Site-Wide Activity

  • I just wanted to say how much I’ve enjoyed reading everyone’s posts. I know I didn’t reply much – the workflow of my week was always such that homework for this class was always on the weekend, and by the time I […]

  • This class has been the most challenging class that I have taken in my education career, and I was a math minor. I think the reason it strikes so far off with me is because it is so far out of my norm of studies. […]

  • My digital humanities project involves the field of education, specifically literature. So often I have heard of classes interacting via Skype and Facetime, which sounds like such a great opportunity for my […]

  • Sorry for the late post, however I am completely lost on this project. I have no idea on what to do or where to start. This is by far the hardest thing I have had to do yet in my graduate career. Coming up with […]

    • Sarah, something that I might make this project even better might be a comparison/contrast tool to other similar battles from the war? I’m not super familiar with this particular battle or war, but could there be interactive tidbits added that show differences and similarities with others? Or maybe even built-in assessment tools and lesson plans to help other teachers?

  • My project would be a combination of History education and virtual reality.   With the release of the Oculus Rift and Gear VR and soon to be released PlayStation VR and HTC Vive, virtual reality is a real p […]

  • My DH project was borne out of a meeting with Dr. Schocket, during which I had few ideas and pulled this one out of thin air. For my project, I will be proposing a prototype for a much larger project that I feel […]

    • I really like this idea, especially since I am a history teacher. But besides that I obsessed with the Civil War. Awesome idea!

  • This post is going to be short, because my idea is still rather rudimentary. And I want your thoughts!

    So I am an English master’s candidate, and I have a huge passion for semiotics – the study of signs. […]

  • I am so bad at creating things. Beyond my love for writing, I hate having to create anything. I am the epitome of a Pinterest fail. So, with that in mind, it’s probably pretty obvious that this assignment has b […]

    • I’m glad I’m not the only one struggling with budget. I thought about Googling the going rate for things and trying to figure it out that way. That’s pretty much how I figured out the budget for a low-budget horror film I worked on a couple of summers ago. There’s probably a better way and I’d definitely like to hear it! But for now, I’m starting with what I know.

  • I’m pretty sure my idea will be the roughest out of everyone’s. The first week “off” we had from assignments in order to work on the proposal, I kept spinning my wheels and hitting walls. I had a hard time coming […]

  • I will be honest: at this point, my digital start-up project is rough around the edges. Ideas came to me easily, but deciding how these ideas could be truly innovative, or innovative at all, was a whole different […]

    • Emily, this sounds really interesting! I suppose I was a bad English major, as I’ve read so little canon literature. What I like to read and write was more than likely considered “junk,” and it seems that attitude is only recently being challenged in a meaningful way. That said, an “Anti-Canon” is very appealing to me!

      As for how the actual project itself would work – I wish I had more to offer you than support. I, too, am struggling with the nuts and bolts of my project. I will keep thinking on it, though, and if anything comes up, I’ll happily share.

  • My digital humanities project is related to the field of education, teacher improvement, resource preservation, technology integration and student success. More specifically I am working on creating an interface […]

    • Tonya, this is such a fantastic idea! When I taught first-year writing, I was always looking for ways to integrate social media and other technologies into my assignments and lessons. Something like this would have been a great resource. One question that occurred to me as I was reading, and maybe it’s not appropriate for this stage of development so if that’s the case, no worries – but I’m wondering about the “match” process. Will the matches be made based on trying to put together people who are as alike as possible? Or will different but complimentary experiences/skills/etc. be factored in?

      I love this!

    • What a fantastic idea! I would definitely use it!

    • I just love this idea! This would be SO useful!

  • Hi, everyone.

    I have to say, the CMS evaluation has been one of my favorite assignments so far. The platform I chose was Mukurtu, which is geared toward archival and cultural preservation work. I found it very […]

  • David graciously posted for all of us last night, notifying us of troubles accessing Scalar, which seemed at the time to have disappeared.  When you’re looking for a needed tool, especially under deadline, and it […]

  • Hi everyone I wanted to alert you to a problem with one of our Content Management Systems.  Scalar is no longer working and redirects to a dead website. If you haven’t started the assignment yet or were like me a […]

  • Our readings this week focus on the database and how it conflicts with narrative, its “natural enemy” (Manovich). Both of the readings fascinated me, so I’m not exactly sure where to start. Perhaps the readings […]

    • This is a really interesting post. I was especially struck by your latching onto Manovich’s use of film editing as a metaphor for how we construct narratives out of data.

      Some of us may be reminded of Season 4 of Arrested Development, which, rather than unfolding in chronological order, was presented character by character. Not surprisingly, fans — and even, later, the director — went back and re-cut the series chronologically. Same bits and pieces of film (or rather, same digital video), different results based on organization.

      Those of us who are historian-types could also consider the archive as a form of database, from which many different narratives could be constructed.

      Something to think about: the organization of a database, as Manovich also points out, makes some narratives more likely or more possible than others. That can happen in a variety of ways. A lot depends upon the tables upon which the databases are constructed, with some kinds of metadata searchable (that for which there are tables). and other snot. For example, if we stay with Netflix, you can search by actor, director, genre. Try searching by length of movie. Or where it was shot. Or who wrote the music. Or ones in which the main character has a quirky friend from Des Moines. These are all ways of categorizing movies and TV shows, but they are simply not represented in the database.

      Those decisions of what is retained, what can be searched, and how all implicitly represent values.

      Can you think of other databases, how they work and how they don’t, and what values those decisions represent?

    • Thanks for this post, Katie! Your analogies, particularly the Whitman and film analogies, really helped me conceptualize the database differently. I have been struggling with this lately, and just this week I was talking with one of my friends/colleagues who teaches programming classes. I had a hard time making sense of what he was telling me (his analogy was “a bunch of Excel sheets”…just the word “Excel” hurts my brain), but your post helped me greatly.

      I like thinking about narrative and database more as a dialectic and exploring how they interact. This conversation reminds me of a book I very recently began to read. It is called Only Revolutions by Mark Danielewski, and it is basically a collection of historical events, dates, and data combined with the accounts of two different characters. I am still trying to get the hang of it, but so far it seems like the reader must make his/her own narrative out of all of the information provided. The resulting narrative, I would imagine, has a lot to do with the reader’s own biases, assumptions, and values. Interesting.

      (Here is a link to the novel’s website, which demonstrates the experimental nature of the text:

    • Great post! I particularly related to the film analogy, myself, having majored in electronic media and film studies as an undergrad. Having spent way too many hours in an editing bay with digital bins upon bins of movie clips, the database comparison makes perfect sense. I have also been on the other end of the process in which I served as production manager for a no-budget horror film, and part of my job was to make the shooting schedule. I can attest that the narrative did not drive the order of the shoot – rather it was availability of the locations and the actors. All of those takes have to be reorganized into something resembling the script when it’s over. I hadn’t thought about databases that way before, but now I can’t think of another analogy that would be more spot-on.

  • In the readings this week, I had a strong occurrence of deja vu. I’m sure it is due to the fact that each part we read deals with the debate of digital humanities. It also has something to do with the i […]

    • Tonya I also had déjà vu with the readings this week, more specifically our first debates with Digital Humanities. Your concept of “Dh is the means not the end” reminded of the Thing Theory, that Digital Humanities is a prototype that theories can be built upon. In addition, your explanation of Web 2.0 could also be connected to the theory we previous talked about that Digital Humanities is a tool or instrument that allows us to study the wider world of humanities. I think these relationships are very important because it doesn’t limit us to one program or tool but gives us a wider access to a world of interconnected narratives and methodologies. While these relationships are not always obvious or easy to find, it is important for us to seek them out to fully understand the wider study of humanities.

    • Tonya,

      You make several great points to which I can definitely relate.

      I think everyone felt a sense of deja vu in the reading this week. The debate of Digital Humanities is contentious and very well may never end since I think you’re right in saying DH is a transitory term and is so out of necessity. As technology advances and shapes our world, we shape the terminology we have to meet the evolving landscape, which includes, as you put it, “bigger and bolder” web applications.

      Additionally, I, too, connected with the networking social media provides for DH. Social media has provided countless opportunities for networking and sharing innovative ideas and best practices in my field, and it seems an even more natural medium for DH. Because it is so second nature for most of us to turn to social media now, and given the interdependency DH has on technology, it has struck me as ironic anytime something beyond traditional texts are mentioned as being controversial for study in the field of DH. I’m sure it is just the simple resistance to anything that is new or changing, but in a field dominated by digital texts, it seems careless to abandon a large part of contemporary digital text. This seems to relate to the idea that when we digitize texts we get to choose what texts are important enough to live on, preserved in HTML code, and those that remain lost in a library archive.

    • Tonya,

      I agree with you on many of your points. The part that stood out to me most was your discussion of both the diversity and complexity of DH, as well as the rat-python example. I think they sort of go hand-in-hand, or at least they have for me. For all of our assignments, I have been relatively comfortable with completing them, except for the python assignment. While many of you probably progressed through the first several assignments, it felt as if I was regressing. The python assignment was where I hit a snag, and after completing the next several assignments, I know realize how different certain aspects of DH are. Rather than progressing, it felt like I was picking and choosing which parts of DH worked well for me. Python happened to be one aspect of DH I found difficult to figure out. In a way, I think this also relates to the many different paths one can take when examining DH as a whole. I think it is now well-enough established that it is not necessarily a progression of learning, but a pick-and-choose type of learning. To put it more clearly (as I feel I butchered that last idea), DH is not narrow enough that there are only a few things to learn (a quick learning curve). Rather, DH has enough depth to warrant students to master only certain aspects of it.

    • Like everyone else who has commented so far, I got the sense of deja vu as well. I was slightly annoyed by it though. It seems like most of the articles we read spend a few pages explaining what DH is and what it isn’t, and how nobody really knows for sure. I can understand why the authors do it, they need to put their argument in context, but at the same time it gets a little redundant.

      Your question about “Text analysis and text encoding, hypertext fiction, and computational linguistics were all represented as potentially constitutive of humanities computing as an academic discipline,” is one that made me scratch my head too. Perhaps it was worth mentioning because it is something many scholars already do, so Kirschenbaum wanted to put it in context.

  • This week’s readings were particularly interesting to me as we begin to wrap up this course. I’ve been thinking lately about how much I will reflect on Digital Humanities as I continue my degree program, in my cur […]

    • “if DH must be constantly defined and defended to prove its relevancy, it doesn’t seem like the field would be long lasting since the bulk of the intellectual power won’t be in developing new programs and ideas, but rather in the endless cycle of proving its worth.” I completely agree, Cassie. As I stated in another reply, I was annoyed that this week’s readings started off as more of the same. As a reader, I’m not sure I would continue reading articles like Kirschenbaum’s if I had to wade through the same debate over and over. I would either skip the section, or skip the article all together. I found this part of the debate frustrating. I like working toward a solution, and so when one isn’t to be had no matter how much I read about it the less inclined I am to continue the inquiry.

      I was also drawn to the photography as art comparison. I’m taking Visual Rhetoric this semester too, and my final project is on photography. Until I started my research I had no idea there was a debate as to whether or not photography is art. It comes down to the idea that photography is supposed to show what is there, unfiltered and unedited, which makes people think it is unartistic. (They leave out the fact that you can use different filters/lenses to alter photos, as well as edit them in both the darkroom (exposure times, for example) or editing software). The question though is what photography brings to the table for art.

    • Maybe growing up in a digital age has made it more difficult for us to really wrap our heads around the true meaning behind Digital Humanities. Thinking about how different education has become because of technology is remarkable. Books, sources, citation, just the accessibility of information has completely changed the way students learn. With the accomplishments of Digital Humanities, it will be interesting to see how much further education will develop and how electronically driven it will become.
      You made the analogy to the photography and it really made me think about the digitization of the texts published before 1923. I think about how greatly this impacted readers. This made so many classic texts accessible to anyone interested in reading them. After those texts were placed online, I began to notice more texts being sold electronically. Now, there are many debates about whether paper books will even be a thing soon. With those thoughts in mind, I wonder how great of an impact DH will have on society and the way we live today.

    • These are all interesting points brought up (Cassie, Katie, Kristen) about the relationship of having to defend and define the field compared to working on it. As someone who’s be observing and participating in the field for a while, and sees how it’s perceived by non-practitioners, let me comment on that a bit.

      To me, this is not an either/or proposition. Observing the field, I’d say that there is, in fact, a lot more energy going into actually making and doing things than to defining things — but the latter is much of what we’re trying to do in this course. The conversation of definition goes on implicitly in most fields, and is usually the subject or subtext of the introductory graduate course in just about any discipline. For example, just about every graduate history program begins with a course on historiography, the goal of which is to have students understand the evolution of assumptions and theoretical approaches to the field; same goes for cultural studies programs, which tend to begin with a course on cultural theory. In each of those courses, there is either the overt or perhaps subtle conversation going on about what fits in the field and what doesn’t. So while our readings may tilt to “definition” of digital humanities, we’re also doing a lot of it. That said, I can see how we might have preferred Kirschenbaum’s piece earlier in the semester.

      Also, while, again, much more energy goes into practicing DH rather than defining it and defending it, doing those activities are still, sadly, necessary. In academia, probably most merit and promotion documents still do not credit digital humanities work the way they do work in more conventional genres (articles, books). In other words, because there are only so many hours in a day, in many units at many colleges faculty are essentially penalized for dedicating time to DH rather than working on peer-reviewed articles. Another example: just last year, I was at a history conference in which a senior scholar, but someone who’s not much older than I am, gave a keynote in which he alleged, among other things, that there’s no such thing as the digital humanities. Not surprisingly, bunch of us either at the conference or following it on twitter pilloried him on twitter for that, but it shows that the attitude still exists.

      Of course, maybe it is that these are necessary activities, but that the real people who we need to be reading such pieces are that speaker and those academics out there who fundamentally don’t understand what’s going on.

      One more thing: as one of those old people who did research, and actually still must do research, in musty archives, I appreciated the contextualization of DH 1.0 and 2.0, and would argue that, just like photography and painting continue side by side, so will these varied methodologies of access and analysis.

    • Which I think add to the question “What does digital do for humanities?”

  • I had a bit of an “Ah Ha” moment while I read Dave Parry’s “The Digital Humanities or a Digital Humanism” essay. In this section of the text, various authors discuss the future of DH and their interpret […]

    • Sara, thanks for the thoughtful post.
      Two comments come to mind, the first to make DH more capacious, the second to ask about its limits. One is that Parry’s argument circles back to what to my mind is the very simple, three-legged stool definition of digital humanities, which he and others complicate often in useful ways, but do not supersede, to wit: 1. the use of digital tools to answer humanities questions, 2. the application of humanistic inquiry to our digital world, and 3. the use of digital tools to communicate our analyses in fundamentally new ways.

      The second is that I would contend that we should be wary about extending DH to commercially-oriented activities that may do similar things or use similar tools, but with a very different mode of inquiry and with fundamentally different use of results. The post brings up Kroger’s use of data to track what we buy in order to sell us better stuff; another similar example is the use of recommendation engines by online firms like Netflix and Amazon. Yes, their data and tools could, potentially, tell us a lot about our lives and culture in ways that humanities scholars dream about. But these tools are not designed either with humanities questions in mind (that is, what can we glean about people’s lives? What meanings can we attach to what is happening, either for the shoppers themselves or for us as observers? and so on). Plus, the tools and the results of them are proprietary, secret, and so in some ways their use in practice is antithetical to the humanities mindset of access to information and ideas.

      Of course, some of the examples of commercially-based information and tools are somewhere in between. Google, of course, has its own proprietary search engine, but releases a lot of data and white papers explaining how they are generated and the limits of their use ( It’s a gray area, and thus should be comfortable to us as humanities people who are trained and whose intellectual life is dedicated to better complicating cultural phenomena and examining all those shades of gray (but not all 50 shades — that’s an entirely different issue 🙂 ).

    • Very interesting and thoughtful post. There is a lot of great information here and I agree with most of what you said. I can relate to the cell phone part with my dad. He still has a flip phone and insists that is all he ever needs. However, his fingers are too big for the tiny keys and the text is too small for him to read without holding it out back from his face. ( I laugh now, but I am sure it will be me one day). He doesn’t need a new cell phone with all the handy gadgets, he just needs a phone to call and to occasionally text. But you are certainly right that one day change will take over, and there will not be anymore flip phones.

      I see the growing use for digitalization in many aspects of our lives and how DH can keep growing into a required field. As the reading stated, I agree that some college classes are not giving the students what they need to succeed in the job market. It is great for the people that are interested in this field and what to work in a humanities position. However, I am still hung on the fact that would be the only way someone would need to know this information.

      Personally I have no use, or interest in that matter to decode websites, and learn about codes and how things run. (which made this class brutally hard for me) I don’t see a use for that in my career as a middle school teacher. I appreciate the people that work hard to make things digital and to allow us to have this technology to use in our every day lives, but I just don’t DH being a required class unless it had to do with your major in college. I work in an inner city charter school in Toledo. Do my students have phones, tablets and electronics sure. But the school lacks technology. I have a computer, smart board and Elmo. There are laptops but only in the library and right now with the testing for the state no one can use them. So maybe if I had the technology accessible to get the kids more involved with websites and digitalization of documents, then I might be a little more interested in this stuff.

    • Sara,

      I also liked Dave Parry’s explanation. I felt like for the first time all semester (and ironically right at the end) I got Digital Humanities. Parry made the whole concept a little easier to swallow for me, too. When we read Macroanalysis I was concerned about the future of literary analysis and discourse; I couldn’t see how a computer could replicate what the human mind does when reading and exploring literature. However, I think all of the essays in this section, in particular Parry’s, made me feel more comfortable with the idea of Digital Humanities as a tool rather than a replacement for the typical thinking literary scholars conduct.

      Like Sarah Hummel, I am interested in the application DH can have for professional application beyond academia. I’ve been thinking about this as I’ve worked through my final project and have tried to make it as applicable as possible to my field. I think other fields have embraced technology but it seems the humanities are still resistant. I like how you acknowledged that change is hard, but I think as we become more and more reliant on technology, DH won’t be seen so much as a separate field from humanities, but more just the norm.

    • “DHers and non-DHers shouldn’t be worrying about a dictionary definition to embrace this ever-changing realm; instead of defining it, define it by taking action.”


      They say the two things guaranteed in life are death and taxes, but so is change! That is how life works! DH is, when you think about it, a technological representation of how our actions evolve, and our history is shaped. When the Civil Rights Movement was going on in the 1960’s (not to mention the civil rights movements happening present day), was anyone going “Okay hold on, stop for a second, we can’t really react to this until we define it”? No! Can you imagine how disastrous it would be to always need to know what something IS in order to use it, admire it, and embrace its full potential? That’s the whole point of DH – using evolving technological methods to explore and research evolving humanities. The possibilities widen considerably when we stop using static mindsets in an always-changing environment.

      Thank you for this post, because (as I’m sure it is obvious) I am much more invigorated!

    • Sara,

      I too found Parry’s article to be the most helpful of the readings this week. Although he does mention briefly the ‘what DH is/is not’ debate, he moved quickly through it and on to the crux of his argument. One idea from your post I thought was interesting was “To ignore recognizing Digital Humanities as its own entity is to ignore our daily living.” I think this brings up an old argument about whether or not DH will be called DH in the future, or if it will just return to Humanities. Parry mentions again and again that it is hard to define DH precisely because our lives are so “plugged-in.” Traditionally research is all but a thing of the past. Now all one needs is online access to databases like EBSCO host to complete research. It begs the question–if everyone is plugged in and completing their research and publishing online, then why is the ‘digital’ distinction necessary? Certainly there are at least a few academics that would use this argument to say DH isn’t an entity on its own, but at best a branch of the humanities tree. I think Parry does a good job of explaining the difference: “Simply using a computer does not make one a digital humanities scholar–typing your manuscript on a word processor does not let you in the club; your work needs to share an affinity with a certain method of approach to humanities scholarship.” It’s not necessarily the tools you use that make you a digital humanist–it is what you do with the information.

      As an aside, I thought it was interesting that Parry used DH techniques (word frequencies) to document and define DH. I suppose it makes sense to legitimize DH techniques by actually using them in the legitimization.

    • Your response was very helpful and thoughtful. After all of this reading, we are finally beginning to get an understanding of what DH really is and how powerful it can be. When it comes to education, so many discoveries have been made, but Digital Humanities is the first new subject to be added to education in my knowledge. The application of Digital Humanities to marketing was a great connection to make. It seems highly likely that state curriculums will adopt some form of computer coding or digital humanities course. I just lumped the two together, but I do want to note that DH and computer coding are not the same thing. Digital Humanities looks much deeper into what is being studied and the effect that it has on society.

    • Dr. Schocket –
      You have shed a light on my Kroger idea that I never would have considered. Now, I do realize there is a difference. Would you think that most DHers would draw the line there?

    • Sarah –
      This reminds me of the Fisher Price toy that was about coding I posted a few months ago. Your comments make me wonder why FP would invest in a toy if they didn’t see a future in DH.

    • Liz –
      I love all of your points! You are so right!

  • A couple things stood out to me in this week’s reading, and I have been ruminating on them all week. I will attempt to articulate them here.
    What struck me first was that this week’s reading, “Practicing the D […]

    • Emily,

      I had a very similar thought process in this week’s reading, but I think I took a slightly different stance than you. For me, DH has seemed like there’s more discussion and thought devoted to the inadequacies of the field rather than the production of any quality academic work. This certainly is the ephemeral nature of any field so deeply entrenched in technology, but I couldn’t help but think about how much progress is made through all of this reflection. I also couldn’t help but reflect on the “Debates” reading and wonder if the way the problems and products are intertwined in this section isn’t a result of the constant defense of Digital Humanities as academically sound and necessary. If one always has to prove their worth, so to speak, is it possible to allocate the mental resources to further develop the field, or is the thought, research, and publication always devoted to defending DH?

      Also, I’m curious to know what other people think about the Electronic Errata essay. I liked that essay a lot because I personally believe more than just academic journals are useful for reading, research, and discussion. Especially with the proliferation of the internet, it is time we include these things in the canon of academia. I think this sentiment has been expressed in multiple ways multiple times through the readings we’ve conducted this semester, and yet, again, I question the need to defend this opinion so vehemently. It seems as if many researchers and practitioners of the field of DH buy into this concept, so what will it take for this paradigm shift to occur?

      • Cassie
        I think you make some profound statements here. I agree that there is a great deal of reflection happening in this section of the text, and when does it get to the point that problem-solving beings?

    • Emily,
      I appreciate your focus on the “glitch”. You do point out that DH isn’t all about the problem but in my previous readings I feel that DH is portrayed as the problem. I feel that DH is more of a perfecting and preserving field that doesn’t get the respect it deserves. I agree with your two main points of DH implementing change (effective change at that) and the multi disciplinary factor. Every piece of DH that we have experienced in this class I feel is an improvement on something. Whether it be coding languages or how those languages are used, DH works to show a difference in something. And not only a difference but an improvement. I’m sure the improvement part is debatable. Not only is change needed with improvements, but it is effective change.
      Your point about DH reaching out to different fields could be the reason it isn’t respected or considered scholarly. DH just spreads itself across to many curricula to gain the momentum that is needed to be respected in the world of academia. I quite frankly think that it should earn the opposite reputation. More fields utilize it so it should be more popular and revered.

      Thank you for insight.

      • I agree, Tonya! I think, especially nowadays, a field should gain more respect as it “spreads itself across” the curricula. Perhaps we are getting there though.

    • Yes, ma’am! Thank you for this post! I agree that in a lot of humanities studies I’ve done been a part of, there is so much emphasis on recognizing problems and hardly a glimmer of effort toward analyzing solutions. I understand that a big part of critical thinking is learning to recognize there is a problem, but the biggest part of critical ACTING is seeking solutions, right? I also admire your statement that a lot of the solutions process involves a conglomerate of all the parts of DH that can and do make up critical analysis. It is too easy to take the path often traveled and use the same few techniques, but that gets both tiring and redundant. I think it may prove more comprehensive and useful to explore all DH options and apply them to the work at hand, then use the results to find what appears to be the most practical solution. Sometimes it’s better to discover where the answer is if you ook under ALL the stones instead of one at a time!

    • Emily,
      I had a very similar reaction to yours as I read about the canon. It is frustrating to read time after time about the need for growth and change, but never see the switch flip. Canon readings have been criticized frequently, and DH offers a solution. DH opens the field and accepts support from contributors of all different walks of life. It offers a unique development that could be discovered when referring to the canon. DH allows for collaboration of change. Great Thoughts!

      • Thanks, Kristen, agree that DH allows for collaboration and change.These are both aspects of the field that I really respect, and it seems like you would say the same thing. It is nice to see the switch flip for once!

    • Emily,

      Sorry for the delay in response! I’ve adjusted the settings to alert me when there are comments on the posts, but it still doesn’t.

      I have been thinking about this idea in application to my current field of education. It’s definitely very similar– lots of reflection and analysis, lot of defense, but, unlike DH in many ways, not a lot of change that is truly meaningful.

      I think maybe it’s my own perspective getting in the way, but the nature of DH as seemingly more theoretical and academic than practical, it seems to require a lot of defense as the world of academia shifts from being less about critical thinking, especially in the way of the humanities, and more practical skills for the career world.

    • I’ve been thinking about this fine conversation, and the issue of problem-identification and problem-solving. My small point here is that these are not exclusive approaches, and both necessary. And, several years after these essays were written, the problems they identified, and more, are still there. For example, the advent of digital means to disseminate scholarship, which many of us thought would make it cheaper, really doesn’t, and in fact only has created new kinds of problems that most scholars don’t recognize ( Dan Cohen’s DH Now, so far running strong, is in some ways a second iteration, the first one being the now moribund Digital Humanities Quarterly. Fyfe’s identification of “digital errata” is a problem that some are working on obliquely, mostly through better algorithms for OCR and better ways to have more accurate crowdsourcing of transcriptions, but the metadata problems remain, and, for some resources we use, baked in (don’t get DH people started on the metadata problems in Google books; here’s a recent entry in the long line of observations:

      The NEH Office of Digital Humanities has essentially tried to fund the crowdsourcing of problem-solving, as you have gleaned by one of the main possible objectives of start-up grants, namely, to identify and provide a possible solution to an ongoing challenge in DH.

  • In this week’s readings, the focus is on practicing the Digital Humanities and DH’s role in academia. I found these readings to be thought-provoking and interesting. Overall, I believed I ended the readings wit […]

    • Hi, Sarah! Thanks for your insightful perspective this week!

      Like you, I was very drawn by the essays on the canon and on electronic publishing. I think of all of the things we’ve read this semester, these essays were the easiest for me to comprehend because they were most closely associated with my career.

      As a classroom teacher, I long ago abandoned teaching from the canon, and it is a decision that I constantly wrestle with. When I made the decision to abandon the canon, I did so with a similar thought process to Matthew Wilkens– at the collegiate level, it is impossible to have an expectation for students to have read all of the works in the literary canon, so focusing on teaching them seems to be useless; students connect better to contemporary literature; developing close and distant reading skills are more important than the texts themselves, etc. etc. However, I often question that logic given the importance of common reads in a culture. Wilkins sort of proved my thinking when he illustrated just how impossible it is for us to read the volume of works that are published each year. I think the idea of using meta data to help us with reading for academia this production volume is interesting, and probably very helpful, but just as I felt when reading Macroanalysis it’s hard to think about using meta data as a means to determine the canon, especially for texts that should be taught and discussed at the collegiate level, but it does make the means of literary analysis much easier, especially as a starting point.

      I disagree with the idea that this method would make us worse close-readers because close reading would still have to occur, but I do worry it would make the canon broader for the sake of broadening it without broadening it to include texts that are meaningful for humanities in ways the current canon isn’t with its limited diversity.

    • That post that says Anonymous was me…Sorry. I wasn’t logged in.

    • I enjoyed this weeks readings. I found them easier to focus on and I had a better understanding of the benefits of DH. I very much see the value in DH when I think about teaching culture associated with a novel, character, or time period. I think about discussions that can be started all over the world to find how a book is interpreted differently based on where it is taught. I am very fortunate and I do teach in a classroom where every student has access to technology-whether it be a phone, ipad, or laptop. The problem is that my students take advantage of the situation.They quickly turn to playing, texting, searching, etc. Anything to be distracted. I feel like it is too available so they don’t take it seriously. Giving high school students frequent access changes the dynamic of a classroom, and sometimes it is good while others it is bad.
      I also found frustration in what Fyfe said. My administration believes that because we have spell check and Microsoft word, students no longer need to be taught proper grammar and punctuation. This frustrates me so obviously I automatically read what Fyfe said with apprehension and frustration. I do understand and acknowledge that Word and Autocorrect helps, but it isn’t a teacher or a permanent fix. While there is also a place for technology in the classroom, it is also important to balance the need and value.

    • Sarah,

      This is a little unrelated, but I can really relate to your students’ reading abilities. Have you read Book Love by Penny Kittle? That book really shifted my teaching pedagogy and has not only made my teaching much more enjoyable, but has significantly improved the literacy skills of my students. 🙂

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