ACH Agenda-Setting: Next Steps

Last month, the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) began an experiment in grassroots idea-generation and transparent agenda-setting.

Using an open-source platform called "All Our Ideas," association members and interested digital humanists added 18 fresh concepts to a starter-set of 8, which had been drawn from earlier conversations among elected representatives and the ACH community. In May, participants on 6 continents cast more than 2700 votes, generating a ranked list of interests and priorities.

The five most popular suggestions were:

  1. "to explore a membership model that doesn't require subscription to a journal;"
  2. "to create and promote standards for credit & authorship in collaborative projects;"
  3. "to explore relationships w/ DH-sympathetic orgs operating beyond the academy (Museum Computer Network, Nat'l Council on Public History, etc);"
  4. "to devise guidelines for training undergraduates and graduates in digital humanities;" and
  5. "to develop models for distributed digital humanities training, recognizing that local communities are small and not all can afford to travel."

Other highly-ranked ideas centered around DH outreach and expansion, including ways to support and guide the growth of our annual ADHO-sponsored Digital Humanities conference, and to create other opportunities for ACH members to engage with local and international DH communities.

The full results of our polling experiment are available online. Although we have captured the current state of the data and already begun to work, the poll will remain open through this summer's mid-July Digital Humanities conference, when ACH holds its annual business and members' meetings.

We announced this experiment with a promise: that, while ACH can't undertake every project suggested, we will take our community's views seriously and address as many resulting ideas as possible, in open and public dialogue.

Some of your priorities match intiatives and conversations ACH has already begun. Others are new. Some will spark targeted and concrete projects; others will drive us toward further conversation with you and with our partners in the international ADHO community. Over the weeks and months to come, look for a series of newsletter mailings, blog posts on, and announcements on the Humanist list. These will describe new and ongoing partnerships and projects, report on progress and share challenges, and (above all) ask for your further input and guidance.

We will also call for volunteers on committees and ad hoc working groups.  As always, we welcome participation by members and non-members alike — but we encourage you to support ACH by joining the association!

We're grateful for the energy and goodwill of the community we serve — and for the opportunity you've given us to do more and more meaningful work. Thank you!

On behalf of the ACH Executive Council,

Bethany Nowviskie,
President, Association for Computers & the Humanities

By Bethany Nowviskie

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