[Humanist] 28.64 how digital projects end

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Thu May 29 22:10:00 CEST 2014


                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 64.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>          (31)
        Subject: ending or not?

  [2]   From:    Geoffrey Rockwell <grockwel at ualberta.ca>                  (16)
        Subject: Re:  28.60 how digital projects end


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 29 May 2014 06:31:22 +1000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: ending or not?


As a followup to Martin Holmes question, let me ask another, related 
one. Can we distinguish projects by the following categories:

1. those in Martin's question, that "are no longer consuming any human 
effort at all, but remain accessible and useful, and promise to be so in 
the long term";

2. those, like the Oxford English Dictionary, that promise to remain 
more or less as they are in format but that grow with accumulated material;

3. those, like the Perseus Project, that we can expect will improve in 
what they can do as well as grow like (2);

4. those that are abandoned (and so "end badly") but from which a great 
deal has been learned, whose apparent failure is their real success;

and then

5. those that end *very* badly, from whose embarassing failures we can 
learn.

Perhaps there are better categories?

I am resisting the idea that genuine improvement for digital humanities 
and for all those who benefit from its work can be simply equated with 
completion that is successful in the usual sense. If, as I think, the 
digital medium is not just another in which marketable widgets are made 
but one which serves experimental enquiry, then success needs to be 
rethought. I abandoned my own project, the Analytical Onomasticon, after 
ca 15 years' work because I realised it was impossible to complete under 
current technologies and that I had learned from it all that it had to 
teach me (or perhaps all I was capable of learning from it). Are there 
more projects like it that we should study?

Yours,
WM
-- 
Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London, and Research Group in Digital
Humanities, University of Western Sydney


--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Thu, 29 May 2014 08:24:44 -0400
        From: Geoffrey Rockwell <grockwel at ualberta.ca>
        Subject: Re:  28.60 how digital projects end
        In-Reply-To: <20140528200854.B1EAC646D at digitalhumanities.org>

Dear Martin,

There is also an article coming in the next issue of DHQ on "Burying Dead Projects: Depositing the Globalization Compendium” about wrapping up and depositing a project.

Best,

Geoffrey Rockwell

On May 28, 2014, at 4:08 PM, Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:

> Thanks to all for a really useful set of pointers. I don't know how I 
> missed the DHQ issue!
> 
> A small supplementary question (in case it hasn't been answered in the 
> long reading list I know have): What DH projects do you know of which 
> have "ended well"? By this I mean: are no longer consuming any human 
> effort at all, but remain accessible and useful, and promise to be so in 
> the long term?
> 
> Cheers,
> Martin





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