Digital Humanities Jobs by the Numbers

Desmond Schmidt of Queensland University of Technology did some data mining in the Humanist archives and compiled the following numbers for digital humanities jobs:

2002: 11
2003: 6
2004: 15
2005: 15
2006: 18
2007: 24
2008: 27 (incomplete – 1/2 year)
2009: 36
2010: 58
2011: 65 so far

Breakdown by country:
US: 133
GB: 65
CA: 35
IE: 18
DE: 13
FR: 8
IL: 3
NO: 2
NL: 2
ES: 2
AT: 1
AU: 1
BE: 1

Normalised by population:
IE: 4.0
GB: 1.051779935
CA: 1.038575668
US: 0.433224756
NO: 0.416666667
IL: 0.405405405
DE: 0.158924205
FR: 0.127795527
NL: 0.121212121
AT: 0.119047619
BE: 0.092592593
AU: 0.04587156
ES: 0.043572985

Amazon’s Low Prices Sometimes Come with a High Cost

Regular readers know that I am not only a fan of, but also a subscriber to its Prime feature. I think the company has made most of the right moves, except its digital content offerings, especially video, seem stuck in some older, uglier version of the web where a lot of the functionality you expect isn’t there and what functionality you expect requires a click that takes you to yet another page. Worse, those pages often don’t know from whence you came.

All that noted, there is always a potential dark side to human endeavors, especially in the business world where costs, by and large, don’t magically disappear, but instead get shifted somewhere. The question is always there. Americans have largely had our stagnant wages propped up through the low cost of items manufactured in other countries where wages are low and the cost of regulation, such as environmental protections, are far less.

If you are in the distribution business like Amazon, however, you have little choice but to have facilities throughout the U.S. But there is always a way to squeeze out costs. The way Amazon does it, in at least one location in Pennsylvania but one has to assume the others operate similarly, is to operate a warehouse that is not air conditioned, use temporary workers, and design a system that literally uses people up, guaranteeing they won’t stick around for a permanent position.

A local Pennsylvania paper has the complete story.

Trash bag air craft. Essentially it’s a variation of the weather balloons with digital cameras that a number of schools and individuals have lofted. This one goes the extra mile, in terms of cost savings, and figures out how to get lift out of trash bags. (Go, Manuja Gunaratne, go.)

Shipping Containers for Everything

Shipping containers, also known as intermodal transportation — because they move from ship to train to truck so readily — are emerging as a de facto standard for a lot of things. (So much so that when attempts are made to innovate in the area of shipping, you pretty have a pretty tall hurdle to jump to convince shippers to break from the standard shipping container.) Will they one day be a standard way to build a house? There’s a lot of videos on Youtube that seems to think so. Here’s one that shows a European office being built out of a container.

Digital Humanities Courses

I was lucky enough to teach our university’s first digital humanities course last year. It was a graduate-level seminar, but it was still very much an introduction. I am okay with this leveling of the playing field in the early days of our own exploration of the digital humanities domain, but I am hoping we can developing a more rigorous curriculum — well, I am hoping for a curriculum first! — in the years to come. It is with thanks, then, that I cite the following instances of digital humanities courses being offered and discussed around the web:

  • Brian Croxall has made his course’s development and deployment very public. The course itself has its own WordPress site. (This is hosted on Croxall’s own server. Surely Emory could support this?)
  • Paul Fyfe has not only taught a digital humanities course, but he had his students respond to the question “what is digital humanities?” and then made their responses public — after checking with them first. Here’s the link.


I run this site on Markdown, and I often use MultiMarkdown internally, but I really need to remember that reStructuredText is out there. Not only is it a Python project, a language that I am trying to learn, but it offers a lot of functionality. (Some would argue too much because its markup can strike some as being beyond the simple, plain text offered by something like Markdown.) Nevertheless, if I ever feel the need to increase the amount of metadata, and even some of the functionality, of my own documents, then it might be time to take the plunge.

Creating a Tilt & Shift Lens Effect with Photoshop. Very cool, and very popular right now, effect. I think I even saw it in the opening credits of the British television series Sherlock. (A must see for any fan of either the Doyle character or detective fiction.) I think I will give it a try for some of my presentation images this fall.