This past June, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute convened at the University of Victoria in Victoria, BC. For those who are not familiar with DHSI, here is a brief introduction from DHSI’s website:
“Every summer, the institute brings together faculty, staff, and students from the Arts, Humanities, Library, and Archives communities as well as independent scholars and participants from areas beyond. A time of intensive coursework, seminars, and lectures, participants at DHSI share ideas and methods, and develop expertise in using advanced technologies. The Digital Humanities Summer Institute provides an ideal environment for discussing and learning about new computing technologies and how they are influencing teaching, research, dissemination, creation, and preservation in different disciplines, via a community-based approach.”
This year’s gathering was one of the largest in its 15-year history. The Institute was in session for two weeks, and over 50 courses and short workshops were offered. Tracy MacMath of Yale University Library IT attended “Accessibility and Digital Environments”, which explored the theoretical and practical aspects of web accessibility. Students read and discussed key works from disability studies scholarship, and obtained hands-on experience with tools that allowed them to audit their institutions’ websites for compliance with accessibility standards. Some of the auditing tools used were the WAVE Chrome extension and HTML Code Sniffer. Major topics in the course included emerging standards for accessibility in digital environments, the social model of disability, user-centered design, and embodiment.
Both weeks of the Institute concluded with a “show and tell” session in which each class demonstrated what they had learned through interactive projects. The Web Accessibility class performed on-the-spot audits of academic websites, and made the results available to participants, along with suggestions on how to improve compliance with accessibility guidelines.
For those who are interested in attending next year’s sessions, course information can be found on DHSI’s website.