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Digital Humanities

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andrea hunter

on 30 April 2010

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Transcript of Digital Humanities

We use “digital humanities” as an umbrella term for a number of different activities that surround technology and humanities scholarship. Under the digital humanities rubric, I would include topics like open access to materials, intellectual property rights, tool development, digital libraries, data mining, born-digital preservation, multimedia publication, visualization, GIS, digital reconstruction, study of the impact of technology on numerous fields, technology for teaching and learning, sustainability models, and many others.
http://www.blakearchive.org/blake/
The William Blake Archive Quilt Index http://www.quiltindex.org/search_results.php?collection=American%20Folklife%20Center,%20Library%20of%20Congress

Video Games http://www.thenightjourney.com/
No Jobs, No Future The job market in the humanities this year reminds me of those old Road Runner cartoons. Wile E. Coyote, a self-proclaimed "super genius," is devising some elaborate plan to catch his dinner, usually involving the creative use of Acme products, but instead of dining on Road Runner, he falls off a 1,000-foot cliff, suspended in midair just long enough to realize his fate. As he lies on the desert floor, flattened like a pancake, Coyote looks up and sees that a large anvil is about to fall on his head. The Road Runner makes his "beep beep" noise, and the cartoon ends…


Thomas H. Benton – Chronicle of Higher Education, January 4, 2010


In the sciences, mining this data – an approach called “data driven scholarship” – has enabled incredible leaps in fields like biology, where technologies like shotgun gene sequencing allows new species to be discovered on a computer before they’re ever seen in the wild.

We have only begun to scratch the surface on how this mountain of data might be used to advance humanities research. But now that millions of books and newspapers are right at our fingertips, we must ask: What new knowledge can we acquire?

Brett Bobley, Director, Office of Digital Humanities National Endowment for the Humanities, USA
Digital Humanities Manifesto Digital humanities promote a flattening of the relationship between masters and disciples. A redefinition of the roles of professor and student, expert and non-expert.
-Digital Humanities Manifesto, UCLA
http://marthawashington.us/
Almost all of the people who work here, whether they're doing technical work or not, are trained as humanists, as historians. We've had over the years that I've been here, very few people with computer science degrees on staff.
- Director
We don't have a very hierarchical structure here. In that we (the Directors), all have some technical background. We've all done programming in our time, so there isn't a real strong division between staff and directors.
- Director Usually the people doing the content are not the same as the people building the website. I've never had to work on content specifically.
- Programmer I work in what we call the Robot Room...all the programmers are here, on this side of the room. The Education Division and the Senior Staff Division don't have a lot of technically proficient people. They're more content people who work on things that we build. We build the tools. They fill the tools up with stuff.
- Programmer I think that the historians here, the people who are content, are knowledgeable enough and conversant enough to actually talk to programmers. If somebody's talking about the limitations of HTML or CSS, the people working on the content understand that. They don't necessarily write it themselves, but they're conversant. So they can read the language mainly, but not speak it. Like, you know, how you can read Spanish, but you can't speak it fluently. Something kind of like that.
-Programmer There are grand ambitions and there's heartbreak...And a lot of it is lack of understanding about the technology. Either 1) what the technology can do, or 2) the amount of time we actually have to do it. There's a lot of things it's technically possible to do, it's just we don't have the time or the resources to do it.
- Programmer I'm noticing the amount of skill levels that we need to do our job in the digital humanities, that amount of technical proficiency, is rising. And it's harder and harder to find people that have that sort of parity between humanism and technology. We're starting to just bite the bullet and hire technologists, pure technologists.
- Programmer 1503-1504, Hieronymus Bosch
The Garden of Earthly Delights, (detail) -Circuit Bent Pikachu What is remarkable about these digitization efforts is the sheer scale. Never before have scholars had access to such a huge volume of materials. This kind of scale adds new challenges and new opportunities. A scholar of 19th century literature could never hope to read every book published in the 1800’s – but a computer can. A historian who is studying World War II could never hope to read every newspaper editorial about the war – but a computer can. 2007, David Altmejd, The Index (Detail) - Example of 19th Century Antique American Quilt 1962, Yves Klein, IKB (International Klein Blue), 191 The Digital Humanities
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