[Humanist] 26.15 a taxonomy

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat May 12 22:38:23 CEST 2012

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 15.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Fri, 11 May 2012 15:00:45 -0400
        From: "Totosy de Zepetnek, Steven" <clcweb at purdue.edu>
        Subject: totosy Re: [Humanist] 26.13 a taxonomy, with a question (or so)
        In-Reply-To: <20120511185635.F35F3281CC3 at woodward.joyent.us>

to me digital humanities includes the publication of scholarship online, i.e., re the change in ways of knowledge transfer and the issue of valuation of publishing online in particular re articles but also books
thanks and best, steven totosy
On May 11, 2012, at 2:56 pm, Humanist Discussion Group wrote:

>                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 26, No. 13.
>            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>        Date: Sat, 12 May 2012 04:51:57 +1000
>        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>        Subject: a taxonomy, with a question
> Allow me, if you will, to run by you a rough taxonomy of work in the 
> digital humanities and ask for your comments.
> By this taxonomy there are three kinds of work for which we as a 
> whole bear responsibility:
> 1. Development of computational tools and techniques to assist 
> scholarship in the humanities and interpretative social sciences;
> 2. Study of the effects and implications coming from the use of these 
> tools and techniques;
> 3. Imagining and insofar as possible articulating new computings from 
> kinds of research not yet possible.
> The first of these is the bread-and-butter activity of many of us. We 
> make things from developers' tools or figure out ingenious ways of using 
> off-the-shelf software and then either apply these things and techniques 
> to our own research or hand them over to colleagues less capable or 
> inclined to do the technical work. Basic, fundamental stuff, but nothing 
> really new here. This activity is to the digital humanities as almost 
> all engineering is to the industries that keep civilisations running.
> The second is social-scientific, historical and/or philosophical in 
> character. It is also basic and easily understood, though doing it well 
> is not easy, of course. Built into so much of it, however, is the 
> deterministic assumption that Technology, like some great force of 
> nature demanding to be anthropomorphised, comes at our lives with 
> benefits, requirements and threats it would be utterly foolish to 
> ignore. We had better learn to deal with it -- and fast -- lest we be 
> overcome or left in the dust etc etc. (I realise that I am caricaturing 
> an attitude somewhat, but I do so in order to call to the surface a 
> state of mind that historically keeps surfacing at moments of stress or 
> superabundance of techno-scientific triumphalism.)
> The third is, as a colleague remarked recently, the frontier. It goes 
> back to the plasticity of Turing's scheme, before hardware was 
> structured by von Neumann's architecture (based in turn on 
> neurophysiological ideas of the early 1940s) and in due course turned 
> into the machines we now have. Bravo, well done and so on, but not far 
> enough to keep pace with restless imagination! It asks, as few (but 
> some) have done, what would a computing be like that was suitable to 
> what we imagine actually happens, e.g. when we read, or write, or look 
> at a painting, or paint one, or listen to music, or play it, or compose 
> it? For if we had such a computing, or computings, would they not serve 
> scholarship better?
> In other words, almost all of what we do is like what most automotive 
> engineers do -- take a given (four wheels, engine, drive-train, steering 
> wheel on the right or left-hand side etc) and do it one slightly better. 
> But what about the engineering that rethinks the whole idea of a 
> vehicle, that goes beyond even what now could be done if only 
> conservative management and the even more conservative public would pay 
> attention and consider it? (I know a brilliant automotive engineer who 
> has the wildest and most interesting ideas, which we consider as we are 
> driving along in a car that "knows" so much about what's going on, and 
> does so much about what it knows, that I am amazed even at the now 
> quietly commonplace.)
> Comments?
> Yours,
> WM
> -- 
> Willard McCarty, FRAI / Professor of Humanities Computing & Director of
> the Doctoral Programme, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College
> London; Professor, 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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