University of Maryland


First Wednesday at the CAFe series + Other Talks

Upcoming Talks

Coming soon!

Past Talks

May 3, 2022: “Challenges and Opportunities of the Integration of DH into Kyrgyzstan’s Higher Education Curriculum”

Dr. Karybekova will discuss the challenges and opportunities of integrating Digital Humanities (DH) into Kyrgyzstan’s higher education linguistics curriculum. The Kyrgyz higher education curriculum is set by government officials in consultation with university representatives, making any changes to curriculum a long process and one that requires a lot of discussion and planning. This talk explores how interdisciplinarity might be successfully implemented in Kyrgyz linguistics departments by starting with pilot modules in existing courses, to gather information for an evidence-based discussion at the department and university levels in 2024-2025. The planned modules will draw on a combination of Dr Karybekova’s experience as a Fulbright scholar at the University of Maryland’s iSchool (2022-2023), her local knowledge, and that of her colleagues and students, their institutional realities at Manas University, and other cultural factors that impact curricular change. This talk will explore possible solutions to the problems related to the lack of infrastructure and experience of DH methods in Kyrgystan and Central Asia more broadly, and will suggest how changes to the curriculum would help Kyrgyz graduates keep pace with the changing world, support lifelong learning, integrate into the global market and prevent economic exclusion, radicalism, and labor migration.

Q&A about NARA job opportunities–closing May 1, 2023

March 1, 2023: CAFe Speaker Series: Curating Longitudinal Natural History Data Through the CHANGES Project

Dr. Andrea Thomer, Assistant Professor at the University of Arizona School of Information, will discuss natural history data curation: the specimens, field notes, and other data stored in natural history collections can be crucial for studies of past and on-going climate change—but only if they can be transformed into computationally-ready datasets. In this talk, she will describe the CHANGES (Collections, Heterogenous data And Next Generation Ecological Synthesis) project, in which they are developing approaches to curate rich but under-utilized longitudinal datasets that are often stored in the archives of natural history collections and surveys. Working with over 100 years of archival records from the Michigan Institute for Fisheries Research, they used the Zooniverse community science platform to ask friendly strangers from the internet to help transcribe over 100,000 data cards. Extensive data curation is needed both before and after records are entered in Zooniverse; while they have developed some workflows that will likely be generalizable to similar projects, considerable curation “by hand” is still needed. They find that digitization reveals the human idiosyncrasies that inevitably shape any artifact created by many people over many years.

February 14, 2023: Douglass Day Transcribe-a-Thon
Douglass Day Transcribe-a-Thon Event

Event Start Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2023 – 12:00 pm
Event End Date: Tuesday, February 14, 2023 – 3:00 pm
Location: In Person, University of Maryland College Park, Hornbake Library 0300 (Info Commons)

Celebrate Frederick Douglass’s birthday and Black History Month by preserving a rich collection of African American history. The day will include a Transcribe-a-Thon featuring the papers of the activist Mary Ann Shadd Cary, a live stream of the Douglass Day program at Penn State, live music, and tours of the Driskell Center and UMD Special Collections. If you’re a baker – bring your best birthday cake for a fun tasting and to share!

This event is free and open to the public.

Tour Descriptions:

Driskell Center tour: The David C. Driskell Center honors the legacy of David C. Driskell—Distinguished University Professor Emeritus of Art, Artist, Art Historian, Collector, Curator, and Philanthropist—by preserving the rich heritage of African American visual art and culture. The Driskell Center currently features the exhibit RINGGOLD | SAAR: Meeting on the Matrix which will be a highlight of the tour. Additionally, the tour will include access to archival stacks and featured materials if time permits.

SCUA tour: Housed in Hornbake Library, UMD’s Special Collections and University Archives holds a rich array of materials related to Black History including the African American and African Pamphlet collection, the A. Lynn Bolles papers, among others. The current exhibit on display is Get Out the Vote highlighting materials related to suffrage and disenfranchisement in the United States. The tour will include access to archival stacks and featured materials if time permits.

February 1, 2023: CAFe Speaker Series: Accidental Evidence: The Amateur Film in the Government Archive

Audrey Amidon, Motion Picture Preservation Specialist, Moving Image and Sound Preservation Labs, National Archives and Records Administration
Heidi Holmstrom, Motion Picture Preservation Specialist, National Archives and Records Administration

CAFe Speaker Series: Accidental Evidence: The Amateur Film in the Government Archive


The Federal archive may be the last place one thinks to look for amateur film, but among the footage shot by government employees and contractors there are numerous films collected by government agencies because they document activities or events of importance to the United States. This “accidental evidence” includes films of UFO sightings, a presidential assassination, and the activities of American fascists. In this presentation, Audrey Amidon and Heidi Holmstrom from NARA will reflect on what makes a film a government record and how these amateur films came to be preserved at the National Archives



FALL 2022

December 7, 2022: CAFe Speaker Series: Belongings, Archives & Indigenizing Design
Lorén M. Spears, Narragansett and Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum

Abstract: The Tomaquag museum established in 1958 by Eva Butler, an anthropologist, with the guidance of the late Princess Red Wing (Narragansett/Wampanoag) is the only museum in Rhode Island dedicated to and operated by Indigenous peoples in the state and region. Tomaquag’s mission is to educate the general public about the histories of Indigenous peoples in ways that center their experiences in the past, present and future. The museum through its mission, outreach, and educational initiatives strives to Indigenize the museum through decolonizing and Indigenizing practices and policies. Lorén Spears, Narragansett, and Executive Director of Tomaquag Museum, will share the strategies around decolonizing and Indigenizing the policies, processes, and design of collections and archives within our current museum and our planning for our new museum campus.

November 2, 2022: Data Articles: Introducing a Genre— with the Journal of Open Humanities Data and Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation

Victoria Van Hyning, Assistant Professor, the University of Maryland, College of Information Studies; Representative of the Journal of Open Humanities Data

Paola Marongiu, Ph.D. Student, University of Neuchâtel; Representative of the Journal of Open Humanities Data

Kristina E. Poznan, Clinical Assistant Professor, the University of Maryland, College of Arts & Humanities; Representative of the Journal of Slavery and Data Preservation


October 5, 2022: Close/Distant: Scales of Analysis in Digital Projects
Dr. Ruth Ahnert, Queen Mary University


September 23, 2022: SNACSchool @ UMD

SNACSchool @ UMD

This is the official training program of the Social Networks and Archival Context (SNAC) platform. SNAC is a cooperative platform that aggregates archival finding aids, making collections searchable across institutions, and across the world.

NARA archivists and SNAC Liaisons Jerry Simmons and Dina Herbert lead an in-person half-day training in SNAC. We are very lucky to be partnering with SNAC to offer this training live for UMD students, staff, and faculty.

Attendees will get a refresher on some core concepts (a.k.a. authority control, metadata standards), learn how to edit a historical figure, and link them to archival resources across the world.


September 14, 2022: Virtual Panel Discussion: Digitizing Artifacts from the Black Lives Matter Memorial Fence
Aliza Leventhal (Library of Congress), Jodi Hoover (Enoch Pratt), Laura Farley (DC Public Library), Junious Whitaker IV (Howard University) and Karen Irwin (activist), and Nadine Seiler (activist)


May 4, 2022: Speaking with the Past: Novel forms of access to spoken word collections
Douglas W. Oard. Professor, University of Maryland, iSchool


April 6, 2022: A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again: Graduate Archival Studies During COVID-19
Ferrin Evans. Master’s candidate, Faculty of Information, University of Toronto


March 2, 2022: Techno-Vernacular Creativity and Innovation
Dr. Nettrice Gaskins. Artist. Academic. Cultural Critic and advocate of STEAM fields


February 2, 2022: Body-Oriented Cataloging and the Future of Gender in Archives
Travis Wagner, Ph.D. Postdoctoral Fellow. University of Maryland, iSchool


FALL 2021

December 8, 2021: The CAFe Book Series Presents: Matthew G Kirschenbaum’s Bitstreams: The Future of Digital Literary Heritage
Matthew Kirschenbaum. Professor of English and Digital Studies. University of Maryland


December 1, 2021: Linking, sharing and using community generated digital content: using and sustaining citizen histories
Lorna M. Huges, Ph.D., Professor of Digital Humanities. University of Glasgow


November 17, 2021: CAFe FOIA presentation: “Secrets of the Freedom of Information Act: Everything you need to know about the FOIA process (including finding out where the Roswell documents are)”
Jason R. Baron, Professor of the Practice. University of Maryland, iSchool


October 6, 2021: Preservation for Possibility: Archives’ Collaborations in Future Imaginations
Sherri Wasserman, Ph.D. Candidate, Center for Science and the Imagination, Arizona State University


September 1, 2021: Innovative Approaches to Digital Public Records: The Vermont Experience
Tanya Marshall, State of Vermont


May 5, 2021: Working with Indigenous Australian peoples to support community archiving and cultural safety
Kirsten Thorpe, Jumbunna Institute for Indigenous Education and Research, University of Technology Sydney


April 7, 2021: Using Geographical Archival Resources for Quantitative History: A Practitioner’s Perspective
Valeria Ruedo, University of Nottingham’s School of Economics


March 3, 2021: What To Do with All This Stuff: Archive-Based Content Strategy in the Attention Economy
Umi Hsu, ONE Archive Foundation


Feb 3, 2021:  Presidential Transitions and Presidential Libraries: Past, Present and Future
Gary M. Stern, National Archives and Records Administration