[Humanist] 22.565 what if none?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Fri Feb 27 07:47:59 CET 2009

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 22, No. 565.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at gmail.com>           (73)
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.561 what if none?

  [2]   From:    "Goldfield, Joel" <JGoldfield at mail.fairfield.edu>         (38)
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 22.559 what if no computing in the

        Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 10:39:14 +0100
        From: Joris van Zundert <joris.van.zundert at gmail.com>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 22.561 what if none?
        In-Reply-To: <20090225065644.89CF12CD1E at woodward.joyent.us>

Hi all,

I'd like to add a large multiplier/efficiency effect.

We're nearing the completion of the first stage of an electronic edition of
a Dutch early print version of Bartholomeus Anglicus' *De proprietatibus
rerum*. (You know the problems: one witness, non OCR-able, geographically
dispersed researchers, trained researchers necessary for quality

We were able to leverage the production power of about 20 transcribers (both
professional scholars as well as formally trained scholars that are not
employed in the field). The 1000 pages were transcribed, collated and
annotated in under 1 year. A basic on line edition through our
semi-automated publishing framework will become available in July this year.

This was only possible through:

- the Internet
- digital facsimiles
- collaborative on line scholarly editing
- tools to do so which were specific to the work of and usable by humanities
- those tools being provided by humanities computing

Traditional work flow (less transcribers, circulating transcriptions and
photo's by mail, merging versions  by hand, cooperating with publishers and
printers) would have taken years and a rise of costs in order of magnitude;
in effect the reasons why the project wasn't undertaken prior to the
existence of the digital tools.

So at least Humanities Computing has the ability to make scarce sources
abundant, leverage the power of researchers to edit/publish/comment and
analyse sources, to progress scholarly research into collaborative research,
and to lower (production) costs on the side.

Joris van Zundert

Mr. Joris J. van Zundert, MA
Dept. of Software R & D
Huygens Institute
Royal Netherlands Academy of Arts and Sciences

Contact information can be found at

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        Date: Wed, 25 Feb 2009 09:27:53 -0500
        From: "Goldfield, Joel" <JGoldfield at mail.fairfield.edu>
        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 22.559 what if no computing in the humanities?
        In-Reply-To: <20090225065644.89CF12CD1E at woodward.joyent.us>

Dear Geoffrey,
   I hope that that experiment is never run in actuality.  But to say what things would be like for humanists, many of us could force our memories of research way back to the early 1980's and before.  The short answer might be:  1) physical library visits, notebooks and typewriters would be prevalent, and;  2) the length of time between collegial as well as mental connections would be far longer than now.   The difference would certainly be noticeable if only non-humanists were indeed using computers.  They'd be chuckling at our continual distribution of typewritten handouts, use of transparencies and paper banners at presentations or in the classroom, and our writing for most of the class on the board instead of using a data projector and computer.
   Joel Goldfield

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