Tag Archives: Digital Humanities

Should we re-think the DH Awards?

Voting for the fourth annual DH Awards opened today. For those unaware, these awards allow the public to nominate and vote on Digital Humanities projects shortlisted in a number of categories: “Best Use of DH for Fun”, “Best DH tool or Suite of Tools”, “Best DH Blog Post or Series of Posts”, “Best DH Data Visualization”, “Best Use DH Public Engagement”, and “Best Exploration of DH Failure” (for which there were not enough nominations). There is no financial prize, and nominations are filtered by an international committee composed of respected DH scholars.1

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The Presence of Digital Process

The following was my contribution to the MLA16 panel, “Digital Scholarship in Action: Research”, January 10th, 2016. The panel was convened and presided over by Patricia Hswe. Contributions by my fellow panellists can be viewed as follows: Diane Jakacki (@dianejakacki), Laura C. Mandell (@mandellc), Paige C Morgan (@paigecmorgan), and  Katherine Rawson (@katie_rawson).

Computational methods are an essential part of the Digital Humanities, in that they are central to a range of disciplinary processes. By “process”, I refer to the digital means by which we produce new knowledge and meaning of significance to Humanities scholarship. While process—the application of the computer-assisted methods we develop, manipulate, and adopt—can be an act of interpretation in itself, I would argue, and I am sure that few would disagree, that this act is always in the service of the product, the new insights, be that into the literary or otherwise, offered by our fields’ many esoteric approaches. Herein lies part of the value of the Digital Humanities: the way we approach research allows for new questions to be asked and existing debates to be revived. While it is now comprised of a great many, and often dissonant, scholarly, and indeed creative, activities, our community first emerged out of a fascination with the potential for the computer to be utilised as an instrument for scholarly enquiry. The very essence of the Humanities is criticism, and so if the methodological foundations of the Digital Humanities are to continue to mature, then we must continue to be critical of this essential element—repeatedly, we must ask of our machines, how and why. Continue reading

Inaugural podcasts on Cultural Mechanics

I recently started a new podcast, Cultural Mechanics, which emerges out of my research and interest in a variety of topics relating to digital culture, electronic art, critical media, creative technologies, and the Digital Humanities. The two first podcasts are concerned with Irish e-lit authors, Michael J. Maguire and Graham Allen.

The magic that is literature

This morning, I was proofreading an introduction that I recently finished, and wanted to share the following passage with the community:

“An analogy which jumps readily to mind can be traced back to a particular exchange at one of the community’s largest annual gatherings, the Digital Humanities Summer Institute, hosted by the University of Victoria, British Columbia. Each year, DHSI instructors welcome participants with an outline of what materials they will be covering throughout the Institute. Typically collegial and informal, this particular welcome session took on a Harry Potter theme, with the majority of instructors promising to teach students new bouts of computational wizardry. When the turn of David Hoover came, there was a change in the theme. Professor Hoover, an eminent figure in the field of computational stylistics, was quick to point out that his participants would not be doing anything magical with computers, but rather, using computers to assist their understanding of the magic that is literature.”

It’s a sentiment which I believe we would all do well to remember as we go about our work as digital humanists.

Ray Siemens’ take on DHSI

Two summers back, I sat down with Ray Siemens and had a chat about one of the largest community gatherings in our field – the University of Victoria’s Digital Humanities Summer Institute. Here is a snapshot of what we talked about: Continue reading