"The brains our children are born with are not substantively different from the brains our ancestors had 40,000 years ago. [...] But almost from day one, the allotment of neurons in those brains (and therefore the way they function) is different today from the way it was even one generation ago. [...]. Children, then, can become literally incapable of thinking and feeling the way their grandparents did."
"Digital Humanities is a term of convenience, and we shouldn’t read too much into it. Take it from a professor who works in a department of “English”. It is true that outsiders will have trouble making sense of this shorthand due to the Digital Humanities’ lack of an historical institutional presence. That puts some pressure on digital humanists to explain what it is they do. But no other term will explain such a large and diverse field any better."
Alina Ghimpu-Hague's insight:
This is Scott Keinerman's reply to William Pannapackers's article in The Chronicle of Higher Education which argued that the label of Digital Humanities is counter-productive because it perpetuates the myth of the discipline as being elitist, exclusive, and costly.
Kleinman's view is that the strong asociation between Digital Humanities and major private universities may be explained by the different degrees of overlap between their respective remits on one hand and our current criteria for distinguishing between digital humanities projects and other types of using technology while teaching or conducting research on the other.
"When people ask me to speak or write about the future of books, invariably what they want to know about are things like ebooks, digital publishing, book apps, transmedia. These are not the future of books. They are the present of books.
To consider the future of books, we must imagine the future of media. We must imagine the future of the web. And for that we must lift the veil and step into the post-digital."
'As I mentioned in my last post, the ”Short Guide to Digital Humanities” (pages 121-136 of Digital_Humanities, by Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner, and Jeffrey Schnapp, MIT Press, 2012) includes the following stricture under the heading “What Isn’t the Digital Humanities?”:
The mere use of digital tools for the purpose of humanistic research and communication does not qualify as Digital Humanities.
I’m not going to speculate on the reasons that these authors make this declaration, or on why they feel they (or anyone else) should be authorized to decide what kinds of activities do and do not “qualify” as parts of the field.
Here I want only to reflect on the potential damage done to the field by adhering to this restriction'
Alina Ghimpu-Hague's insight:
Informed, toughtful article that argues that separating the tools from the process in the field of Digital Humanities is harmful, as it prevents valuable resources (such as topic modelling tools) from becoming or remaining part of the scholalrly dialogue and undermines the disciplinary relevance of the results they generate.
"There is a real opportunity in these parallel moments of technological innovation for exciting new partnerships to form between libraries and the humanities. Each section of this article starts with a key text from the digital humanities community and tries to offer both a birds-eye view of the issues and practical ideas for libraries. The first section teases out the practical and philosophical reasons why digital humanities and libraries make natural partners. The second section focuses on how to make these partnerships work. The third section turns to the library as a physical space that is well positioned to be a hub for the kinds of experimental collaboration the digital humanities often generates. The final section begins to imagine new directions for libraries and librarians as they engage the digital humanities."
Alina Ghimpu-Hague's insight:
Article by Micah Vandegrift and Stuart Varner in the 'Digital Humanities in Libraries: New Models of Scholarly Engagement' special issue of the _Journal of Library Administration_ (Vol 53, Issue 1, 2013) that argues that, to ensure the continuing relevance of the profession in a a changing scholarly and institutional landscape, contemporary librarians must become digital practitioners who take an active role in creating and leading collaborative digital projects that involve both peers and faculty.
"A new centre dedicated to examining the changing nature of copyright and the need for new business models in the digital age has been launched at the University of Glasgow.
The Centre for Creativity, Regulation, Enterprise and Technology (CREATe) brings together internationally renowned researchers from seven UK universities who will work to address the challenges an increasingly digital world presents to government, business and content creators."
"10 PRINT is nominally about a single line of code—the eponymous BASIC program for the Commodore 64 that goes 10 PRINT CHR$(205.5+RND(1)); : GOTO 10. But we use that one line of code as both a lens and a mirror to explore so much more. In his generous blurb for10 PRINT, Matt Kirschenbaum quotes William Blake’s line about seeing the world in a grain of sand. This short BASIC program is our grain of sand, and in it we see vast cultural, technological, social, and economic forces at work. "
"I’m very torn about the question of blog (or the more descriptive term “digital self-publication”) as end-goal vs. step along the way to traditional print or peer-reviewed online publications. [...] I would think that the “review” that happened in the comment thread of my Mad Men piece would be seen by a review committee as substantive & suggestive of the piece’s scholarly value (if not uniform embrace), but the context of it being on my own blog would be important to consider."
"While much valuable scholarship on the digital focuses on particular artifacts or historical processes or subcultures, this essay offers a preliminary treatment of the digital in general, proposing that the digital has its own ontology, a way of being, and that this ontology is manifest in the technologies and human relations that define and surround the digital. In particular, the digital places a central emphasis on abstraction, and digital artifacts and culture demonstrate this ontology of abstraction even while remaining concrete. The kinds of social structures grouped under the label Web 2.0 exemplify the materialized abstraction of the digital, and this essay points out the formal and technical features of the digital that carry the abstract nature of the binary code into the human relations"
Word frequency analysis of approximately 150 job adverts for digital humanities positions posted across the globe in 2012. The findings seem to suggest a continuing focus on theoretical frameworks and/or specific projects, and a relative lack of appetite (or funding) for digital humanities in the classroom: "research" is ranked second out of 52 entries with 650 occurences, "teaching" is ranked 24th with 180.
"I consider “Digital Humanities” to be an umbrella term for a wide array of practices for creating, applying, interpreting, interrogating, and hacking both new and old information technologies. These practices—whether conservative, subversive, or somewhere in between—are not limited to conventional humanities departments and disciplines, but affect every humanistic field at the university and transform the ways in which humanistic knowledge reaches and engages with communities outside the university. Digital Humanities projects are, by definition, collaborative, engaging humanists, technologists, librarians, social scientists, artists, architects, information scientists, and computer scientists in conceptualizing and solving problems, which often tend to be high-impact, socially-engaged, and of broad scope and duration. At the same time, Digital Humanities is an outgrowth and expansion of the traditional scope of the humanities, not a replacement for or rejection of humanistic inquiry. I firmly believe that the role of the humanist is more critical at this historic moment than ever before, as our cultural legacy as a species migrates to digital formats and our relation to knowledge, cultural material, technology, and society is radically re-conceptualized."
"In the second of a three-part series of articles on story innovations for our R&D season, BBC’s User Experience Architect Paul Rissen argues that new technologies could be facilitating a new kind of storytelling"
Alina Ghimpu-Hague's insight:
Explores the narrative potential of an Internet of Things and argues that technology-enabled story-telling should be engaged with on its own terms rather than as a substitute for, or a saviour of, the kind of linear narrative traditionally associated with the printed book.
An app that transforms adult newspapers into child-friendly text and animations has been launched in Japan.
Alina Ghimpu-Hague's insight:
Japanese augumented reality app that overlays a simplified version of newspaper articles which uses age-appropriate vocabulary and animated reading-aids. It would be interesting to read more about how much of the text can be 'translated' in real-time and how the highighted words are selected.
Mark Carrigan uses the example of two self-identified communities that coalesced as a result of on-line dialogue to ask "how is the internet changing how our sense of who we are and how we differ from those around us unfolds over the life course?"
"The term Big Data is so generic that the hunt for its origin was not just an effort to find an early reference to those two words being used together. Instead, the goal was the early use of the term that suggests its present connotation — that is, not just a lot of data, but different types of data handled in new ways.
The credit, it seemed to me, should go to someone who was aware of the computing context. [...]
Since I first looked at how he used the term, I liked Mr. Mashey as the originator of Big Data. In the 1990s, Silicon Graphics was the giant of computer graphics, used for special-effects in Hollywood and for video surveillance by spy agencies. It was a hot company in the Valley that dealt with new kinds of data, and lots of it.
There are no academic papers to support the attribution to Mr. Mashey. Instead, he gave hundreds of talks to small groups in the middle and late 1990s to explain the concept and, of course, pitch Silicon Graphics products. The case for Mr. Mashey is on the Web sites of technical and professional organizations, like Usenix. There, some of his presentation slides from those talks are posted, including “Big Data and the Next Wave of Infrastress” in 1998. "
"As the number of people using quantitative methods to study "cultural data" is gradually increasing (right now these people work in a few areas which do not interact: digital humanities, empirical film studies, computers and art history, computational social science), it is important to ask: what is statistics, and what does it mean to use statistical methods to study culture? Does using statistics immediately make you a positivist?"
"History is shaped by the tools available for making it: cuneiform tablets tallying sheep or barley are less flexible as texts -- they carry more limited forms of information, in smaller quantities, and in harder to reproduce form -- than 17th century letters or printed books. By the same token, digital communication can do things that early modern technologies of writing and print can't (for instance, web packets are at considerably less risk of falling into rivers during winter storms). History changes, and is also changed by, the technologies used to record it."
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