Here is another thoughtful article, this time from The Chronicle of Higher Education, about the need to theorize the role of software in digital media, especially the way users interact with digital materials (the article is linked below). Although not the major point of the article, the author Lev Manovich makes an interesting observation about digital humanities:
Over the past few years, a growing number of scholars in the digital humanities have started to use computational tools to analyze large sets of static digitized cultural artifacts, such as 19th-century novels or the letters of Enlightenment thinkers. They follow traditional humanities approaches—looking at the cultural objects (rather than peoples’ interaction with these objects). What has changed is the scale, not the method.
Instead, Manovich argues that “peoples’ interaction with these objects” — not documents, but performances–is the data of the future, and software not only makes new sorts of interactions possible, it is also the means for tracking and analyzing those interactions.
via The Algorithms of Our Lives – The Chronicle Review – The Chronicle of Higher Education.
Miriam Posner, coordinator of the digital humanities program at the University of California at Los Angeles, posts some cautionary remarks at Inside Higher Ed regarding the future of alt-ac jobs: some cautions I had not necessarily considered. The entire article is linked below:
But I do hope to give you pause as you consider what a university would look like if it were populated by many more people like me: flexible employees, carrying out a great deal of administrative work, whose time is managed by someone else, who do research when they can carve out the time, whose work belongs to someone else, and who have no voice in faculty governance. The picture begins to look a lot like a corporation. These alt-ac gigs can be great jobs, but they differ in some fundamental ways from faculty jobs as they have been traditionally understood — and not because we’re doing different work, but because we’re doing that work on very different terms. I think we begin to see why so many administrators have embraced the alt-ac model, and why we need to ask ourselves whether this is the future we want for scholarly labor.
Read more: http://www.insidehighered.com/advice/2013/12/04/essay-asks-whether-alt-ac-careers-are-really-solution-academic-jobs-shortage#ixzz2obdZa6C0
Inside Higher Ed
The current issue of Digital Humanities Quarterly examines definitions and understandings of “The Literary” as inflected by the digital humanities.
Digital data and databases have become indisputable resources for literary study, not just for archival research but also literary interpretation, and the amount of data available in text form — think Google Books, Project Gutenberg, and UPenn’s Online Books Page — continues to grow at an astonishing rate. Big data is big news, and visualizations have attracted the attention of those usually focused on text. This situation begs the questions: What constitutes literary data, and what is the role of the literary in the digital humanities? These questions inspire this special issue of the DHQ.
DHQ: Digital Humanities Quarterly: The Literary And/As the Digital Humanities.
Conrad First: Home Page.
Here is another fascinating digital collection, this time on the works of Joseph Conrad as they were first published in periodicals, by the English Department at Upsalla University.