. It’s a process that always includes setbacks. You need to learn to accept these. If one day is bad, there is always another day which might be better. And taking time for yourself (selfcare) is a great strategy to cope with emotional stress and any moments of high pressure. 

Don’t compare yourself to your social media bubble: Social media can have a negative influence when you feel low. For example during this pandemic social media can give you the impression that everyone else is doing great (look at my new hobby!) or incredibly productive (yeah, just finished the book I started during quarantine!). It’s only human that people communicate publicly rather about achievements than failures or sad feelings (“Main achievement for today: got out of bed”. So try not to compare yourself to others and avoid building up exaggerated expectations. This will only put extra pressure on yourself. 

Into the Great Wide Open: Get some fresh air and go for a walk if possible (keep safe!), even if it’s just half an hour. When you for your walk when it’s light outside, it is extra healthy (and less scary). Some swear by a morning walk to kick start their day, as if you were going to work or university. But any other moment of the day will do, lunchtime, or even almost midnight (as one of my neighbours prefers, for me it’s just too spooky). Still, I sometimes really have to kick myself outside the door especially on a bad weather day, but, I never regret it!

Try meditation & mindfulness: These great techniques are not just for esoterics, they really help to increase focus and concentration. Admittedly, they can seem a bit intimidating and also are not so easy to learn (I still regularly doze off during meditation). Maybe you can join forces with like-minded people and form/join an (online) group? Or just start writing down a gratitude list each day (like three thinks you are thankful for) or take some time to breathe deeply each day. There are great resources to guide you on this path on the internet, like apps, recordings, texts… 

Dietmar Rabich, Wilsons Promontory National Park (AU), Big Drift — 2019 — 1683, CC BY-SA 4.0

Give yoga a chance: If meditation & mindfulness are too much for you, you can try yoga. A regular yoga practice also contributes greatly to your mental balance and it also keeps you flexible and fit. If you are new to yoga and start without guidance by a yoga teacher, take special care and search videos with “yoga for beginners” on Youtube. Some great online teachers are “Yoga with Adriene (Youtube)” or “Mady Morisson (Youtube)”, both have clear instruction videos for many levels. Even if you don’t fall completely for yoga, try searching videos for yoga for back pain or even chair yoga (yoga you can do in your normal clothes at your desk).  

Any movement will do: If you don’t like walking or even running (not me!) outside too much, maybe you can cycle? Or do some exercises at home? I love from time to time doing Low Impact Workouts on Youtube (the ones without any jumping that makes your neighbours angry, but still make you sweat like hell). Some have (bought) a treadmill or other form of hometrainer (and sometimes workout during webinars or video streaming) others dance around freestyle at home. Whatever and whenever you do your daily movement, just do it. Already a few minutes will make a difference even and after a while you might crave for it.   

World Health Organization, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO, WHO EN HealthyAtHome-Physical-activity Be active stay healthy at home COVID-19 outbreak 1, CC BY-SA 3.0 IGO

Embrace new or old hobbies: Spending much time at home can become rather boring or lonely, especially during the pandemic. Is there anything you can take on to cope with the crisis situation? Reading, writing a diary/gratitude journal, painting, singing, making videos, etc.? Don’t get me wrong, this should not be a pressure, but a pleasure. 

Have a Staycation: Many of us are stuck day in day out in our homes. In homes that are often now also our work spaces and it is really hard to relax and to detach yourself from work. As there is not so much travelling going on during the pandemic, no chance for a holiday and change of place. During Christmas Break therefore I had a “staycation”, which I celebrated as a yoga retreat. What did that mean? I made a schedule for three days of yoga (searched and bookmarked nice yoga sequences in advance), bought a lot of healthy food in advance, didn’t look into my email, used the internet only to watch yoga videos, and had a walk each day and read three crime novels (I am a very fast reader when it comes to fiction). If you don’t like yoga, you can do something else of course, maybe do a geographical themed staycation (like in Italy, where you eat pasta and pizza and watch Italian movies) or just some days of spa. 

Keep body and brain well nourished: Try to eat as healthy as possible (fruits, vegetables, good nutrients). I often feel a huge difference in my mood between crappy eating days and good eating days. If you don’t like to cook everyday or cannot cook everyday, you can also pre-cook your meals and store them in the fridge. Admittedly, I am a lazy cook, so I often cook a big amount of my warm meal for the week on Sunday and warm up smaller portions of it during the week. It helps that I love soups and “loads of veggies with rice in one pan” kind of meals. Another idea is to make a weekly meal plan. With a plan you are less stressed out with deciding what to eat and can buy the ingredients in advance, so you don’t have to go to the supermarket so often (I try to avoid all indoors besides my own house at the moment). Drink loads of water, your brain (and skin) will love it! Bananas are great study snacks (they even have been recommended to me as a perfect snack before scary tasks (like giving a presentation or an interview). Try to moderate alcohol as it often makes people even more anxious and is a bad sleeping aid. 

Michal Klajban, Organic home-grown tomatoes – unripe to ripe, CC BY-SA 4.0

Have a meaningful start of the day: A meaningful morning routine will help you get started, e. g. try to get up at the same time, dress up and get ready for the day, even when you don’t leave the house and really don’t feel like it because you are only participating in video meetings.

Schedule your day: Decide on your most important tasks for the next day the evenening before, so you are not tempted to procrastinate on planning your day in the morning. Designate special time slots for bigger tasks, e. g. read an article, make an outline for an essay, answer that very complicated e-mail… Also put in your schedule time buffers for smaller tasks and time to catch on tasks that took longer than expected. Plan the hardest tasks for your best time of the day. 

Include Me-Time in your schedule: What do you need for yourself to get through a day? Try to include in your time table and/or to-do list activities that help you cope with the crisis and contribute to your positive mental state, e. g. “have a walk”. Don’t forget to put these daily well being activities in your schedule.  

Get enough sleep: You feel totally drained after a very full day, but instead of going to bed you spent hours on meaningless activities like scrolling through Social Media or streaming because you are too tired to do anything meaningfull? When I read about the term “Revenge Bedtime Procrastination” as a way of trying to regain controll in life by refusing to sleep early (German Article, English Article) for the first time, I immediatly thought, that kind of explains this rather unhealty habit. So what can you do? Like having a meaningful start of the day, try to also have a meaningful end of the day and get your necessary amount of sleep, some people do need 8 hours and that is okay! I try have a very regular schedule, like getting up at 7 and going to sleep at midnight, and I set a timer on my phone that limits my youtube time to one hour each day and a timer that transforms my whole phone into black and white after 22:00 (look for settings screen time and settings for nightly wind down).

Divide bigger tasks in smaller chunks: If I have to accomplish larger tasks while feeling low on energy and motivation, it helps to set a timer for smaller chunks of time (pomodori method), for me 55 min. work the best, others work with 25 min or 45 min slots. Some people also love to divide bigger tasks into many small subtasks and tick them off a to-do list.  

Be flexible: Even though routines and schedules can work wonders, sometimes it is just not your day. Then you can try to adapt your schedule or move around tasks. Writing that paragraph/chapter really doesn’t work? Have a meaningful break (go for a walk, clean the fridge, call a friend…) and try anew. Still not working? Can you do something else that needs less creativity, e.g. research or format your bibliography, write an email, check your footnotes etc.? If you are really stuck, it might be a sign, to really do nothing for a change, for half a day or even a whole day. Remember, every day is different. 

Benh LIEU SONG (Flickr), Leg Rowing Fisherman Inle Lake Myanmar, CC BY-SA 4.0

With a little help from my friends: Social interaction is good, but it is okay to prefer solitude, especially if you are rather introverted. However, it is very important to ask for help if you need it. From your friends, family, teachers or a coach… Only if people know that you are struggling, they can help you, give you space, or whatever you need at this moment. Sometimes just having a safe person you can talk to about what afflicts you at the moment (think about it as “releasing steam”) may make a huge difference. Alternatively, you can also “release steam” in a diary. Or talk with a professional on a helpline.

“News timeouts”: Reading the news makes me really anxious during these troublesome times. This doesn’t mean that you should not read the news at all (it’s good to be an informed citizen), but a temporary time out for news (including social media channels!) during the time I need to work on important tasks (study, write, etc.) and as well before bedtime often does wonders for my concentration and sleep. 

Optimize your workplace: Last but not least, especially during this pandemic, but I think this goes for all times, wherever you are studying or working, try to optimise your workplace. Even if it only means that you tidy up your desk in the morning and make your bed. But there is more. Maybe it is worth buying earplugs or trying white or brown noise (or music you like) because your neighbour is very noisy? Can you organize a large computer monitor that you can connect to your laptop to destress your eyes and neck? Even a 10 Euro headset may greatly advance your possibilities to participate in video conferences, at least with sound ;-). Do you feel more engaged reading on paper? Then print out some of the digital documents and scribble away (of course you can also do this digitally). Last but not least, a good desk lighting also does wonders (try eBay marketplace etc.).

Unfortunately, there is no one-fits-all-advice. What works for one person, may not work for the other. What may have worked for me, may not work for you. Every person deals with crises differently. Everyone has a different background, personality and environment. Everyone has to make the best of the situation for themselves. And yes, trust me, I am having really bad days, too. But some of these strategies have helped me a lot when I was feeling very low and could not focus on my studies or work because everything just seemed falling apart. 

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you find some of these strategies helpful. Already writing them down has improved my mood a tiny bit and helped me to gather the energy to hop on my yoga mat.

What helps you? Please share in the comments below or tweet to me @UWuttke 

Resources:

Concrete Steps towards FAIR Data in the Arts and Humanities: Recap from Open Science Barcamp 2020

Cite as: Ulrike Wuttke, Concrete Steps towards FAIR Data in the Arts and Humanities: Recap from Open Science Barcamp 2020, Blogpost, 05.10.2020, CC BY 4.0. Link: https://ulrikewuttke.wordpress.com/?p=1830

Resources:

On the 10th March 2020, the Barcamp Open Science, organized by the Leibniz Research Alliance Open Science took place at Berlin. Around 50 very diverse individuals came together at the facilities of Wikimedia Germany at Berlin to discuss urgent matters in Open Science from various perspectives. This year’s Barcamp was already overshadowed by the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic, that’s why there were much less participants than the previous years and strong hygienic measures had been taken. Only a few days after, our world as such was changed forever. This is also one of the reasons why it took me quite long to finally publish this blog post. But here it is, with huge thanks to Erzébeth Tóth-Czifra for her comments on an earlier draft of this post.

Source: https://www.open-science-conference.eu/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/200310-open-science-barcamp-UC1A5768.jpg, All photos are also published at Wiki Commons under a CC BY 4.0 license.

After the introductory round and the Ignition Talk by Birgit Schmidt from SUB Göttingen, sessions were pitched and organized and the discussions got going! While you can read an overview about the Barcamp in the Blogpost by ZBW Media Talk and listen to summaries of some sessions at Open Science Radio, in this blogpost, you will find a short recap of the session Concrete steps towards FAIR data as prerequisite for Open Scholarship in the Arts and Humanities that I moderated with Erzsébet Tóth-Czifra (DARIAH-EU). 

Last year Erzsébet and I had discussed the state of Open Science in the Arts and Humanities in the session “Loners, Pathfinders, or Explorers? How are the Humanities Progressing in Open Science?” [Read our recap on the GenR Blog Link). Together with the participants we came to the conclusion, that while a lot of progress already has been made, that there was still a lot to do to transform the Humanities towards Open Humanities. 

While discussing Openness in the Humanities was a very intriguing experience, it also became clear that the term Open Humanities is rather unclear. Sometimes it seems like a big bubble and is rather difficult for readers to grasp. 

Open Humanities is, at least in my view, the translation of Open Science principles to the Humanities as the Open Science discussion is rather STEM-dominated. While not sharing all of his views, I warmly suggest to read in this context Marcel Knöchelmann’s article “Open Science in the Humanities, or: Open Humanities?” [Link to the article: http://dx.doi.org/10.3390/publications7040065]. Viewing Open Humanities as Open Science “with a Humanities touch” it also seems obvious  that it may comprise all different shades of Open practices that are cuddled under the Open Science umbrella, like Open Access, Open Source, Open Data, the FAIR Principles, Research Data Management, transparent research workflows, early sharing of outputs, Citizen Science or Open Infrastructures (and this list is not exhaustive…). So Open Humanities are at its heart very colourful, while data sharing is one of its compound principles, it is not exclusive.

For this year’s Open Science Barcamp we decided to focus on one topic that we see as a core component or important policy component for Open Science: the FAIR Data Principles [Link: https://www.go-fair.org/fair-principles/]. In the context of the previous paragraph we also acknowledge that you can do steps in the context of Open Science without FAIR data and also, that you can make steps towards FAIR data without knowing what FAIR is. Though that last is probably becoming more and more difficult, given the recent omnipresence of the FAIR principles.

During the session, more than a dozen researchers from the humanities and beyond energetically and controversially discussed the state of FAIR and Open principles in the Humanities. While some argued that FAIR is not enough and progress is being stalled by missing open licences, others stressed that the nature of some humanities data requires different levels of access that are not Open, but fall under FAIR data (e. g. sensitive data, personal data, data without consent, data without clear copyright). Also, in many cases of Humanities workflows the major obstacle is not so much open vs. closed, but insufficient documentation of access conditions, which is rather a FAIR-related problem (more precisely, related to the A of FAIR).

Participants noticed a tendency that humanities scholars seem to be more in favour of FAIR Data than of Open Data (because of various obstacles that prevent full Open Access to the data as described in the previous paragraph) and also that unfortunately often unclear licence statements can be found. They explained that for software engineering and broader reuse scenarios FAIR data often isn’t enough and that more efforts should be made to think of Open as the default and only restrict access if really necessary in order to let the FAIR principles not become an excuse for not sharing data. “Excuses” for not sharing data are (not specifically for the Humanities) depicted with a little ironic twist in the “Open Data Bingo”, a resource that was pointed out by one of the participants.

Open Data Bingo, Original can be found here (no apparent author, OpenAire?)

During the closing round of the session, some concrete steps were discussed related to overcoming tendencies of finding easy excuses for not sharing data. The most important  point was that the FAIR principles should be propagated as good scientific practice, with Open as the default, but with acknowledgement for valid reasons for not sharing or only granting limited access. This means that legal aspects of (not) data sharing need to be understood better in the community. There are helpful tools, resources and initiatives related to licencing and other legal problems in this context, for example:

To achieve a culture of FAIR data sharing in the Humanities more discipline specific training and training materials were seen as required as well as institutional support for sharing data and data sharing infrastructures. Other points we could only touch upon in our 45 minutes session were the CARE principles and data quality.  

A lasting open transformation requires (not only in the Humanities!) institutional resources (e. g. research data management support, legal counselling, sustainable open infrastructures) and therefore should also be supported by research funders. Research funders and institutions play a crucial role in building the pedagogical curve toward more open licences and overcoming obstacles and restraints towards a culture of sharing, in short we need a “Fellowship of the Data” for Open Access to Research Data in the Humanities. And, to truly create a lasting change, we need the transformation to reach the heart of the humanities community itself. More humanists that understand the need for data-citation, that “Open Science is just good science”, and last but not least that implement digital research practices into their workflows.

Listen here to the Open Science Radio Episode OSR188 about our session (short recap with Konrad Förster, Ulrike, and Erszébeth: http://www.openscienceradio.org/2020/07/05/osr188-fair-data-in-the-arts-and-humanities-oscibar-en/

To sum up and take the discussion to another level: Open Humanities are predominantly digitally empowered humanities. While we cannot bluntly say: “Hey, it’s 2020, wake up and learn coding!”, we should strive to “leave noone behind”. Humanities scholars need to keep up with new developments in the area of digital research practices (RDM, digital publishing, etc.). It seems highly recommendable that Humanists learn at least a little bit of coding to understand its basic underlying principles. While in some near future coding will probably be seen in the Humanities as an additional Scholarly Primitive this does not mean that in future every humanities scholar will need to be a full scale programmer or data wizard, also we would not like to see the concept of research excellence be strongly linked to the scale or level of computational readiness. Digital empowered humanities are to be situated, like the FAIRness of data, on a sliding scale.

Picture: Makaristo, Olympic-flag-Victoria, Link Source: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Olympic-flag-Victoria.jpg”, Selection, CC0 1.0

There are different tastes of Open Humanities. Everyone can contribute her and his share to it. While we strive for a culture of Open Data Sharing, other aspects of Open Scholarly Communication are as important. I always like to compare it with the spirit of the Olympic Games: Be part of it! 

What are your thoughts? You are welcome to discuss with me on Twitter (@uwuttke) or leave a comment below.