Author Archives: Ethan Watrall

About Ethan Watrall

An anthropological archaeologist who has worked in Canada, the United States, Egypt, and the Sudan, Ethan Watrall is Associate Professor in the Department of Anthropology at Michigan State University. He is Director of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative and Director of the Digital Heritage Imaging & Innovation Lab (which is a partnership between the Department of Anthropology and The Lab for the Education and Advancement in Digital Research). Ethan is Head of Tangible Heritage & Archaeology Projects at Matrix: The Center for Digital Humanities & Social Sciences, where he served as Associate Director from 2009-2020. Ethan also serves as Adjunct Curator of Archaeology at the Michigan State University Museum.

Ethan’s scholarship focuses on the application of digital methods and computational approaches within archaeology and heritage. This focus expresses itself broadly in three domains: (1) publicly engaged digital heritage and archaeology; (2) digital documentation and preservation of tangible heritage and archaeological materials; and (3) building capacity and communities of practice in digital heritage and archaeology. The thematic thread that binds these domains together is one of preservation and access – leveraging digital methods and computational approaches to preserve and provide access to archaeological and heritage materials, collections, knowledge, and data in order to facilitate research, advance knowledge, fuel interpretation, and democratize understanding and appreciation of the past.

Welcome to the 2013 Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool

I’d like to take this opportunity to welcome welcome everyone (both students and those who are watching remotely) to the inaugural Cultural Heritage Informatics Fieldschool.  The CHI Fieldschool is an outgrowth of the Cultural Heritage Informatics Initiative at Michigan State University, and is intended to introduce students to the tools and techniques required to creatively apply information and computing technologies to cultural heritage materials and questions.

Over the next 5+ weeks, students will think, read, discuss, learn, experiment, hack, prototype, build, deploy, and launch.

The the public (those who are purposefully watching the fieldschool or those who wander upon it by chance):

I encourage you to read what we are doing, explore what we are building, and interact with us.  The CHI Fieldschool very much adheres to an open access philosophy.  We encourage constructive comments and stimulating discussion. If you are on Twitter, watch the #msuchi hashtag.

To the fieldschool students:

Before we get seriously rolling, you’ve got a (short) to do list:

  • If you want, sign up for a Twitter account (if you don’t have one already) – remember to use the #msuchi hashtag when tweeting about fieldschool related stuff.
  • Sign up for a Gravatar account (if you don’t already have one)
  • Activate your course blog account (you will receive an email by Tuesday at the absolute latest)
  • Introduce yourself to the world on the blog.  Tell us a little about your background and your interests. Be sure talk about why you are taking the fieldschool – why is cultural heritage informatics/digital cultural heritage important to you?
  • Have a look at the Creative Commons Licenses.  For each thing you post to the fieldschool blog, you will need to choose the license that best works for you – which means you need to have at least a passing familiarity with what the licenses actually mean. A couple of years back, the incomparable Bethany Nowviskie (Director of Digital Research & Scholarship at the University of Virginia Library and Associate Director of the Scholarly Communication Institute) wrote a thoughtful piece about why she was switching the license on her blog and Flickr stream from CC-BY-NC to CC-BY.  It is definitely worth a read.