[Humanist] 28.730 evidence of value

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sat Feb 14 08:44:12 CET 2015


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 730.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    "Jan Rybicki" <jkrybicki at gmail.com>                        (8)
        Subject: RE:  28.728 evidence of value

  [2]   From:    "Robinson, Peter" <peter.robinson at usask.ca>                (5)
        Subject: Re:  28.728 evidence of value

  [3]   From:    Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>     (19)
        Subject: Re:  28.728 evidence of value

  [4]   From:    Andrew G Taylor <agt2 at rice.edu>                           (67)
        Subject: Re: evidence of value and related anxieties


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2015 09:05:44 +0100
        From: "Jan Rybicki" <jkrybicki at gmail.com>
        Subject: RE:  28.728 evidence of value
        In-Reply-To: <20150213074059.866997D1 at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard,

Your question is, as usual, very interesting, and one that those of us who use computers to read books (and get academic recognition for it) continue to ask ourselves, not only in our darkest hours. Authorial attribution, already mentioned in this discussion, is usually our favourite solace, but let me spoil the fun just a little. First, our mainstream post-(you-name-it) colleagues are rarely excited, since they believe in the death of the authors; second - please do not hate me - I have become, in my dotage, perhaps, slightly skeptical of the various attributions of bits and pieces in Shakespeare. The methods that I use - my fault, of course - are simply not accurate enough for samples of that size.

So if I were to look for digital, or, rather, quantitative contributions to literary studies that (should) have been noticed by the general literary studies community, I'd go for Burrows's multivariate most-frequent-words-based approaches; but even more so for Moretti's concept of distant reading and the direction this concept is taking in Matt Jockers and others. 

Best,
Jan Rybicki

-----Original Message-----
From: humanist-bounces at lists.digitalhumanities.org [mailto:humanist-bounces at lists.digitalhumanities.org] On Behalf Of Humanist Discussion Group
Sent: Friday, February 13, 2015 8:41 AM
To: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

> [1]   From:    Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com>
> (61) Subject: Re:  28.727 evidence of value?
> 
> [2]   From:    Gabriel Egan <mail at gabrielegan.com>
> (55) Subject: Re:  28.727 evidence of value?
> 
> [3]   From:    Keri Thomas <kerilthomas at gmail.com>
> (16) Subject: Evidence of value and related anxieties
> 
> --[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> 
Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 08:15:18 -0600
> From: Paul Fishwick <metaphorz at gmail.com> Subject: Re:  28.727
> evidence of value? In-Reply-To:
> <20150212120713.E7AF79F8 at digitalhumanities.org>
> 
> Dear Willard:
> 
> I am unqualified to have an adequate handle on mainstream scholarship
> in the humanities. However, from what I have read within the digital
> humanities (DH), a key point of argument is that the word
> “scholarship” within the humanities is evolving. And so on to the
> question, “has the digital humanities made any difference at all to
> mainstream scholarship?” I don’t know, but perhaps digital humanities
> is doing something more dramatic, and more vital, which is to
> redefine and extend the very nature of scholarship. Crafting a
> humanistically-sensitive, digitally-enabled human interface, which is
> new, and writing about it is a form of scholarship. That is what I
> meant by my recent blog post regarding scholarship in engineering.
> Isn’t that what the debate is  about or have I missed the boat?
> Perhaps “mainstream scholarship" is undergoing an evolutionary shift
> in the humanities? Some of the criticisms against DH falter because
> they employ the wrong metric, assuming that scholarship is limited to
> one type of discourse. p
> 
> On Feb 12, 2015, at 6:07 AM, Humanist Discussion Group
> <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> wrote:
> 
>>> 
>>> Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 28, No. 727. Department of
>>> Digital Humanities, King's College London 
>>> www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist Submit to:
>>> humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>>> 
>>> 
>>> 
>>> Date: Thu, 12 Feb 2015 11:48:40 +0000 From: Willard McCarty
>>> <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk> Subject: evidence of value and
>>> related anxieties
>>> 
>>> A few years ago, at least in the UK, an effort was made -- not
>>> the first of them -- to assess whether the application of digital
>>> methods had produced "evidence of value". Relatively recently I
>>> have run across this question in another form, specifically
>>> addressing application to literary studies: has digital
>>> humanities made any difference at all to mainstream scholarship?
>>> 
>>> I am collecting expressions of such anxieties from the first
>>> decade of this century to the present and would be very grateful
>>> for any pointers, suggestions and comments. These expressions do
>>> not have to be intelligent or even argued. My interest is in the
>>> fact that they occur and when they occur.
>>> 
>>> Many thanks.
>>> 
>>> Yours, WM -- Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor,
>>> Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London, and
>>> Digital Humanities Research Group, University of Western Sydney

> Paul Fishwick, PhD Chair, ACM SIGSIM Distinguished University Chair
> of Arts & Technology and Professor of Computer Science Director,
> Creative Automata Laboratory The University of Texas at Dallas Arts &
> Technology 800 West Campbell Road, AT10 Richardson, TX 75080-3021 
> Home: utdallas.edu/atec/fishwick Blog: creative-automata.com
> 
> --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Dear Willard McCarty
> 
> The obvious example of evidence of value that occurs to me is the
> recent reshaping of the Shakespeare canon by the inclusion of new
> plays we didn't know were his and the realization that plays that the
> First Folio says are solely his are in fact collaborations.
> 
> These achievements are, in almost every case, the results of digital
> humanities scholarship. Mainstream Shakepeare studies is certainly
> taking notice. Almost no-one who's up-to-date now writes literary
> criticism of Titus Andronicus, Timon of Athens, 1 Henry 6, Pericles,
> The Two Noble Kinsmen, or Henry 8 on the assumption that they can
> attribute what is in those plays to Shakespeare alone. That is, they
> either check who wrote which bit, or they at least attribute the
> agency to "Shakespeare and Fletcher" or "Shakespeare and Peele" and
> so on.
> 
> If they really know what they're talking about, they take the same
> care regarding 2 Henry 6, 3 Henry 6, Macbeth, Measure for Measure,
> The Spanish Tragedy, and Arden of Faversham too.
> 
> Regards
> 
> Gabriel Egan Centre for Textual Studies De Montfort University
> 
> _________________________________________________________ Professor
> Gabriel Egan, De Montfort University. www.gabrielegan.com Director of
> the Centre for Textual Studies http://cts.dmu.ac.uk National Teaching
> Fellow 2014 http://www.heacademy.ac.uk/ntfs
> 
> --[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>
> Hi Willard,
> 
> I am currently writing up my thesis on a similar issue - notions of
> cultural value and capital, and whether they have had an impact on
> the use of digitised artefacts. I think this notion of value and most
> particularly, the value of the digital humanities in scholarship, is
> still prevalent and I think, generally, there is a strong whiff of
> digitisation as a means to secure funding, and to subscribe to
> Government notions of value - digitisation as appeasement. Most of
> the academics I spoke to had used digital artefacts, however, and
> most of them acknowledged that they had had a real impact on their
> research. But it was more as a tool to make the process faster, and
> most of them relied upon the physical artefact ultimately, as they
> felt it gave their work more credence. Very few said they would cite
> a digitised artefact.
> 
> I'm not sure that answers your question, but I hope it raises some
> comments!
> 
> Regards, Keri Thomas


--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2015 08:11:50 +0000
        From: "Robinson, Peter" <peter.robinson at usask.ca>
        Subject: Re:  28.728 evidence of value
        In-Reply-To: <20150213074059.866997D1 at digitalhumanities.org>


I can think of three areas manifestly reshaped by the digital humanities over the last two decades:

1. The emergence of computer-assisted methods for the making of genetic hypotheses concerning textual traditions: notably (but not exclusively), the phylogenetic systems used by numerous editors.  Google "phylogenetic analysis textual traditions” and you will get a bunch.  Shaw’s edition of the Commedia uses these methods heavily (http://www.sd-editions.com/Commedia/index.html) in the context of what is otherwise a classic philological edition.

2. The creation of manuscript catalogues in digital form, now commonly using the TEI P5 “manuscript description” encodings. One might reckon the number of manuscript descriptions made to this encoding in the tens of thousands, likely hundreds of thousands.

3. The emergence of new models and methods of scholarly editing.  This is an area of lively controversy: itself a sign that digital methods have shifted the agenda.

And that’s before we start on big data, new models of collaboration, bilah, bilah.



--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2015 12:54:34 +0100
        From: Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at huygens.knaw.nl>
        Subject: Re:  28.728 evidence of value
        In-Reply-To: <20150213074059.866997D1 at digitalhumanities.org>


What Paul Fishwick says!

But he also said: "Crafting a humanistically-sensitive, digitally-enabled
human interface, which is new, and writing about it is a form of
scholarship."

And I think: just writing? I am sure he didn't want to be that exclusionary.

--Best
Joris


-- 
Drs. Joris J. van Zundert

*Researcher & Developer Digital and Computational Humanities*
Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands

*Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences*
 http://www.huygens.knaw.nl/vanzundert/
http://www.huygens.knaw.nl/vanzundert/
 http://www.huygens.knaw.nl/vanzundert/?lang=en

-------

*Jack Sparrow: I thought you were supposed to keep to the code.Mr. Gibbs:
We figured they were more actual guidelines.*



--[4]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Fri, 13 Feb 2015 10:40:30 -0600
        From: Andrew G Taylor <agt2 at rice.edu>
        Subject: Re: evidence of value and related anxieties
        In-Reply-To: <mailman.7.1423825203.1647.humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org>


On 2/13/2015 5:00 AM, Paul Fishwick wrote:
> Crafting a humanistically-sensitive, digitally-enabled
> human interface, which is new, and writing about it is a form of scholarship. That is
> what I meant by my recent blog post regarding scholarship in engineering.

What Paul describes is the kind of digital project(s) that I'm trying to 
develop (along with most everyone on this listserv):
"humanistically-sensitive, digitally-enabled human interface(s)" for 
cultural materials.

The (my) goal is to enable and encourage an audience (scholarly or 
general public) to engage themselves with cultural artifacts that are 
representative of a wide range of ideas.

What I try to avoid is the /subject-specific analysis /part of 
scholarship - formulating theories, opinions and conclusions based on 
that information.

I'm providing a tool for the "true historian"/scholar, and even the 
shortcomings of that tool may be of interest to an expert with 
sophisticated subject knowledge.

An informational viz sort-of-fellow with an MLS,  I'm focused on 
developing new media "entry points" to cultural artifacts that helps 
users explore knowledge related to those artifacts.
This involves a lot of research, mining, aggregating, processing, 
layering and presentation of information.

Too tall an order, but that's the practical goal.

Through presenting the "evidence" my unconscious prejudices will 
unavoidably generate problematic arguments and theories, but perhaps a 
true expert will see the gaping holes better than I can.

Then I can later fix all the things I messed up (because this is the 
/iterative/ age), hopefully with footnotes acknowledging the source of 
every (and I mean /every/) idea.

Or, someone else can create a better tool that renders my effort 
obsolete, at which point I go and have a beer.

So, I'm hoping to offer Humanities materials digitally presented in an 
accessible, explorable and interesting way.

To me this effort has /*"value"* /for humanists, but I'm not sure how to 
characterize it, because it is /not /driven by my presenting "new" ideas 
or information, or even having a sophisticated understanding of the 
target subject.

I'm driven primarily by an information-processing//methodology - the 
target is secondary ("it's all widgets").

Hopefully that's relevant to the discussion,
Andrew Taylor

-- 
Andrew Taylor, MLS
Associate Curator, Visual Resources
Department of Art History, Rice University
713-348-4836
https://twitter.com/agrahamt




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