Last week and this week, we learned a variety of tools related to digital humanities such as Omeka, TimeMapper, and worst of all, Voyant. Each methodology workshop was followed by a deliverable, a word used in the context of this internship to means: a work produced by playing make believe. We assume that we have an infinite amount of resources and time and dedication to the subject. For a span of two hours, we pretend that we are embarking on a long-term project, knowing that we do not have to commit. We wrap ourselves in the comfort blanket that tells us that we do not have worry about real-world limitations or wonder if this is a project we will be willing to do the next day. Without playing make believe with these tools through deliverables, I would not have had a complete understanding of the tools and their shortcomings. But as useful as deliverables have been, they have been false starts to the “real” project.
As we are checking off the list of deliverables to deliver, I can sense that we are nearing the real start. We have glimpsed into the student publications, we have glanced around to see what interests us, and soon we will have to dive in. The deliverables have helped us get a general sense of what is in and not in the student publications, what we can and cannot do with them. But they have still remained in the realm of make believe. Like children playing house cannot fathom what it means to maintain a house and have responsibilities, I feel that we cannot fathom what lies ahead of us until we start.