THATCamp Museum Computer Network

October 28th – 30th, 2010, Austin, TX

Sheraton Austin at The Capitol

The Museum Computer Network is unique in recognizing and facilitating the full range of Museum and Computer discourse: from niche to mainstream, from webmaster to registrar, from house museum to the biggest museum complexes in the world. THATCamp MCN, a free “slow unconference” offered in conjunction with I/O: The Museum Inside-Out/Outside-In 38th Annual MCN Conference, is designed to give time and voice to all the special interests and esoteric needs of the cultural heritage community.

  • It is “slow” because we will collect ideas and build unconference sessions from now until the first day of the conference;
  • It is an “unconference” because the sessions and speakers will be developed and decided by the community, and can take any of a number of casual, collaborative, discussion- and work-oriented formats rather than the standard presentation format.

What is a THATCamp?

THATCamp stands for The Humanities And Technology Camp. See for more information.

What is an “unconference”?

According to Wikipedia, an unconference is “a conference where the content of the sessions is created and managed by the participants, generally day-by-day during the course of the event, rather than by one or more organizers in advance of the event.” An unconference is not a spectator event. Participants in an unconference are expected to present their work, share their knowledge, and actively collaborate with fellow participants rather than simply attend.

Who should attend?

Anyone with energy and an interest in the humanities and/or technology. THATCamp MCN will be open both to registered MCN attendees and anyone from the Austin area who would like to come.

What are “the humanities”?

Good question. Turns out there’s a legal definition! As the National Endowment for the Humanities puts it: “According to the 1965 National Foundation on the Arts and the Humanities Act, ‘The term “humanities” includes, but is not limited to, the study of the following: language, both modern and classical; linguistics; literature; history; jurisprudence; philosophy; archaeology; comparative religion; ethics; the history, criticism and theory of the arts; those aspects of social sciences which have humanistic content and employ humanistic methods; and the study and application of the humanities to the human environment with particular attention to reflecting our diverse heritage, traditions, and history and to the relevance of the humanities to the current conditions of national life.’ ”

What is “technology”?

We suggest you read this brilliant article by Professor Leo Marx, American cultural historian at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology: “Technology: The Emergence of a Hazardous Concept.” (Side note: those who love technology should be those who are most aware of its hazards.)

What should I propose?

That’s up to you. Sessions at THATCamp will range from software demos to training sessions to discussions of research findings to half-baked rants (but please no full-blown papers; we’re not here to read or be read to.) You should come to THATCamp with something in mind, and on the first day find a time, a place, and people to share it with. Once you’re at THATCamp, you may also find people with similar topics and interests to team up with for a joint session.

How much does it cost to attend?

THATCamp MCN is free to all attendees, through the gracious sponsorship of the Museum Computer Network, which has provided room space.

What’s the deal with Twitter and THATCamp?

Most THATCamps set up a dedicated Twitter account for the purpose of sending announcements and updates — see for the list of THATCamp Twitter accounts. In addition, we encourage everyone (as in, everyone in the world) to follow and use the hashtag #thatcamp — see for what people are currently saying at and about THATCamp.

Is a THATCamp only for scholars / grad students / librarians / archivists / programmers / instructional technologists? Can scholars / grad students / librarians / archivists / programmers / instructional technologists apply?

No to the first, yes to the second. THATCamp aims at the broadest diversity of backgrounds and skills possible.

What are “dork shorts” and why do we want to have them at our THATCamp?

“Dork shorts” are very short (1-2 minute) presentations where anyone can get up in front of the group and give a quick introduction for a project. It’s a good opportunity for individuals to get their project or work viewed by all campers, and encourages follow-up conversation afterwards.

Where can I read about the history of the “unconference,” the “lightning talk,” the “Pecha Kucha,” and the original BarCamp?

Write the MCN THATCamp Coordinator at with further questions.