Mdst3703 2013-10-08-thematic-research-collections

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Mdst3703 2013-10-08-thematic-research-collections

  1. 1. Thematic Research Collections Prof. Alvarado MDST 3703 8 October 2013
  2. 2. Business • Quizzes being graded—hopefully back by Studio
  3. 3. Review • Ayer’s essay, “The Differences Slavery Made,” was an attempt to create a new kind of scholarly writing • I think it does not meet that goal, but it moves us along the path • Today, we explore other attempts to create a new kind of scholarly writing
  4. 4. To understand these other attempts, we need to understand the “problem” they are addressing
  5. 5. Review • Traditionally, historians represent history by means of narratives with footnotes and figures • But such “fixed” narratives are not adequate to capture the complexity of history • Also, with networked digital media, we can go beyond footnotes and figures and incorporate whole resources • But replacing the traditional text is very hard to do
  6. 6. Why is it so hard to create new forms of historical (and scholarly) writing?
  7. 7. One reason is that we are not simply replacing a way of writing – we are replacing an entire social system of organizing information
  8. 8. For example, is this a kind of text?
  9. 9. What about this?
  10. 10. [Library of Babel]
  11. 11. This – the MEMEX – is an attempt to overcome the complexity of information
  12. 12. Is this a portable library or a book? [Talmud]
  13. 13. Libraries and books are not distinct—they form a single informational system based on print technology
  14. 14. This is a map of one such system • Trivium – Grammar – Rhetoric – Logic • Quadrivium – Arithmetic – Geometry – Music – Astronomy Does this not form the plan of a library?
  15. 15. [Berners-Lee’s diagram] This is another system, introduced by digital media
  16. 16. So, hypertext blurs the distinction between documents and libraries It opens up a docuverse, a vast intertext within which a text is a node The library is one big document Every document is a little library
  17. 17. This is what McGann means by “Radiant Textuality” We move from books and libraries to hypertexts and networks
  18. 18. This fact that books are nodes in a network makes them flexible, open, unfinished These properties open up new “critical opportunities”
  19. 19. Criticism = Scholarship
  20. 20. Scholarly Primitives • A list of irreducible “functions” associated with the activities of scholarship – Discovering Annotating Comparing Referring Sampling Illustrating Representing – Basic “moves” in the game of scholarship – Compare to the Memex Man • Discusses interfaces designed at IATH to meet these needs • Where do they belong in our scheme? – Selection  Classification  Synthesis
  21. 21. Synthesis Classification Selection Secondary Sources Primary Sources Collections Activities The Stack of Scholarship Discovering Annotating Comparing Referring Sampling Illustrating Representing
  22. 22. http://digitalscholarship.wordpress.com/2008/08/11/doing-digital-scholarship-presentation-at- digital-humanities-2008/
  23. 23. So, even though the informational system has changed, we have similar goals We still want to do scholarship— research, discovery, interpretation
  24. 24. The goal then is to replace the system of books and libraries— “the laboratory of the humanities” —with something else What “genre” of hypertext has emerged since the early 1990s, with works like the Valley of the Shadow?
  25. 25. Thematic Research Collections
  26. 26. What is a thematic research collection? How exactly is it different from a traditional library?
  27. 27. TRCs overcome the problem that libraries scatter content They consolidate content
  28. 28. Features of the TRC • electronic • heterogeneous datatypes • extensive but thematically coherent • structured but open-ended • research oriented • authored or multi-authored • interdisciplinary • collections of digital primary resources
  29. 29. Convergences and Effects • They coincide with the move away from theory and toward historicism (McGann) • They produce a renewed focus on the materiality of text • They achieve “contextual mass” • They force collaboration and inter- disciplinarity • They become laboratories for research
  30. 30. Contextual Mass Instead of building large collections, “digital research libraries should be systematically collecting sources and developing tools that work together to provide a supportive context for the research process.”
  31. 31. Contextual mass = Connectivity among parts to support scholarly primitives
  32. 32. Let’s look at some examples and see how they stack up Do they achieve contextual mass? Do they support the scholarly primitives?
  33. 33. The Rosetti Archive
  34. 34. The Rossetti Archive • One of two original IATH projects • Focused on the works the Pre-Raphaelite poet and painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti (1828– 1882) – Art history and literary criticism • Innovations – Improved search (cross-site) – Bread crumbs
  35. 35. Getting to Bocca Baciata • Find the painting, Bocca Baciata • Search “image records” • What do you do when you get there? Bocca Baciata 1859
  36. 36. Questions • How is the collection organized? • How connected are things? • How does the site support scholarly activity?
  37. 37. Answers • How is the site organized? – The site is organized as a traditional database – Search, List, Display – Not much different than a library • How connected are things? – Not really – texts and images remain separate – Easy to find things if you know what you are looking for • Does it support scholarly activity?
  38. 38. The Blake Archive • Example of networked fellows at IATH – Morris Eaves, University of Rochester – Robert Essick, University of California, Riverside – Joseph Viscomi, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill • Known for – Image fidelity – Image search (iconographic classification)
  39. 39. Getting to Tyger • Find illustrations of “Tyger” • What do you do or find when you get there? • How is the site structured?
  40. 40. Questions • How is the collection organized? • How connected are things? • How does the site support scholarly activity?
  41. 41. Answers • How is the site organized? – Again, as organized as a traditional database – Search, List, Display – Separation of content types • How connected are things? – Texts and images remain separate – List of figures is potentially useful • Does it support scholarly activity? – Provides very useful tool for comparing images
  42. 42. Other Sites • World of Dante • Tibetan Himalayan Library • A House Divided • History of African Americans in Medicine
  43. 43. Some General Observations • Most TRCs are organized on the metaphor of the library – Organized by medium – Search works if you know what you are looking for – Getting to an item finishes the process • Some introduce other devices – Ontologies, maps, etc. • Still a lot of room for development!
  44. 44. Structure of TDSM • Geography • Politics – Election of 1860 – Political activtivists • Economics – Commerce – Crops – Labor – Property • Social structure • Race • Culture – Religion – Education (“school”) – Urbanization (“Town Development”) • Information and communications Historiography Points of Analysis Evidence Summary of Argument VOS Categories

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