Exasperated team member Amrys Williams, OWOT Day 3, by Brian Croxall

My short post on a lesson learned yesterday at One Week One Tool, the half-crazed can-we-build-it digital humanities camp at the Center for History and New Media. If you lock a bunch of very talented scholars, designers, librarians, and programmers into a room and ask them to come up with catchy names for an innovative software product (and half or more have advanced degrees in literary studies), then you are very likely to spend about five hours considering over 120 nominations. Also, you may devote considerable time to contemplating metaphorical conflicts between titles, taglines, and iconography such as: Do garden seeds experience Gestalt insights? Would a homey American potluck dinner make sense with British-style sorcery? Can a martini also be a bikini? Do mustaches look better on hippos or ostriches? (I’m not making this up, and would link to my online notes if this wasn’t a top-secret project. Wait for the big launch on Friday.) Moreover, if the name-game brainstorming session runs long enough (without participants strangling one another), you’ll eventually discover the magical 121st name that brings joy to everyone’s faces (but only if the domain names are still available). Finally, when the process draws to a close and everyone congratulates one another on our so-called collective brilliance, it’s slightly embarrassing to realize that the 121st title was simply a clever variation of the 1st one at the top of the list, which had been staring us in the face for the past five hours. Sigh. . .