Moving Into the Center: Can Digital Humanities Find Credence in Other Disciplines?

It was late 2004 and I was sitting in The Tam, a dive bar on Tremont Street in Boston, talking with a group of literary friends. There may or may not have been trivia involved. The subject of our conversation was the state of publishing and what it meant for new authors; for authors of color, for authors who focused on women’s issues, for those who were women, for authors writing about the LGBTQ community. We were authors ourselves, regularly sending out manuscripts to literary journals all over the country and, just as regularly, receiving the two-sentence rejections (if we received anything at all). It seemed that print journals were publishing less, were closing down, were opting to print those authors who would draw a crowd. They weren’t interested in taking a chance on a newbie. And it seemed the same was true for the book industry, as well.

What was to befall authors like us? Continue reading

Navigating the Labyrinth: Network Mapping with Gephi

Exactly 8 months ago, I was sitting in an office with my boss, the Dean of Academic Research at a CUNY institution, looking at a network map. We were both in awe. The College’s librarian had provided us with two PDFs — one with a white background, one with a black — of the same dataset that had been mapped in vivid colors, swirling lines, and weighted names. The dataset was a list of faculty members and how frequently their work had been cited by other scholars. It was gorgeous. Exciting (we considered using it for a project book-cover). And it meant nothing. Continue reading

All Thinking is Doing: Luck, Politics, Big Data, and the Digital Humanities

Over tea one night, my friend James was relaying an experiment he’d heard of where a research scientist decided to find out if luck was genetic. The scientist poled groups of people, asking them who the luckiest person they knew was. After doing this for some time, he managed to narrow down a group of individuals that other’s considered in possession of a higher-than-normal luck ration. Using this same process to find out who these people considered blessed, the scientist eventually ended up with a group of families that were inordinately ‘lucky’. Continue reading

A Rocky Road to Mapping – Neatline and me

We have been talking a lot about mapping, lately, and I have to say I’ve been intrigued. The implications for its use in DH are great — I can see ways of building both new perspectives for looking at content as well as pedagogical tools. And yet, the same problem that arose with TEI has presented itself here: The Neatline interface, while WYSIWYG in many ways, has quirks for which I can’t seem to find work-arounds. Continue reading

Focusing on a Key Project in Digital Humanities: Book Traces

booktracesSometimes what makes a project interesting isn’t what it is, but what it has the potential to be. This is what drove me toward exploring the (I think it’s fair to say “fledgling”) Book Traces project. Book Traces is the brain child of Andrew Stauffer, an Associate Professor in English at the University of Virginia and the Director of NINES – Nineteenth Century Scholarship Online – a DH project interesting in its own right. Continue reading