THAT Camp Göttingen, 21.-22. September 2014

Time is flying these days. Already almost three weeks ago I attended to the first THATCamp ever organised in Göttingen at the Göttingen Center for Digital Humanities. It was the second ever THATCamp to take place in Germany (the first one was at Cologne) and the second THATCamp for me (after THATCamp Ghent 2013, some impressions from the camp on my blog. This time I also helped a bit with the organisation, which means mainly that I “tweeted” for THATCampGoe and helped to keep the campers happy on the two “camp days”. But the main burden of the organisational tasks was certainly on the shoulders of Sally Chambers and Jörg Wettlaufer and they bore their burden well! Everything was organised into details and really nothing went wrong (except of the terribly timed apocalyptic rain when everybody was supposed to change buildings…). Congrats Sally and Jörg!

THATCamp meeting

Many Monday evenings were spent planning the Göttingen THATCamp!

So what is a THATCamp? To make it short, THAT-Camp stands for The Humanities and Technology Camp (more information at: http://thatcamp.org/). This originally American concept contains that the organisers only provide the space and a rough structure of the event. It is up to the campers to fill the event! Everybody who is interested can attend, there is no hierarchy, and the content and arrangement of the so-called “sessions” is discussed on the spot. Mostly this leads to a very spontaneous, mixed crowd and heated discussions during the sessions. A positive side-effect is also that generally more “techies” and people from information-infrastructures use to attend THATCamps as the hierarchical level is much lower than at a “real conference”.

The Göttingen THATCamp was just before the Historikertag 2014 and although there was some misconception that it was meant only for historians, luckily many different kinds of campers arrived on Monday morning. All in all, the Heyne-House was a hospitable camping side for around 60 campers during the two following days, the campers coming as far as from Upsalla to Mumbai. Very special about the Göttingen THATCamp was definitely that some sessions were sponsored by Foster and planned in advance. This lead to presentations of some leading figures of their field. I attended for example to a Foster session about of the Semantic Web presented by Alex O’Connor and I am really looking forward to the moment when the Foster Sessions will be online (yes, they were filmed!) to see what had been going on during the other sessions.

Posing with my colleague Jörg Wettlaufer

If you like to keep informed about new documentation from THATCamp Göttingen or just are curious what happened there, have a look at the site from time to time (http://goettingen2014.thatcamp.org/), search for the hashtag #thatcampgoe on Twitter, or follow the Camps Twitter account @THATCampgoe!

Lichtenberg Statue Göttingen

Lichtenberg Statue Göttingen

A nice review of the THATCamp has appeared in the Newsletter of the Akademie der Wissenschaften Göttingen (only in German: http://adw-goe.de/fileadmin/dokumente/geschaeftsstelle/akademie_heute/Akademie_heute_2014_3.pdf) and Kristin Oswald has written a very interesting blog article about the Göttingen THATCamp and which sense barcamps make for the Humanities or for science in general (sorry, again only in German: http://kristinoswald.hypotheses.org/1412). If I missed some more reviews (and I am sure I did), I am very happy if you leave a comment.

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