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Todd Suomela

Digitally Endangered Species - Digital Preservation Coalition - 0 views

    "The DPC's 'Bit List' of Digitally Endangered Species is a crowd-sourcing exercise to discover which digital materials our community thinks are most at risk, as well as those which are relatively safe thanks to digital preservation. By compiling and maintaining this list over the coming years, the DPC aims to celebrate great digital preservation endeavors as entries become less of a 'concern,' whilst still highlighting the need for efforts to safeguard those still considered 'critically endangered.' "
Todd Suomela

Digital History & Argument White Paper - Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media - 0 views

    "This white paper is the product of the Arguing with Digital History Workshop organized by Stephen Robertson and Lincoln Mullen of George Mason University, with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. The two-day workshop, which involved twenty-four invited participants at different stages in their careers, working in a variety of fields with a range of digital methods, was conceived with a focus on one particular form of digital history, arguments directed at scholarly audiences and disciplinary conversations. Despite recurrent calls for digital history in this form from digital and analog historians, few examples exist. The original aim of the workshop was to promote digital history that directly engaged with historiographical arguments by producing a white paper that addressed the conceptual and structural issues involved in such scholarship. Input from the participants expanded the scope of the white paper to also elaborate the arguments made by other forms of digital history and address the obstacles to professional recognition of those interpretations. The result was a document that aims to help bridge the argumentative practices of digital history and the broader historical profession. On the one hand, it aims to demonstrate to the wider historical discipline how digital history is already making arguments in different forms than analog scholarship. On the other hand, it aims to help digital historians weave the scholarship they produce into historiographical conversations in the discipline."

The Digital-Humanities Bust - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 0 views

  • To ask about the field is really to ask how or what DH knows, and what it allows us to know. The answer, it turns out, is not much.

    Let’s begin with the tension between promise and product. Any neophyte to digital-humanities literature notices its extravagant rhetoric of exuberance. The field may be "transforming long-established disciplines like history or literary criticism," according to a Stanford Literary Lab email likely unread or disregarded by a majority in those disciplines. Laura Mandell, director of the Initiative for Digital Humanities, Media, and Culture at Texas A&M University, promises to break "the book format" without explaining why one might want to — even as books, against all predictions, doggedly persist, filling the airplane-hanger-sized warehouses of

  • A similar shortfall is evident when digital humanists turn to straight literary criticism. "Distant reading," a method of studying novels without reading them, uses computer scanning to search for "units that are much smaller or much larger than the text" (in Franco Moretti’s words) — tropes, at one end, genres or systems, at the other. One of the most intelligent examples of the technique is Richard Jean So and Andrew Piper’s 2016 Atlantic article, "How Has the MFA Changed the American Novel?" (based on their research for articles published in academic journals). The authors set out to quantify "how similar authors were across a range of literary aspects, including diction, style, theme, setting." But they never cite exactly what the computers were asked to quantify. In the real world of novels, after all, style, theme, and character are often achieved relationally — that is, without leaving a trace in words or phrases recognizable as patterns by a program.
  • Perhaps toward that end, So, an assistant professor of English at the University of Chicago, wrote an elaborate article in Critical Inquiry with Hoyt Long (also of Chicago) on the uses of machine learning and "literary pattern recognition" in the study of modernist haiku poetry. Here they actually do specify what they instructed programmers to look for, and what computers actually counted. But the explanation introduces new problems that somehow escape the authors. By their own admission, some of their interpretations derive from what they knew "in advance"; hence the findings do not need the data and, as a result, are somewhat pointless. After 30 pages of highly technical discussion, the payoff is to tell us that haikus have formal features different from other short poems. We already knew that.
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  • The outsized promises of big-data mining (which have been a fixture in big-figure grant proposals) seem curiously stuck at the level of confident assertion. In a 2011 New Left Review article, "Network Theory, Plot Analysis," Moretti gives us a promissory note that characterizes a lot of DH writing: "One day, after we add to these skeletons the layers of direction, weight and semantics, those richer images will perhaps make us see different genres — tragedies and comedies; picaresque, gothic, Bildungsroman … — as different shapes; ideally, they may even make visible the micro-patterns out of which these larger network shapes emerge."

    But what are the semantics of a shape when measured against the tragedy to which it corresponds? If "shape" is only a place-holder meant to allow for more-complex calculations of literary meaning (disburdened of their annoyingly human baggage), by what synesthetic principle do we reconvert it into its original, now reconfigured, genre-form? It is not simply that no answers are provided; it is that DH never asks the questions. And without them, how can Moretti’s "one day" ever arrive?

  • For all its resources, the digital humanities makes a rookie mistake: It confuses more information for more knowledge. DH doesn’t know why it thinks it knows what it does not know. And that is an odd place for a science to be.

DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: A Genealogy of Distant Reading - 0 views

  • Because Radway’s voice is candid and engaging, the book may not always sound like social science.
    • jatolbert
      I wonder what social science he's been reading.
  • In calling this approach minimally "scientific," I don’t mean to imply that we must suddenly adopt all the mores of chemists, or even psychologists
    • jatolbert
      And yet the effect is the same: scientizing processes and products which by their very natures as human works resist scientific analysis.
  • social science
    • jatolbert
      Again, this is a very different social science from that in which I received my own training, which has long held to the notion that objectivity is not only unobtainable, but undesirable.
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  • But computational methods now matter deeply for literary history, because they can be applied to large digital libraries, guided by a theoretical framework that tells us how to pose meaningful questions on a social scale.
    • jatolbert
      I wonder about this. Is he suggesting that examining a large corpus of published works is the same as examining an entire society? This would seem to ignore issues of access and audience, literacy, representation, etc.
  • The term digital humanities stages intellectual life as a dialogue between humanists and machines. Instead of explicitly foregrounding experimental methods, it underlines a boundary between the humanities and social science.
  • Conflations of that kind could begin to create an unproductive debate, where parties to the debate fail to grasp the reason for disagreement, because they misunderstand each other’s real positions and commitments.
    • jatolbert
      Similar to the conflation of sociology with all of the social sciences.
  • the past
    • jatolbert
      Is it appropriate to conflate the -literary- past with -the past-? That is, can any study based wholly on texts claim to be in any way representative of things outside the sphere of what we call "literature"?
Todd Suomela

DSHR's Blog: The Orphans of Scholarship - 0 views

    Reference across scholarly artifacts.

Digital Scholarship Considered: How New Technologies Could Transform Academic Work | Pe... - 1 views

    • jatolbert
      The existence of an office like DP&S mitigates this.
  • The variable pace of technological adoption and change within higher education can be seen as the result of several factors: education has more components than a pure content industry, such as assessment and accreditation; that higher education qualifications such as the undergraduate degree have a social capital that is not easily changed; that there is a fundamental conservatism in and around higher education.
  • These studies demonstrate some evidence for the existence of disciplinary differences in technology adoption, which suggests that there is not a homogeneous form of “scholarship” within academia.
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    • jatolbert
      Digital tools facilitate collaboration
  • From the individual scholar’s point of view using open educational resources allows access to high quality materials although this might require a new skill set in re-appropriating these tools to meet local and course specific contexts. There is also the question of recognising and valuing the creation and recreation of these learning resources as academic outputs, in a way that is analogous to the value of producing physical textbooks previously.
  • These kinds of figures far exceed the sales of scholarly books and journal article access; so we can see that new technologies are facilitating access to a new audience that is disintermediating many of the conventional channels. Key to realizing a personal brand online is an attitude of openness. This involves sharing aspects of personal life on social network sites, blogging ideas rather than completed articles, and engaging in experiments with new media.
  • It is clear from the foregoing discussion that new technologies hold out very real possibilities for change across all facets of scholarship. In each case these afford the possibility for new more open ways of working. Academic work has always contained a significant element of collaboration within academia but now it is increasingly easy to collaborate with more colleagues within but also beyond the academy and for the varied products of these collaborations to be available to the widest possible audience.
  • These new web based technologies are then a necessary, but not sufficient, condition for a radical opening up of scholarly practice. In this sense digital scholarship is more than just using information and communication technologies to research, teach and collaborate, but it is embracing the open values, ideology and potential of technologies born of peer-to-peer networking and wiki ways of working in order to benefit both the academy and society. Digital scholarship can only have meaning if it marks a radical break in scholarship practices brought about through the possibilities enabled in new technologies. This break would encompass a more open form of scholarship.
    Makes the important argument that "digital scholarship" as a term is only meaningful if it denotes something radically different from other types of scholarship. Their argument is that what should distinguish DS is its openness, as digital tools enable open processes, collaboration, etc.

Robin - 2008 - Digital Storytelling A Powerful Technology Tool f.pdf - 3 views

shared by jatolbert on 07 Apr 17 - No Cached
    Dated, largely descriptive, but still useful discussion of digital storytelling in the classroom. Touches on issues like digital literacy/multimedia skill development. Implies connections between creative and scholarly output.

The Differences between Digital History and Digital Humanities | Dr Stephen Robertson - 0 views

    A useful article that challenges the "big tent" model of digital humanities and has important implications for digital scholarship more generally.
Leslie Harris

When Classical Musicians Go Digital - The New York Times - 0 views

    Players and scholars are turning to computer tablets and leaving paper scores behind.
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