What is BootCamp?

BootCamp is a series of introductory workshops in various digital skills that takes place at a THATCamp.  Anyone who goes to the THATCamp can also attend its BootCamp workshops, which, like the other THATCamp sessions, are free.

If you are interested in teaching a BootCamp session, please contact the organizers of THATCamp Texas at .

Will There Be a BootCamp at THATCamp Texas?

Yes.  We are planning a series of workshops that will take place on Friday, April 15, the day before THATCamp Texas, also at Rice University.  What better way to spend Tax Day?

How do I register?

Registering is easy–just fill out this handy-dandy form. Three sessions–Census Mapping, TEI, and Managing Digital Projects–are already full, and several others are nearing capacity. Note that each workshop can only accommodate 10-15 people, so wait until your registration is verified before making plans to attend. Because of space restrictions, only people who have been accepted into THATCamp Texas may sign up for BootCamp workshops.

Oh, Goody!  What is the BootCamp schedule?

Here is the preliminary BootCamp schedule. Because of space limitations, we will only be able to accommodate 10-15 people in each session. You do not have to commit to a particular track, but can pick and choose among sessions. THATCamp Texas participants will be admitted on a first-come, first-served basis.

Friday, April 15
9-10:30 a.m. Kim Ricker and Jean Niswonger, Introduction to GIS [FULL] Amanda Focke, Building Digital Collections with Omeka [FULL]
10:45-12:15 Kim Ricker and Jean Niswonger, Census Mapping [FULL] Chris Pound, Building a Web Presence with WordPress [FULL]
12:15-1:30 LUNCH LUNCH
1:30-3:00 p.m. Hadley Wickham, Introducing R and ggplot2 for Visualizing Data [FULL] Lisa Spiro, Introduction to Producing Electronic Texts Using the Text Encoding Initiative [FULL]
3:15-4:45 Anita Riley, Simple Augmented Reality Andrew Torget, Managing Scholarly Digital Projects from Start to Finish [FULL]
Saturday, April 16
11 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Ben Brumfield, Using regular expressions to match and manipulate text strings
4:30-5:45 p.m. Lina Dib and Roland von Kurnatowski , Art, Hackers and Arduino Microcontrollers: Show ‘n Tell ‘n Play

BootCamp Workshop Descriptions


  • Introduction to GIS. Geographic Information Systems (GIS) enable users to visualize and analyze spatial information in a dynamic digital environment. This short course will introduce general concepts and applications of GIS. Participants will become familiar with the ArcGIS Desktop 9.x environment and will gain hands on experience using ArcMap to create a GIS project utilizing a variety of data layers.

    • Fundamentals of GIS
    • Projections and coordinate systems
    • Datasets, sources, and formats
    • ArcGIS
      • Navigating a map document
      • Adding, arranging, symbolizing, and labeling map layers
      • Examining and querying layer attribute tables
      • Selecting and exporting features by attribute and by location
      • Creating, saving, and exporting map layouts
  • Building Digital Collections with Omeka
    Omeka is a free, flexible, and open source web-publishing platform for the display of library, museum, archives, and scholarly collections and exhibitions.” (omeka.org

    In this 1.5 hour Omeka workshop we will:

    • discuss what Omeka is, what it does as compared to other kinds of online collections and its technical set up (30 minutes)
    • explore hands-on the core functions of creating “items” and “collections” (30 minutes)
    • play with relevant plug-ins such as Exhibit Builder, OAI-Harvester & OAI-Repository, Drop Box (batch file upload) and Simple Pages (30 minutes)

    Participants will have a general understanding and enough hands-on experience to decide if Omeka might be right for their own collections and what it would take to get their materials online. The workshop is paced with enough time to allow discussion of participants’ specific situations and questions.

  • Census Mapping
    GIS is a very powerful tool for mapping demographic and historical information. This hands-on workshop will show how to download data from the Census Bureau and map it using ArcGIS Desktop 9.x. Additional resources for data—National Historical GIS, SimplyMap, and Social Explorer—will also be discussed.

    • Census
      • History
      • Finding data
      • Downloading data
      • Preparing data for import into ArcGIS
    • ArcGIS
      • Adding and joining census tables in GIS
      • Creating choropleth maps (or colored thematic maps)
    • Additional census data resources
      • NHGIS
      • Social Explorer
      • SimplyMap
  • Building a Web Presence with WordPress
    WordPress offers a simple and flexible way to create a web presence, either for yourself, your research group, or a project you manage. This BootCamp session will demonstrate the steps in establishing your web presence, building a site, and editing content. Topics include registering a domain name, selecting essential WordPress services, setting up a profile, configuring your site, developing your information architecture, setting up your navigation (widgets and custom menus), customizing your theme with stylesheets and header images, working with content (pages, page hierarchies, links, link categories, posts, post categories, post formats, and your media library, plus shortcodes, LaTeX content, and geotagging), handling comments and trackbacks, adding co-admins and other users, letting the world know about your site, interpreting your site statistics, and getting support. If time allows, we will briefly discuss incorporating external services such as Flickr, Twitter, Typekit, Paypal, YouTube, FeedBurner, Yahoo Pipes, and especially Google Apps to add further dimensions to your web presence. 

  • Introducing R and ggplot2 for Visualizing Data:
    In this class, you’ll learn the basics of visualising data with R and ggplot2. We’ll look at two datasets, one on fuel economy and one on diamond prices, and explore how to create a variety of plot types, focussing on the two most important statistical graphics: the scatterplot and the histogram. You’ll get a flavour of the theory that underlies ggplot2, and see how create a surprisingly wide range of graph types, using just a few simple commands. 

    You don’t need any programming knowledge to get the most out of this class, but before you come, make sure you have installed R and ggplot2. The easiest way is to get R is to install Rstudio (www.rstudio.org/), and then inside Rstudio run the following R code: install.packages(“ggplot2”).

  • Introduction to Producing Electronic Texts Using the Text Encoding Initiative
    This introductory, hands-on workshop will cover the basics of producing electronic texts using the Text Encoding Initiative, including: 

    • an overview of XML
    • examples of TEI in use
    • the basic structure of a TEI document
    • providing metadata in the TEI header’

    No experience with TEI is assumed.

  • Simple Augmented Reality
    Augmented Reality (AR) is the enhancement of the real world with digital information. AR is quickly growing in popularity, showing up everywhere from sporting events to your mobile phone. As smart phones and tablet computers become more widespread, AR can help you reach a wider audience for historical and culture materials and make real-world connections with students, researchers, and more. 

    There has traditionally been a high level of expertise required to build AR applications, but with the release of platforms such as Layar and Hoppala’s Augmentation, it is now easier than ever to start building! This bootcamp session will cover:

    • what AR is and some potential uses (30 minutes)
    • hands-on overlay creation with Augmentation (45 minutes)
    • trying out an AR layer around the THATcamp site (15 minutes)

  • Managing Scholarly Digital Projects from Start to Finish:
    This session will cover the broad spectrum of challenges (and suggestions for overcoming them) that come with taking your digital project from crazy idea to completed product. We will talk about putting together and coordinating a team, keeping track of progress, applying for grants and funding, getting the word out to the public, and (most important) getting the project done. We’ll also walk through some of the more popular tools for collaboration and project management (Google Docs, BaseCamp) and discuss the lessons learned from successful digital projects like the Valley of the Shadow.
  • Using regular expressions to match and manipulate text strings
    Why are Regular Expressions both feared and adored? What can you do with a regular expression, and where can you do it?
    This session will introduce the fundamentals of regular expressions, including hands-on exercises and enough theory to understand what’s going on under the hood. Participants will need an Internet-connected computer with a working Flash player.
  • Art, Hackers and Arduino Microcontrollers: Show ‘n Tell ‘n Play
    Join Lina Dib and Roland von Kurnatowski from TX/RX Labs for a session exploring interactivity and Arduino Micro-controllers. Lina will talk about her recent interactive art installations, including her current collaborative work with Roland and TX/RX. Roland will talk about ongoing collaborative projects at TX/RX Labs, Houston’s very own hacker space. This brief informal show ‘n tell will be followed by a hands on arduino workshop where participants can start to explore possibilities, program and play!TX/RX Labs is a non-profit organization whose mission is to provide a space for the community to actively collaborate and exchange knowledge in the spirit of giving back to others. TX/RX Labs provides classes for members and the community mainly on topics focusing on science and technology but is always seeking to expand to more varied disciplines. More information can be found at: txrxlabs.org.For more on the sort of DIY wizardry you will learn at this session, see: