the digital liberal arts: problems and possibilities in the digital humanities


Post on 31-Dec-2015




0 download

Embed Size (px)


THE DIGITAL LIBERAL ARTS: PROBLEMS AND POSSIBILITIES IN THE DIGITAL HUMANITIES. Michael Roy, Middlebury College Research Computing. Digital Humanities. Curricular Computing. # ecar14 - PowerPoint PPT Presentation




Research ComputingDigital HumanitiesCurricular ComputingMy goal for today is to have a conversation about the intersection of three domains

research computing

digital humanities

curricular technology

Where are the points of intersection? How do these differ from one another? What are the possibilities for collaboration? Where do they compete for scarce resources? What are models for funding and support that work across these domains?

#ecar14 A little about Middlebury College.

Founded in 1800Middlebury Vermont300 or so faculty900 or so staff

2600 undergraduates

Summer ProgramsLanguage SchoolsBread Loaf School of English30+ Schools Abroad

Monterey Institute of International Studies

One of the questions that A little about my organization

merged library and IT organization85 staffannual budget of roughly $15 million dollarsmore or less monopolistic IT and library provider for campus

No charge backsVery little IT in schools and departmentsNimble

Looking at the list of attendees, one of the questions I would ask us to consider during this session is: how do these questions of how these areas might overlap vary depending on the scale and focus of the institution? To play on the talk from last night, one of the questions I have is do a completely different set of laws apply to tiny schools such as mine? Venus and Mars?!?Research ComputingDigital HumanitiesTo return to the plan for our time together, I want to spend some time looking first at the intersection of research computing and digital humanities

What is research?

Before diving into definitions of digital humanities, it is good to first think about a basic definition of research:

Someone or a group of people have a question or a theory that they want to understand. They think about ways in which they might understand that question or prove the theory, and develop a method for attacking the problem. They figure out what information they need, what tools or instruments might be useful, and review what others might have said about this in the past. They sift through this literature, collect and analyze data, come to some conclusions, and then share their work with others through some means. This work then becomes part of the information available to subsequent researchers as they too do their own unique research.

As our keynote speaker made clear, in certain fields, the introduction of computing has completely transformed how research is conducted.

While there are certainly a number of examples of how research in the humanities have fully embraced computing in pursuit of research questions, for the most part I would characterize those as fringe examples that have not enjoyed wide adoption. Certainly the internet and the web and electronic journals have changed the way humanists approach research, but until recently, research in the humanities has been transformed more by changes in methodologies fueled by theoretical concerns than by the computer,

This however seems on the brink of changing. The term humanities computing has of late been replaced with the term digital humanities. While digital humanities is a term that is as fraught as humanities, with seemingly endless debates about just what it should signify, that debate is playing out not on the margins, but in the pages of the major journals, the chronicle of higher education and on the floor of the major conferences within the disciplines that comprise the humanities.

This talk then will focus on how digital humanities (which where I work, we call digital liberal arts for reasons that will become clearer later) stands to transform humanities research and scholarly communication practices.

To ge

We see on our campus a growth in interest by our humanities faculty in how to transform their scholarly activities by incorporating media, advanced software techniques for analysis, crowdsourcing tactics, the creation of resource sites in support of their teaching.

What could Lee see @ the battle of gettysburg?

In this case, Jason Mittell from our Film & Media Culture department uses an open source plugin for wordpress to create a crowd-sourced peer review of his book on serialized television that parallels the traditional peer review process as a way to explore new ways of thinking about evaluation of scholarship.

This is a screenshot from a website we made with a professor of Arabic Sam Liebhaber to support an archive of Mahri poetry that he recorded as part of his effort to document and analyze this endangered, largely oral literary tradition.

This same phenomena is taking place across schools like Middlebury

Hamilton University of Richmond

And of course, there are myriad examples of DH centers at large R1s

At the University of Richmond, the president Ed Ayers, who did important work early on with his Valley of the Shadow project, has created a small team to generate digital scholarship largely centered on US History and geography. Supporting digital humanities as a form of research computing

The shift to using computational methods for analysis has created a great flurry of activity in developing software tools, and ways of using those tools, to enable analysis through visualization, markup, etc. This in turn presents challenges about how to provide not only access to but support for these new methodologies.

What sorts of workshops do we need to provide? What sort of staff expertise do we need? How do we develop local expertise? What collaborative possiblities exist?

what is similar/familiar?toolsspecialized facilities and personnelstandardsproject managementpreservation

Communication and collaborationAudio interaction (asynchronous)Audio-visual interaction (synchronous)Graphical interaction (asynchronous)Graphical interaction (synchronous)Resource sharingTextual interaction (asynchronous)Textual interaction (synchronous)Video-based interaction (asynchronous)

Data Analysis CollatingCollocatingContent analysisContent-based image retrievalContent-based sound retrievalData miningImage feature measurementImage segmentation

IndexingMotion analysisOverlayingParsingRecord linkagesSearching and queryingSound analysisSpatial data analysisStatistical analysisStemmaticsStylometricsText miningTopic Detection and TrackingVisualisation

Data Capture2d scanning and photography3d scanningGeophysical surveyGPS and total station surveysHeads-up digitising and interactive tracingManual input and transcriptionMotion captureMoving image captureMusic recognitionRemote sensingSound generationSound recordingSpeech recognitionText recognitionUse of existing digital data

Data publishing and dissemination:

Collaborative publishingDesktop publishing and pre-pressDisk publishingGeneral website developmentInterface designResource sharingServer scriptingStreaming mediaUser contributed contentWeb browser scripting

Data structuring and enhancement2d modelling - raster2d modelling - vector3d modelling - interactive3d modelling - vectorAnimationCataloguing and indexingCoding and standardisationData modellingGeo-referencing and projectionGraphical renderingImage enhancementImage restorationLemmatisationPhotogrammetryRecord linkagesSound compressionSound editingSound encodingSound encoding - MIDIText encoding - descriptiveText encoding - presentationalText encoding - referentialVideo and moving image compressionVideo editingVirtual world modelling

Strategy and project management

Accessibility analysisCurationDocumentationGeneral project managementHuman factors analysisIterative designPreservationPrototypingRisk managementSecurity planningSystem quality assurance and code testingUsability analysisVersion control

Research ComputingDigital HumanitiesCurricular ComputingIn reviewing this list of underlying methods and their associated tools, much of this is familiar to general computing support. While there are many domain specific tools (e.g. tools for markup, tools for data mining, tools for indexing) scaning this list also reveals a large overlap with basic methods for managing and presenting digital information.

In the same way that we have historically struggled (at least on campuses where I have worked) to understand how to support these very specific and often cumbersome technologies, we anticipate these same challenges as this method makes its way into the humanities departments.

I want to point out four areas that are perhaps unique to this new enterprise, or at least are of growing concern perhaps as well to research computing efforts as it evolves.

Tool BuildingCuration/preservationBorn digital publicationEvaluation

Tool Building

ZoteroOmekaCommentPressPress ForwardScalar

Many of these tools and platforms can serve dual purposes, both to support research programs, the dissemination of the results of research, and also can be integrated into course activities.

It is clear that this sort of effort is not for the faint


View more >