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What are the digital
humanities,
and what use are they to me?
Andrew Prescott, University of Glasgow
AHRC Theme Leader Fel...
What Are The Digital
Humanities?
• This question causes great vexation, but the answer is simple,
and a good working defini...
• McCarty 1996 rev. 2013 continued:
• [Digital Humanities] seeks to define the common ground of
techniques and approaches t...
Here is surely a truth now universally acknowledged: that the whole
of our cultural inheritance has to be recurated and re...
Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0: humanitiesblast.com
What Use Are the Digital
Humanities to Me?
• A critical understanding of the resources that we now all use
• Means of scho...
11th-century Old English Life of Saint Sebastian:
London, British Library, Cotton MS. Otho B x, f. 54v
Imaging of the Beowulf manuscript using fibre optic backlighting to reveal letters and words concealed by
nineteenth-centu...
Two sets of transcripts made for
the Danish antiquary Thorkelin,
now in the Royal Library
Copenhagen, compared with the
or...
Kathryn Rudy, ' Dirty books : Quantifying
patterns of use in medieval manuscripts
using a densitometer ' Journal of Histor...
Using Micro-CT to Explore the Structure of Papyri Scrolls from Herculaneum
oldbaileyonline.org
www.connectedhistories.org
A Thousand Words: Advanced Visualisation in the Humanities
Texas Advanced Computing Center
Link: http://www.youtube.com/wa...
Virtual Paul’s Cross Project: digital re-creation of John Donne’s
Gunpowder Day Sermon, 1622:
Flyround:
https://www.youtub...
Chris Watson, ‘In St Cuthbert’s Time’: a seventh-century
soundscape of Lindisfarne
https://soundcloud.com/experimedia/chri...
http://www.meagreresource.com/other-projects/tape/
nctrc.html
Nottingham Tape Club
Letter of Gladstone to Disraeli,
1878: British Library, Add. MS.
44457, f. 166
The political and literary
papers of Gladst...
George W. Bush Presidential Library:
200 million e-mails
4 million photographs
Thomson and Craighead, Flat Earth (2007)
http://animateprojects.org/films/by_date/2007/flat_earth
Thomson and Craighead, Belief (2012)
http://animateprojects.org/films/by_date/2012/belief
What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me?
What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me?
What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me?
What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me?
What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me?
What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me?
What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me?
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What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 1 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 2 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 3 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 4 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 5 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 6 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 7 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 8 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 9 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 10 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 11 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 12 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 13 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 14 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 15 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 16 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 17 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 18 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 19 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 20 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 21 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 22 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 23 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 24 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 25 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 26 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 27 What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me? Slide 28
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Presentation to British Library doctoral training day, 23 January 2015

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What are the Digital Humanities and what use are they to me?

  1. 1. What are the digital humanities, and what use are they to me? Andrew Prescott, University of Glasgow AHRC Theme Leader Fellow for Digital Transformations British Library Doctoral Training Day 23 January 2015
  2. 2. What Are The Digital Humanities? • This question causes great vexation, but the answer is simple, and a good working definition has existed for twenty years • Willard McCarty 1996 (updated 2013): • DIGITAL HUMANITIES is an academic field concerned with the application of computing tools to humanities and arts data or their use in the creation of these data. It is methodological in nature and interdisciplinary in scope. It works at the intersection of computing with the other disciplines and focuses both on the pragmatic issues of how computing assists scholarship and teaching in these disciplines, and on the theoretical problems of shift in perspective brought about by computing.
  3. 3. • McCarty 1996 rev. 2013 continued: • [Digital Humanities] seeks to define the common ground of techniques and approaches to data, and how scholarly processes may be understood and mechanised. It studies the sociology of knowledge as this is affected by computing as well as the fundamental cognitive problem of how we know what we know. • Within the institution, digital humanities is manifested in teaching, research, and service. The subject itself is taught, as well as its particular application to another discipline at the invitation of the home department. Practitioners of humanities computing conduct their own research as well as participate by invitation in the projects of others. They take as a basic responsibility collegial service, assisting colleagues in their work and collaborating with them in the training of students.     
  4. 4. Here is surely a truth now universally acknowledged: that the whole of our cultural inheritance has to be recurated and reedited in digital forms and institutional structures. But as the technology of cultural memory shifts from bibliographical to digital machines, a difficult question arises: what do we do with the books? This is a problem for society at large and many people are working at it, none more assiduously than certain expert persons, often technicians. Highly skilled and motivated as they are, book history and the complex machinery of books fall outside their professional expertise. Humanist scholars, the long-recognised monitors of cultural memory, register a problem in this situation. For humanist thinking has been shaped by the institutions and technology of books. Jerome McGann, The New Republic of Letters (2014), p. 1
  5. 5. Digital Humanities Manifesto 2.0: humanitiesblast.com
  6. 6. What Use Are the Digital Humanities to Me? • A critical understanding of the resources that we now all use • Means of scholars contributing to the renegotiation of the cultural record described by McGann • The computer is a universal machine, so its potential to support the study of the humanities is potentially boundless (text, numbers, images, reconstructions, sound, film, etc., etc), although humanities poses questions about the limits of computation • There are a number of standard methods in digital humanities (eg Text Encoding Initiative) which should be used as matter of efficiency and good manners, but digital humanities is much much more than this • DH is pluralistic, multi-faceted, experimental, and constantly on the lookout for new insights from STEM and elsewhere
  7. 7. 11th-century Old English Life of Saint Sebastian: London, British Library, Cotton MS. Otho B x, f. 54v
  8. 8. Imaging of the Beowulf manuscript using fibre optic backlighting to reveal letters and words concealed by nineteenth-century conservation work
  9. 9. Two sets of transcripts made for the Danish antiquary Thorkelin, now in the Royal Library Copenhagen, compared with the original manuscript
  10. 10. Kathryn Rudy, ' Dirty books : Quantifying patterns of use in medieval manuscripts using a densitometer ' Journal of Historians of Netherlandish Art , vol 2 (2010) , no. 1-2 , pp. 1-26
  11. 11. Using Micro-CT to Explore the Structure of Papyri Scrolls from Herculaneum
  12. 12. oldbaileyonline.org
  13. 13. www.connectedhistories.org
  14. 14. A Thousand Words: Advanced Visualisation in the Humanities Texas Advanced Computing Center Link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kvOuJ2RwBTA
  15. 15. Virtual Paul’s Cross Project: digital re-creation of John Donne’s Gunpowder Day Sermon, 1622: Flyround: https://www.youtube.com/watch? v=rdt0yCbvyHg&feature=youtu.be Acoustics: http://vpcp.chass.ncsu.edu/listen-from-the-cross-yard/
  16. 16. Chris Watson, ‘In St Cuthbert’s Time’: a seventh-century soundscape of Lindisfarne https://soundcloud.com/experimedia/chris-watson-in-st- cuthberts
  17. 17. http://www.meagreresource.com/other-projects/tape/ nctrc.html Nottingham Tape Club
  18. 18. Letter of Gladstone to Disraeli, 1878: British Library, Add. MS. 44457, f. 166 The political and literary papers of Gladstone preserved in the British Library comprise 762 volumes containing approx. 160,000 documents.
  19. 19. George W. Bush Presidential Library: 200 million e-mails 4 million photographs
  20. 20. Thomson and Craighead, Flat Earth (2007) http://animateprojects.org/films/by_date/2007/flat_earth
  21. 21. Thomson and Craighead, Belief (2012) http://animateprojects.org/films/by_date/2012/belief

Presentation to British Library doctoral training day, 23 January 2015

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