All posts by George Williams


Trailblazer Chrome Extension Tracks Your Research Path


For a while now I’ve been meaning to share a post about Trailblazer, a Chrome web browser extension I learned about from my friend and colleague Cindy Jennings. Trailblazer is a tool that allows you to track your web-based research path, much in the same way that an explorer will mark a path through a territory. As Clive Thompson writes, in a 2015 Wired essay, the Trailblazer extension puts into practice something that Vannevar Bush imagined in 1945 in his now-famous “As We May Think“: the abil…


Sticky Notes and Small Groups: Digital Work in the Classroom

I’m one of those humanities professors who is increasingly introducing technology-intensive assignments and activities into what would otherwise be more conventional, analog courses on writing and literature. And if you teach a large or largish class that involves in-class, hands-on work with digital tools, you would do well to come up with teaching strategies appropriate for that particular situation.

I recently stumbled across a very useful post from Miriam Posner about this very topic: “A be…


Teach Access Tutorial: Best Practices for Digital Accessibility

I recently came across a solid teaching and learning resource devoted to giving designers, developers, and writers a better grounding in creating accessible content. The “Teach Access Portal” is a new-to-me tutorial that provides interactive lessons, much in the same way that Codecademy does. It’s a product of the Teach Access project, which (I have to admit) I don’t know much about.

From the introductory paragraph to the tutorial:

This resource is part of the Teach Access Initiative, and provi…


New Version of Omeka Released


Here at ProfHacker, we’re fans of Omeka, the content management system for scholarly projects (from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media. See, for example, Julie Meloni’s “A Brief Introduction to Omeka,” Jeffrey McClurken’s “Teaching with Omeka” and “ Beta Launches,” Konrad Lawson’s “Omeka 2.0 Is Here” and “Add Space and Time to Your Omeka Exhibits.”

Well, now we learn from a recent announcement by Sharon Leon that there’s a new version of Omeka available: Omeka S. So wh…


The Latest from Digital Humanities Questions and Answers

Launched in September of 2010, Digital Humanities Questions & Answers is a joint venture of the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) and ProfHacker. (See Julie Meloni’s launch announcement.)

Digital Humanities Questions and Answers (@DHAnswers on Twitter) is designed to be a free resource where anyone with an interest in the digital humanities can pose a question to the community of folks working in the field.

Since we last checked in with the site, many interesting threads have b…


Running Helps You Grow New Brain Cells

Over the years here at ProfHacker we’ve published a variety of posts about physical fitness, from Meagan Timney’s “Nurturing the Mind Body Connection” to Kathleen Fitzpatrick’s “Prioritizing Exercise” to Ryan Cordell’s endorsement of a 7-minute workout to Natalie Houston’s advice on how to fit exercise into a busy conference schedule.

Staying active obviously has benefits for one’s physical health, but researchers have demonstrated that there are also benefits for one’s psychological and intell…


Open Access Week 2016 Starts Today

Once again, it’s the time of year for Open Access Week, a coordinated worldwide effort to make Open Access “a new norm in scholarship and research.” Check out the Open Access Week site for a schedule of events taking place worldwide, a variety of blog posts, a selection of videos, and some ideas for how to get involved (at the bottom of this page). If you’re on Twitter, look for the #OAWeek2016 hashtag.

Is your campus hosting any Open Access Week events? Is this an important issue for you, your…


Weekend Reading: Hurricane Matthew Edition

Spartanburg, South Carolina — where I live — is closer to the mountains than to the ocean, but we are still getting a great deal of local news coverage of the impact expected from Hurricane Matthew. So far, we’re seeing gray skies and rain here while keeping an eye on the conditions where our neighbors live further to the east. Wherever you are, I hope that you have a safe and dry weekend. Below I’ve selected 5 links to some interesting reads plus one video.

The Luke Cage Syllabus: A Breakdown…


Open Thread: Start Thinking About Next Semester

Now that many of us are at the mid-point of the semester — Wait! How did that happen? — it’s a good time to take stock of how things are going this semester and consider what we might want next semester to be like. What lessons have you learned? Do you want to do some things differently? Do you need to make room by letting go of (or throwing out) certain things?

Please share your thoughts (and plans) in the comments.

[CC-licensed Flickr photo by Robert Couse Baker]


Iced Coffee? Iced Coffee!

I love coffee, and I conveniently generally agree with research that shows evidence of coffee’s positive health benefits (even though said benefits seem to vary widely depending on your genes). However, I don’t drink coffee because I think it might help me live longer or improve my quality of life; I drink it because it tastes good, gives me a boost of energy, and enables a little extra focus. In this way, it’s the perfect academic drink for the slump that can come mid-afternoon.

My favorite co…