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The Day of DH

Today is the Day of DH, when digital humanities practitioners try to document what a "typical day" looks like in their engagement with digital humanities. There is an official site that hosts blogs from self-identified community members and which, due to technical difficulties, I can't currently contribute to. But that gives me a moment to list the various Stanford folks who are taking part in Day of DH and highlight their blogs:

Linguistics, Philosophy, & Textual Research Librarian Jacqueline Hettel's Day of DH

Digital Humanities Librarian Glen Worthey's Day of DH

Academic Technology Specialist Jason Heppler's Day of DH

Digital Humanities Research Developer Karl Grossner's Day of DH

Digital Humanities Specialist Elijah Meeks' Day of DH

If you are at Stanford and think of yourself as doing digital humanities scholarship, let me know and I will happily add you to the list.

What Makes a Minard?

The updated ORBIS is rapidly approaching completion, and with its finishing touches comes the need to describe some of the things that it does. Most of its new functionality, such as the routes or cartograms, are from the earlier version, though with much more control given to the user in their creation. But there’s a new option, which I’ve called a Minard Diagram, that produces an inky, snakey, arterial chart out of the ORBIS network. Here is a Minard Diagram for fastest routes from Athens to the rest of the Roman World.

Literary texts and the library in the digital age, or, How library DH is made

Knigi posterThe following is a slightly edited version of an invited paper I gave at the 2013 Annual Conference of the American Library Association in Chicago. A few of the audience members asked whether I might share or post the presentation, which I’m happy to do (as well as flattered… and very tardy). It’s obviously not meant as another response to the recent OCLC report on DH centers in libraries (since it came earlier), but as I reread the talk, I see that, in some senses, it could serve as such.

It’s pretty long, so here’s the nutshell version: the digital humanities can and should make a happy home in the library, and this has been true for decades. What? – I hear some ask. – You mean to say that DH has been around for decades? Yes, – I say – and not only that, but DH has some very serious theoretical and practical forebears from almost a hundred years ago: the Russian Formalists, who even today have some important things to teach us not only about DH in general, but also about DH in the library. Oh, and (spoiler alert): Samuel L. Jackson (as Jules Winnfield) puts in a brief appearance as well.

Obi-Wan McCarty: Episode 1

At last year’s Digital Humanities conference (DH2013, in Lincoln, Nebraska), Willard McCarty received the sixth Roberto Busa Prize for Lifetime Achievement in the Digital Humanities.  Professor McCarty (henceforth just “Willard”) is Professor of Humanities Computing in the Department of Digital Humanities at King’s College London, and holds a similar faculty post at the University of Western Sydney, Australia; but he is perhaps best known as the founding and long-time editor – since 1987! – of Humanist, an “electronic seminar” of great historical and continuing current importance to the digital humanities profession and community.

Obi-Wan McCartyIn his introduction to the award and its accompanying prize lecture, U. Nebraska’s Matt Jockers offered a warm, and true, anecdote characterizing Willard as something like the Obi-Wan Kenobi of the digital humanities, and citing a long-ago conversation with me as the source of this metaphor.