[Humanist] 24.454 researcher & programmer

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Tue Nov 2 11:23:14 CET 2010

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 24, No. 454.
         Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

        Date: Mon, 1 Nov 2010 09:48:54 +0100
        From: Øyvind Eide <oyvind.eide at iln.uio.no>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 24.449 researcher & programmer
        In-Reply-To: <20101031091206.7725AABE98 at woodward.joyent.us>

Thank you, fellow Humanists, for the references to Ladurie and to  

I would also like to comment the other side of the issue:

>        Date: Fri, 29 Oct 2010 14:32:56 +0100
>        From: "Stephen Woodruff" <s.woodruff at arts.gla.ac.uk>
>        Subject: RE: [Humanist] 24.444 researcher & programmer
>        In-Reply-To: <20101029034435.31A93A61A9 at woodward.joyent.us>
>> "... dans ce demaine au moins, l'historien de demain sera programmeur
> ou il ne sera plus".
> And when automobiles were invented no doubt people said he who would
> travel must be an engineer. Which was probably correct for the first  
> 20
> years of automobiles with their technical frailty and poor design.
> Temporal chauvinism...

I am not so sure about this. Could it be that this would be a call for  
IT consultants, rather than programmers? As the engineer driving the  
car would mostly need his skill to repair the car, not modify or build  
it, right?

Maybe a better image would be the carpenter. When I make bookshelves  
and other stuff for the house, I do it as people have done it for  
decades or even centuries, so I use a set of standard tools. But if I  
would build something very different from what people have ever made  
before, I would assume being a little bit of a blacksmith, being able  
to modify or build my own tools, would be helpful.

Of course, in order to use the computer to write your articles, you do  
not need to be a programmer (although you may need to have or have  
access to certain maintenance and repair skills in order to keep the  
system running and make sure you do not loose files). But if you want  
the computer to do what no computer has done before?

This leads to a rather dull conclusion, however; the middle one:  
_some_ humanities researchers should be programmer.

Kind regards,

Øyvind Eide
Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
Unit for Digital Documentation, University of Oslo

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