[Humanist] 30.399 flowcharts?

Humanist Discussion Group willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk
Sun Oct 9 10:16:13 CEST 2016

                 Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 30, No. 399.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                Submit to: humanist at lists.digitalhumanities.org

  [1]   From:    Nick Thieberger <thien at unimelb.edu.au>                    (23)
        Subject: Re:  30.396 flowcharts

  [2]   From:    Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>          (30)
        Subject: flowcharts

        Date: Sat, 8 Oct 2016 17:36:15 +1100
        From: Nick Thieberger <thien at unimelb.edu.au>
        Subject: Re:  30.396 flowcharts
        In-Reply-To: <20161008061259.8F15A7F47 at digitalhumanities.org>


I have found a workflow chart to be very useful in providing researchers
with a means to understand steps in processing materials (in this case
language records created in fieldwork), given that we have several tools
for transcribing and then for annotating the transcript, corpus building
and so on, that each has its own requirements for inputs and outputs.

See for example http://www.anu.edu.au/linguistics/nash/fm/flow.html

It is apparently unclear to many researchers that there is a workflow at
all, and so they want to do everything in one step, or they create files in
a format that is not then acceptable to the next tool in the chain. Ideally
there would not be this dependence on tools and their idiosyncratic
requirements, but until that day, the workflow helps lots.



Nick Thieberger

http://  http://languages-linguistics.unimelb.edu.au/thieberger *nthieberger.net
 http://nthieberger.net *

Director, *Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered
Cultures (PARADISEC)*  http://paradisec.org.au/ 

Editor, *Language Documentation & Conservation Journal *

CI in the  *Centre of Excellence for the Dynamics of Language*

        Date: Sun, 9 Oct 2016 09:02:01 +0100
        From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty at mccarty.org.uk>
        Subject: flowcharts
        In-Reply-To: <20161008061259.8F15A7F47 at digitalhumanities.org>

My thanks to the several contributors who brought into the discussion
examples and views on flowcharting. My interest in flowcharts, for what it's
worth, is not in their practical value or expressive power. (On the
expressive power of Goldstine's and von Neumann's flow diagrams, see Haigh
et al, ENIAC in Action (2016), pp. 179ff.) Rather it is in how scholars
reacted to them, esp the negative reactions, when I suppose it would have
been commonplace for programmers to sketch them during discussions.

It's quite clear from Rosenberg and Grafton, Cartographies of Time (2010),
that historians and diagramming have had a long and loving relationship.
But, I have suspected, when it came to charts of the flow of digital control
over data, the reaction would have been very different. But it seems that if
collaborating historians knew about flowcharts very rarely did they discuss
the experience in print.

There is a fortunate exception for my purposes: Gertrude Himmelfarb's "The
Two Nations or Five Classes: The Historian as Sociologist", in The New
History and the Old (1987). She reproduces (on p. 52) a very close cousin of
the programming flowchart, a diagram of the authority-structure of social
classes, and discusses it. She objects to the trajectory of thought it
represents, away from historical individuals and events to abstract models
of human behaviour -- the sort of models that could form the basis of a
program. And there in a nutshell is one of the major problems, if not the
major problem, (narrative) historians of her time had with the influence of
computing. "Model" is the keyword.

Any more examples out there?

Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/), Professor, Department of Digital
Humanities, King's College London; Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney

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