[Humanist] 29.462 now to structure an article in digital humanities

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Nov 8 10:19:04 CET 2015


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 462.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org



        From: Humanist Discussion Group <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>


                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 461.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                       www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Christian Thomas <christian.thomas.1 at staff.hu-berlin.de>  (97)
        Subject: Re:  29.459 how to structure an article in digital
                humanities?

  [2]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>          (14)
        Subject: How to write an essay-report

  [3]   From:    Geoffrey Rockwell <grockwel at ualberta.ca>                  (76)
        Subject: Re:  29.459 how to structure an article in digital
                humanities?


--[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sat, 7 Nov 2015 14:15:24 +0100
        From: Christian Thomas <christian.thomas.1 at staff.hu-berlin.de>
        Subject: Re:  29.459 how to structure an article in digital humanities?
        In-Reply-To: <20151107094505.BF13F6CFD at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard, though I am not 100% sure if this is what you mean, but I 
think points in the right direction:

This blog post/article by the dlina group came to my mind: "A (Not So) 
Simple Question and a Somewhat Diabolic Answer" by Frank Fischer and 
Mathias Göbel -- 18 Jun 2015, 
http://dlina.github.io/A-Not-So-Simple-Question/. What I like about it 
and seems to me to be in line with your question is that it decribes an 
iterative process in detail and so the "structure" is mostly defined by 
the steps in this process and not by the typical order of intro -- 
argument -- conclusion -- little discussion. Needless to say, I don't 
think that it is "ridiculously long" as the authors say as a bold-faced 
warning in their preliminary remark, but necessarily so. (It comes down 
to some 10 or 11 pages if you copy&paste it into a page-based word 
processor, which still seems to be rather short compared to an average 
research article e.g. in some conference proceedings.)

Although you could imagine reading this article in print, the post works 
much better in the interconnected way it is presented online. Its value 
in my view is that it documents every step in detail: the processing of 
the data, it motivates the choices for integrating or discarding certain 
documents while building the corpus, it also encourages the reader to 
'do-it-himself' and even offers the scripts/tools used by the authors in 
the process. It also links to the original collection they started from 
and to the manipulated/curated data set on the project's GitHub account. 
This, I think, is a fine example of what you ask for: an article fully 
documenting the "process that the author[s] went through in doing the 
research".

Of course, the post is just one example that popped into my mind -- most 
likely just because I recently read it --, and I could think of several 
other and some even better examples of this kind of presentation, 
reflecting and practically, transparently applying DH-methods & -tools 
to a collection of resources with the clear intent towards answering a 
genuine research question. But still I guess you wouldn't find an awful 
lot more examples, as the 'typical' kind of article even from a DH 
context (unfortunately) still is more commonly structured.

Concerning your own work, you ask if anyone would like to see your 
"attempt": Yes, I'd like to, if you want to send it off-list, but maybe 
you can even put it online in an etherpad or the like for all Humanist 
readers (and people outside this circle of course) to comment upon and 
maybe even interfere with/alter your proposed text.

Best wishes,
Christian

Am 07.11.2015 um 10:45 schrieb Humanist Discussion Group:
>                   Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 29, No. 459.
>              Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                         www.digitalhumanities.org/humanist
>                  Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org
>
>
>
>          Date: Fri, 6 Nov 2015 20:38:53 +0000
>          From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
>          Subject: how to structure an article
>
>
> For some time I've thought that in at least some instances articles in
> digital humanities strain against the conventional genre common to the
> humanities. Conventionally, that is, articles present an argument that is we
> read sequentially but is essentially timeless. Nothing remains of the
> process that the author went through in doing the research -- nor would we
> want it to. For an article in digital humanities, however, the process can
> be a major part of what is communicated. That suggests a different genre.
> Long ago I devised a guide for undergraduates to writing what I called an
> "essay-report", in part derived from the structure of the standard lab
> report (the example I used was from chemistry). But it would be good to know
> what others have done.
>
> If anyone would like to see my attempt please send me a note.
>
> I would assume we want a genre that both presents the argument as usual and
> describes whatever the author did with the tools involved -- the experiment.
> The trouble with many instances of the technical report is that it does
> little more than fill out the blanks of a template. It's the results that
> matter. There's a "discussion" section at the end but often not much by way
> of historical background, theoretical discussion, reflection. I'd suppose
> this is because the imperative of replication stands over the author,
> frowning down on anything unique.
>
> All suggestions most welcome.
>
> 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


-- 
Christian Thomas
Hidden Kosmos: Reconstructing A. v. Humboldt's »Kosmos-Lectures«
http://www.culture.hu-berlin.de/hidden-kosmos

Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin
Kultur-, Sozial- und Bildungswissenschaftliche Fakultät
Institut für Kulturwissenschaft
Mohrenstraße 40, 10117 Berlin
Raum: 414, Tel. +49 (0)30 2093 66 147
E-Mail: christian.thomas.1 at staff.hu-berlin.de
--



--[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sat, 7 Nov 2015 13:58:27 +0000
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: How to write an essay-report
        In-Reply-To: <20151107094505.BF13F6CFD at digitalhumanities.org>


My attempt at describing what was then a new genre is accessible as a Google 
Doc at

http://tinyurl.com/essay-report

where it can be edited by anyone with an interest in doing so. An 
uneditable pdf can be accessed at

http://tinyurl.com/essay-report-original

I must stress that this was written a decade ago for 1st-year undergraduates with the specific purpose of getting them to pay attention to the process of exploring their chosen texts with concordance tools and the like. Improvements to the document for that purpose would be welcome. But what I am interested in now are ideas toward ways of writing academic articles on the basis of research for which computing is essential. I say "ways" because the intended audience will vary, from scholars who might take an interest in description of how results useful to the argument were obtained, to those equally at home with technical matters and with traditional scholarship. I suspect that this is not a question of inventing a new genre or genres but of assembling examples from work that has been going on since my original attempt in 2004.

I also suspect that a very useful -- and popular -- book could be written on the subject. 

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


--[3]------------------------------------------------------------------------
        Date: Sat, 7 Nov 2015 07:52:53 -0700
        From: Geoffrey Rockwell <grockwel at ualberta.ca>
        Subject: Re:  29.459 how to structure an article in digital humanities?
        In-Reply-To: <20151107094505.BF13F6CFD at digitalhumanities.org>


Dear Willard,

Stéfan Sinclair and I are experimenting with iPython and Mathematica
notebooks that allow us to embed code and narrative in the same document
so the writing about past analytics can be read and run. An example can
be see at:

https://github.com/sgsinclair/epistemologica/blob/master/Smith-Imagery.ipynb

We have been inspired in part by the work of Matthew Wilkens who
connects essays, notebooks, and data. See, for example his MLA essay on
"Literary Attention Lag" at:

http://mattwilkens.com/2015/01/13/literary-attention-lag/

The notebook is at:
http://nbviewer.ipython.org/gist/wilkens/ed8b6eaa35497d2cd491

I should add that the problem of how to weave argument, technique, and
data together is something we are struggling with on the NovelTM project
(http://novel-tm.ca/). Given that some of our experiments have messy
code and deal with data behind datawalls we need to find ways to share
techniques and sample data sets that others can make sense of and try
without violating copyright.

I believe that the digital humanities has a history of prototyping new
forms of scholarship and, as we see more research using big data sets we
should welcome graceful experiments in the sharing of techniques and
data.  Lets help people learn from, challenge, and otherwise engage with
digital humanities research.

In sum, I would love to learn more about your attempt.

Geoffrey Rockwell


-- 
Geoffrey Rockwell
Professor of Philosophy and Humanities Computing
Director of the Kule Institute for Advanced Study
University of Alberta
Blog: theoreti.ca







More information about the Humanist mailing list