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Todd Suomela

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

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    "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."
Matt Gardzina

Beyond the Archive | Perspectives on History | AHA - 0 views

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    GIS use in history research
jatolbert

Does Digital Scholarship Have a Future? | EDUCAUSE - 1 views

  • Although the phrase sometimes refers to issues surrounding copyright and open access and sometimes to scholarship analyzing the online world, digital scholarship—emanating, perhaps, from digital humanities—most frequently describes discipline-based scholarship produced with digital tools and presented in digital form.
    • jatolbert
       
      A couple of points. First, there's no reason to assume that DS comes from DH. "Digital" was a term and concept before DH claimed it. Second, I would suggest that DS can be produced with digital tools OR presented digitally OR both. It isn't necessarily always both. I did digital scholarship that was both printed in a conventional journal and published online. Semantic difference, but still important.
  • Though the recent popularity of the phrase digital scholarship reflects impressive interdisciplinary ambition and coherence, two crucial elements remain in short supply in the emerging field. First, the number of scholars willing to commit themselves and their careers to digital scholarship has not kept pace with institutional opportunities. Second, today few scholars are trying, as they did earlier in the web's history, to reimagine the form as well as the substance of scholarship. In some ways, scholarly innovation has been domesticated, with the very ubiquity of the web bringing a lowered sense of excitement, possibility, and urgency. These two deficiencies form a reinforcing cycle: the diminished sense of possibility weakens the incentive for scholars to take risks, and the unwillingness to take risks limits the impact and excitement generated by boldly innovative projects.
    • jatolbert
       
      I'm not sure about any of this. There's plenty of innovation happening. Also, galloping towards innovation for its own sake, without considering the specific needs of scholars, seems like a mistake.
  • Digital scholarship, reimagined in bolder ways, is cost-effective, a smart return on investment. By radically extending the audience for a work of scholarship, by reaching students of many ages and backgrounds, by building the identity of the host institution, by attracting and keeping excellent faculty and students, by creating bonds between faculty and the library, and by advancing knowledge across many otherwise disparate disciplines, innovative digital scholarship makes sense.
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  • Yet, other aspects of the changing digital environment may not be encouraging digital scholarship. The large and highly visible investments being made in MOOCs, for example, lead some faculty to equate technology with the diminution of hard-won traditions of teaching and scholarship. Using new capacities in bandwidth, MOOCs extend well-established patterns of large lectures to audiences otherwise out of the hearing range of those lectures. Unlike digital scholarship, however, MOOCs make no claim to creating new disciplinary knowledge, to advancing the scholarly conversation, to unifying research and teaching.
    • jatolbert
       
      I don't see why any of this is necessarily a problem--unless you reject the notion of lectures as useful pedagogical forms entirely
  • In other words, digital scholarship may have greater impact if it takes fuller advantage of the digital medium and innovates more aggressively. Digital books and digital articles that mimic their print counterparts may be efficient, but they do not expand our imagination of what scholarship could be in an era of boundlessness, an era of ubiquity. They do not imagine other forms in which scholarship might live in a time when our audiences can be far more vast and varied than in previous generations. They do not challenge us to think about keeping alive the best traditions of the academy by adapting those traditions to the possibilities of our own time. They do not encourage new kinds of writing, of seeing, of explaining. And we need all those things.
    • jatolbert
       
      Somewhat melodramatic. What kind of innovation does he want, exactly? And what doesn't he like about the formats he mentions here? He lists things that scholars do, suggests they need to change, but makes no compelling case re: WHY they need to change.
  • Interpretation must be an integral and explicit part of the fundamental architecture of new efforts. Insisting that colleges and universities broaden their standards and definitions of scholarship to make room for digital scholarship is necessary, but it is only a partial answer. To be recognized and rewarded as scholarship in the traditional sense, digital scholarship must do the work we have long expected scholarship to do: contribute, in a meaningful and enduring way, to an identifiable collective and cumulative enterprise.
  • By way of example, the Digital Scholarship Lab at the University of Richmond is attempting to build one model of what this new scholarship might look like. The lab combines various elements of proven strategies while also breaking new ground. With the support of the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the historians Robert K. Nelson and Scott Nesbit and their colleagues are creating a digital atlas of American history. The first instantiation of the atlas, Visualizing Emancipation, will soon be followed by an amplified, annotated, and animated digital edition of The Atlas of the Historical Geography of the United States, first published in 1932. Over the next three years, chapters of original and dynamic maps and interpretations will focus on key aspects of the American experience since the nation's founding. The digital atlas will allow scholars to see patterns we have never been able to envision before while at the same time it will make available to teachers of all levels visualizations of crucial processes in American history.
    • jatolbert
       
      This one example doesn't seem all that innovative--story maps, etc. have been around a long time. Also, what he's doing is still basically a repackaging of print scholarship. It could be useful, but it's not nearly as radical as he seems to think.
  • Does Digital Scholarship Have a Future?
    • jatolbert
       
      A problematic think piece about digital scholarship in general. Has some useful definitions. Unfortunately Ayers is doing a lot of hand-wringing over what he sees as the lack of meaningful innovation in digital scholarship. It's not at all clear, though, what he means by this. He argues that what innovation has happened isn't sufficient, then gives an example of a project--a digital atlas of American history--that he seems to think is radically different, but isn't in any way I can discern from his description.
jatolbert

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

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

The Scholar's Stage: Teaching the Humanities as Terribly as Possible - 0 views

  • Dive into the past and you will see this theme will emerge time and again: the purpose of studying history, philosophy, and poetry is to help us lead better lives and be better people. The humanities are an education for the soul. Placed next to these paeans to education, the aims of the "Theology of Dostoevsky" course are crippling. Reading Dostoevsky will help students will learn how to "contextualize literature within its anthropological milieu." Dostoevsky will teach them to see "the unique interpretive problems inherent in studying creative genres" and discussing his works will help them "communicate more effectively, verbally and in writing, about theological literature." That is the purpose of reading a man regularly called the best novelist in human history! We read him to "meet academics standards for writing and notation!" How painfully limited.
Leslie Harris

Computing Crime and Punishment - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    The article discusses a computer-based analysis of word use in the court reports of trials at the Old Bailey from 1674 through 1913.
Deb Balducci

Library acquires 2,700 VHS tapes - 0 views

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    Roughly 2,700 VHS tapes featuring titles like "Silent Night, Deadly Night," "Toxic Zombies" and "Buried Alive" arrived at Sterling Memorial Library last week. Yale has become the first institution in the country to actively collect VHS tapes, thanks to the initiative of Kaplanoff Librarian for American History David Gary and Aaron Pratt GRD '16.
Leslie Harris

When the Archive Won't Yield Its Secrets - Research - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 0 views

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    Interesting article about the difficulty of working with archives, especially when their contents or structures don't match research questions. This applies mostly to paper archives, although the issue of digital archives is discussed at the end as well. The article is primarily a summary of presentations at a conference.
Leslie Harris

Map of 73 Years of Lynchings - NYTimes.com - 0 views

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    An effective but somewhat disheartening use of GIS to map the frequency of lynchings in the Southern U.S. by county from 1877 to 1950.
Todd Suomela

the mass defunding of higher education that's yet to come - the ANOVA - 0 views

  • I am increasingly convinced that a mass defunding of public higher education is coming to an unprecedented degree and at an unprecedented scale. People enjoy telling me that this has already occurred, as if I am not sufficiently informed about higher education to know that state support of our public universities has declined precipitously. But things can always get worse, much worse. And given the endless controversies on college campuses of conservative speakers getting shut out and conservative students feeling silenced, and given how little the average academic seems to care about appealing to the conservative half of this country, the PR work is being done for the enemies of public education by those within the institutions themselves. And the GOP has already shown a great knack for using claims of bias against academia, particularly given the American yen for austerity.
  • But his critics can’t see something that, for all of his myopia, he always has: that our political divide is increasingly bound up in a set of class associations and signals that have little to do with conspicuous consumption and everything to do with a style of self-performance that few people ever talk about but everyone understands. It is the ability to give such a performance convincingly that, in part, people buy with their tuition dollars. That this condition makes egalitarian politics a part of elite class formation has gone little discussed in my political home, the radical left. I have been excited to see a recent groundswell of young left-aligned people, and many of them are bright and committed. But almost none of them seem aware of the fact that their ironic Twitter accounts and cultural references and received opinions on all manner of political issues are as sure a sign of their class identity as a pair of wingtips and a blazer once was. And until and unless they understand how powerfully alienated the great mass of this country is from their social culture, we cannot hope to build a mass left-wing movement and with it do good things like defend public education. I agree: it’s the economy, stupid, and we must appeal to them by making the case that things like universal free college are good. But if recent political history tells us anything it’s that no economic policy, no matter how sensible, can win if its proponents refuse to grapple with the politics of resentment. The left, broadly, has not done a good job of that. The professoriate? My god.
Todd Suomela

We Have Been Here Before | Easily Distracted - 0 views

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    A useful review of the past 60 years of controversy over college speakers.
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    For those interested in following the political correctness debate from an historical perspective.
jatolbert

The Challenges of Digital Scholarship - ProfHacker - Blogs - The Chronicle of Higher Education - 0 views

  • Scholars with digital projects often need to explain both their work and to justify the field of the digital humanities itself.
    • jatolbert
       
      Conflates digital scholarship with digital humanities. Also suggests (wrongly, I think) that DH is a singular, unitary field.
  • Traditional humanities scholarship rewards the solitary endeavor (such as the single-authored monograph) and looks askance at collaboration (e.g. edited volumes), but many digital humanities projects are often collaborative in nature.
    • jatolbert
       
      Again conflates DH with all of digital scholarship
  • In short: we are on the brink of a tipping point in history, where blogging is going to become the norm for the initial exchange of ideas.
    • jatolbert
       
      Overstating the point
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  • These challenges are both important and productive. They encourage new, heated and serious debate as to what constitutes standards of excellence in the humanities.
    • jatolbert
       
      Again, constant waffling between DH and digital scholarship more generally. They simply are not coterminous.
Todd Suomela

Who Framed Augmented Reality? | Johannah King-Slutzky - 0 views

  • The human/drawing interaction trope that Zuckerberg is rebranding as Facebook’s own innovation even predates animated cartoons. One type of scrapbook, the paper dollhouse, played with the appeal of mixing real-life and an invented world. It was most popular from 1875-1920, and over forty years its form remained consistent: A dollhouse unfolded theatrically to create illusions of progress and depth.
  • Winsor McCay’s Gertie the Dinosaur is generally considered the first animated cartoon ever, and it made use of the same trope of mixing reality and man-made art when it premiered all the way back in 1914. McCay was a cartoonist famous for the Freudian, surrealist comic Little Nemo in Slumberland, which was published in weekly instalments in the New York Herald and New York American—though its material is more frequently compared to Bosch than to Garfield. McCay, already two hits deep into his career in the first decade of the twentieth century, purportedly decided to animate a comic strip in 1909 on a dare from friends griping about his daunting productivity. Following a brief stint with an animated Nemo, McCay developed Gertie the Dinosaur, an amiable brontosaurus with a stoner grin, and took her on a vaudeville roadshow across America.
  • LAST MONTH Facebook premiered its vision for the future at its development conference, F8. The camera-app technology Mark Zuckerberg calls augmented reality (or AR) borrows heavily from the social network Snapchat, which enables users to layer animated digital content onto photos on the fly. On stage, Zuckerberg promoted this collaging as social media’s first steps toward modish virtual screen manipulations. “This will allow us to create all kinds of things that were only available in the digital world,” Zuckerberg bubbled effusively. “We’re going to interact with them and explore them together.” Taken in, USA Today repeated this claim to innovation, elaborating on the digital mogul’s Jules Verne-like promise: “We will wander not one, but two worlds—the physical and the digital,” For my part, I was particularly delighted by Facebook’s proposal to animate bowls of cereal with marauding cartoon sharks, savoring, perhaps, the insouciant violence I associate with childhood adventure.
jatolbert

Open Stacks: Making DH Labor Visible ← dh+lib - 1 views

  • When infrastructure is understood as an irrational social formation, emotional labor tends to compensate for a perceived lack of resources. Scholars who are used to the invisibility of traditional library services, for instance, find that digital projects expose hierarchies and bureaucracies that they don’t want to negotiate or even think about, and the DH librarian or one of her colleagues steps in to run interference. Why can’t the dean of libraries just tell that department to create the metadata for my project? After all, they already create metadata for the library’s systems. Why can’t web programming be a service you provide to me like interlibrary loan? I thought the library was here to support my scholarship. Why can’t you maintain my website after I retire–exactly the way it looks and feels today, plus update it as technology changes? In some conversations, these questions may be rhetorical; it may take emotional labor to answer them, but doing so exposes the workings of the library’s infrastructure–its social stack.
    • jatolbert
       
      More conflation of DH with all digital scholarship
  • How does DH fit within this megastructure? According to some critics, DH is part of the problem of the neoliberal university because it privileges networked, collaborative scholarship over individual production. If creating a tool (hacking) or using computational methods has the same scholarly significance as writing a monograph, then individualized knowledge pursued for its own sake, the struggle at the heart of humanistic inquiry, is devalued. Yet writing a book always depended on invisible (gendered) labor in the academy. Word processing, library automation, and widespread digitization are just three examples of the support labor for traditional scholarly work that Bratton’s globalized technology Stack has absorbed. (And we know that the fruits of that labor are in no way distributed equitably.) What has changed in the neoliberal university is that the humanities scholar becomes one more node in a knowledge-producing system. Does it matter, then, whether DH work produces ideas or things, critics say, if all are absorbed into a totalizing system that elides the individual scholar’s privileged position? This is of course a vision of scholarship that is traditionally specific to the humanities; lab science and the performing arts, for example, have always been deeply collaborative (but with their own systems of privilege and credit).
  • DH librarians, whose highly collaborative work is dedicated to social justice and public engagement, may be one particularly vital community of practice for exposing the changing conditions that create knowledge.
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  • like the fish who asks “what is water?”–most scholars are unaware of the extent to which their work, professional interactions, and finances are imbricated with the global technology Stack.
    • jatolbert
       
      Also not sure that this is true.
  • Many DH programs, initiatives, and teams have arisen organically out of social connections rather than centralized planning.
  • the myth of scarcity
  • Scholars often presume that because libraries acquire, shelve, and preserve the print books that they write, that the same libraries will acquire, shelve (or host), and preserve digital projects.
    • jatolbert
       
      This is a natural assumption, and in fact is true in many cases.
  • digital scholarship
  • DH
  • digital scholarship
Todd Suomela

Fluent in Social Media, Failing in Fake News: Generation Z, Online - Pacific Standard - 0 views

  • Instead of burrowing into a silo or vertical on a single webpage, as our Gen Z digital natives do, fact checkers tended to read laterally, a strategy that sent them zipping off a site to open new tabs across the horizontal axis of their screens. And their first stop was often the site we tell kids they should avoid: Wikipedia. But checkers used Wikipedia differently than the rest of us often do, skipping the main article to dive straight into the references, where more established sources can be found. They knew that the more controversial the topic, the more likely the entry was to be "protected," through the various locks Wikipedia applies to prevent changes by anyone except high-ranking editors. Further, the fact checkers knew how to use a Wikipedia article's "Talk" page, the tab hiding in plain sight right next to the article—a feature few students even know about, still less consult. It's the "Talk" page where an article's claims are established, disputed, and, when the evidence merits it, altered.
  • In the short term, we can do a few useful things. First, let's make sure that kids (and their teachers) possess some basic skills for evaluating digital claims. Some quick advice: When you land on an unfamiliar website, don't get taken in by official-looking logos or snazzy graphics. Open a new tab (better yet, several) and Google the group that's trying to persuade you. Second, don't click on the first result. Take a tip from fact checkers and practice click restraint: Scan the snippets (the brief sentence accompanying each search result) and make a smart first choice.
  • What if the answer isn't more media literacy, but a different kind of media literacy?
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  • We call them "digital natives." Digitally naive might be more accurate.Between January of 2015 and June of 2016, my colleagues and I at the Stanford History Education Group surveyed 7,804 students across 12 states. Our goal was to take the pulse of civic online reasoning: students' ability to judge the information that affects them as citizens. What we found was a stunning and dismaying consistency. Young people's ability to navigate the Internet can be summed up in one word: bleak.
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