Monthly Archives: January 2015

A cogent critique of maker culture – theatlantic.com

Debbie Chachra writes a timely critique of maker culture in today’s The Atlantic:

The cultural primacy of making, especially in tech culture—that it is intrinsically superior to not-making, to repair, analysis, and especially caregiving—is informed by the gendered history of who made things, and in particular, who made things that were shared with the world, not merely for hearth and home.

This is something digital humanists should be aware of in their rush to uncritically embrace the “more hack, less yack” ethos.

http://www.theatlantic.com/technology/archive/2015/01/why-i-am-not-a-maker/384767/

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How to find English-language fiction, poetry, and drama in HathiTrust.

The Stone and the Shell

Although methods of analysis are more fun to discuss, the most challenging part of distant reading may still be locating the texts in the first place [1].

In principle, millions of books are available in digital libraries. But literary historians need collections organized by genre, and locating the fiction or poetry in a digital library is not as simple as it sounds. Older books don’t necessarily have genre information attached. (In HathiTrust, less than 40% of English-language fiction published before 1923 is tagged “fiction” in the appropriate MARC control field.)

Volume-level information wouldn’t be enough to guide machine reading in any case, because genres are mixed up inside volumes. For instance Hoyt Long, Richard So, and I recently published an article in Slate arguing (among other things) that references to specific amounts of money become steadily more common in fiction from 1825 to 1950.

Frequency of reference to "specific amounts" of money in 7,700 English-language works of fiction. Graphics from Wickham, ggplot2 [2]. Frequency of reference to “specific amounts”…

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