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Decoding digital humanities #2 London

By Claire S Ross, on 13 April 2010

Wow, what a night that was. Discussions centred around the paper by Michael Mateas’ ‘Procedural Literacy – Educating the New Media Practitioner’ which suggests that procedural literacy is necessary for new media researchers, because without understanding the behind the scenes of the screen or programme, researchers will never be able to deeply read new media work.
This idea provoked some very interesting and lively discussion focusing around;

Is programming a language? Or is this a misleading term?

  • If you can’t learn the language should you learn the processes behind the language?
  • How can academia combat the science/humanities divide? And should it?
  • Is online publishing a red herring?
  • How do you manage or balance traditional methods with digital methods? Should you?
  • Can you ever be procedural literate if you don’t have any training in computer science?

And the most relevant question: do you need to understand programming to work in new media and digital humanities? what benefit could being procedural literate have? This was difficult to answer and I don’t think we reached a consensus around the table.
I for one (clairey_ross) would be really interested to know anyone’s thoughts on whether you think digital humanities scholars being able to programme or at least being taught to understand the historiography and theory behind programming would make researchers in a digital age?
We also came on to the idea of what Digital Humanities actually is; a definition which appears to remain illusive. We discussed the idea of online publishing; what do people mean when they talk about humanities; is the move to digital a superficial change? Ruth has posted her review of the DDH evening on her blog finds and features, she raises some interesting points following on from the excellent question raised during the evening ‘how much impact is the Digital Humanities really having‘, ‘how fast is the world really changing‘ and ‘is the current digital revolution really all that?‘, its well worth a read.

4 Responses to “Decoding digital humanities #2 London”

  • 1
    Discussions on Digital Humanities – #UCLDH « Finds and Features wrote on 13 April 2010:

    […] Discussions on Digital Humanities – #UCLDH 12 April, 2010 — findsandfeatures Tonight I visited the pub for the monthly meeting ‘Decoding Digital Humanities’ [#DDH] run by the UCL Digital Humanities Centre (or soon-to-be centre) [@UCLDH].  The general theme of the meeting is to try and explore ideas of ‘digital humanities’, with a side-order of ‘what should the centre do’ and an article to discuss to kick things off. Meeting in the top room of a pub was great and informal enough that I didn’t find it intimidating. Definate thanks go out to the UCLDHers for the organisation and planning. [edit – You can find a piece on the night on the UCLDH blog here] […]

  • 2
    RuthFT wrote on 13 April 2010:

    Thanks – I did enjoy the evening. I’m rather sad it looks like I’ll be missing next months meeting, as I’m at a conference that week. But it might be quieter without me 😉

  • 3
    clairey_ross wrote on 13 April 2010:

    Glad you enjoyed it! Thank you very much for coming. Sorry that you will miss next months meeting, but there will be tweets and blog post so you wont miss out.

  • 4
    Richard Lewis wrote on 19 April 2010:

    Posted some comments on my blog: http://ironchicken.livejournal.com/17758.html.

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