This is a very dated document that is only here for archival purposes.
The first thing we will do in this class is set up a blog. I initially imagined that each of us might be free to work with an already established infrastructure, but that makes our ability to “follow” each other too limited, difficult, or uneven – some platforms do a better job of “following” than other platforms. (I have written about platforms in various ways:here’s one post.There are many free offerings currently available but the key is to find one that will also allow us to export our data for other uses. One of our first seminars will be dedicated to establishing a parallel “digital” infrastructure for us as a group.
- We are going to be using WordPress.com, where each of us will maintain an individual blog. Like Tumblr and Facebook, WP.com users have the ability to "follow" other users, and we are going to be using that system as a way to create an on-line conversation for our seminar. For more information about WordPress.com, go here.
- Wordpress.com hosts their own tutorials.
The Larger Context I: The University
The readings for our next unit stretch across three seminars and focus on the larger context for the digital humanities themselves: that is, in approximate order, the university, its faculty, and their productions in transition. For many of you, these documents will not be the kind of thing you are used to reading in a graduate course. These are reports by and for institutions, and they are written and structured with a particular rhetoric and logic that you may find difficult and/or tedious. Keep reading. Find a way to skim the document or a section and then come back and read with more care particular passages or points that you think are important either to the document itself or to you. (And it’s important that you be able to distinguish between the two.)
Nota bene: All the links below take you to the originating sites for these documents. There are a couple of reasons for linking to these sites. First, this is proper “netiquette”: link to the content creator to be sure your audience credits them for the work. (You are always free to keep a copy for yourself somewhere in case the URL decays – more on this in class some time.) Second, I want to give you the chance to explore these sites for themselves. The links to download the PDFs may not be readily apparent on each page, but they are there, I assure you. Also, when in doubt, download the full report. Even if I indicate that you will be focusing your energy on the executive summary, you will want the full report for any references it may contain – and the full report always contains the executive summary. For our first meeting in this sequence, you will want to read the following:
- The Future of Learning Institutions in a Digital Age (John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Reports on Digital Media and Learning). Read the overview for the entities mentioned and then the rest of the chapters. *University Publishing in the Digital Age (Ithaka). Focus your efforts on the executive summary. *Assessing the Future of Scholarly Communication (UC’s Center for the Study of Higher Education). Read the executive summary, paying especial attention to the “Summary of Findings,” “Identifying Faculty Needs, and the “Introduction and Overview of the Disciplines.” In the last section, you will probably end up skimming through the various disciplines but be sure you slow down to read the sections devoted to the disciplines closest to English: History and Music.
The Larger Context II: The Humanities
In our second examination of the larger context for the digital humanities, we narrow our focus from “the university”, or “the academy,” to the humanities themselves. This time we are reading documents from the American Council of Learned Societies, to which both the American Folklore Society and the Modern Language Association belong, as well as from MLA itself. In moving from large institutions to disciplines, and their practitioners, the discussion also shifts to how those practitioners might navigate the emergent landscape being maintained/created by universities as the universities themselves try to adapt to new realities. Of course, one of the ways that universities do this is through the practitioners that people them. Don’t worry if the complexity of all this begin doesn’t make sense to you right away. Most graduate students think of themselves as apprentices to a discipline and/or a field. (We will explore domain/discpline versus field later.) There is, however, an increasing push to make graduate students more aware of themselves as novices to a practice. As such, one of the things of which you need to be aware is the reward structures for things like tenure and promotion. In order to understand the changing nature of scholarly communication, we are reading both a report from the producer’s side (MLA) as well as a report from the distributor’s side, (ARL, the Association for Research Libraries). Here are the links:<ul><li>ACLS’s Our Cultural Commonwealth</li><li>MLA’s Report from Task Force on Evaluating Scholarship for Tenure and Promotion</li><li>ARL’s Current Models of Digital Scholarly Communication</li></ul>As before, the links above do not take you directly to the downloads, so spend at least a few minutes looking around. The ARL page alone has a dozen publications listed before you get to the one we will be reading; at least scan the titles and take a peek at one or two.
The Larger Context III: The Digital Humanities
Our third and final seminar on "the larger context" brings us, at long last, to the digital humanities themselves. The first two of our readings for this seminar are from the Companion to the Digital Humanities (also listed in the Syllabus and on the Resources pages and hereafter acronymized to CDH).
- Roberto Busa's Foreword to the CDH.
- Susan Hockey's "History of Humanities Computing" (in the CDH).
- Greg Crane's "Classics and the Computer" (also in the CDH) is optional, but worth reading since its written by one of the early practitioners.
- William Pannapacker's live-blog post from the 2011 MLA. (Here is his 2009 post.)
- And here's the 2008 Brainstorm post (Brainstorm is another CHE series) by Stanley Katz that started UL-Lafayette on its way to being a part of Project Bamboo.
- Finally, just to throw a little something into our conversation, here's a recent job posting on CHE for a director of digital humanities.
- "Three Days of the Condor" (on Netflix).
- The history of PC hardware, in pictures (on Royal Pingdom).
- Errol Morris has produced a history of IBM, with music by Philip Glass: *IBM Centennial Film: They Were There - People who changed the way the world works*. It's half an hour long, but it's worth it, if only for the archival film footage.
- Timeline of Computer History (at the Computer History Museum).
- History of Computer Hardware (on Wikipedia).
- The Perseus Project.
- Simile Widgets : Timeline.
- *Literary and Linguistic Computing* (journal).
- *Computing and the Humanities* (journal, 1966-2004).
- One of the things to remember is that the web's infrastructure is itself dynamic. You may have heard about the the new standard for HTML, HTM5. I highly recommend Dive into HTML5 as a primer on what the changes are and what you can do with the new functionalities.
- And here's a terrific article from four years ago discussing HTML5 as an emergent standard: from IBM no less.
- Want to see what a website/page looks like in an older version of Internet Explorer: try it in NetRenderer.
MP3. What are these file types? What do they really look like under the surface? How do they work? Our focus in this sessions will be, quite literally, seeing for ourselves what makes up the documents on which we depend.
- Much of the academic world, and many of you, depend upon Microsoft Word, but how much do you know about the application? Wikipedia's history is a nice place to start. Pay especial attention to the discussion of Word's various file formats.
- The entry on Word mentions two alternate file formats, one now old and one still somewhat new.
- ".doc" is a file extension. Next session we are going to encounter a ".pl" extension. What does ".pl" mean? Have you thought about file extensions? It's time.
- Bring at least two files that contain documents or information that is important to you. Don't think about what file format or what document type they are. Just bring them.
- While you are at it, and you are loading up your Dropbox folder or your flash drive, why not toss some other files that you use regularly into the same directory. (The word directory is becoming more familiar to you, yes? If not, then you need to read up on it.) Some sample files from my own world:
PNG, TIFF, CR2, MP3, AAC, M4A, RTF, DOCX. (This list alone should reveal something at least one distinction to a trained eye.) List the various types of files and describe what they do, from your point of view.
- Lifehacker has polled its readers on a semi-regular basis about what text editors they use. In 2010, these were the top five. They have also echoed the coder's mantra that you need to learn how to use the command line editor vi.
- For Windows PCs the short version of the Lifehacker poll is that NotePad++, followed closely by UltraEdit andTextPad, is a perennial favorites. NotePad++ is free and open source. UltraEdit and TextPad are shareware and must be paid for at some point. (Always check on academic or student discounts.) There are many more texteditors for Windows PCs.
- For Mac PCs, the usual face off is between TextMate and BBEdit. The good folks at Bare Bones Software, makers of BBEdit, also offer a free version of the editor, with less functionality, called TextWrangler. For those who insist upon only open source software, Smultron was once open source, but is now available for the pocket gouging price of $5.
- I am less familiar with the Linux world of GUI text editors. I know Gedit and Kedit are popular in their respective desktop environments of Gnome and KDE, but I am not familiar with either one. JEdit is a cross-platform editor written in Java, obviously. I have used it, but its non-native UI makes it less user friendly to me, but I spend most of my time on a Mac PC. There's even a web-based text editor.
- For some, the answer to everything is a BATF. (See Giles Turnbull's "Living in Text Files.")
- Cory Doctorow -- and you should know who Doctorow is (Google him right now if you don't -- go ahead, I'll wait) -- posted Danny O'Brien's lovely text file that compiles his notes on, well, text files.
- Both Turnbull and Doctorow mention something called a todo.txt. There is quite a cult gathered around todo.txt -- indeed as there is around any organizational tool -- and someone has even written a CLI tool to interact with your todo.txt file.
- Go to the Markdown project page and download the script.
- Unzip the file if you need to, and then copy or move the file to this location: ~/Library/Application Support/TextWrangler/Unix Support/Unix Filters. Quit TextWrangler and then re-start it. If you click on the hash-bang menu, you should now see Markdown.pl as an option. Select some text in your document -- or all the text in your document -- and try it out.
It was actually a fascinating conversation with MoMA, as we each worked to imagine how this bequest could be useful to the museum for eternity. What might it mean when the last computer capable of recognizing OpenType is gone? What will it mean when computers as we know them are gone? How does one establish the insurance value of a typeface: not its price, but the cost of maintaining it in working order? Digital artworks are prone to different kinds of damage than physical ones, but obsolescence is no less damaging to a typeface than earthquakes and floods to a painting. On the business side there are presumably insurance underwriters who can bring complex actuarial tables to bear on the issue, but I think it's an even more provocative issue for conservators. 472 years after its completion, the frescoes of the Sistine Chapel underwent a restoration that scholars still find controversial. What might it mean for someone to freshen up our typefaces in AD 2483?XML, TEI, & YOU Now that you have learned what documents look like, it’s time for you to start making some. We will warm up with HTML, but proceed quickly to XML and the form of XML most popular among humanists, TEI. #### XML by itself is not very interesting. The real power of XML comes in what you can do with it by transforming it into other forms using XSLT. ### #### The Institute for Science, Innovation and Society (InSIS) is organising a two-day conference on 25-26 March 2011 at Saïd Business School, University of Oxford, with support from the Norwegian University of Science and Technology and the Oxford e-Social Science project. (http://www.sbs.ox.ac.uk/centres/insis/news/Pages/visualisation.aspx) Fun with Photoshop: The Invented Landscape How Design Works (or at least how it is supposed to work): http://weblog.muledesign.com/2010/12/giving_better_feedback.php CSS http://code.google.com/webfonts