[Humanist] 22.605 discussion on "Digital Textuality and Tools"

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Mar 10 08:27:06 CET 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 605.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sun, 8 Mar 2009 04:18:32 -0500
        From: "ana boa-ventura" <anaventura at mail.utexas.edu>
        Subject: Digital Textuality and Tools - the discussion just launched
        In-Reply-To: <20090309060715.09B122E90C at woodward.joyent.us>

Dear all,

Join the discussion on "Digital Textuality and Tools", which launched today
on the HASTAC forum - a debate launched by Geraldine Heng (University of
Texas at Austin) who spearheads the Global Middle Ages project with Susan
Noakes (University of Minnesota).


Full announcement follows. This forum is part of the series by the HASTAC
Scholars group (HASTAC - Humanities, Arts, Science and Technology Advanced
Collaboratory). Erin Gentry Lamb, Director of the HASTAC Scholars group,
hosts this excellent series of forums. Michael Widner and Angela Kinney
co-facilitate this specific forum.

Please join the discussion by reacting to the initial post by Geraldine Heng
and/or by telling the HASTAC community about work that your institution may
be doing in the field. Historians may feel particularly drawn to participate
but all are welcome!

Thank you,
Ana Boa-Ventura
Global Middle Ages Project
Doctoral Candidate - College of Communication, University of Texas at Austin

Digital Textuality and Tools
A HASTAC Scholars Discussion Forum, open now at

The Global Middle Ages Project (GMAP), spearheaded by Geraldine Heng and
Susan Noakes, is an effort to bring together scholars from many disciplines
to see what insights and visions of the medieval world appear when
collaboration and interconnection become key. One important facet of GMAP is
the search to develop revolutionary tools to provide scholars, teachers, and
students better access to artifacts such as digitized manuscripts. In this
respect, it is one of many current efforts to make classical, medieval and
other rare manuscripts available to a wider audience. These efforts confront
multiple challenges, such as securing funding, finding effective and helpful
ways to deploy new technologies, and publicizing their work widely, among

Given that scholars of all levels regularly must deal with texts of all
sorts, the next generation of database interfaces--tools that enable
advanced cross-referencing, collaborative research, and sophisticated
visualizations of data--can apply to digital manuscripts as well as less
insistently physical works like contemporary academic journals. Further, the
questions raised by GMAP are relevant to any similarly interdisciplinary,
interconnected work in other periods. 

This HASTAC Scholars Discussion Forum, hosted by Angela Kinney and Michael
Widner, will focus on the questions raised by the efforts of GMAP and
similar projects: 

How can we handle the sheer amount of data produced by digitization
How can we advocate for the continual upkeep of (now stagnated) digital
resources, which are in danger of becoming so obsolete as to be useless? 
How can we stimulate funding for high-quality digitization of manuscripts
and digital scholarly editions in an environment where palaeography and
textual criticism is not esteemed as "original" scholarly work? 
Is it worth investigating the implications of digitization on a sociological
To what extent are we ignoring the significant gap between a digital image
of a manuscript and the manuscript itself? 
Will widespread digitization efforts change the way we do research? How? 
What sorts of tools and initiatives do we need to improve the ways we
research and learn? 
Come join the discussion!

Angela Kinney is a PhD student in the University of Illinois
(Urbana-Champaign) Department of the Classics and the Program in Medieval
Studies. She holds an MA in Classics from the University of Illinois. She is
spending the academic year 2008-2009 at the University of Bristol (UK) to
work with Professor Gillian Clark on Augustine's use of satirical techniques
in his De Civitate Dei (City of God). Her current research projects include
arguing for 6th-century authorship of the Vita Apollinaris Valentiniensis
and a comparison of the physical description of the Greco-Roman goddess Fama
(Rumor) with descriptions and iconography of angels in Judeo-Christian
texts. Her digital interests include the digitization and accessability of
pre-modern manuscripts, as well as website/graphic design and online
instruction. Her favorite ways of procrastinating include message boards,
UNIX scrabble, and Google Books. 

Michael Widner is a PhD candidate in the Department of English at the
University of Texas at Austin. He received his MA from Southern Methodist
University. His dissertation focuses on the relationships between genre,
identity, and bodies in medieval English and French literature. Though his
research leads him to read about knights, saints, and hot pokers, he also
closely follows technology news and current pedagogical practices and
theories that attempt to deploy technology in relevant and effective ways.
He currently teaches "The Rhetoric of Cartoons", a class in which he
attempts to suck all the joy out of reading graphic novels like Alan Moore's
Watchmen and Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis. Many years ago, he was a UNIX
Systems Administrator for SBC; he doesn't regret quitting that career, but
is grateful for the technological expertise with which it left him. He is
currently struggling with Facebook addiction. 

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