Sara Myser

  • Sara Myser wrote a new post 8 years, 1 month ago

    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 […]

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

  • Shanna –
    I really enjoyed Mukurtu as well. It was fun exploring the sites that use Mukurtu as well!

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

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

  • 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.

  • 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?

  • 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!

  • 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?

  • 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. 🙂

  • Kristen –
    I think you make some great points. I agree with Cassie that the idea of macroanalysis is a little unsettling for the English major in me; however, I think, at times, macroanalysis could be used to understand a larger period of literature. I think that close reading is very important when it comes to an individual book, but when you are…[Read more]

  • I came across this article today. It seems that coding can even be for children!

    • Cool stuff. There are all sorts of efforts to expose kids to coding. One of the best-known is Hour of Code (you can google it; in fact, it’s a google project!), Khan Academy has a lot of coding resources, and there are others. It can’t hurt for kids to start early. Thanks, Sara, for posting this.

    • Wow, I had no idea stuff like this was out there. Then again, as tech-savvy as kids are becoming, I am not entirely surprised. The other day I watched my fifteen month old niece swipe her finger across her mom’s iphone so she could pick a video from Kidtube.

    • Lots of schools in the Central Ohio area have added Khan Academy coding to their technology curriculum for elementary and middle school students, which I think is a great idea!

  • This post echoes some of the ideas we discussed in the “What is DH?” blog postings. I was just looking up credentials for one of my old professors at Wright State, and I noticed that she was still working on an article that she was working on five years ago when I was in school. What a contrast to DH! It’s a much quicker process, and I think that…[Read more]

  • I feel like, as technology progresses, it’s going to become even more complicated. Do you see any future in any types of standards being created? This reminds me of recent events at our high school: our guidance counselors now have standards. I know this sounds strange, but I see such a parallel between the idea of guidance counselors having…[Read more]

  • The ocean metaphor really summed it up for me, Emily! 🙂

  • Love the MLA example! DH is everywhere!

  • 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!

  • 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…[Read more]

  • Greetings! My name is Sara Myser, and I am in pursuit of my Masters in English with a specialization in Teaching. This is my fifth semester in the program. I am currently teaching 9th grade Language Arts, Drama, and Novel at my home town high school. We suffer with a lack of technology in our district, and this class seemed to be a great…[Read more]

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