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Glen Worthey's blog

Why are such terrible things written about DH? Kirsch v. Kirschenbaum

Last week I read one of the latest and loudest salvos in a sad and very silly war on the digital humanities: Adam Kirsch, in The New Republic, chose to put his pugnacious piece out under not one, but two inflammatory titles: "Technology is Taking Over English Departments: The false promise of the digital humanities."  Oh, please. 

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.

The Digital Humanities on Ada Lovelace Day

Today, October 15, is Ada Lovelace Day, a day to celebrate the contributions of women in computing (and in other science and technology fields); a time to remember the nineteenth-century's fascinating and brilliant "first computer programmer" Ada Gordon Lovelace; and an excellent opportunity to praise and encourage the Adas of our day. I'm especially lucky and proud to be able to count a great number of computing women as colleagues, friends, and role models in my field.

Melissa Terras, a DH colleage at University College London, has just contributed a must-read contribution to this year's Ada Lovelace Day celebrations: "Father Busa’s Female Punch Card Operatives," an account of some of the women (with never-before-published historical photos) who contributed to the efforts of the founding father of humanities computing, Fr. Roberto Busa. If you have limited time to celebrate the day, please stop reading me and go read Melissa's essay.

Habemus websitum!

We Stanford Digital Humanists (a.k.a. DHers), scattered as we are across campus, have long talked about uniting under the banner of a collective website.  Now we have: here it is, and here we are.  

We'll highlight some of the projects we're involved in, whether completed or in progress; we'll introduce ourselves to, our interests, our activities, and our evolving organizational structure.  We use this site to announce workshops (like our upcoming <digiPrep> series for the Stanford community) and other DH activities, whether at Stanford, in the San Francisco Bay Area, or in the larger DH community.

Welcome!

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