[Humanist] 25.738 requirements for big projects

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Feb 18 09:31:48 CET 2012

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 25, No. 738.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Sat, 18 Feb 2012 08:31:07 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: requirements for big projects

As anyone who has read the writings of Roberto Busa will know, he had a 
genius for putting wisdom in a nutshell. The following is an example, 
from "Computer processing of over ten million words: Retrospective 
Criticism", in The Computer in Literary and Linguistic Studies 
(Proceedings of the Third International Symposium), ed. Alan Jones and 
R. F. Churchhouse (Cardiff: Univ of Wales Press, 1970), pp. 114-17. 
Speaking of his work for the Index Thomisticus, he concludes,

> if I consider the vast amount of human work demanded by processing
> texts of this size in this way, I think that such initiatives are
> better based on a strongly systemized team, supported by an
> institution able to keep alive its efficiency for decades.  (p. 117)

We know how to do teams, though much work is needed on problems of 
credit, career and the like. But how about the institution "able to keep 
alive its efficiency for decades" -- or longer? What happens when an 
"initiative" becomes (a priceless) old hat?



Professor Willard McCarty, Department of Digital Humanities, King's
College London; Professor (fractional), University of Western Sydney;
Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews (www.isr-journal.org); Editor,
Humanist (www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist/); www.mccarty.org.uk/

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