Self Help

Debates in The Digital Humanities - Matthew K. Gold

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Matheus Puppe

· 125 min read

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Here are the key debates and discussions surrounding the digital humanities based on the introduction:

  • Defining what constitutes digital humanities work and how it relates to more traditional humanities scholarship. There are disagreements between those who see DH as augmenting traditional projects versus those who see it as disruptive and able to reshape academic practice.

  • Tensions arising from the rapid growth and increased attention on digital humanities. While longtime practitioners welcome newcomers, some are uneasy about how the sudden expansion may change the character of the field.

  • Questions about the nature and purpose of the university in light of digital humanities’ growth. DH is positioned to both address changes in academia like precarious labor issues, while also potentially upending the status quo through new methods and pedagogies.

  • An introspective turn as digital humanities discourse examines what it means to be a “digital humanist” and debates topics like the definition and values of the field.

  • Issues of inclusion and diversity as digital humanities grapples with being perceived as predominantly white and male-dominated. Questions around whose voices and perspectives are represented.

So in summary, the key debates center around defining digital humanities work, managing rapid growth, navigating academic changes, and promoting inclusion and representation within the field.

  • The debate was sparked by a talk given by Stephan Ramsay at a digital humanities convention. He argued that to be considered a digital humanist, one needs to “build things” such as tools, projects, code, etc. rather than just critique or analyze digitally.

  • Ramsay’s comments set off debates both during the talk and online afterwards. He later softened his stance slightly but still maintained digital humanists need to move from just reading to actively building/creating digital work.

  • These definitional debates reflect the growing pains of an emerging field as it expands beyond a small circle to a more heterogeneous group. They also signal potential shifts in how humanities scholarship is conducted as digital projects become part of tenure dossiers.

  • The collection aims to capture and shape some of these vigorous debates surrounding the rise of digital humanities, which have often been dispersed online. It features perspectives from senior, mid-career, junior, and student scholars as well as those in alternative academic roles.

  • The essays address questions around diversity, politics, accessibility, theories of coding as scholarship, and future trends like big data. Multiple critiques of digital humanities are also leveled related to issues of race, class, gender, politics, and concentration in well-funded universities.

  • The book development process was unusually fast for a print publication due to the collaborative peer review it utilized. Drafts were openly reviewed and commented on by contributors online in a semi-public process.

  • Peer-to-peer review for the Debates in the Digital Humanities project worked in ways that discouraged shirking of duties by reviewers. The semi-public nature of the reviews meant reviewers’ names were attached to their comments, so not leaving substantive comments would reflect poorly on them. Shared review assignments also created peer pressure to complete reviews.

  • The semi-open nature of the review process allowed for more open and candid criticism than a fully public review would have.

  • The peer-to-peer review process built a sense of community and collectivity around the project. Contributors could see each other’s work as it was being revised.

  • This led some authors to thank and cite each other in their work. The process strengthened cohesion around the project.

  • The process was supplemented by more traditional blind review as well, incorporating innovations from open review models while retaining strengths of traditional processes.

  • The published book reflects current issues in the digital humanities, moving from theory to practice to teaching to the future of the field. It incorporates scholarly blog and wiki materials.

  • The book is the starting point for an ongoing, community-based online resource to track and extend these discussions as the field rapidly evolves.

This passage discusses the origins and development of the field of digital humanities. Some key points:

  • “Digital humanities” was coined as a term in 2001 during discussions for a Blackwell Companion publication, shifting the emphasis from “digitized humanities” or “humanities computing.”

  • In 2002, conversations began about merging the Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) and the Association for Literary and Linguistic Computing (ALLC) into an umbrella organization, which became the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations (ADHO) in 2005.

  • Major conferences, publications, training programs, centers, and professional organizations in digital humanities developed in the 2000s, establishing it as a recognized field.

  • The NEH’s launch of its Digital Humanities Initiative in 2006, which became the Office of Digital Humanities in 2008, was an important tipping point that further established “digital humanities” as the dominant term and field in the US.

So in summary, it traces the origins of the term and field of digital humanities emerging from earlier “humanities computing” through key events and organizations from the early 2000s.

The passage discusses the emergence and growth of digital humanities as a field and movement over the past decade. It notes how digital humanities has grown from a term used within a tight-knit research community to something with widespread recognition and self-identification. English departments have been particularly receptive to digital humanities due to their long history with text-based computing applications like stylistics, linguistics, composition, editorial theory, hypertext, and cultural studies involving digital media. More recently, large-scale digitization projects and text mining have further aligned with the interests of English departments. The passage argues that digital humanities has also come to represent broader concerns among scholars about precarity in academia amid changes in higher education. Social media platforms like Twitter and blogs have helped constitute digital humanities as a network and rallying point for these issues.

  • Digital humanities originated as “humanities computing” which focused more on the technology rather than the humanities aspect.

  • In the early 2000s, the term “digital humanities” was coined to emphasize the humanities elements rather than just digitization.

  • Digital humanities includes projects that use computing methods like text encoding and analysis on large collections of humanities texts. It also includes tools and standards to support such projects.

  • While originally located in literary studies, digital humanities now encompasses history, musicology, media studies and other fields that apply computing technologies to humanistic inquiry.

  • Some see digital humanities more broadly as any changes to humanistic disciplines caused by digital technologies, like how rhetoric/composition studies the effects of computers on writing.

  • There is debate around what exactly defines digital humanities and tensions between practitioners over boundaries and inclusion/exclusion. But it is generally seen as applying computing to answer humanities questions or study technology’s impact on the humanities.

  • The author argues that the digital humanities community needs to articulate a shared set of core values in order to define its goals, foster collaboration, and address challenges like lack of open access.

  • Professional organizations typically develop values statements or codes of ethics to clarify their mission, set standards of conduct, and provide guidance. However, values statements can also constrain a community if they do not reflect its diversity.

  • The author proposes a collaborative process using wikis and social media to develop a flexible values statement that represents the perspectives of the digital humanities community as a whole. The statement would focus on overarching values rather than specific ethical guidelines.

  • Articulating common values could help unify the digital humanities community and enable it to confront changes while staying true to its principles. However, obtaining consensus will be difficult given the range of viewpoints, so dissenting opinions should also be considered.

In summary, the author argues that developing a collaboratively created statement of core values could strengthen the digital humanities community by providing shared purpose and guidance, but cautions that the process needs to be inclusive and the resulting statement flexible.

  • Producing a values statement for the digital humanities community is important but difficult, as it requires synthesizing what matters to a diverse group while recognizing potential disagreements.

  • The process of developing the statement should be open, participatory and iterative to reflect how the community operates. A wiki would allow the statement to change over time with discussion.

  • Input should be solicited widely from both insiders and outsiders to the field. However, someone needs to initially kick off the discussion, which this essay aims to do.

  • Values will likely stimulate debate as different subcommunities prioritize values differently. Stated values may also conflict with actual practices.

  • The digital humanities draws on values from humanities, libraries/cultural institutions, and networked culture, though these can also come into conflict.

  • Key humanistic values include inquiry, critical thinking, pluralism, balancing innovation and tradition. However, values are also contextual and ideological.

  • Professional humanities values emphasize specialization and authority more than collaboration. Digital humanities blends academic and IT cultures.

  • Principles like inquiry, respect, debate and integrity from statements of professional organizations can still guide digital humanities.

  • The process of developing values can promote self-reflection and discussion to advance the field. The statement should illuminate paths rather than constrain choices.

Here is a summary of key points about mutual respect, constructive criticism, and the values of digital humanities:

  • Professional organizations in history, language, and libraries emphasize mutual respect, critical dialogue with integrity, and freedom of inquiry balanced with responsibility.

  • The digital humanities brings together scholarly values like free inquiry with a focus on democratic sharing of ideas online.

  • Internet values like openness, collaboration, and wisdom of the crowd influence the digital humanities. Information is shared rather than controlled.

  • Print culture values originality and authority while digital culture values access, conversation, fluidity and collaboration.

  • The digital humanities promotes values found in manifestos - openness, participation, civic responsibility, innovation, questioning traditions.

  • Values expressed include collaboration, cross-disciplinarity, openness, social responsibility, questioning assumptions, and balancing openness with quality and balance.

  • Constructive criticism and mutual respect are important for critical dialogue while embracing collaboration and sharing ideas openly in a responsible way.

Here is a summary of the key points about theory and practice in the digital humanities community:

  • Openness is a core value, seen in open source tools/software, freely accessible digital collections and scholarship, and open access publications. It promotes collaboration, discoverability, and the sharing of ideas.

  • Collaboration is necessary given the interdisciplinary nature of digital humanities projects and the range of skills required. It is also valued as transforming how knowledge is created and shared in a more communal way. Conferences often feature discussions of collaboration.

  • Collegiality and an inclusive, helpful community are promoted. This is seen in venues like Digital Humanities Questions and Answers which aim to help others. Inclusion may increase acceptance of digital scholarship by sharing tools/resources openly.

  • Values like openness, collaboration, and collegiality support related goals like transdisciplinarity, creating public knowledge, connectivity between scholars, and acknowledgement of all contributors to projects.

  • Funders and centers also encourage these practices, such as requirements for collaboration in grant programs and centers supporting collaborative work. Guidelines like the Collaborators’ Bill of Rights provide principles for fair and inclusive collaboration.

  • In general, theory and practice in digital humanities aspire to more open, collaborative, and collegial ways of creating and sharing knowledge compared to traditional humanities approaches.

  • THATCamp aims to be informal, non-hierarchical, collaborative and promote conversations in the digital humanities. Participants of different backgrounds and roles work together to define the schedule and discussions.

  • Some have critiqued the digital humanities community for being exclusive and not engaged enough with issues of diversity and cultural politics. However, the community aspires to diversity and inclusiveness.

  • The language of experimentation is prevalent in digital humanities, reflecting its support for risk-taking, innovation and exploring questions through tools and data. Not all experiments succeed as planned, but failure is seen as valuable for learning.

  • Many digital humanities organizations model themselves as labs to emphasize their experimental, collaborative nature. Experimentation suggests testing ideas as well as transforming traditional teaching and research approaches.

  • The Looking for Whitman project brought together classes from four universities to collaboratively explore Walt Whitman’s work using social networking technologies and contribute to an open repository of resources.

  • It aimed to experiment with distributed collaboration and sharing of research and teaching in the digital realm.

  • Some digital humanities values like openness and collaboration may clash with traditional academic norms like intellectual property policies and tenure processes that favor solo work.

  • Developing a core values statement could help the DH community craft a coherent identity, use values as guiding principles, and pass them on in education. Clearly articulating values helps govern communities effectively and motivate participation.

  • Core values must operate within specific contexts and address questions around software/code use, curriculum priorities, and the goals of DH centers/organizations. Values can guide decision-making despite potential clashes or complications.

  • There is currently a debate happening around the scope and direction of digital humanities, exemplified by panels at conferences like MLA 2011 and online discussions.

  • A central tension is between those invested in technology as a tool/methodology vs. “newcomers” taking other approaches linking the humanities and digital.

  • The scope of digital humanities is a point of tension, as there is interest in an inclusive field that reconfigures the humanities. Thus the “size” of digital humanities is important.

  • The passage explores the current landscape around the idea of “big tent” digital humanities and what needs to be incorporated that wasn’t there before.

  • A larger tent comes with expanded responsibilities. The need for boundaries is questioned.

  • The author suggests moving away from a “tent” approach and instead considering “trading zones” or “meeting places” as alternative structuring concepts.

  • In summary, the passage examines the debate around defining and scoping digital humanities, specifically discussing the “big tent” concept and proposing alternatives beyond strict boundaries.

  • Digital humanities initiatives tend to exist as centers/institutes rather than traditional departments, requiring interaction with other institutions. Examples given are the CCH, IATH, MITH.

  • Yale University recently established a digital humanities working group, coming from a different tradition than humanities computing. Their definition of DH is more inclusive.

  • Some saw Yale’s entry into DH as a “watershed moment” while others criticized this view for overlooking earlier work done at non-Ivy schools with less resources. There are concerns Ivy League schools will gatekeep DH.

  • Different traditions/types of DH are represented - Yale focuses more on digitized objects of study while some advocate for coding/making as a requirement. Funding structures are cited as potential gatekeeping tools.

  • While some praise Yale’s initiative, others argue it risks redefining DH in ways that privilege theorizing over hands-on digital work. The debate touches on issues of inclusion, tradition, and gatekeeping in the field.

  • The passage discusses how the conception of digital humanities influences whether the field’s “big tent” is seen as inclusive or exclusive.

  • It analyzes Unsworth’s characterization of Yale graduate students’ approach to DH, questioning if they truly engaged with tools first or asked analytical questions.

  • It examines the potential epistemological biases of placing tools and methodology at the core of DH work.

  • It looks at the 2011 DH conference call for papers and whether the topics emphasized, like text analysis and curation of resources, represented a narrow tool-oriented tradition or a more multivalent approach.

  • While more inclusive than 2009, the CFP is still seen as exclusionary by some outsiders through prioritizing certain traditions over others in its examples of DH areas.

  • The passage argues the conception and language used to define DH’s scope impacts perceptions of inclusiveness, especially from outsider perspectives.

The scholar is arguing that the Call for Papers for a digital humanities conference did not do enough to include newcomers working in new media and digital humanities. Specifically:

  • New media is listed without elaboration, separate from the main topics of the conference.

  • Referring readers to a specific journal (Literary and Linguistic Computing) to learn about digital humanities topics would not be helpful, as the journal focuses on more traditional topics like text analysis rather than new media.

  • A broader scope of topics and reference to additional journals would make newcomers feel more included.

  • Vision statements see digital humanities as transformative and requiring diverse skills, suggesting a “big tent” approach is needed rather than focusing too narrowly on traditional fields.

  • Conceptualizing digital humanities as a “trading zone” or meeting place, rather than under a single tent, better supports different approaches working together on collaborative projects. This model is more inclusive of different viewpoints.

  • There is no agreed upon definition of digital humanities in terms of theoretical concerns, research methods, or computational techniques. It is more of a social category than an ontological one.

  • It is characterized by a genealogy and network of related approaches rather than a uniform definition. People self-identify as digital humanists while working to define the field.

  • Though lacking a clear definition, it does have organizational referents like a journal, conference, and academic centers that indicate it is a recognized social category.

  • The lack of an ontological definition leads to anxiety about self-definition, as evidenced by essays seeking to define it and defensive/combative tones in discussions.

  • This anxiety may be a result of the field’s growth and popularity, which brings issues around resources and competition as it attracts more people and attention externally.

  • For some, it feels like a small town that has become popular and is now dealing with influx of new people and developers competing for resources, disrupting previous customs and understandings. This leads to identity crises as the field adjusts.

In summary, the article highlights that digital humanities is more of a social category in flux rather than a clearly defined ontological field, and this lack of definition combined with growth is a source of anxiety and tension as the community works to understand itself amid external changes and pressures.

The passage discusses the current state and identity of the digital humanities field. It notes that while digital humanists share an interest in interpreting human records and using computational technologies, there is significant diversity and lack of connection between different groups and approaches.

The field encompasses a wide range of methods from textual encoding and mapping to computational analysis and critical code studies. These different approaches have complex relationships with texts and technologies. Given this variability, the digital humanities cannot be defined as a single discipline with common curriculum or methods.

However, the passage argues the field is still meaningful and real. It proposes defining disciplines based on their practical approach and mastery of specific data domains, rather than rigid subject matter definitions.

From this perspective, digital humanists can be defined as humanists who have embraced digital media and see its transformative potential for interpretation. But beyond this broad characterization, the intersection of humanities and computation allows for tremendous diversity in specific practices.

In conclusion, while lacking a single definition or discipline, the digital humanities has grown significantly and represents a reality through its diverse institutional manifestations and practitioner community, despite internal differences. The field grapples with defining its identity and relationship to broader humanistic study.

The article addresses the common criticism of digital humanities that it does not answer specific humanities questions or make clear arguments. While some digital humanities projects have presented arguments, most have not had a significant impact.

However, the author argues that digital humanities may not need to produce new arguments yet. He draws a parallel to the early scientific experiments conducted by Hooke, Hauksbee and others using new instruments like air pumps and electrical machines. Initially, their focus was on demonstrating phenomena and entertaining audiences, rather than developing theories. It took decades of experimentation and tool-building before theorists like Faraday could provide adequate explanations.

Similarly, digital humanities is currently focused on building new tools and methods. Like the early scientists, it may need time to fully articulate and describe its digital instruments before being able to systematically answer questions and make strong arguments. The author argues digital humanities should make room for both types of work - projects that aim to argue now, as well as those focused on exploration and description using new digital methods and tools.

  • Brett Bobley is the director of the Office of Digital Humanities at the NEH.

  • He views digital humanities as an umbrella term encompassing topics like open access, intellectual property, tool development, digital libraries, data mining, preservation, multimedia publication, visualization, GIS, digital reconstruction, impact of technology on fields, and technology for teaching and learning.

  • Some of the most interesting innovations currently happening involve how technology helps interact with and manipulate humanities collections, like text, images, music, video, etc.

  • He draws an analogy to how technology has changed the production, distribution, and consumption of music, and sees similar changes happening to how humanists access, produce, and engage with cultural heritage materials through digitization and online publishing/collaboration tools.

  • Overall, Bobley views technology as profoundly impacting core humanities activities like reading, writing, and learning, making digital humanities an important and “game changing” development for the field.

  • Digital technology is transforming how scholars in the humanities do their work. It provides access to vast amounts of digitized materials that were previously inaccessible, like whole collections of books, newspapers, etc. This massive scale of available resources changes the nature of research.

  • Tools like data mining, text analysis, visualization, and GIS mapping are being used more to gain new insights from large collections of digital materials. While some disciplines are more tech-heavy, many scholars are incorporating digital tools into their work.

  • However, some junior scholars and graduate students face roadblocks when pursuing digital scholarship, as tenure and promotion standards are still catching up at some institutions. Doing digital work does not necessarily mean abandoning traditional topics, but using new techniques to study them.

  • As more resources become freely available online through open access databases and digital libraries, it will further remove constraints on research like copyright limits, travel costs, and language barriers. This could radically change the types of questions scholars explore.

  • For NEH grant applications, innovative collaborations across disciplines that produce broadly useful digital tools, resources or methodologies are most promising. Understanding what similar projects exist is important.

The blog posts collected definitions of digital humanities from participants in the 2011 Day of DH project. Definitions emphasized using computational tools and digital methods to conduct humanities research and scholarship. Key themes included:

  • Using digital technologies and tools to do the work of the humanities.

  • An interdisciplinary field that breaks down boundaries.

  • A collaborative, open, emerging field that forces reconception of practices.

  • Applying digital technologies to traditional humanistic inquiry in a theoretically informed manner.

  • Integrating empirical techniques from sciences to study humanities questions.

  • The scholarly study and use of computers/digital to illuminate the human record.

  • Building tools to engage critically with cultural heritage.

  • What digital humanists do through self-identification with the field and related practices.

  • Asking new questions and finding answers through more intelligent digital tools.

  • A label for those who have attempted to integrate digital into research, teaching and outreach.

So in summary, the blog posts collected a variety of perspectives that emphasized digital humanities as using digital methods and tools to advance interdisciplinary, collaborative humanities work in new ways.

  • There is anxiety in the digital humanities field about whether digital work and building/coding counts as scholarship for purposes of tenure, promotion, etc. Guidelines have been proposed but do not fully resolve this issue.

  • Some argue that digital artifacts like prototypes can stand on their own as knowledge without accompanying written discourse. Lev Manovich stated that “a prototype is a theory” and advocates seeing prototypes as conveying theoretical arguments.

  • Alan Galey and Stan Ruecker built on this, arguing that digital prototypes can argue a thesis and convey knowledge, making them peer-reviewable forms of research worthy of credit. They cite examples like text visualizations.

  • This vision of prototypes as explanatory recalls the use of demonstration devices in past centuries to publicly display doctrines about nature in a persuasive way. Davis Baird also argues that scientific instruments convey knowledge within scientific communities trained to interpret them.

  • In summary, the text lays out ongoing debates and arguments for considering digital building and coding in the humanities as a valid form of scholarly work and knowledge production, on par with theoretical discourse, by conceptualizing digital artifacts and prototypes as conveying theoretical and explanatory arguments in and of themselves. But full resolution of these issues, particularly for tenure evaluation, remains a challenge.

The passage discusses three views of how digital artifacts could represent theoretical contributions to scholarship:

  1. As prototypes or experimental systems that make conceptual arguments through their design and functioning, rather than serving as transparent tools. However, this excludes most digital tools developed by humanists to facilitate others’ work.

  2. As “telescopes of the mind” or hermeneutical instruments that allow interpreting phenomena in new ways. Digital tools could instantiate theoretical frameworks in a way that is faster and more accessible than written theory alone. However, there are concerns about whether users truly understand the underlying theoretical assumptions.

  3. As formal computational models or minimal definitions of computation from computer science. Concerns are raised about whether decompiling code reveals all theoretical assumptions, and few people actually analyze source code in detail.

Overall, the passage questions whether digital tools can truly serve as transparent or “ready-to-hand” theories given challenges around opacity of underlying assumptions, even when open source. Prototypes may be the form most conducive to demonstrating conceptual arguments, but are not intended as functional tools. The theoretical status of digital artifacts remains an open question.

  • Digital humanists have seen their work as continuing the longer tradition of the humanities, with a focus on creating, preserving, and migrating cultural materials.

  • By using new platforms and networks, humanists entering the digital arena learned a lot from having to engage with computational methods and constraints.

  • Tasks like creating metadata, markup, and classification systems or information architectures forced humanists to make explicit many assumptions that were often left implicit in traditional humanistic work.

  • When humanities content met digital methods to create digital projects, the terms of production were necessarily shaped by technological restraints, unlike print media which was established by humanists to support interpretative and analytical forms of scholarship.

  • In engaging with computational approaches, humanists gained an understanding of how their implicit theoretical assumptions could be made explicit through digital means of organizing and presenting information. This helped connect humanistic inquiry to debates in other fields like philosophy of science.

So in summary, the author argues that digital humanities has benefited humanistic work by prompting humanists to make implicit ideas more explicit and linking humanistic inquiry to other fields, while digital projects are constrained to some degree by technological factors.

The passage discusses the impact of humanistic theory and methods on digital scholarship and technology. It argues that while humanities scholars have long used digital tools to aid in their traditional work of analyzing texts and archives, they have had little influence on how those tools and platforms are designed.

The tools and interfaces used in digital humanities are largely engineered based on principles from other fields like science, business and the military that may clash with or ignore humanistic perspectives. The author argues it is important for humanists to shape new digital technologies through a humanistic theoretical lens, rather than just adapt existing tools created elsewhere.

Some key possibilities mentioned are incorporating humanistic values like ambiguity, relativity, performance over declarations, and emergence into how information is modeled, visualized and processed computationally. The ultimate goal, according to the author, is for humanistic thinking to inform not just the study of digital topics, but the actual design of digital environments and technologies themselves.

The encounter between humanities approaches and digital tools could bring new perspectives to digital contexts. Humanities thinking focuses on interpretation rather than mechanistic analysis. It sees texts as constructed and performative rather than static objects.

Some key principles of humanities work include:

  • Interpretation is constructive rather than finding a single fixed meaning. Each reading shapes the text.

  • Discourses and social/cultural contexts shape objects, not just provide context. Objects don’t have a stable identity independent of interpretation.

  • Ambiguities and contradictions can coexist rather than seeking predictable outcomes.

Applying these humanities principles to design digital environments could involve modeling interpretation and allowing for ambiguities. However, fully representing interpretation is challenging as any system risks reifying it.

As digital humanities incorporates new techniques like data mining, timelines, and maps from other fields, challenges emerge. Humanities data is often not quantifiable in the way needed for statistical graphs that imply certainty.

More fundamentally, key concepts in humanities like space, time, interpretation are constructed and experiential rather than empirical realities. Conventions like standardized maps obscure these constructions. Representing the rich spatial and temporal aspects of cultural artifacts demands new digital approaches.

The passage discusses challenges in representing spaces and temporalities in digital humanities projects from a humanistic perspective. Specifically, it notes:

  • Existing visualizations of things like letter routes assume uniform speeds and direct lines, ignoring complex real-world factors like geography, borders, delays, etc.

  • Humanistic representations of knowledge and space should account for situatedness (observer dependence) and enunciation (how systems produce spoken subjects).

  • When modeling something like inscriptions in the Roman forum virtually, one shouldn’t just place text on surfaces but consider how signage articulated space based on theories of space from fields like architecture and cultural geography.

  • Representing temporality is complex as experiences of time differ culturally and temporality is represented ambiguously in texts. Timelines fail to capture these nuances.

  • Incommensurate chronologies can exist within a single life based on different ways of segmenting experiences.

  • Past attempts at temporal modeling in digital humanities faced challenges in accounting for these humanistic understandings of space and time. Flexible, probabilistic systems may be needed over discrete frames of reference.

The key point is that humanistic perspectives of knowledge as situated, constructed and complex need to inform digital modeling and representations, rather than assuming standard graphical conventions can sufficiently capture these ideas.

  • The passage discusses three quotations that highlight some of the politics and issues emerging in debates around digital humanities.

  • The first quotation expresses a view of cultural objects as rational systems that can be fully encoded computationally, dismissing perspectives from outside privileged viewpoints.

  • The second asserts that critical theory has been politically impotent, overlooking its historical context and impact.

  • The third locates the emergence of quantitative analysis, cultural studies and digital networks separately, not acknowledging their interconnected nature.

  • Taken together, the quotations point to unsettled issues around power relations and how difference is treated in digital humanities discussions.

  • The author argues digital humanities needs an “ethical turn” to grapple with its politics and relationship to diversity of perspectives.

  • The title references the idea of “digital humanities” functioning as a “one” that eclipses plurality, like masculinity serving as a universal standard.

  • Concerns are raised about identity-focused narratives and lack of attention to actual digital humanities work and impact.

The author calls for a discussion of the politics and ethics of the digital humanities. They argue that descriptions of DH as “nice”gloss over potential social differences and power dynamics. When issues of social theory are raised, some DH practitioners respond with hostility, defensiveness or dismissal rather than engagement.

The author critiques views of tools and code as neutral or benevolent. They say DH must interrogate its role in legitimizing computation in the humanities rather than just defending its own importance. Citing theorists like Audre Lorde, they argue tools alone cannot dismantle hierarchies or address representation and inclusion issues in technology fields.

The piece calls for DH to consider embodied and affective dimensions of code and technology, not just technical dimensions. It argues recent narrowing of DH focuses funding oncanonical literary topics rather than diverse experimental practices. This risks turning back progress in fields like critical theory, feminism and postcolonial studies over the last 50 years.

In summary, the author calls for DH to critically examine its politics, ethics, social impacts and relationship to theory, rather than dismiss or ignore these important issues.

  • The passage advocates for an integration of the philosophical, critical, cultural and computational approaches in digital humanities, rather than choosing one over the others.

  • It argues for more open discussions around including political, social, cultural and philosophical dimensions in the methods and ethos of digital humanities work.

  • It rejects the “negativity of critique” and instead proposes a method of “creative critique” that combines theory, critique, cultural studies, literacy, pedagogy, affect and digital computation in an experimental way.

  • It discusses how context is important, and cites activist Sharon Daniel who argues for including personal stories and subjective perspectives in theoretical work.

  • It proposes composing “creative critical media” as a performative and affective way of interacting that uses discursive and non-discursive sensations to create a synesthetic rhetoric and forge ethical relations.

  • It traces the debate around “creation” and “criticism” back to New Criticism and figures like T.S. Eliot, discussing alternative perspectives like J.E. Spingarn’s idea of “creative criticism” that sees objects leading to other objects in a networked, generative way.

  • It acknowledges issues with viewing aesthetics through the lens of high art and modernism, and cites theorists like Theodor Adorno and Jacques Ranciere who critique this view and propose alternative conceptualizations of aesthetics and critique.

This passage discusses the concept of “mesh” or digital network as informed by relational aesthetics and Spinozan ethics. Some key points:

  • Relational aesthetics, as defined by Nicholas Bourriaud, views art as interactions between people rather than isolated symbolic works. This opens possibilities for rethinking critique, cultural studies, and digital practice through creative/critical interactions.

  • Toni Ross expands on this, saying Ranciere views aesthetics as how a society establishes perception - what can be seen, said, made. It organizes sensory experience. Critique then becomes intervening to create a “redistribution of the sensible.”

  • Moving beyond just interpretive criticism, materialist critique addressed political perspectives like feminism. But is this still ontological/sensory enough? Productive?

  • Several theorists like Latour, Sedgwick, Deleuze/Guattari proposed moving beyond just negative critique to a construction. Composition focuses on immanence rather than accessing some “truth behind appearances.”

  • The author sees their digital work as engaging this idea of “compositionism” - creating work through assemblage/performance rather than just critical exposure/deconstruction.

So in summary, it discusses evolving views of critique, aesthetics and digital practice that focus more on creative, relational interactions and constructions of experience rather than isolated criticism or accessing some transcendent reality.

  • Latour argues that past critique has primarily operated through “creative destruction” rather than “creative construction”. This has created a gap between what is felt and what is real.

  • The author proposes that critique could shift to “creative reuse” and “remixing” through composing creative critiques, rather than just interrogative readings. This would help address the disconnect between the felt and the real.

  • Digital technologies have enabled extensive exposure of human actions and records. But they have also layered more that remains illegible. Critique needs to move beyond just unveiling and shift to interactive compositions.

  • There is a crisis in digital literacy that few can read or write critically in computational and networked spaces. Digital media needs to enter critical practices to help produce iterative “small worlds” that are felt and real through collaborative participation.

  • Genres and disciplines are produced, not immanent. Digital practices are heterogeneous, layered and relational. The author advocates moving away from standardized genres and instrumentality to focus on collaborative critical making and doing through digital media.

Here are brief summaries of the sources referenced:

  • Bourriaud, Nicolas. Relational Aesthetics (2002): Proposes a theory of art as social interaction and human togetherness rather than a purely visual experience. Criticizes formalist views of art.

  • Berry, David M. “The Computational Turn” (2011): Discusses the rise of digital humanities and “the computational turn” in scholarship. Views it as part of a broader turn toward computational methods across many disciplines.

  • Cohen, Patricia. “Humanities 2.0” (2010): News article on growing interest in digital humanities and new digital approaches and tools for researching the humanities.

  • Cussett, François. French Theory (2008): Traces the influence and impact of French theorists like Foucault, Derrida, Deleuze in the U.S. intellectual scene.

  • Daniel, Sharon. “Hybrid Practices” (2009): Discusses hybrid digital/analog art practices and how they challenge traditional boundaries between media.

  • Key articles and books by Deleuze, Eliot, Fish, Foucault, Irigaray, Latour, Lorde, Moretti discussing critical theory, the humanities, and digital approaches.

  • Kirschenbaum, Matthew G. Blog post (2011): Discusses growing interest in digital humanities reflected at an MLA conference session.

  • Other sources discuss digital humanities, standards, aesthetics, computation and criticism, gender issues in technology, and theoretical perspectives on the field.

  • New Criticism and structuralist-formalist literary theory in the mid-20th century viewed texts as linear, self-contained works confined to the printed page and independent of outside context. This influenced how early computational linguistic work conceived of what computers could do with texts.

  • In the 1960s-1970s, scholars like Louis Milic and Roberto Busa critiqued this limited view and argued that computers could illuminate language and texts in new ways if we rethought our assumptions. However, the field of digital humanities did not fully incorporate this perspective.

  • Early visions of what computers could do for humanities research, like Margaret Masterman’s “telescope of the mind,” focused more on labor-saving tasks than new forms of analysis. Practitioners felt computing had failed to meaningfully impact the field.

  • By the 1990s, some were arguing the field still suffered from not thoroughly rethinking its theoretical foundations and relationship to client disciplines like literary studies. The emergence of the web began changing computing possibilities, but slowly at first in the humanities.

  • The passage examines why early hopes and visions for computing in the humanities were not fully realized, and implications for how the field conceptualizes its role and priorities going forward.

  • The phrase “schemes (where it has become a buzzword and branded label)” raises philosophical questions about whether subjective experiences like feelings have value, or if evidence is what proves value.

  • In the context of research funding, agencies ask if research is “worthwhile” based on measurable impact and evidence, often defined as citations. This focuses research on quantifiable outcomes over qualitative value.

  • Some argue this preoccupation with evidence is misguided, and that what matters are the consequences/ fruitfulness of research. The debate should be about how computing has or hasn’t helped various fields, and how to improve areas where it hasn’t.

  • For humanities, arguing economic benefits is difficult, but computing may improve “well-being of citizens.” The debate should be about making the intellectual value of digital humanities incontrovertible based on decades of experience, not just offering raw information but strong arguments.

  • In summary, it questions whether emphasizing “evidence of value” directs research in misguided ways or proves a “dangerous trap,” and calls for debate on better articulating the qualitative benefits and consequences of digital humanities research.

  • In the late 20th century, historical discourse was dominated by competing ideologies and theoretical frameworks, mirroring broader political and cultural trends. However, scholarship in the late 19th and early 20th century focused more on methodological refinement and consolidating the discipline through activities like bibliography and organizing knowledge.

  • The history of science subfield was founded through bibliographies and organizing activities, not big ideas. While recent decades debated constructivism, earlier work centered on reference works.

  • The author believes we are now entering a new phase where organizing activities will dominate over ideas, as digital historians focus more on developing new tools, methods, materials and collaborative modes of working to manage the flood of online information.

  • This shift reflects how information technologies are impacting all scholars’ work, as seen through widespread use of tools like Zotero and involvement in projects like Wikipedia. So methodology, not ideology, may drive historical discourse going forward.

  • There has been a rise in data-driven scholarship in the humanities, especially after decades dominated by critical theory approaches.

  • Some see this as rejecting criticality in favor of new methods over ideas/theories. Critical theorists often struggle to understand computing/digital beyond just tools.

  • Tom Scheinfeldt argues we are entering a “post-theoretical age” focused more on organizing knowledge and work through new methods than big ideas.

  • Projects like text mining all Victorian books raise questions about what arguments they aim to make and what we can truly learn without deeper critical analysis.

  • Scheinfeldt suggests theory expectations may not fit with scale/timing of digital work, which is more collaborative/incremental over generations like STEM fields.

  • However, emphasizing STEM approaches marginalizes theory. There is also a sense defenders want to defer critical questions to not strangle new forms of scholarship before they develop.

Here is a summary of the key points made in the argument:

  • Critics argue that computational methods and data-driven scholarship in the humanities do not adequately engage with critical theory or address important political, social and ethical issues.

  • Advocates of the computational turn argue that the time for theory is over or that theoretical advances take a long time, which is used to dismiss critical theory and push forward preferred methodologies uncontested.

  • Positioning work as pre- or post-theory in this way seeks to maintain a temporal distance from critical theory and avoid rigorous self-reflection on practices and justifications.

  • Rebuffing critical theory as untimely provides an affirmative case for embracing it, to contest the very sense of time invoked to declare critique untimely.

  • The externalization of knowledge onto digital platforms constitutes a different form of society and human subject that the computational turn fails to adequately examine or subject to critical theoretical analysis.

  • A celebration of data and methodology risks overlooking how such formalisms are shaped by cultural, economic and political interests, and how digital humanities might advance or resist neoliberal flows of information/capital.

So in summary, the argument critiques how the computational turn in digital humanities has inadequately engaged with critical theory and important political issues, and risks conservative and uncritical approaches by dismissing or distancing itself from theoretical reflection and critique.

  • The author questions why the digital humanities field is so dominated by white scholars and professionals, and argues this warrants examination of the histories of race and computation.

  • In 2008, the American Studies Association conference hosted a well-attended panel on race and new media that highlighted the lack of diversity in digital humanities. This helped spark the author’s interest in investigating this issue further.

  • The early development of computing was driven largely by white men, and people of color faced significant barriers to entering technology-related fields. This historical legacy still impacts the field today through lack of representation and unconscious biases.

  • Examining how race shaped the origins and development of computing/new media is important for understanding why digital humanities remains predominantly white. Topics like slavery-era calculations and the role of women of color in early programming are overlooked areas that could provide important new perspectives.

  • Integrating race-conscious approaches and making diversity a priority would help strengthen and enrich the work being done within digital humanities. Failure to do so risks perpetuating structural inequalities and overlooking critical angles through an unwittingly narrow lens.

In summary, the author argues the field of digital humanities would benefit greatly from critically examining how its histories are intertwined with those of race and considering more proactive measures to promote diversity and inclusion.

This passage discusses the relationship between the histories of operating systems development and struggles over racial justice in the 1960s. Some key points:

  • In the 1960s, projects like MULTICS at MIT and Bell Labs helped develop early timesharing and operating systems like UNIX. UNIX went on to massive influence over computing.

  • At the same time, the 1960s saw important civil rights and social movements like the Black Panthers, Chicano/Brown Power movements, second-wave feminism, and anti-war activism. Resistance to imperialism and colonialism also grew globally.

  • These two histories - of computing systems and racial/social struggles - are typically seen as parallel but separate. But the author argues they are deeply intertwined and coevolved during this period of massive cultural shifts in the 1960s.

  • Bringing these histories together can provide new insights, but it is difficult given the siloed nature of academic fields and lack of crossover in audiences interested in technology vs. racial/social histories. The author aims to bridge this divide and show how these histories are interdependent, not independent slices.

So in summary, the passage examines the relationship between the emergence of influential operating systems like UNIX and concurrent struggles over civil rights and identity politics in the 1960s, arguing these histories are intertwined, not separate.

  • Early new media theory in the 1990s tended to focus solely on analyzing media forms and technology without considering issues of critical race theory, feminism, and other modes of political inquiry.

  • Work in the digital humanities also largely proceeded as if technologies were neutral tools without acknowledgement of race as a central analytic lens.

  • Early work on race and digital media often focused only on representations in media or digital divides, without tying race to deeper analyses of media forms and computation.

  • The author argues that the very structures of digital computation and operating systems like UNIX helped partition race off from analyses of media forms and perpetuate a “lenticular logic” that fragments and contains understandings of race.

  • Lenticular logic structures both representations and epistemologies in a way that suppresses relation and connection between ideas. This parallels the covert racial logics that emerged in the postwar civil rights era.

  • Characteristics of the UNIX operating system like modularity, simplicity, and focus on discrete parts embedded this lenticular logic into computational systems and philosophy.

So in summary, the author critiques how early new media theory, digital humanities, and computational structures tended to ignore issues of race and perpetuate fragmented ways of knowing that don’t fully consider the relationship between race, technology, and society.

  • Clark observed that hardware design became increasingly modular from the early 1950s onward. UNIX was also the first operating system to embrace modularity and the principle of information hiding in its design.

  • Modular design has practical advantages for coding, but it also implies a worldview where problematic parts can be discarded without disrupting the whole. Tools and modules are meant to be “encapsulated” to avoid dependence on each other.

  • Kernighan and Plauger argued that computational programs should be viewed as discrete, independent tools/filters that are unaware of where their input comes from or output goes. Pipes allowed programs to pass data between each other without dependence.

  • Modularity and information hiding in UNIX reflected broader social changes in the US toward covert forms of racial logic and neoliberal pluralism after the civil rights movement. Computational modularity mirrored trends toward segmentation and isolation in urban centers.

  • The passage discusses the rise of “modularity” as both a technological and political/social phenomenon in the post-World War II era, particularly in the 1960s-1980s.

  • Politically/socially, it maps the “deproletarianization” of black men in Detroit that increased poverty and unemployment. It also analyzes how identity politics emerged as a kind of “modular” response that separated movements and limited radicalism.

  • Technologically, it compares this to the rise of modular design and encapsulation in software like UNIX, which separated components to reduce complexity.

  • It argues these technological and political/social forms of modularity mutually reinforced each other, while containing radicalism and marginalizing issues like racism. Modularity fragmented knowledge and political organizing.

  • Academically, it discusses how fields like New Criticism and the organization of university departments also took on a modular, fragmented form in this period through increased specialization and separation of topics.

So in summary, it analyzes the rise of “modularity” as both a technological and political/social phenomenon post-WWII, especially in the 1960s-80s, that had the effect of fragmenting knowledge, movements and containing radical perspectives.

The passage discusses how core principles of modularity from UNIX continue to impact digital computation through languages like C and the black boxes of modern coding. It argues scholarly fields have also adopted modular thinking by privileging networks over nodes and global flows.

It calls for humanities scholars to better understand the cultural logic of computation and how emerging technologies like neural networks refract national anxieties about race. Scholars should examine how technoracial formations shape privileged ways of knowing. Representation alone is insufficient - we must understand how code and computational systems shape our lives and capital in systemic ways.

The passage advocates for crossing boundaries between technical and critical disciplines through hybrid practitioners. It argues scholarly specialization mirrors modular thinking by isolating knowledge in small boxes. We must develop critical and digital literacies to understand how our own practices are normalized and computerized. Moving beyond representation to engage coding, databases, and systems design is necessary to impact how knowledge and capital are organized.

  • The author argues that digital technologies like UNIX were encoded with culturally specific values from their inception in the 1960s-70s, including individualism, hierarchies, and implicit notions of race. Code and racial categories are deeply intertwined.

  • UNIX hardwired an emerging system of covert racism into computer systems and minds. Its modular structure privileges categorization and chunks experience in ways that paralleled broader ideological shifts toward fragmentation.

  • There needs to be more exchange between digital humanities and fields like American Studies to develop shared languages and understand how categories like race shape both digital forms and contents.

  • Digitally oriented humanists must engage technology not just as an object of study but as a productive space, recognizing it is cultural shaped but also shapes culture. Collaboration across fields is important to honor complexity while valuating precision.

  • In short, the author argues digital technologies are not neutral and the field of digital humanities would benefit from more critical examination of how race, power and ideology are encoded in computational forms and systems from their inception.

  • Cathy Davidson posted a blog entry recruiting for a new coordinator position for HASTAC (Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced Collaboratory), which she describes as a voluntary network of scholars working at the intersection of the humanities and digital/technology issues.

  • Davidson argues HASTAC’s work extends beyond just “digital humanities” to engage with broader issues of humanity, ethics, culture, society and how technology impacts being human. She portrays this as a more “traditional” form of humanities.

  • At the end of the post, Davidson alerts readers to an “SOS” message from pro-democracy activists in Iran asking hackers to conduct DDoS attacks on propaganda websites of the Iranian regime, in order to open communication channels like Twitter again after recent protests were crushed.

  • She reposts orders from an activist’s tweet calling for hackers to attack various Iranian government websites, though the tweet contains spelling errors.

  • The author notes this hacking call-to-action seems unexpectedly tacked onto Davidson’s earlier discussion idealizing HASTAC’s role in expanding the humanities discussion of societal issues related to technology and humanity.

This passage discusses hacktivism and its relationship to the digital humanities. Some key points:

  • Davidson appeared to position digital humanities as a site for political activism, from conventional university protest to more “radicalized and marginalized” forms using computational/networked media.

  • Davidson alluded to “drinking the Kool-Aid” of cyberutopianism/technoprogress narratives, but emphasized a Pekka Himanen-inspired work ethic.

  • Davidson controversially urged readers to participate in DDoS attacks against Iran, linking HASTAC to hacktivism which uses programming for political goals like human rights.

  • Hacktivism is reconfiguring old hacker politics in a broader political landscape. But hacking skills are often seen as an “elite” pursuit different from traditional academics.

  • The essay examines theories of hacking and hacktivism to understand related academic protest movements calling for changes in policies. Some reject traditional governance through digital civil disobedience.

  • Critiques argue Davidson’s DDoS appeal was naive, and better approaches exist like documentation and information visualization.

  • Scholars like Galloway are wary of seeing networks as inherently liberating, and view hacktivism as operating within constraints of “protocol politics.”

  • Galloway brings political/theoretical awareness to hacking through projects like Carnivore which analyzes surveillance by turning data into art.

This passage summarizes:

  • The HyperCities initiative created collections mapping social media documenting Iran election protests and the 2011 Egyptian revolution, with the goal of countering state media censorship and sharing information in real-time.

  • Some see this as consistent with HyperCities’ scholarly mission of building digital archives, while others argue it is more like activist mapping initiatives tracking human rights issues.

  • The passage then discusses how some digital humanities work engages with political movements and opens new forms of electronic publication, giving examples like Public Secrets which uses prison recordings.

  • It contrasts this with the NEH’s prohibition on political views and promotion of technocratic neutrality.

  • It outlines the work of Critical Art Ensemble and their theories of “electronic civil disobedience”, seeing institutions as self-interested and amateurs as freer. Steve Kurtz faced bioterrorism charges after his wife’s death involving their home lab work.

  • The passage concludes by discussing the Electronic Disturbance Theater’s virtual sit-ins protesting websites to “reconfigure street theater” and bring together real and digital bodies transparently in the tradition of civil disobedience.

Here are summaries of the key entities mentioned:

  • Pentagon - The headquarters of the US Department of Defense and a symbol of US military power.

  • School of the Americas - A US military training school for Latin American soldiers accused of human rights abuses. It has been a target of protest.

  • Mexican Stock Exchange - A symbol of Mexican neoliberal economic policies that some protest groups oppose.

  • Frankfurt Stock Exchange - One of the largest stock exchanges in the world, located in Frankfurt, Germany. It represents global capitalism.

The other paragraphs provide context about hacktivist groups like the Electronic Disturbance Theater and actions they took like FloodNet protests targeting these institutions’ websites to advocate for causes like Zapatista rebels in Mexico. Professor Ricardo Dominguez faced challenges for his hacktivist work but was eventually cleared thanks to appeals to academic freedom. The response summarizes the key entities and organizations while providing just enough context to understand their relevance in the passage.

  • Hacktivism brings digital humanities/university scholarship into the headlines and makes arguments for its relevance beyond cultural heritage. However, university administrators are often wary of seeing computer programming as free speech.

  • Scholars study hacktivist practices like political coding and performative hacking as a “hybrid humanities” approach rather than just digital humanities, as it involves art, fieldwork, code emulation.

  • Some see hacktivist code as a narrative/hypertext to study, while others do close readings like literature. However, basic code literacy may be more important for understanding than sophisticated interpretation.

  • A new group of “digitally incorrect” professors use tools like tactical media and may face misunderstandings from administrators who lack code fluency.

  • Critical Information Studies is proposed as a field uniting academics engaged with issues around information flows, access, copyright policy etc. but lacks the visible public presence of past movements.

  • Both books - Learning Through Digital Media and Hacking the Academy - aim to advocate for reform and change in higher education through digital and online tools and practices. However, Hacking the Academy focuses more on institutional reforms while Learning Through Digital Media emphasizes power relationships and politics.

  • Learning Through Digital Media editor Trebor Scholz argues that digital learning should aim to reorganize power relations and challenge institutions, not just teach new tools. The book promotes peer learning and critical engagement with issues.

  • Hacking the Academy asks if digital tools could replace traditional academic roles and institutions like journals, conferences, employment structures. It focuses on building new networks and profiles online.

  • However, some critiqued Hacking the Academy for not sufficiently engaging with issues like digital rights, public engagement, and how academic reform could support broader social movements.

  • There were calls for the digital humanities to take hacktivism and tactical media more seriously and extend their work beyond just tools and resources to engage more directly with politics, society, and advocacy.

  • The author Liu argues that digital humanities fields like conferences and journals do not critically examine how digital humanities may advance or resist neoliberalism and corporate interests. Standard issues discussed like the digital divide are not radical enough.

  • Another scholar Dawson argues that some digital humanities manifestos call for drastic changes like dismantling institutions which could undermine academic freedom and stability if taken too literally.

  • Both Liu and Dawson are concerned that universities and digital humanities are increasingly trying to monetize and extract value from knowledge like corporations.

  • The author discusses different views within digital humanities - some see it as a practical field focused on texts/tools, others argue it should include hacktivism and challenging power structures.

  • Hacktivism may be more relevant to strands of digital humanities that value participation, critique of power, and interacting with reality rather than just analyzing abstract data. But hacktivism may not be interested in traditional digital humanities formats.

  • The relationship between digital humanities and hacktivism ultimately depends on how each field and community evolves and engages with issues of power, corporatization, and public relevance.

Here is a summary of some key comforts discussed in the developed world passage:

  • Technological innovations that improve everyday products like glass bottles, clothing, and sporting equipment to be stronger, cleaner, or more functional. Examples given include glass coatings that make bottles less likely to break and glass easier to clean, liquid-repellent pants, and stronger tennis rackets.

  • Access to improved infrastructure systems like enhanced water filtration.

  • Reliance on global computer networks and technologies by universities and for projects in areas like the digital humanities. This dependency also brings issues of maintaining servers, replacing routers, and managing HVAC systems.

  • Use of cloud computing and data migration techniques for digital archives, but these still exist in physical locations with legal/logistical complexities regarding property and territories.

  • Vulnerability of digital knowledge systems to bit rot, obsolete formats, server failures, and other material issues of maintenance and preservation that mainstream narratives of technology progress often overlook.

The key theme is that developments in areas like materials science, product design, infrastructure, and information technology have created various comforts and conveniences for everyday life in developed societies, but these still rely on physical networks, systems and locations with their own vulnerabilities and complications.

  • The passage introduces the idea of analyzing “events that almost took place, events that definitely took place but remained unseen and unremarked on … and events that probably took place but were definitely not chronicled” in Don DeLillo’s work, drawing from his novel Great Jones Street.

  • It suggests examining the “unchronicled and potential events” of DeLillo’s publishing history that have remained “unseen and unremarked on” not just by literary scholars but specifically by the digital humanities.

  • The questions posed include what the digital humanities have failed to notice about DeLillo, how the digital age may have left DeLillo scholars behind, and which of DeLillo’s “lesser known short stories” encapsulate his big ideas in a way that has been overlooked.

  • Overall it frames an analysis of aspects of DeLillo’s work that have been understudied or remained in the shadows, and suggests the digital humanities in particular may have missed opportunities to shed light on these “unseen and unremarked on” elements.

Scholars of contemporary American authors like Don DeLillo, Philip Roth, and Toni Morrison have been limited in their use of digital tools and methods compared to scholars of earlier eras. This is because the copyright on modern works has not expired, so full texts cannot be freely shared, analyzed, or visualized in digital formats without permission.

While digital humanities tools like text mining, online archives, and data visualization have opened up new opportunities for studying pre-20th century works, these methods cannot be applied to famous late 20th/early 21st century authors due to copyright restrictions. Unless copyright terms are shortened significantly or publishers relax digital sharing policies, the innovative work being done digitally on earlier periods will not be possible for more recent literature within the author’s lifetime or for several more generations.

This means scholars of authors like DeLillo are unable to take advantage of new digital approaches to analyzing large textual corpora, visualizing influences and trends, or facilitating new ways for students and the public to access and interact with these important works. The full potential of digital humanities for contemporary literature remains untapped for the foreseeable future.

Here is a summary of the relevant excerpt:

The librarian at the Harry Ransom Center discusses some unpublished early works by Don DeLillo that were rejected from magazines in the 1960s. It also discusses the publishing history of some of his early short stories. It notes that DeLillo meticulously kept drafts and pages from his writing process, viewing them as representing the physical labor that went into his work. DeLillo had a preference for manual typewriters and dismissed the idea of using word processors, as he felt they lacked the physical traces and sensory experience of typed words on a page. The excerpt examines themes in DeLillo’s work related to archives, records, and the fixity of the written word.

The passage discusses Don DeLillo’s papers that were acquired by the Harry Ransom Center at the University of Texas. It describes some of the contents of the papers, including drafts, notes, correspondence, and other research materials filling 125 boxes.

Key points:

  • DeLillo’s early drafts for Libra took up 10 boxes alone, which he felt connected to having in his house.

  • The papers were acquired by the Harry Ransom Center in 2004 for $500,000.

  • They are an “old-fashioned archive” that is physical, not digital, resisting electronic access.

  • Within the papers are surprises like rejection letters and correspondence with readers.

  • The archive is meticulously organized but also contains unexpected items.

  • While the public can access the archive, many items will remain “unseen and unremarked on” without exploration and sharing of findings from the archive.

It discusses how DeLillo’s works still being under copyright means the digital humanities have not been able to engage fully with his works, unlike other historical authors in the public domain. This “failure” to include living authors like DeLillo has not been adequately addressed within digital humanities.

The passage argues that digital humanities projects have neglected the needs of people with disabilities. Many valuable digital resources are inaccessible to those who are deaf, hard of hearing, blind, low vision, or have trouble distinguishing colors. While educational technology and web design have made progress on accessibility, humanities scholars often fail to consider accessibility in their digital projects.

The passage advocates embracing universal design, where accessibility for all audiences is considered from the start of a project. It says disability studies insights are important for understanding that disability is a social construction rather than just a property of individual bodies. Digital projects that assume a single way of accessing information risk excluding many people and disabling them from using digital resources. Accessible technologies used by the visually impaired show that digital access takes many forms. The passage calls on the digital humanities field to prioritize accessibility and inclusion.

  • The passage discusses moving towards universal design in digital humanities projects to make resources accessible to all people, not just those with disabilities.

  • Universal design aims to provide the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people by considering accessibility needs for a broad range of users from the start of a project.

  • Some key reasons given for adopting universal design principles are: following accessibility laws, ensuring resources can be used by all people regardless of abilities, and using an inclusive approach from the beginning rather than as an afterthought.

  • Examples are given of designing a website with accessibility in mind through features like alt text for images, as well as considering the needs of users of assistive technologies like screen readers.

  • The ultimate argument is that digital humanities as a field should proactively adopt universal design approaches and principles to make resources as inclusive and accessible as possible for all potential users and audiences.

Here is a summary of the key points about hats:

  • Hats are headwear that come in many different styles for various purposes such as protection from sun/rain, cultural/religious observance, or fashion.

  • Common types of hats include baseball caps, fedoras, sun hats, beanies, berets, cowboy hats, top hats, helmet/hard hats, and winter hats like tuques.

  • Materials used include felt, straw, leather, rubber/plastic, cloth. Brim width and crown height/shape vary between styles.

  • Hats serve purposes like keeping sun/rain off the face, keeping the head warm, making a fashion statement, or following certain cultural traditions/religions.

  • Their popularity has varied over time and between cultures/regions. In some professional contexts like certain industries, hats were/are still required for safety or uniform reasons.

  • Care instructions depend on the material but may involve things like shaping, dusting, airing out, or special storage to maintain the hat’s condition over time.

This passage summarizes tools for crowdsourced captions, subtitles, and transcripts of online content. Some key points:

  • Online audio and video is not accessible to deaf/hard of hearing without captions/transcripts. Transcripts also make content searchable.

  • Creating captions/transcripts is time-consuming and expensive, limiting accessibility.

  • Existing desktop tools for captioning/transcribing are not free or online, missing crowdsourcing potential.

  • “Crowdsourcing” uses free/inexpensive labor from online enthusiasts to contribute to projects. Some projects crowdsource document transcriptions with mixed results.

  • An ideal tool would allow crowdsourced captions/transcripts of audio/video online within different content management systems, enhancing accessibility for deaf/hard of hearing as well as searchability.

  • Existing tools like Universal Subtitles and the in-development Scripto project demonstrate this approach but have limitations in integrating with different systems.

  • A digital humanities project facilitating accurate crowdsourced captions/transcripts across systems could greatly increase accessibility of online audio/video content.

Here is a summary of the ni-profiles/ronald-mace profile:

  • Ronald Mace is an architect and designer who has worked to make the built environment accessible to people with disabilities. He founded the Center for Universal Design at North Carolina State University.

  • His research and designs have focused on principles of universal design, which aim to make products and environments usable by people of all ages and abilities to the greatest extent possible without the need for adaptation or specialized design.

  • Some of his notable accomplishments include developing accessibility guidelines for the Americans with Disabilities Act, influencing building code changes, and designing easily usable products for companies like IBM, General Electric, and others.

  • He is cited as a pioneer in disability rights and universal design. His work helped shift attitudes and understanding about including accessibility and usability for people with disabilities in the design of all objects and spaces.

  • He continues to advocate for universal design principles and consult on projects to promote inclusive, accessible design in architecture, consumer products, medical equipment, and digital technologies.

In summary, Ronald Mace is an architect and designer who pioneering work on universal design principles fundamentally changed attitudes and standards regarding accessibility and inclusion of people with disabilities in all areas of design. He remains an influential advocate for universal and inclusive design.

This passage discusses key perspectives on the uptake and users of digital humanities (DH) tools and techniques. Some key points:

  • DH tools have often been designed primarily for researchers, and uptake remains small among intended broader audiences.

  • Lack of interest among “traditional” humanists may be due to associations of computation with positivism, not reflecting how humanists actually work.

  • Studies found DH unfamiliar or irrelevant to most faculty outside a handful engaged directly in it.

  • More recent DH projects aim to attract larger user bases with polished, usable tools and support instead of just functionality.

  • There is lack of terminology to describe those outside DH fields, who are often only visible by their exclusion from definitions.

  • Emphasis on “builders” and qualifications risks marginalizing end users and other roles necessary in collaboration.

  • Successful crowdsourcing projects like Transcribe Bentham and DHAnswers engage “unskilled” users in contributing to DH work.

  • The passage analyzes the digital humanities (DH) field from the perspective of users and user experience.

  • It discusses how searching for “digital humanities” on Google returns results mainly from large, established institutions and projects, failing to represent the full diversity of DH work. This creates barriers for new users.

  • There is no overarching site that comprehensively explains DH to different audiences, invites participation, and helps navigate the fragmented field. Major DH organizations tend to promote their own work rather than collaborate.

  • The open and collaborative values championed by DH are not fully realized in its system design. The experience for users is uneven and can contradict these espoused values.

  • Improving signposting, outreach, and interconnection between DH resources would help make the “commons” and “onramps” advocated by some more discoverable and accessible to new users. But Google and Wikipedia should not have to serve as DH’s de facto front pages.

In summary, the passage examines DH from a user experience perspective and argues its system design could better reflect its open, collaborative values by improving how it brings resources together and welcomes new participants.

  • The author argues that the DH community, not proprietary algorithms, should decide how DH work is presented and navigated to users. A guide is needed as new users often only see the most visible parts of DH.

  • Twitter has become a major platform for DH communication and community building, but it has weaknesses. It privileges well-connected users and can replicate offline hierarchies. Information is also fleeting and not archived well.

  • DH lacks an overall navigable structure. Its distributed nature is beneficial but also makes it hard for users to discover and understand the full field. Reliance on Twitter for communication fragments information.

  • Without interoperability and documentation, users constantly reinvent work and are unaware of projects in their own areas. DH has many resources but they are difficult to find without better organization and knowledge sharing across the decentralized field.

This passage discusses the lack of sharing and collaboration across the digital humanities field, and proposes some solutions. Specifically:

  • There are few centralized places for DH users, especially those outside major centers, to share and publish the resources they create. Many useful tools and documents end up disappearing.

  • An open and shared “Digital Humanities Commons” where anyone can contribute knowledge and resources is needed, but has not been fully realized yet.

  • Open source software development communities provide a model for how DH could improve collaboration through open communication channels, clear development roadmaps, and low barriers for new contributors.

  • Creating a shared knowledge base/wiki like WordPress’ Codex, which the author calls a “DH Codex”, could help make information more findable and lift the burden from individual experts. It could support various levels of collaboration.

  • An open and inclusive approach could help map the terrain of DH, define best practices through community debate, and collaboratively develop a roadmap through communal self-organization rather than top-down direction.

So in summary, it argues DH needs better infrastructure and cultural norms for open sharing, collaboration and contribution at all levels to truly include its diverse users and communities. Open source software models provide lessons on how to achieve this.

  • This passage discusses the participatory design and conceptualization of users in digital humanities (DH). It raises questions about how inclusive the design process will be and how it will balance usability, ease of use, and user agency.

  • There are arguments for designs that promote critical thinking over frictionless use and emulate the open web rather than apps. It questions whether users will be able to fully explore the “wires” and “core” of DH systems or if there will be limits.

  • It discusses how users may appropriate tools in unexpected ways and notes that adoption is hard to predict. A flexible, extensible view of users that includes all as actors in the DH network is proposed rather than defining strict boundaries between users and producers.

  • Overall, the passage critically examines conceptualizations of users in DH and debates around inclusive, participatory design that balances usability and empowering diverse forms of engagement and exploration.

Here is a summary of the key points from the blog post “What Do Girls Dig?“:

  • The author noticed that all the keynote speakers announced for a major conference on data mining in the humanities were men. She tweeted about the lack of gender diversity on the program.

  • She received responses from the National Endowment for the Humanities acknowledging the issue and welcoming suggestions to reach out to more women researchers and communities of practice.

  • On Twitter, some responses made jokes about “what girls dig” or suggested more stereotypically feminine tools like flowered gloves. The author notes this generated a steady stream of slightly dangerous jokes.

  • On Facebook, a colleague pointed out a similar lack of gender diversity in the lineup for a symposium on the future of academic libraries.

  • The author notes these types of imbalances in high-profile programs gesture at a need for more attention to language and outreach to promote a more inclusive digital humanities field. The post questions the idea of data mining emerging as a “gentleman’s sport.”

The key topic is the author pointing out and discussing the lack of gender diversity she noticed in the speakers announced for a major conference, and the responses this sparked about broader issues of inclusion in the digital humanities field.

Here is a summary of the blog post:

  • The author reflects on the changing seasons and growing maturity of students both in their personal life and at the Scholars’ Lab where they work. They note the passage of time and death of others which still weighs on them.

  • They then draw a parallel between the changing seasons and current state of the digital humanities field on Twitter. Twitter has become a major forum for discussion and connection within the digital humanities community.

  • However, as the field grows and attracts more newcomers, it faces challenges of maintaining cohesion and quality in online discussions as seen in other mature online communities that experience an “Eternal September.” This refers to the influx of new users each September when school starts, potentially lowering the discussion level.

  • While growth is positive, the author expresses concern that the digital humanities community on Twitter may lose some of its special character and cohesion as it attracts more outsiders. They hope veterans can help maintain standards and newcomers embrace the culture that has developed.

So in summary, the post reflects on personal and field-level changes through the lens of the shifting seasons, and voices both appreciation and concern about the maturation of the digital humanities community online.

  • The scholar describes dealing with a high volume of emails and questions from strangers about their work in digital humanities. They helped launch a new website for people to ask questions.

  • There is a tension between service and assertion of one’s own research agenda in academic libraries. Staff are seen as “alternative academic” or non-tenure track rather than intellectual partners if they indulge too much in service.

  • The digital humanities community works hard to be welcoming and open to newcomers through organized initiatives and daily contributions. However, some veterans feel exhausted from constant engagement online.

  • The metaphor of “eternal September” is used to describe how newer scholars think digital humanities is entirely new, when in reality most practitioners are relatively new and insular themselves.

  • Fatigue will come in waves to different parts of the community. The scholar hopes balance can be found between promotion and authentic enthusiasm to avoid exhausting everyone. Many people may be feeling tired this fall.

The passage discusses the problem of literary canons and how to address it using digital humanities approaches. It argues that while canons have issues like lack of diversity, we still rely on them because close reading limits how much an individual can read. With the rise of digital tools, more comprehensive approaches are needed like text mining large corpora to map locations mentioned and gain insights beyond any single text. This can help address ongoing issues like how American novels in 1851 depicted international settings more than recognized. The key point is digital methods allow analyzing more texts more quickly than close reading alone to break out of canon-focused limitations and better understand literary history and cultural trends.

Here is a summary of the key points in 4.2. Places named in thirty-seven U.S. novels published in 1851:

  • An analysis was conducted to extract place names from 37 U.S. novels published in 1851.

  • There was a distinct cluster of places named in the American South, which suggests regionalism may have taken hold earlier than typically claimed.

  • Maps of places named in 1852 and 1874 novels show broadly similar patterns, with some increase in names of places in the Western U.S. and South-Central U.S. over time.

  • The maps indicate only small variations before and after the Civil War, even though this was expected to be a period of significant literary change. This could challenge ideas of clear periodization and event-based changes.

  • The analysis demonstrates the potential of computational methods to study large literary corpora in ways that close reading alone cannot due to material limitations. It allows hypothesis testing and feature extraction across many more texts.

  • The history of corrections and errors is essential to understanding the history of information and publishing. Print publishing has traditionally involved copyediting and fact checking work to correct errors.

  • Discussions of digital publishing transformations have largely omitted consideration of how errors will be addressed. While some errors may be easy to catch, others could have cascading effects in networked environments that warrant attention.

  • The history of printing errors and correction processes offers valuable insights into how errors may proliferate and spread automically, through syndication and algorithms on the web. It also informs how digital futures of scholarly publishing might address issues like open review, crowdsourced corrections, error proofing, and the role of intelligent agents.

  • Even if new technologies and models don’t directly address errors, the digital humanities field still needs a conceptual framework to acknowledge “the importance of failure.” Scholarly publishing will change, but commitments are needed around traditional error proofing functions and the consequences of abandoning those roles.

The main points are that the history of errors is important to information history, digital publishing discussions have largely ignored how errors will be addressed going forward, and the printing error history can provide insights into modern issues around errors in digital scholarly publishing and knowledge networks.

This passage discusses the history of error correction in publishing and some of the challenges faced in digitization. Some key points:

  • Receiving copy edits on an accepted article can be an unsettling experience, highlighting errors the author didn’t catch. Editorial assistants often did this work but were rarely listed.

  • Checking facts and citations was tedious labor, requiring trips to libraries to verify references. Digitization helps but introduces other issues like access and data integrity.

  • Proofreading has a long history. In print publishing, specialized in-house proofreaders emerged in the 17th century. They were called “correctors” and occupied an ambiguous middle ground between editorial and production roles.

  • Correctors were sometimes authors themselves or publishing partners. Smaller presses used compositors or senior staff for correction.

  • Correctors worked with “reading boys” who read manuscripts aloud so errors could be checked against printed proofs. Digitization has changed this workflow.

So in summary, the passage discusses the historical roles and challenges of editorial workers tasked with error correction in publishing, and how digitization introduces new issues while changing traditional workflows.

Here is a summary of the key points in the manuscript passage:

  • The role of the manuscript corrector or proofreader has been in decline, particularly with the transition from aural to visual correction processes in the early 20th century. New digital media have further shifted correction away from an aural, human-focused process.

  • Economic pressures on publishing have led to cuts in editorial roles like correctors, though the decline also stems from a preference for speed over meticulous editing online. This diminishes the corrector’s traditional pre-publication function.

  • Scholarly publishers are focusing on business model changes for the digital era but paying little attention to correction. Some see meticulous editing as unnecessary for the 5% added after a draft is “95% done.”

  • Experiments in crowdsourced and openly edited books show correction becoming less thorough and possibly outsourced to readers, similar to how errors are typically handled on the open web. This could render the editorial corrector role obsolete.

  • Emerging models privilege network effects and speed over perfection, with correction shifting to a post-publication process or being offloaded to readers, technologies or the network collectively. This is reshaping conceptions of publishing quality and value.

The passage discusses different models and debates around peer review, editing, and correction in the context of digital scholarly publishing. It analyzes Planned Obsolescence by Kathleen Fitzpatrick, which underwent both traditional peer review and open online review. Open review generally focused on engaging with the argument rather than copyediting. Journals like Shakespeare Quarterly also use open review primarily to strengthen arguments, not for factual checking or copyediting.

The passage notes the important intellectual labor of editorial work like fact-checking and that some functions may not be easily crowdsourced. While open review could supplement traditional peer review, it’s not a complete substitute. Distributed systems like Wikipedia involve continuous community negotiation of standards rather than centralized authority. Other projects outsource correction functions by integrating them into unrelated user tasks, like reCAPTCHA. Overall, the passage examines the roles, value, and sustainability of editorial and correction work in digital scholarly publishing.

This passage discusses different approaches to correcting errors in digital publishing and scholarly works. Some key points:

  • Some projects encourage social/gaming elements to engage users in editing/correcting texts through things like transcription games or point/ranking systems.

  • Other models look to automate error correction through things like distributed networks that make copies of content and self-correct errors by comparing copies (like LOCKSS).

  • Search engines like Google help avoid errors by sourcing opinions and usage data from communities to rank results.

  • Correction is important for semantic interoperability on the web and promoting “textual productivity” through networked effects. However, new publishing models may not prioritize correction.

  • Errors like incorrect citations if left uncorrected could proliferate through networked texts in unintended ways, hindering semantic interoperability. Correction helps with “semantic debugging” of the scholarly network.

So in summary, it discusses a range of approaches to digital text correction, from crowdsourcing to automation, and argues correction remains important for enabling networked scholarly communication and productivity.

The passage discusses issues related to accuracy and errors in citations, references and bibliographic data in the digital scholarly environment. It notes that while redundancy can help propagate errors, rigorously proofreading citations will be increasingly important. It discusses how databases structure relations between citations and how citations are prone to both errors and manipulation. Two examples are provided of research optimizing academic content for search engines and manipulating information directories.

The passage then addresses challenges of cross-compatible citation styles and potential solutions like universal references. It discusses emerging systems using handles and DOIs for bibliographic control that can dynamically resolve links. While automation and self-correcting networks aim to address issues, problems remain like autocorrect introducing new errors or not handling unusual cases. Overall, the passage examines tensions between accuracy, error, editorial control and lack of control in digital scholarly publishing and citations.

  • The passage discusses various stages between final manuscript submission and typesetting for scholarly publishers, including copyediting, layout, design, and printing. It argues these steps do not necessarily add value if publishers just slap on a nice cover to the same text authors have posted online.

  • It mentions increasing pressure on copyediting resources due to electronic writing and publishing. The author’s own experience as an “editor” at a new media company ended when the editorial department was largely laid off in the early 2000s.

  • Several reports and articles on the future of scholarly publishing are discussed, dealing with issues like university presses, digital transformation, and new business models.

  • The passage provides an anecdote where the author checked an article on an open access site and found typos, errors and other issues, suggesting copyediting still has value.

  • It discusses debates around open peer review and whether functions like correction will still require separate editorial and technical staff, or if processes could be more openly crowdsourced.

  • Issues like intentional and unintentional manipulation of information, “group think”, and errors propagating widely are noted as potential downsides of some open review and crowdsourced approaches.

  • In summary, the passage examines the role and value of traditional copyediting, layout and design in scholarly publishing, and debates around how some of these functions may evolve or be impacted by digital transformation and new models.

Here is a summary of the key points about the function of digital humanities centers:

  • Digital humanities centers serve as important laboratories for applying information technology to the humanities and advocating for the significance of that work. They have been integral to the development of digital humanities as a field.

  • Centers produce important digital resources and tools that benefit the wider humanities community. They play a key role in bridging the gap between technology and humanities scholars by teaching skills like computational methods, encoding practices, and tool usage.

  • Centers enable collaborative, interdisciplinary work and allow faculty and students to learn from each other on projects of shared intellectual interest. They host events that benefit the broader community.

  • However, individual centers also risk acting as “silos” focused just on their home institution. They rarely collaborate with other centers and can compete for funding and prestige.

  • Tensions can also arise if a center is seen more as a service unit rather than research unit by its institution. And centers siphon off some grant funding from schools without centers.

  • In summary, digital humanities centers provide crucial support and resources but also face challenges around collaboration, roles, and resource distribution. Different centers take on varied forms focused on research, pedagogy, building tools, or hosting resources. Their value depends on specific institutional and disciplinary contexts.

  • The passage describes a simulated tour of the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), highlighting various projects and people working there.

  • MITH is directing projects involving text analysis tools, digital archives of things like Shakespeare texts and Chinese scrolls, interfaces for museum exhibits, databases of historic theatre architecture, and more.

  • The projects involve collaboration with other universities, libraries, archives and organizations. MITH also hosts forums, workshops and educational programs.

  • MITH began 12 years ago with NEH funding and has grown significantly over the years through additional grants and partnerships. It aims to be an interdisciplinary hub where digital humanities research and practice intersect.

  • The goal of the tour is to provide a concrete sense of the types of projects a digital humanities center undertakes to enhance understanding of their function and role.

  • The passage discusses the role and function of digital humanities centers, using MITH (Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities) as an example.

  • It argues that digital humanities centers serve as local hubs that maximize resources and connect local communities of practice, but that individual centers have limits due to institutional parochialism.

  • To address this, MITH helped launch centerNet, an international network of digital humanities centers aimed at leveraging resources on a larger scale and addressing field-wide issues.

  • centerNet promotes collaboration, professional development, project development, and advocates on behalf of the field to funders and other organizations. Its goal is to position individual centers as key nodes in an international cyberinfrastructure network.

  • The passage argues that digital humanities centers serve an important role as “agents of transformation,” helping to drive change and innovation in the traditionally disciplines structures of the humanities through interdisciplinary collaboration and experimentation.

  • The phrase “alternative careers” acknowledges that not all digital humanities work fits within traditional academic career paths like faculty positions. However, it still positions those traditional careers as central.

  • In reality, faculty make up only about 30% of university employees, while other professionals like administrators, technicians, and managers comprise 45%. So assuming someone works at a university is a faculty member is statistically unlikely.

  • The faculty paradigm shapes popular understanding of universities as composed primarily of professional teachers and researchers, obscuring the large support infrastructure that enables faculty work.

  • It also obscures the increasing complexity of even academic work, as digital scholarship blurs boundaries between teaching, research, and technical roles. Knowledge work careers may no longer follow clearly defined linear trajectories.

  • Overall, the piece argues the phrase “alternative careers” perpetuates an idealized view of the faculty role and academic career path that does not reflect the diversity and fluidity of modern digital scholarship work. A new terminology is needed to discuss careers in this field.

  • The passage discusses different types of academic jobs, focusing on digital humanities roles, and uses the author’s own job experiences to examine how academic labor is conceptualized and evaluated.

  • The first job was a graduate teaching fellowship, which formally compensated the author for teaching duties but viewed research as non-compensable work. It assumed complete claims on the author’s time.

  • The second job was a managing editor role at the Women Writers Project, an independent digital humanities unit. This hybrid job had no clear career trajectory within academia.

  • Later, the project was absorbed into the new Scholarly Technology Group, which treated projects as paying “customers” and staff as billable hours to cover overhead costs. This revealed how academic work is framed in financial terms.

The various job experiences are analyzed to show how boundaries between work and other responsibilities are blurred, and how different models of productivity, compensation and work roles exist within the changing digital humanities field in particular.

  • The Stanford Tech Group (STG) expected to be self-funded through grants, contracts and external income. Any non-billable work like administration had to be paid for through billable project hours.

  • This model was viewed as counterintuitive by some as it made the costs appear higher than they were. It accounted for actual overhead costs of completing the work.

  • Staff became accustomed to thinking as consultants working on multiple projects rather than identifying with one. This gave them perspective to understand projects and disciplines.

  • The Women’s Writing Project was later spun out of STG and funded separately through grants and licensing fees. Staff still tracked time spent on different funded activities.

  • The author also runs a small consulting business focused on digital tools, formats and activities, applying humanities expertise. This position of metaknowledge is both useful but also merits critical examination.

  • Consulting fosters self-reflection in clients by requiring them to articulate assumptions, and in consultants by exposing them to varied beliefs and perspectives.

The passage describes the author’s professional preparation and experiences that have led them to work as a consultant in digital humanities. Their background includes various roles in publishing, editing, teaching, and academic work.

As a consultant, they see two types of valuable knowledge at play. The first is technical knowledge that clients value but don’t have responsibility for. The second is “metaknowledge” - familiarity with the client’s subject area that makes the technical knowledge usable. This subtle knowledge creates tensions in the consultant relationship.

The passage then discusses a project encoding Shakespeare editions in XML for the Modern Language Association. The author’s technical expertise in XML was important, but more so was their ability to understand editorial concepts and bridge technical and humanities perspectives. This encoding work elevated the XML to an authoritative expression of the edition’s knowledge, shifting perspectives on technical and editorial roles.

Finally, the passage discusses the author’s part-time teaching role at a library science graduate program. Their unconventional background provides relevant expertise for students pursuing careers at the intersection of subject knowledge, practical skills, and information management.

  • The author teaches a digital humanities course where the most useful knowledge they provide is their real-world experience working on a digital publication project. While the course covers technical topics, it emphasizes how technologies can be understood within larger strategic concerns.

  • While the author’s PhD made them a plausible hire, their true credential comes from 15 years of work experience before completing the PhD.

  • The author examines different models of digital humanities work, like staff in libraries, IT, etc. Compared to traditional faculty work, this work is often conceptualized in hourly, FTE, or project terms and involves more detailed time tracking.

  • Tracking time fosters an organizational culture focused on efficiency and productivity through managerial knowledge of time spent. This contrasts with qualitative assessments in traditional academia.

  • Quantifying time permits viewing work as fungible and interchangeable, comparing costs of different workers or automated processes. This reverses the traditional narrative of individual scholarly pursuit.

  • Detailed time tracking can lead to treating people as fractional resources that can be allocated across projects, diminishing individual autonomy over work.

  • The author and four of their seven closest colleagues over the past four years have pursued or completed PhDs. This colors their expectations that work should involve individual expertise and research contributions rather than modular teamwork.

  • Their work paradigm is academic authorship, though they rarely have time for actual authoring. This mismatch can lead to disappointment.

  • However, they see themselves as in transition between an old secure academic identity and a new emerging para-academic identity.

  • Their training gives intellectual self-assurance, but their jobs involve fungible labor while maintaining a sense of unique expertise.

  • The author wonders if digital humanities will lose its role in foregrounding methods as those methods become normalized in traditional disciplines.

  • There is a risk that naturalizing para-academic jobs reduces sensitivity to professional identity issues. New credentials may arise to systematically train for such jobs.

  • Salaried work at Brown University requires being available as needed according to one’s job description, without overtime pay. So an evening job has the potential to compete for the author’s time. However, in practice this has not been an issue as long as the author keeps non-Brown work activities strictly separate from Brown work and completes Brown tasks satisfactorily.

  • The management tools used in this type of flexible work relationship were complex spreadsheets tracking progress over time in different categories or “taxonomies” of project status. Detailed notes explained the special circumstances for each individual project.

  • In the early digital humanities field, there was a belief that the openness of the Internet would democratize knowledge and allow those previously excluded to have a voice. However, in reality the digital canon and production of digitized materials has not fully realized this goal and still underrepresents writers and texts of color.

  • Careful analysis of what is included and excluded in digital projects, tools, and datasets is needed to understand how technology may impact representation and reconsider narrow views of the canon. More inclusion of diverse perspectives in digital humanities work would also help address these issues.

  • In the early days of the web in the 1990s-2000s, there was a belief that the digital sphere could break down canonical barriers and make it easier to publish and recover non-canonical texts.

  • Many small-scale individual and collaborative digital projects emerged during this period to recover lost works by women, people of color, and other marginalized groups. However, many of these projects are now lost.

  • Larger institutional projects from this era tended to reinforce the canonical bias, as they were funded by universities and focused on canonized authors.

  • There remains a perception that digital humanities work is exclusive and focused on a small number of prominent projects and practitioners. However, in reality thousands of projects exist but receive little attention.

  • Early recovery work established an applied/theoretical model that combined textual recovery with broader scholarly goals. But mainstream digital humanities has since retreated towards more “objective” approaches.

  • Current digital humanities funding still tends to prioritize technological innovation over recovering new non-canonical texts and voices. This structural bias may be perpetuating the underrepresentation of certain groups in the digital canon.

  • Early digital humanities projects embraced a DIY approach that promoted the recovery of important texts. However, as projects have grown in scale and rely more on external funding, fewer scholars are engaged in direct textual recovery work.

  • The digital humanities canon skews toward traditional texts and excludes work by women, people of color, and LGBTQ communities. Efforts are needed to reinvigorate textual recovery of marginalized voices and broaden the digital canon.

  • Institutional affiliation and adherence to standards like TEI/XML have become important for project success and sustainability. But this risks excluding DIY or small-scale projects. More could be done to support such projects through workshops, outreach, etc.

  • When constructing digital editions, careful consideration must be given to how technologies like TEI represent complex issues around subjects like race and language. Choices made can have cultural implications.

  • Both recovering overlooked content and theorizing the technological choices are important aspects of digital humanities work to make sure marginalized voices and perspectives are fully included.

This summary covers several articles and blog posts related to digital humanities and digital scholarship:

  • It discusses questions around scholarly publishing and the “social contract” between authors and readers. Specifically, it explores how this social contract is traditionally tied to printed books but is being reimagined in digital formats.

  • It notes efforts to experiment with the “supply side” of scholarly works by reenvisioning academic projects online in various forms like portals, databases, collections, etc. But it says less work has been done on the “demand side” - influencing how readers perceive and evaluate digital scholarship.

  • It argues more needs to be done to change scholars’ mental state and acceptance of different publishing formats, like blogs, open access journals, and online media. Cues of value beyond just content need to be understood.

  • Behavioral economics, social psychology, and concepts like curation, attention scarcity, and trusted brands/logos online are discussed as potentially influencing perceived value of digital works.

  • It introduces a new initiative called “Digital Humanities Now” that aims to serve as a weekly digest of important digital humanities news, projects, articles and books as an alternative to traditional journals in this evolving field.

In summary, it debates the future of scholarly communication and publishing, especially regarding transitioning the “social contract” to digital formats and environments.

  • The author is working with a collection of over 27,000 digitized texts from the Text Creation Partnership, ranging from 1530-1809. This is a much larger collection than they have worked with previously.

  • They are thinking about what it means for these texts to exist as computational objects at this scale. A key distinguishing feature of digitized texts is that they are “massively addressable” at different levels - meaning they can be queried and analyzed at various levels of abstraction like character, word, phrase, document, genre, etc.

  • Addressability was already a feature of physical texts through things like indexes, marginal notes, etc. But digitization allows for more immediate and flexible querying across levels and comparisons between texts.

  • Both individual texts and whole collections are massively addressable. Working with such large digitized collections allows exploring patterns and connections at more abstract levels that cut across physical texts. The ontological status of texts is the same - as objects that can be addressed in varying ways.

This passage discusses the relationship between text analysis, philosophies of access, and speculative realism. Some key points:

  • Philosophies of access assert that beings only exist as correlates of consciousness. Speculative realists reject this in favor of beings having reality independent of thought.

  • Quantitative text analysis treats texts as objects that can be described and related independently of human knowledge. Statistical claims about a text corpus can be “true” now even if the analysis producing them only occurs later.

  • This challenges philosophies of access by suggesting language itself can be approached in an irreducible, non-conceptual way through iterative analysis methods like PCA.

  • However, any quantitative description of a text corpus involves provisional decisions about what to count and how to group texts. These caricature the complexity of the texts and are subject to revision.

  • While human, counting decisions are detached from consciousness through computational techniques. But the findings still ultimately converge with human understanding through interpretation.

So in summary, the passage discusses how quantitative text analysis relates to debates between philosophies of access and speculative realism, particularly regarding whether language can be accessed or understood in a non-conceptual way through iterative computational methods.

  • The humanities in American public higher education have faced recurring crises over the past 30 years due to fiscal austerity and budget cuts. This has led to rising class sizes, elimination of programs/departments, fewer tenure-track positions, and scarce resources for scholars.

  • This “new normal” has negatively impacted pedagogy, curriculum development, and teaching innovation in the humanities. Contact time with students has declined as contingent faculty teach more classes. Curricula have not kept pace with digital/networked changes or job market demands.

  • The relevance of humanities study is less clear to students, who prefer majors that directly lead to jobs. This undermines the place of humanities in college instruction.

  • In contrast, digital humanities appear to be on the rise. Jobs in this field are becoming more plentiful, with cluster hires at several universities in recent years. New conferences and programs are also emerging.

  • However, pedagogy, curriculum development, and teaching scholarship remain “ugly stepchildren” that are undervalued compared to traditional discipline-based research in the humanities.

  • The digital humanities field has seen significant growth and increased prominence in recent years, driven by the formation of organizations like the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations, influential journals, and large annual conferences.

  • The creation of the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities in 2008 provided funding that helped shape development of digital humanities in colleges and universities. Other foundations like MacArthur, Google, and Mellon also provided major funding boosts.

  • Despite this growth, the digital humanities field exists within a context where the role and value of the broader humanities in higher education is being questioned. Some see tension between the thriving digital subfield and struggles faced by its parent discipline.

  • While digital humanists promote openness, collaboration and community, their work focuses more on research and scholarship than on teaching, learning and curriculum - making it difficult to distinguish from other academic disciplines.

  • To fully assert its potential, the digital humanities needs to more forcefully intervene in and transform how the humanities are taught and shaped the university curriculum and definition of knowledge. However, saving the humanities alone should not be its responsibility.

  • In recent years, the field of digital humanities has gained more prestige and career opportunities both within and outside academia. Graduate students and junior scholars are more inclined to pursue careers centered around digital humanities work.

  • This represents a shift toward digital humanities becoming a destination in itself rather than just augmenting traditional research. It has empowered many in the field and moved digital humanities toward the center of higher education.

  • While not inherently political, some early digital humanities projects in the 1980s-90s focused on making historical studies more accessible and opening up pedagogical processes. However, most celebrated recent work has focused more on tools/research than teaching.

  • Promoting alternative academic careers and open collaboration represents a political stance. But these roles often remain temporary/nontenure positions, and their labor is undervalued.

  • Reliance on short-term grants can diminish the field’s ability to transform universities and assert their values locally by privileging tangible research over curriculum/pedagogy. Funders also seem to prioritize content over teaching theory.

  • To fully realize its potential, the field must address how technology impacts the human condition, engage more with literacy/teaching, and articulate a social/political role within and beyond academia.

The passage discusses how digital humanities work has pushed humanities practices in new directions, from writing to collaborating, reading to social computing, interpreting to data mining, critical judgment to information credibility, peer reviewing to commenting, and teaching to co-developing.

However, the author argues digital humanities has only enabled evolutionary, not revolutionary, change due to existing institutional structures. Not enough projects have produced cultural criticism to make research meaningful beyond academia.

Liu and others created the 4Humanities advocacy site in 2010 to provide digital tools and expertise to humanities supporters. While the site asserts humanities value, its goals lack clear plans.

Many digital humanities projects focus on creating tools rather than supporting adoption through outreach, documentation, community building, and curriculum development. This limits their impact.

Pedagogy and curriculum are key to asserting humanities’ role, but digital skills are slowly being integrated. A few programs are exemplars, like the University of Mary Washington’s blogging platform and digital knowledge initiative. New York City College of Technology’s curriculum redesign also shows digital humanities influence through collaboration and open tools.

  • The projects at UWM and CUNY have the potential to fundamentally alter the curriculum in the humanities at each institution. They could also shift the labor structure that supports humanities instruction in the medium to long term.

  • UWM and CUNY both have long traditions of supporting experiential and radical pedagogy, which are preconditions for digital humanities work to have a truly transformative impact on humanities instruction.

  • While the digital humanities cannot “fix” all the problems in American higher education, it is uniquely positioned to invigorate arguments about why the humanities matter and how universities should vigorously protect and promote the humanities.

  • For digital humanities to really impact higher education, digital humanists need to give more consistent attention to supporting the “invisible, ugly stepchildren” of the university - the underlying structures and less visible areas that support humanities instruction. Tool production, conferences, and occasional hires alone will not dramatically alter higher education. Broader, more sustained efforts are needed.

Here is a summary of the key points about digital humanities from the given articles:

  • Digital humanities is an emerging field that brings together humanities scholars using digital tools and methods. It grew out of the earlier field of humanities computing.

  • There is debate around how to define digital humanities - is it a distinct field or a set of methodologies applied across disciplines? Definitions continue to evolve as the field develops.

  • Other related fields like new media studies, cultural studies of technology, games studies, etc. study digital technologies and culture from a humanities perspective but were more distinct from humanities computing previously.

  • The term “digital humanities” has helped bring these different areas together under one umbrella but also creates new relationships and identities among these overlapping fields.

  • Graduate training raises questions about what skills and knowledge future humanities scholars will need regarding digital methods and whether a digital component should be a standard part of training across disciplines.

  • Career paths are uncertain given the rapid changes in digital technologies, so it’s difficult to define requirements for preparation and specialization in the digital humanities. Ongoing discussion is needed to shape the emerging field.

Here are some significant changes that have taken place in the humanities’ use and study of digital technology:

  • The rise of digital humanities as an interdisciplinary field that applies digital technologies and tools to humanities research and teaching. This includes areas like digital history, textual analysis, digital mapping, etc.

  • Increased focus on digital literacy and skills as important for both humanities students and scholars. The ability to critically engage with digital media and technologies is now seen as an essential competency.

  • Transformation of how humanities research is conducted through use of digital archives, databases, tools for data mining/analysis, collaborative online platforms, etc. Technology is increasingly central to humanities workflows.

  • Growth in online and technology-enhanced teaching methods in the humanities, including use of learning management systems, multimedia/interactive course content, digital assignment/project platforms, etc.

  • Advocacy by digital humanities scholars for technology to help revitalize the humanities and make the field more relevant/accessible in the digital age to gain support from administrators and funders.

  • Debate over the definition and goals of digital humanities - whether a specialized field or something that should transform traditional humanities disciplines and competencies.

The author argues that traditional scholarly practices and formats in the humanities, like journal articles and conference presentations, were shaped more by past technological constraints than intrinsic epistemological structures. As humanities scholarship shifts from print to digital formats and networks, many of these constraints no longer apply.

This shift is already changing norms around collaboration - digital humanities often requires teamwork. Networked communication also facilitates more collaboration on traditional scholarship. However, scholars generally lack training for networked, collaborative work since graduate education still focuses on individual research and writing.

The author contends that as scholarly practices change due to emerging technologies, humanities education must also change to prepare students. Currently, most graduate students lack digital literacy skills since humanities undergrads offer little digital training. While some programs specialize in digital humanities, most don’t provide relevant coursework. The author argues digital literacy will become increasingly important for all humanities fields in the coming decades.

The article argues that digital literacy expectations are rising rapidly for all humanists, not just those specializing in digital humanities. Graduate programs need to educate students to meet this digital future, not just those specifically interested in digital humanities.

At the author’s institution (SUNY Buffalo), around 10% of faculty and students have received digital humanities funding, showing mostly tangential interest rather than sustained inquiry. More pressing is the need for online courses, requiring graduate students (TAs) to develop digital pedagogical skills like online discussion facilitation and assigning digital compositions.

While technical skills are modest, pedagogical and rhetorical challenges are greater. TAs must figure this out with little support or experience. Similarly, faculty must decide whether to accept rising digital expectations or continue as is. The greatest difficulty is finding ways to meaningfully integrate digital tools into teaching and research beyond superficial skills training. Sustained engagement requires tying digital media to clear pedagogical or research objectives to avoid skills becoming outdated.

This passage discusses the potential impact of digital technologies on humanities research and graduate education. Some key points:

  • Humanities disciplines like literature have traditionally focused on interpretation rather than production, so introducing digital tools and methods is more challenging than in fields like composition that already incorporate technology.

  • Asking graduate students to solely invent new digital scholarly practices is unfair, as there are established models in fields like digital humanities but not elsewhere.

  • Social media offers opportunities to communicate, collaborate, and share work more easily with broader audiences beyond specialized academic fields.

  • Incorporating social media into scholarship raises ethical challenges around how emerging digital practices are valued alongside traditional scholarly activities.

  • Graduate students should be introduced to new digital practices but not forced to argue for their value prematurely. The worth of such practices should be reflected in the quality of work they enable.

  • Building department-level communities using digital platforms remains a challenge beyond individual faculty/student blogs and institutional collaborations. More work is needed to support networked scholarship locally.

In summary, the passage discusses both opportunities and challenges of integrating digital tools and social media into humanities research and graduate training as disciplines adapt to contemporary communication environments.

  • Humanities departments operate based on shared academic interests but also manage disparate interests within disciplines through structures like bylaws, committees, and curriculum.

  • Digital technologies have impacted the humanities across specializations by altering relations between faculty and students. For example, it is now easy for conversations in one course to connect to those in another course through digital forums.

  • A department-level public forum could allow for academic conversations across courses and specializations but may also expose political in-fighting or require heavy moderation.

  • Intermediate options include a non-public department content management system or a public-facing blog focused on a particular specialization that connects students and faculty.

  • Such digital tools could help graduate students develop professional identities and connect their local community to broader initiatives, mitigating the loss of community when moving to new positions.

  • Ultimately, the challenge is recognizing how disciplines have been shaped by past technologies and establishing new ethics to engage with digital media opportunities and challenges in graduate education and beyond.

The chapter examines whether liberal arts colleges and small universities focused on undergraduate education should engage with the digital humanities movement.

Some arguments against their involvement include:

  • Limited resources and infrastructure. Many small schools lack the funding and staffing for a dedicated digital humanities center, which are seen as key for digital humanities work.

  • Focus on teaching. Digital humanities centers at larger schools prioritize graduate education and research over undergraduate teaching, which is the core mission of liberal arts colleges.

  • Unclear identity of digital humanities. There is no consensus on how to define digital humanities, making it unclear how well it aligns with the priorities of liberal arts schools.

However, the chapter will also outline ways that some liberal arts colleges have begun digital humanities work, and responses to the criticisms, arguing it can take a different form focused more on teaching and community engagement over large public projects. The goal is to have an open discussion about the opportunities and challenges.

  • Digital humanities, also known previously as humanities computing, is a relatively new field within academia that emerged in the early 2000s.

  • Defining digital humanities is problematic due to factors like rapidly changing technologies, interdisciplinarity, inclusion of multiple roles/sectors, and the field’s newness. This makes redefining it necessary.

  • Debates over definitions have practical implications for careers and institutions. For example, whether the focus should be on production of projects versus theoretical criticism.

  • Small liberal arts colleges face particular challenges engaging with digital humanities due to lack of dedicated centers, infrastructure, budgets, and compatibility with their teaching mission.

  • They also lack visibility and participation in the digital humanities community as reflected in conference attendance, social media, grants, and centralized projects.

  • Individual scholars at small colleges can feel isolated without proximate colleagues for collaboration.

  • However, some liberal arts colleges are establishing digital humanities centers and there are examples of projects addressing engagement challenges at small institutions.

  • The passage discusses different approaches to digital humanities at liberal arts colleges and universities, compared to larger research institutions.

  • It examines examples of digital humanities centers at the University of Virginia, Hamilton College, and Occidental College. The centers at Hamilton and Occidental have a stronger pedagogical focus integrated into their mission compared to Virginia’s research-focused center.

  • However, most liberal arts schools do not have dedicated digital humanities centers due to limited resources. The passage looks at how some schools are unbundling center functions through other structures.

  • Examples include digital humanities groups/communities, integrating digital humanities into existing programs like Hamilton’s connections curriculum, and leveraging existing IT support from libraries.

  • The goal is to promote collaboration, advocacy, and support for digital humanities through alternative approaches tailored to smaller liberal arts institutions and their values of teaching and interdisciplinary work.

  • At Wheaton College, support for digital humanities projects like text encoding comes from the merged Library and Information Services department, drawing on materials from the college archives.

  • Many successful digital humanities collaborations occur where the library and IT organizations are merged or work closely together, as at Wheaton, Hamilton College, and the University of Puget Sound. This centralized expertise supports digital humanities work without needing a separate center.

  • Small liberal arts colleges have secured external grant funding for digital humanities projects, showing these “unbundled” models can be viable alternatives to centers.

  • Close relationships with larger research institutions provide opportunities for faculty and students at smaller colleges to participate in the digital humanities community through training, speakers, and collaborative projects.

  • Regional and institution-type focused events like THATCamps also help counter isolation of digital humanists at small colleges.

  • Multi-institutional projects pool expertise and resources to mutually benefit small liberal arts colleges and larger universities.

  • Digital humanities work at liberal arts colleges focuses on classroom teaching and research involving undergraduates, rather than large-scale content or tool creation.

The article argues that collaborative undergraduate research is more common in the sciences but less common in the humanities, where independent theses are more typical. However, digital humanities projects offer opportunities for collaborative humanities research at liberal arts colleges.

One example discussed is the Homer Multitext Project, which involves undergraduates from several colleges collaborating on digitizing and annotating Homeric manuscripts. At Holy Cross, students work directly with manuscripts, transcribing, translating, and providing commentary. This provides hands-on, applied learning experiences for students.

The article presents the Homer Multitext Project as a model of collaborative undergraduate research in digital humanities. Such collaboration addresses issues like lack of faculty time and expertise that can hinder undergraduate research in the humanities. It professionalizes students and helps with scalability by having students support each other’s work.

Overall, the article argues collaborative models of digital humanities research are more productive for undergraduate learning outcomes than independent theses. It presents liberal arts colleges as “forking” the digital humanities in a way that better integrates it with teaching and learning goals of undergraduate education.

  • Liberal arts colleges and universities may continue to focus on undergraduate education and occasional unbundled/decentralized support models for digital humanities work.

  • As their digital humanities work grows, they will send undergraduates into DH graduate programs who have a distinct background and may be more interested in teaching/learning implications.

  • Their work could connect with small liberal arts colleges globally and influence the development of liberal education models beyond the US.

  • Their emphasis on involving undergrads, communities, and multi-campus projects could help make DH feel more accessible and collaborative.

  • Their process-focused approach starting from small communities and aiming for civic engagement reconnects with core liberal arts traditions of engaging the world.

The key points are around how liberal arts colleges’ distinctive approach to digital humanities, with its focus on undergraduates, teaching, collaboration, and civic engagement, could influence the field both within and beyond traditional research universities. It may send a different type of graduate to programs and make DH feel more interdisciplinary, networked, and oriented toward public good.

Here is a summary of the sources provided:

  • Several sources discuss specific DH projects at various colleges including the University of Richmond’s History Engine project, Wheaton College’s Lexomics project, and Bryn Mawr College’s Tri-Co Digital Humanities collaboration.

  • Other sources describe DH centers and initiatives that have received funding, such as Occidental College’s grant from the Mellon Foundation, Hamilton College’s Mellon grant for DH, and Wheaton College’s grant from the NEH Office of Digital Humanities.

  • Additional sources outline challenges and opportunities for DH at liberal arts colleges, including infrastructure and support needs, importance of undergraduate research, and bridging gaps between disciplines.

  • Key issues discussed include defining digital humanities, building shared infrastructure, intellectual property concerns in collaborative international projects, and impact of DH on curriculum and tenure/promotion processes.

  • Several sources highlight specific DH projects and tools, such as the Homer Multitext Project, Project Bamboo for shared infrastructure, and Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) standards.

  • The role of DH at liberal arts colleges, funding opportunities through organizations like NEH, and challenges of adoption are prominent themes across the sources.

Here is a summary of the provided text:

The passage documents the impact of digital humanities (DH) in universities, both in the US and abroad. It notes that Chronicle of Higher Education has published over 95 articles on DH in the past three years. Younger academics, especially those recently completing doctoral degrees in humanities fields, seem interested in using digital tools and techniques to reimagine their disciplines and future work.

The National Endowment for the Humanities launched its Digital Humanities Initiative in 2006, recognizing DH’s growing role in academia. However, the passage argues DH work has focused too narrowly on academic research and publication, missing larger implications for teaching. While research is emphasized, teaching and learning are somewhat of an afterthought.

DH publications like Digital Humanities Quarterly feature scholarly work but emphasize research over pedagogy based on article titles and word searches. NEH grant summaries also prioritize “research” over words like “teaching” or “pedagogy.”

The passage then shifts to exploring DH’s role in teaching and learning, using examples from the City University of New York (CUNY). It outlines several major digital projects at CUNY over 20 years focused on innovative pedagogy, like the Writing Across the Curriculum initiative in response to open admissions. It positions CUNY faculty as interested in DH research but oriented toward digital technology’s educational potential due to CUNY’s commitment to accessible education.

  • Mina Shaughnessy was an expert on teaching writing to underprepared working-class students entering CUNY. She helped develop CUNY’s SEEK program for remedial writing and math instruction.

  • She emphasized writing as an academic discipline and inspired generations of CUNY writing teachers who continued and expanded her work.

  • In 1999, CUNY ended its open admissions policy due to political pressure. It launched the Writing Across the Curriculum (WAC) initiative to continue supporting working-class students’ writing skills.

  • WAC deployed over 150 writing fellows using various teaching methods to improve writing skills across CUNY programs. Many fellows were PhD students in CUNY’s English program.

  • Programs like the American Social History Project, New Media Lab, Interactive Technology and Pedagogy program, and Instructional Technology Fellows program at Macaulay Honors College trained CUNY students and fellows in digital pedagogy and researching skills.

  • Examples like the “Looking for Whitman” project combine digital research with collaborating teaching approaches across multiple CUNY campuses and institutions.

  • The CUNY Academic Commons (AC) launched in 2009 as a unified platform for scholarly communication across CUNY. It uses WordPress and BuddyPress to create an online academic community.

  • The AC has nearly 2,000 members from CUNY who use it for courses, projects, collaborations, and more. It has helped bridge gaps between CUNY institutions.

  • In 2010, CUNY faculty organized the “Digital University” conference focused on digital approaches to teaching, learning, and pedagogy. This led to the launch of the CUNY Digital Humanities Initiative (DHI).

  • The DHI aims to build connections between those applying digital technologies to scholarship and pedagogy in the humanities. It has sponsored talks and roundtables on these topics.

  • Projects like the AC and DHI at CUNY aim to bring digital scholarship and pedagogy together to enhance teaching and learning, and make digital humanities more relevant to educational missions of universities.

Here is a summary of the key points made in the blog post:

  • The author has become disillusioned with the traditional student essay assignment as a tool for teaching critical thinking.

  • Standardized essay assignments typically require students to conform to a rigid thesis/defense model, which eliminates complexity, ambiguity, and critical thinking.

  • The goal of teaching should not be to turn students into miniature versions of the professor or other scholars. However, the traditional essay format implies this is the goal.

  • Student essays fail to truly represent the research, dialogue, revision and work that goes into professional scholarly work. They are compressed works that mean little to no one.

  • Alternative forms of assessment beyond the traditional essay, such as portfolios, public scholarship, and collaborative/multimedia work, may better teach critical thinking skills and represent the process of knowledge production.

In summary, the post criticizes the traditional student essay format for not truly fostering critical thinking and for failing to represent the process of scholarly work. It suggests alternative forms of assessment deserve more consideration.

The author discusses their first digital history seminar course, where they set up a public course blog at This blog served as a common space for the class to think aloud and work together publicly. It also played a valuable role in supplementing the in-person class discussions.

Rather than just being a supplement, the author argues the blog played a cognitive role in distributing the class structure beyond just knowledge consumption to also knowledge production. It allowed the class’ thinking to be disseminated beyond just those registered for the course.

Going forward, the author suggests the potential value of new students in future iterations of the course being able to “inhabit” and engage with the same ongoing course blog. They describe the blog as like a “spider’s web” that can continue to be added to and built upon by new classes over time, rather than just being a one-time resource limited to the original class.

  • The term “digital humanities” originated primarily for marketing and uptake purposes, not as a carefully defined field of study.

  • It has evolved tactically within institutions over the past decade as a way to effect change, get funding or resources, establish programs, etc. Attempts to arrive at strict definitions miss this material history.

  • It serves as a vector for positioning the humanities in a future-oriented way while also allowing for intrainstitutional changes like new hires, courses, resources.

  • The term has tactical use-value in bringing together people and projects seeking to reshape humanities practices and expand boundaries.

  • The author is not cynical about digital humanities work itself, which produces genuinely valuable resources, but is pointing out the tactical considerations around the term and how it functions institutionally. It serves pragmatic goals while also supporting important intellectual work.

  • There is a gap between the physical and virtual worlds, and digital humanities sits at the intersection of the two by shaping how digital tools are developed and used.

  • While some think “digital humanities” is a temporary term that will be replaced, the author argues institutional structures like degrees, centers, journals, etc. using the term give it longevity. These structures involve reputations, resources, branding, etc. that are difficult to change.

  • Social media, especially Twitter, has played a big role in defining and mapping the field of digital humanities through hashtags, profiles, networks, etc. This exposure to algorithms shapes perceptions of what digital humanities is.

  • The author then gives an example from the late 1990s/early 2000s of debates at the University of Virginia over terms like “humanities computing” and efforts to establish degrees. Terms shifted from “humanities computing” to “digital media” and “knowledge representation” due in part to tensions over legitimacy and perceptions of computing as service. This showed digital humanities emerging tactically through institutional negotiation of terms and disciplinary positioning.

  • The term “digital humanities” emerged from discussions at the University of Virginia in the early 2000s about creating a new master’s program in digital media/computing and the humanities.

  • The term “digital media” was initially used but was later replaced with “digital humanities” to better define the scope as pertaining to the humanities and to sound less generic.

  • John Unsworth played a key role in advocating for the term “digital humanities” in this context and later when founding the Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations.

  • By the mid-2000s, “digital humanities” had become the dominant term used over “humanities computing” to describe this emerging field.

  • Twitter and other social media platforms have helped further establish “digital humanities” as a network identity and topology that connects practitioners and projects in the field.

So in summary, it traces the origins and tactical adoption of the term “digital humanities” out of earlier discussions at UVA and its rise to prominence due to factors like John Unsworth’s advocacy and its functionality as a identifier on online platforms.

  • Digital Humanities Now (dhnow) is a website that aggregates tweets from hundreds of self-identified digital humanities scholars. It scans their tweets and formats them on the site to allow further discussion.

  • It works somewhat effectively to highlight discussions within the digital humanities community based on tweet popularity among DH users. However, it can promote non-DH topics simply due to their popularity among DH tweeters.

  • DH emerges as a “tactical” term through sites like dhnow that operationalize DH discussions through social media platforms. DH online also participates in “celebrity economies” and reputation metrics.

  • Twitter’s “Who to Follow” feature helps reinforce influential DH users by prioritizing them, allowing them to accumulate more followers and influence. This reflects a “star system” in DH similar to that described for literary studies. Personal connections and social media metrics help drive influences rather than just publications or lectures.

  • Digital humanities (DH) is difficult to define precisely as it is constantly evolving and means different things to different people. Many have attempted to define it but there is no consensus.

  • DH emerged from earlier initiatives in humanities computing in the late 1990s. Early programs centered on topics like digitization, databases, markup languages, etc. with the goal of integrating theory and practice.

  • DH has since grown dramatically in scope and influence. Individual scholars can now wield influence through online networks in ways that were previously impossible. However, power dynamics and hierarchies still exist within these networks.

  • Position and status within academic networks, both online and offline, have real consequences for things like jobs, grants, publications and invitations. Success often depends on one’s ability to leverage influence across different networks.

  • While DH and social media like Twitter are not the same, their interactions are real and impactful. Networks are inherently political and one’s position within them matters for how they can act and be viewed.

  • Defining DH has become controversial as some see it as a way to claim or disenfranchise certain approaches. However, DH should be viewed as a tactic or means to an end, not the end itself. Its power comes from enabling intervention and change within academic institutions.

  • There is no single agreed upon definition of digital humanities, as evidenced by the rising number of conferences and writings on the topic. People see defining it as crucial.

  • Trying to identify an “essence” or ideal form of DH is impossible. Instead, we can analyze what people talk about when discussing DH.

  • The annual “Day of DH” event provides a large sample of how DH practitioners describe their work in blog posts. Analysis of these posts shows they frequently discuss using digital tools for research, design, projects involving text and data analysis.

  • DH is largely about using computing technologies as tools for traditional humanities research. The term “digital humanities” was strategically chosen over “humanities computing” to emphasize the humanities focus.

  • Computers enable new critical lenses for analysis in the humanities, similar to how other movements opened new critiques. Using a computer alone does not make one a DH scholar; the work must relate to new digital methodologies.

  • DH can be visualized as a Venn diagram with the digital and humanities as overlapping circles. This helps define DH as an approach that combines the digital with traditional humanistic study.

  • Digital humanities has shifted from “humanities computing” to “digital humanities”, where the digital aspect is used to enhance traditional humanities work, rather than computing being used as a way of doing humanities.

  • Using computers for things like analyzing large data sets, word counts, and visualizations allows traditional humanities scholarship to be accomplished on a larger scale and faster pace without disrupting core humanities values and methods.

  • The digital is seen as a supplement to existing humanities paradigms rather than something that alters the structure of humanities work itself.

  • While the adoption of digital tools has been rapid, it has done little to question foundational principles of academic knowledge in humanities.

  • There are two visions of digital humanities - one that uses digital tools to aid traditional humanistic inquiry, and another that studies digital objects/media as subjects of inquiry themselves.

  • Conferences and literature suggest the former definition privileging digital tools is dominant, marginalizing a media studies approach to digital humanities.

  • This risks making digital humanities just another way to perform traditional textual analysis rather than something transformative.

  • The essay discusses resistance to digital humanities (DH) work, building on a previous essay about resistance to philology.

  • Some academic institutions have marginalized scholarly editions, bibliographies, and textual studies in promotion/tenure decisions, counting them as half a “real” book.

  • This historical prejudice against bibliographic/editorial work may now be compounded by a new dismissive attitude toward digital/electronic publications.

  • Since many new scholarly editions in the last 20+ years have a digital component, scholars working with electronic texts face a “double whammy” of marginalization of both text/medium.

  • There is a view in some quarters that DH amounts to passing off technical skills as critical analysis, an “oxymoronic” pairing. For those engaged in textual/bibliographic DH resources, this creates a two-fold suspicion.

  • Due to confidentiality around tenure, it is unlikely a direct “smoking gun” will be found, but the essay aims to outline the potential problem academics working in DH face in an increasingly competitive environment.

This passage discusses the continued “resistance” or disdain towards digital humanities and textual/editorial scholarship within the academic humanities disciplines. Some key points:

  • There is still a perception that textual/bibliographical research only belongs as a “service” activity rather than being fully integrated or philosophically important in humanities departments.

  • Digital work may have more perceived “sexiness” and prominence due to developments like the internet, but its academic credibility is another question.

  • Statistics from an MLA report show digital works are less valued in tenure/promotion processes than print works. Younger scholars may hesitate to do digital projects knowing this.

  • Figures like Jerome McGann enthusiastically embrace digital humanities, but others like G. Thomas Tanselle are more skeptical and warn against seeing computers as completely discontinuous from past scholarship.

  • The passage discusses outreach efforts by groups like MLA to increase familiarity with and evaluation of digital scholarship among literature/language academics and administrators.

This summary provides an overview of the perspectives on digital humanities (DH) presented in the passage:

  • Professional organizations are trying to promote DH acceptance, but there is still resistance to overcome according to some reports. The true impact will be seen when follow-up studies are conducted.

  • Interviews with scholars found those in research/archive roles were more optimistic about DH recognition. Bethany Nowviskie and Michael Bérubé see gradual improvement but say monographs are still overvalued in some places.

  • Stephen Ramsay cites recent cases showing DH is still not fully accepted in some quarters after 15+ years. He also notes potential institutional fear of more technical/less humanistic DH aspects.

  • A period of transition makes assessing progress difficult. Morris Eaves hopes DH will be slowly accepted but notes some resistance from prejudiced “kneejerk humanists.”

  • Significant DH growth is evident but conventional print monographs still largely influence tenure decisions, creating challenges for digital scholars. Guidelines are being developed to evaluate digital work.

  • Previous studies like the MLA report found similar tenure/incentive concerns lingering, but an expectation younger scholars will integrate technology more in their work.

This passage summarizes the following key points:

  • There is a tension between anxieties over digital humanities (DH) and institutional expectations that academics utilize and advance digital scholarship. This tension was apparent at the Project Bamboo conference.

  • One proposed solution was to target senior faculty who are open to digital projects, as they influence tenure decisions. However, overcoming entrenched institutional views would be challenging.

  • Examples from the author’s own institution, CUNY Graduate Center, show interest in DH coming primarily from students, not faculty. Administrative support also comes from top-down and students, not departments. Transformation to DH will not be quick or easy.

  • A case study is described of a former student who was denied tenure partly due to a DH-focused scholarship, showing lingering resistance to digital media in tenure decisions.

  • How data is interpreted depends on what is being looked for and valued. A New York Times article on digitizing 500 billion words showed differing perspectives on the utility and critical value of such digital datasets.

  • The passage discusses criticism of the Google Books Ngram Viewer project from Louis Menand and others who felt the claims made based on word frequency statistics were exaggerated and lacking cultural/historical context.

  • Menand felt having a humanist or historian on the research team would have tempered some of the interpretations. The author acknowledges this could have been valuable but argues quantitative analysis can still provide useful information.

  • The author sees some of the resistance to projects like Ngram Viewer as stemming from a distrust of rigorously “quantitative” or “empirical” approaches in the humanities. There is a perception they are superficial and lack critical analysis.

  • However, the author believes placing the raw data in proper historical/cultural context does involve an interpretive process. Large digital datasets can illuminate patterns worth further investigation by humanists.

  • Overall the passage discusses debates around the validity and role of quantitative/digital approaches in the humanities according to critics like Menand versus proponents of digital humanities work.

Here is a summary of the key points from the provided sources on peer review and digital scholarship:

  • Traditional peer review relies on limiting publication based on selectivity, which derives authority from scarcity in print media. However, the internet operates on scarcity of attention rather than material scarcity.

  • Online, authority comes more from community endorsement through things like links and recommendations, rather than a publisher’s stamp of approval. Communities online help create authority through sharing/selecting content for others.

  • Fields involving digital/internet scholarship need to reconsider reliance on traditional peer review models and explore how community authorization could better reflect innovations in their fields.

  • Crowdsourcing peer review has potential advantages over limited traditional review by traditional elites. More perspectives can uncover more value and push deeper understanding through discussion between reviewers.

  • Effective crowdsourcing in scholarship relies on engaging existing communities of practice through “our-crowdsourcing” rather than open participation by anybody online in a popular sense.

The passage discusses open peer review and how it can benefit scholarship, especially interdisciplinary and digital scholarship. It notes that open reviewing allows for input from diverse disciplinary perspectives and from outside academia as well. This broader discussion can strengthen scholarly work.

It then talks about how digital fields should embrace openness, like how the internet operates as an open network. An open model where all scholarship is openly transmitted could allow selectivity to happen at the “endpoint” among consumers of scholarship. This relates to ideas about “publish then filter” and reconceptualizing who counts as peers in scholarly networks.

The passage acknowledges challenges like how open peer review fits with existing systems of academic evaluation and credentialing. It argues digital humanities must develop new models of evaluation to suit open formats and articulate the value of open review. Different cases like monographs, archives, blogs would require different review approaches. Metrics and peer discussion around open scholarship also need to be better understood and communicated to evaluation committees.

In summary, it advocates for more open and diverse peer review models to benefit digital and interdisciplinary scholarship, while noting challenges of integrating this with existing academic systems.

  • Big data generally refers to extremely large data sets that are difficult to process using traditional software and hardware. The size definitions are evolving but currently range from dozens of terabytes to petabytes.

  • The growth of big data is changing research across many fields, including the humanities and social sciences. Large digitized collections like books, newspapers and digital cultural artifacts now enable new computationally-based research methods.

  • Early big data projects in the digital humanities analyzed correspondence, maps, texts, images and other material. However, the data sets were still smaller than what is considered truly “big data” in other fields.

  • Emerging sources of big social data include user-generated content on sites like Flickr with billions of photos, user comments and metadata, and transaction/usage data. This social media data dwarfs existing digital cultural heritage collections and grows constantly.

  • Working with massive social and cultural data sets raises new theoretical and practical challenges for the humanities regarding tools, methods and interpretations from large-scale computational analysis.

  • Traditionally, humanities and social science research relied on either “deep data” about a few people through qualitative methods, or “surface data” about many people through surveys and census data.

  • The rise of social media created opportunities to study human behavior and culture on a massive new scale, with “deep data” available about hundreds of millions of people through their public online activities and digital traces.

  • However, only large tech companies have direct access to comprehensive transactional data from social platforms. Researchers must rely on public APIs which do not provide full datasets.

  • There is a growing “data analysis divide” between data scientists with technical skills and humanities/social science researchers without strong computer science backgrounds. Analyzing massive online datasets requires new computational tools and approaches.

  • While exciting potential exists to study human dynamics at scale, limitations remain in terms of accessing complete private company datasets and in bridging the technical skills gap between fields. Careful consideration is needed regarding what is possible in both principle and practice.

Here is a summary of the key points about papers presented at recent World Wide Web conferences:

  • Papers have investigated how information spreads on Twitter using data from 100 million tweets.

  • They examined what qualities are shared by the most favored photos on Flickr using data from 2.2 million photos.

  • One paper looked at how geotagged Flickr photos are distributed spatially using data from 35 million photos.

  • Another compared user-generated videos on YouTube to similar videos on Daum, Korea’s largest UGC service, using data from 2.1 million videos.

  • Even researchers within large tech companies don’t have access to all the different types of user data collected (e.g. a Sprint researcher couldn’t access messaging/app data).

  • Companies are careful about privacy and don’t want lawsuits, so restrict data access between departments.

The summary highlights some of the key large-scale social media datasets that have been analyzed in recent digital humanities/social computing papers presented at WWW conferences. It also notes limitations on internal data access at large companies.

  • The author analyzes large sets of cultural artifacts like photos, videos, artwork using digital image analysis and visualization techniques. This is done through their lab, the Software Studies Initiative.

  • When analyzing new collections, they often find unexpected patterns that human analysis may have missed due to the scale of data.

  • As an example, they analyzed Dziga Vertov’s film The Eleventh Year and found that despite its revolutionary dynamic style, most shots were actually static.

  • Some humanists are nervous about computers leading cultural analysis, worrying they can’t understand deeper meanings. But the author argues computers can explore at scale and help select items for closer human study.

  • They propose a scenario where computational analysis reduces a set of 1 million videos to 100 most representative ones for human study, allowing deeper exploration than sampling.

  • While computers have limitations, the author advocates a combined human-computer approach to analyze large cultural data sets.

  • Large amounts of data about human behavior and cultural content are being collected online through search engines, social media sites, etc. However, companies mostly use this data for their own business purposes like targeted advertising rather than for social/cultural research.

  • While some free analysis tools exist online, they don’t give access to the massive datasets collected by companies and have limited functionality. Researchers need access to large datasets and skills in computer science/statistics to do big data-driven social/cultural research.

  • Collaborations between humanists and computer scientists is currently the model for big data humanities research. But to fully realize its potential, humanists need to learn data analysis skills so they don’t rely on computer scientists for every project. Overall, there are obstacles like privacy concerns and skills gaps, but also great potential if these can be addressed.

Here is a summary of the Wikipedia article on big data:

  • Big data refers to extremely large data sets that may be analyzed computationally to reveal patterns, trends, and associations, especially relating to human behavior and interactions.

  • The term gained popularity in the late 1990s and early 2000s. Big data challenges include capture, storage, search, sharing, analysis, and visualization.

  • Examples of big data include web server logs, social media activity, scientific data, and machine-generated data from sensors. Devices like smartphones and IoT sensors generate huge amounts of data.

  • Big data relies on massive parallelism and distributed computing across many servers to process datasets too large for traditional processing methods. Technologies include Hadoop, MapReduce, Spark, Apache Flink, and machine learning.

  • Three key aspects of big data are volume, velocity, and variety. It is growing rapidly in size and complexity, requiring new architectures and analytics to make sense of it. Analysis draws on techniques from data mining, statistics, machine learning.

  • Big data applications exist in many fields including finance, retail, healthcare, government, education, web search, social networks, and IT networks. It enables new forms of interaction and value. Challenges include privacy and data security risks.

  • The passage discusses the transition from Humanities 1.0 to Humanities 2.0, drawing an analogy to the shifts from Web 1.0 to Web 2.0.

  • Humanities 1.0 refers to the first generation of digital humanities and focused on aggregating and archiving data through digitization projects. This transformed research by increasing access to resources.

  • Humanities 2.0 envisions more interactive and collaborative approaches that engage users in contributing content, interpretations, and theories. Examples mentioned include customizing archives and folksonomies.

  • As archives become more open and allow user input, it moves toward a Wikipedia model of collaboration. Questions are raised about openness and changing borders between professionals/amateurs and disciplines.

  • The goal is for archives to support new forms of teaching, research and knowledge-building by facilitating global sharing of interpretations and user-generated information.

  • The passage discusses issues around decentering knowledge and authority in digital humanities projects, especially those that involve collaborative and open peer review processes like Wikipedia.

  • It notes professionals like astronomers initially struggled to accept input from amateur observers but realized openness had benefits. This relates to debates around credibility of sources on Wikipedia.

  • Peer review is a foundational practice for many humanities fields but its assumptions need interrogation. Who counts as a peer? Reviews happen differently in different contexts.

  • Digital humanities projects can decentering concepts like authorship, publication, expertise, hierarchy, and professional norms.

  • Two collaborative writing projects are discussed - one on the future of learning institutions involving public feedback on drafts, the other on slavery and freedom involving collaborative research.

  • The learning institutions project highlights challenges around exposing drafts openly and psychological urges to defend work prematurely rather than engage collaboratively. However, the process has been very interdisciplinary and illuminating for improving the work.

  • Issues of authorship and crediting contributions in collaborative open projects are complex with no perfect solutions, though efforts will be made to acknowledge roles.

Here are the key points made in the summary:

  • Humanities 2.0 is a process, not a product. It is always evolving to a latest version but never reaching a final version.

  • It describes collaborative projects that combine authority and participation, peer review and community contribution.

  • The example project described is the Law in Slavery and Freedom Project, which brings together scholars and students from multiple countries to collaboratively research and teach about the histories of slavery using archival documents.

  • As this project and others like it make more of their documents and resources openly available online, participation could potentially extend beyond the initial collaborators to a much wider community.

  • The idea is that these large-scale, open, collaborative projects that blend research and teaching could represent a “Big Humanities” for the digital age, akin to “Big Science” projects in other fields.

  • The author helped found 4Humanities, an advocacy initiative for the humanities powered by the digital humanities community.

  • The last paragraph of the 4Humanities mission statement asserts that the digital humanities “woke up to its special potential and responsibility to assist humanities advocacy.” However, this is not entirely accurate.

  • The author’s thesis is that while the digital humanities have advanced research and used new technologies, they have been largely oblivious to cultural criticism, which has been a major part of the humanities since the 1960s.

  • Cultural criticism includes both interpretive cultural studies and more critical approaches that question assumptions and power structures. The digital humanities have focused more on techniques and applications than critical interrogation.

  • However, the author hopes to recommend how this deficit in cultural criticism could potentially be turned into an opportunity for the digital humanities to engage more deeply with critical approaches. So the initial stance is critical but the ultimate goal is hopeful.

The passage discusses the lack of cultural criticism in the digital humanities. It argues that while digital humanists develop tools and analyze data critically, they rarely extend their critique to broader societal, economic, political or cultural issues. In contrast, fields like new media studies blend post-1960s media theory and political critique.

The passage states that this lack of cultural criticism could prevent the digital humanities from becoming full partners with the human humanities. It notes how the current debate around “close reading” vs “distant reading” is a proxy for the battle between New Criticism and post-1968 cultural criticism methods. Distant reading draws on cultural-critical traditions from Marxism to postmodernism.

Digital humanities are now practicing partners of distant reading through large-scale computational analysis. This breaks the détente between close and distant reading that had formed. By occupying the ground of basic practice, digital humanities upset the balance of methods and change what counts as the relevant “text” in analysis. The passage argues this could block further growth for digital humanities unless they incorporate more cultural criticism.

  • Digital humanists have an opportunity to become true partners with mainstream humanities scholars by embracing cultural criticism and moving between text analysis and cultural analysis.

  • To be leaders instead of just servants, digital humanists need to demonstrate how their tools and methods can be applied to critical issues beyond just facilitating research, such as advocacy for the humanities.

  • The humanities currently face challenges of defunding due to economic pressures and an inability to communicate their value to the public in today’s networked media environment.

  • Digital humanists are well-positioned to provide leadership in communicating the importance of the humanities to the public through innovative uses of new media and technology for advocacy. This could help address the funding and publicity crises facing the humanities.

  • Taking a leadership role in advocacy would elevate digital humanists from just serving mainstream scholars to being true partners in supporting and promoting the humanities.

Humanists should develop technologies that reimagine how the humanities advocate for themselves. The goal should be to build advocacy into the core work of research and teaching, so it naturally generates public representations of the field.

One idea is extending platforms like Open Journal Systems to automatically generate from articles things like brochures, videos, or posters - publicly meaningful brief brief captures of scholarship beyond just abstracts.

This would allow humanities work to deliberately, spontaneously, or collaboratively propagate public awareness as part of the normal research/teaching process. Millions watch TV shows about interesting jobs; humanists should occasionally share the excitement of their discoveries and movements.

A beautifully designed UK report gives a sense of what’s meant - it framed research as directly engaging the public using mobile devices. Similarly, showcase examples from across the University of California system demonstrated profoundly public value in many digitally-enabled projects.

Beyond serving instrumental advocacy roles, the digital humanities’ unique contribution could be helping broaden the very idea of instrumentalism and technology through cultural criticism. This addresses tensions within digital humanities around being too instrumental versus not instrumental enough compared to technical fields.

Similarly, the humanities struggle with perceptions of being primarily instrumental skills-providers versus useless and non-instrumental. Hard economic times reinforce the latter. Cultural critics addressed this but may have reinforced views of humanities work as only interpretive and politically marginal. The challenges reflect deeper issues faced by humanities in establishing autonomous roles beyond student preparation.

  • The author provides a historical overview of how societies have viewed concepts like determination, instrumentalism, and free will over time.

  • In premodern times, God determined what happened, nature was the instrument, humanity received instruction, but then exercised free will by disobeying God. This led to a fall from paradise and exile.

  • In modern times, God was replaced by material and historical determination as the driving force. Nature and history marked human identity as freedom but also became new forms of dehumanizing control like industrialization.

  • Society is uncomfortable with various forms of determination promoted by things like technology and media. The humanities, and concepts like culture, provide ways to think about determination and free will as coexisting.

  • The author argues digital humanities can and should engage more with fields like new media studies, media archaeology, and science and technology studies. This would help rethink instrumentality in broader cultural terms and provide a foundation to grapple with larger social issues.

  • By breaking down divides between fields, digital humanities can show the need for both humanities and sciences to address intertwined problems in areas like health, environment, education that have cultural dimensions.

In summary, the author examines how societies have viewed concepts of determination over time, argues digital humanities needs a broader view of instrumentality informed by other fields, and says this can help address complex real-world problems requiring both humanistic and scientific perspectives.

The passage discusses several threads on online forums, two of which started discussions - one arguing that ties were too narrowly focused on industry/technology, the other about UK budget cuts imposed by the new conservative government.

It notes how ‘May 1968’ is used symbolically rather than an exact date to refer to intellectual movements of that era. It outlines the origins of organizations like CPSR and EFF that champion digital rights and social justice issues related to computing.

It simplifies that textual editing theory and hypertext theory laid the groundwork for cultural criticism in digital humanities. It references works by McGann and Kirschenbaum that blend technology with social dimensions.

It discusses debates around the “ordered hierarchy of content objects” thesis. It notes how digital humanities has been called the “next big thing” but an attempt was made to take stock of the field’s current state.

It focuses on the issue of distant reading vs close reading in literary studies specifically, while acknowledging other fields had different quantitative-qualitative methodological contexts prior. It references the origins of New Criticism.

It discusses how distant reading can explore the “great unread” corpus and how digital tools were seen as playing an ancillary role but now facilitate cultural study through projects on language, ads, art, etc.

It notes even STEM fields must argue for basic research. And while individual scholars adopt new digital methods, institutions have not fully integrated or supported new communication media.

In summary, it provides context around several discussions and debates within digital humanities and cultural criticism, including the relationship between technology and the humanities.

  • The passages discuss the need for digital humanities to incorporate a focus on computer code and its influence on all aspects of life, including the academy. This requires problematizing assumptions that support typical humanities research.

  • Computation and software have undeniable cultural dimensions that must be recognized. Ultimately, the digital humanities may scale up to influence the future evolution of academic culture generally.

  • The author is influenced by Jean-Françoise Blanchette’s talk about how modern software development focused on creating modular infrastructure to negotiate between applications and underlying system resources. An analogous infrastructure is needed in digital humanities both technologically and methodologically.

  • Major initiatives like those from the Obama administration, National Academy of Engineering, and health organizations illustrate grand challenges that could incentivize useful digital humanities work.

  • In summary, the passages argue for a critically reflective cultural studies approach within digital humanities to examine computation’s influence on scholarship and society. Infrastructure is needed to address practices at the cultural level.

Here is a summary of the requested source:

Schreibman, Susan. “Computer-mediated Texts and Textuality: Theory and Practice.” Computers and the Humanities 36, no. 3 (2002): 283–93.

This article discusses the relationship between digital texts and traditional textual studies. Schreibman argues that digital texts offer both continuity and discontinuity with previous manuscript and print practices of textual scholarship. On the one hand, digital texts still involve issues of representation, transcription, and editing that are central to the field. However, digitization also introduces new possibilities for dynamic, interactive texts and collaborative authoring/editing.

The article reviews several digital text projects from the 1990s-2000s to illustrate different approaches to encoding and representing textual elements. It also examines emerging issues around the social and technical construction of digital texts. Overall, Schreibman examines how digital texts can both extend and challenge traditional textual scholarship methods and concepts of textuality. The article argues digital humanities offers an opportunity to re-examine basic questions and assumptions of the field.

Here is a summary of the contributors:

  • Stephen Ramsay is associate professor of English and a fellow at the Center for Digital Research in the Humanities at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. He is the author of Reading Machines: Toward an Algorithmic Criticism.

  • Bethany Nowviskie is director of digital research and scholarship at the University of Virginia Library Scholars’ Lab and associate director of the Scholarly Communication Institute. She is the editor of #Alt- Academy: Alternative Careers for Humanities Scholars.

  • Lev Manovich is professor of visual art at the University of California, San Diego. He is the author of several books on new media and digital art.

  • Tara McPherson is associate professor of critical studies at University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts. She has authored and edited several books on digital media and culture.

  • Alexander Reid is associate professor of English and director of composition and teaching fellows at the State University of New York at Buffalo. He has authored books on new media and composition.

  • Trevor Owens is a digital archivist with the National Digital Information Infrastructure and Preservation Program at the Library of Congress.

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About Matheus Puppe