[Humanist] 22.618 HASTAC discussion on textuality & tools

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Mar 15 08:06:28 CET 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 618.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 13 Mar 2009 18:37:06 -0400
        From: jonathan.tarr at duke.edu
        Subject: HASTAC: Digital Textuality and Tools

An announcement from HASTAC.org

Digital Textuality and Tools
A HASTAC Scholars Discussion Forum, open now at http://www.hastac.org/scholars/

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 others.

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

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

-How can we handle the sheer amount of data produced by digitization projects?
-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?

About the discussion leaders:

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.

Join the discussion today at http://www.hastac.org/scholars/forum/03-09-

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