Blog Archives

Some THATCamp Reflections

Sessions I attended covered such topics as designing digital humanities/digital history curriculum for undergrads and grads, issues surrounding the conception of large and small scale digital projects, text mining small textual corpora, constructing a series of asynchronous, free online courses for mid-career humanities professionals who want to get digital skills, the limitations of TEI mark-up schemas, particularly in marking non-hierarchical observations or observations that break the hierarchy, and on privacy, education, and data rights as an analogue of academic freedom. And there were many more sessions I was sad to miss, including “All Courseware Sucks,” which was intended to take the courseware discussion beyond simple blackboard bashing, “Who Wants to be a Hacker,” in which Patrick Murray-John walked people through some Javascript coding, “Zotero Hacking,” “Open Peer Review,” which by all accounts witnessed a lively discussion on the limitations of peer review and it’s 1-to-1 adoption in a digital format. … And there was more– sessions of teaching quality collaboration to students, using digital texts in the classroom, Alternative Reality Games, HTML5, geolocation, visualization of text data, hacker ethics in educational settings, OpenStreetMap for historians, and the role of social media in the university and for humanities non-profits.

…I’m at the beginning of a new book project, the first in which my goals have included start to finish digital applications, and I’m thinking through the process of how to integrate the collection of archival materials, the transcription and analysis of manuscripts (in this case 18th c. sex and murder criminal trials), the construction of databases, the curation of research materials online, and the combination of long-form monograph and web-based historical presentation.

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Posted in Conference Reports, Digital History

SECOLAS 2010, Mexico City

I’m sitting on the plane in the air travelling from Knoxville to Mexico City via Dallas. I’m very excited about this because, though I’ve been studying, teaching, and writing about Latin America for more than 15 years, I’ve actually never

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Posted in Conference Reports, Latin American History

from google books to a digital humanities/digital history divide?

The combination of Dan Cohen’s comments (posted here on his blog– read the comment section too) and those of Paul Duguid, and the evasions of Google’s Brandon Badger highlighted a dynamic that I think is, in a certain way, related to the sparring over digital humanities and new media studies going on over twitter and in the blogosphere (here’s a list of recent posts on the subject). … And, with Badger, this was highlighted by his allusions to what he was reading on the plane (a book on how to improve one’s short game in golf) as an example of the perceived limitations of Google’s ability to get good metadata on their scans, and to “sharing what Sally’s reading” on the social media side. … I was struck in reading Ian Bogost’s manifesto on the future of DH, and even more so in the comment section as the discussion quickly evolved into a debate on whether or not New Media Studies and Digital Humanities were synonymous, by the extent to which digital humanities as a concept is used in the blogosphere actually as a synonym for some for or another of literary studies, criticism, rhetoric.

… I think it may be the case, though, that the difference between Digital History and Digital Humanities described here goes deeper than an interest in building audience (which all too often is far from the radar of practicing professional historians), and more to do with notions of how we historians read and what we are trying to represent, particularly in the post-narrative age of historical writing.

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Posted in Conference Reports, Digital History

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Chad Black

I, your humble contributor, am Chad Black. You can also find me on the web here.