Sarah Hummel

  • 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?

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

  • 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…[Read more]

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

  • Cassie-
    To answer your question, in my personal opinion and for me and my career I do feel there is no use for me to learn about coding. I have no use for it currently and I would not have any use for it down the road. But that is just my opinion coming from the career I have. It would be beneficial if I had a technology or computer related job…[Read more]

  • Liz- to answer your question overall I do not think that DH has any significant value for me outside of this class. WOuld it be nice to digitalize more historical documents absolutely, and that aspect would help me. I could use many more primary documents in my Social Studies classes. Other than that I have no use for the coding exercises, and…[Read more]

  • The issue is that DH is just becoming popular. Yes it has existed for a long time but no one really ever knew what it was unless you worked in a related field. There weren’t any DH classes when I was in my undergrad at BG. I think I would have had to take it since my undergrad was Communications. It is a new trend, something that people are…[Read more]

  • I guess I never really thought something like DH could be racist. I don’t think that it necessarily is. It all comes down to the user, or operator just like most things. I will use myself for example. I am not by any means technology illiterate. However, I am completely lost with the coding exercises. Just like everything without the proper…[Read more]

  • David-
    Not only as a history grad student but also as a Social Studies teacher, I find the need to access historical things a daily struggle. While the teachers that teach Language Arts and Math have all the tools necessary, as well as games, lots of websites and just an overload of resources I am not only jealous but I would love to have the…[Read more]

  • After downloading and reading this book, it left me in sort of a daze. Almost to the point that made me think, did I really understand the book, or the end of it for that matter. The beginning was very well […]

    • Sarah, thanks for getting the discussion started. A few clarifications I’d like to add in. One is that while Jockers’s Macroanalysis certainly advocates for using DH methods, it’s not a treatise on DH per se. Maybe it’s too much to ask for it to be defining the field at large, rather than demonstrating a few methods that some DHers use, especially those who do literary analysis. Another is how we draw the distinction about what DHers might use, versus what DHers make. For example. the piece mentioned Google search, Google books and Microsoft word. You’re absolutely correct that many DH practitioners find ways to use these tools. That said, these are all products made by corporate software engineers to sell, rather than by humanists to further humanistic inquiry.

      Incidentally, though, I do agree with you in another way. I’m probably more open to the use of commercial tools for DH purposes than many DH practitioners. I was once part of a project of humanists, librarians, and technologists that came up with functional requirements that users would want for digital repositories. It seemed like almost all the features users wanted were already in some way implemented on commercial sites or software, and many of the features were ones that could be purchased or rented for a lot less money that it would take for DH practitioners to develop or university IT departments to maintain. So I’m a believer in what works, with of course the caveat that we must be wary of issues like who owns what, long-term sustainability, and other hazards when it comes to working with for-profit entities rather than scholars, libraries, and universities.

    • Sarah I feel your pain on being dazed after reading that book. I am not what some people call a “numbers guy”. Statistical data, charts, and numbers tend to bore me, so this read was very challenging for me. The book did bring up certain correlations between what we have already read and new material. I particularly connected with the part when they talk about using macroanalysis to see the bigger picture of Digital Humanities. This reminded me of the tool or instrument theory that we previously learned about. Like a telescope is used to see the universe, Digital Humanities is a lens to see the wider world of the study of humanities and I think this same principle applies to macroanalysis. I was also fascinated by the statistics that you listed, particularly the one about historical documents. As a history grad student one of the hardest parts of my job is knowing a particular document exist but having no way to access it. It’s the most annoying and frustrating feeling in the world, so I fully agree with on needing to digitize more historical documents.

      • David! I desperately want your expertise as a history major. When reading this book I just couldn’t buy into the idea of DH. I think I was kind of skeptical all semester, but this really turned me off. Jockers discusses how digital texts are mostly made digital for easier access but we rarely use digital tools to analyze them. Do you think the access or the analysis is more important in a digital library?

        • That is a great question, Cassie, if I might chime in. At this point, I think access is considered more important. Sarah mentioned in her post about the lack of availability of many documents, especially the earlier ones. To keep these numbers from continuing to plummet, we must come up with a way to preserve them for future generations. Therefore, there are a lot of digitization projects going on to keep these documents from going extinct.

          • Well said Katie. I agree. It is important to preserve the title first and then the analysis of it. But I don’t want to understate the importance of Macroanalysis. I’m not sure if I would have felt this way two years ago before starting the phd program, but I see a need for this type of scrutiny with digital libraries that Jockers explains so thoroughly. It is important to understand who we are through our past. A big part of our past is documented in our literature. I’m curious about the results of different demographics, genres and literature as opposed to the studies that were included in the book.

            The one thing I am beginning to question, which I wasn’t questioning until I started reading posts, is the necessity of digital humanities. I think by all means it is necessary. The tools, as David has stated, is a way to see more distinctly into our world.

            Additional, I like that Jockers states that we don’t have to let go of the textual analysis that we have relied on up to this point. Macroanalysis strengthens the traditional methods of considering data in literary works. Macroanalysis creates a new set of questioning into action. Not connecting multiple methods to analyzing all this data would be irresponsible and detrimental to academia.

            Although the case studies presented in part 2 were intensely presented to us, I feel it was necessary to understanding the difference between the process of Jockers and other literary analysis.

      • I like your telescope analogy. I think an important take-away from the book is there are just some things the human mind cannot handle. We can’t read every piece of literature written in the time period of our expertise, no matter how much we want to. Macroanalysis is a tool that can be used to help us see deeper and wider than we can physically do, which can lead to richer arguments and fewer misunderstandings caused by limited sampling. Macroanalysis also lends quantifiable evidence to humanities research, something that has been lacking in the past. Although I too am not a numbers person, I still feel there is some inherent credibility when I read something that has quantifiable data in it (even though lots of charts, graphs, and statistics tend to bore me).

        • Katie, Thank you for your break down. I read the book and like others, I was feeling dazed. Macroanalysis really helps to support the closer analysis with literature when it is utilized.

      • David-
        Not only as a history grad student but also as a Social Studies teacher, I find the need to access historical things a daily struggle. While the teachers that teach Language Arts and Math have all the tools necessary, as well as games, lots of websites and just an overload of resources I am not only jealous but I would love to have the resources. What a great way to differentiate the material for those leveled students. For me, right now I make the majority of my activities because I have a textbook and the textbook website, and videos/pictures of course. But to be able to able to pull historical documents and have that accessible to them would be AWESOME!!!

    • I agree with you, Katie. Perhaps I am a product of my generation or the data-hungry institutional environment I work in, but I found Jockers’ book refreshing and exciting. I would never (ever) call myself a numbers person, but to me macroanalysis is about so much more than numbers. I was heavily annotating Jockers as I read him, and this had as much to do with my ineptitude in the face of abstraction as it did with my excitement.

      My teaching philosophy has always been one of continuous improvement, always striving to find better ways of doing things. My philosophy on scholarship is really no different, and maybe this is why macroanalysis is so exciting to me. I feel like macroanalysis allows us access to the next phase of literary studies, a phase into which we necessarily need to move. Along with close reading, macroanalysis lends legitimacy to what we do and the claims we make. What’s more, it brings us into rank with other disciplines that have been working at this level for years.

      I love and agree with Jockers when he says that his work “does more to open doors than it does to close them” (32). Yes. So much yes.

    • Thank you for your post! Definitely helps clarify some of his points. As someone who has never taken an economics or statistics class in her life, trying to wrap my head around Jockers’ ideas about data and macroanalysis was a scary situation. But I get where he’s coming from – data serves a strong purpose in providing a foundation for theoretical work in DH studies. Almost all theoretical fields rely on evidence and support to back up any claims made, and macroanalysis is a great way to delve into how to provide hard evidence of literary or DH theories that emerge now and in the future.

  • I understand the need and use for coding in DH related fields. However, the exercise did not do anything for me but frustrate me to the point I literally gave up. I reached out to classmates and they were super supportive and tried to help, but I literally just got so frustrated and confused I stopped working on it. Sorry to be very honest, and…[Read more]

  • I also felt overwhelmed by the project because of the essential question of what really is DH? After picking a project and doing some research I found some very interesting things. It opened up a better understanding of what DH could potentially be especially while working in history. This is still a broad topic about what actually falls into DH,…[Read more]

  • David-
    The building block example of writing a paper, and starting out with research and developing a topic was a great example. Thank you for comparing DH to things that I can relate to and understand! It was very helpful to me.

  • I guess for me, I need DH to be black and white. Even after a few weeks in the class, I am still very confused as to what DH is, and what falls into the category of DH. The coding activity last week was like asking me to speak a whole different language, that I knew nothing about. It was very confusing, and frustrating. So I am reaching out for…[Read more]

  • I do not think that everything is considered DH. Youtube I do not think would fall into the category of DH. However, I will admit I am still blurry as to specifics on what would fall into the category of DH.

  • So the question of the first week is what is DH? That is a great question. Coming into this class I wasn’t so sure myself. Intro to Digital Humanities sounded cool, and it looked a lot better than some of the […]

    • Something that came to mind as I was reading the text was that DH is its own entity, but DH is also starting to infiltrate into other areas of academia. In the introduction, DH, to me, was portrayed as a result of change; some scholars are embracing the change, and some are turning the other way, leaving DH to exist on its own. I liked the idea Ramsey presented in the introduction, and later Fitzpatrick in her article, when he declared that DH was about building and creating, and scholars can’t just study it and critique it. I thought this brought about an interesting perspective on DH that I had not considered. What most interested me in DH was the description of the speed. I always associate academia with long-term research and data collected over time; however, DH is unique in that it is a speedy process because the digital world is constantly changing and being reinvented. In Part 1, Matthew Kirschenbaum touches on social media, and I can’t help but admit that my students’ lives revolve around the concept. (The sooner I embrace this…the better). In fact, I find myself relating discussions, characters, and concepts to social media in one way or another to make ideas interesting to them. Connecting these ideas made me realize that DH is very important, and, as Sarah said, it has been a part of my life for a very long time with me even realizing it.

      • Wow, it’s the Sara and Sarah show. Good stuff. Sara, very important point about the speed with which DH moves. No waiting years for articles and such; a lot of times, it goes by the speed of Twitter, which is DHers’ preferred mode of communication (here’s a guide to scholarly twittering: http://goo.gl/i3vBNm). I’m working on a post, to come out in the next few days, that plays more with that theme in a different way: Not only is DH fast, but most DH stuff is also ephemeral in ways that other scholarship isn’t, and that means we’re going to have to think of it in a different way. How, I’m not sure yet.

    • Sarah, I like your point about DH being capacious and sprawling, which it certainly is. That said, if I were reading this post, I’m not sure that I’d get a sense of what the boundaries are. And I definitely agree that Dh can be practiced in many fields, as you noted.

      That is, is anything computerized necessarily DH? For example, would a database of DNA sequences qualify as DH? Or a facebook post? Or is there something about what questions are asked and how? This is a difficult question that we struggle with, and I’m more of the “big-tent” camp than the “it-must-involve-lots-of-coding-by-specialists” camp, but are there, say, criteria you would use to give us a sense of what DH is? In other words, if your cousin asked you what DH is and isn’t, how would we answer that?

      • I feel like reading Part 1 lead to so many debates in my head about what DH really is and where the boundaries can be drawn! It’s so unlike anything I have studied before. I’m anxious to hear how Sarah answers!

  • I am here as a third semester grad student. This is my second semester taking online classes. I am a 2008 BGSU alumni with a BA in Communications. However, after college I went back to school to obtain a teaching […]

  • Sarah Hummel became a registered member 4 years, 9 months ago