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Decoding Digital Humanities London is back!

By Claire S Ross, on 26 January 2012

Decoding Digital Humanities London (DDHL) is back and it is bigger than ever! The series was founded at here at UCLDH  and has now grown to include a larger number of institutions across London. PhD, MA students and staff at UCL, King’s College London and Goldmisth’s University of London are amongst the organizers this year.  It’s going to be great to see what all the new faces and perspectives bring to the conversation.

DDH is a series of informal monthly meetups ( in the pub of course) for anyone interested in research at the intersection of computational technologies and the humanities. These gatherings provide an opportunity to discuss readings and raise questions, but also to chat and share ideas with others in the field of digital humanities.

The first meeting  of 2012  will be on: 31st January at 6.30pm

Location: The Plough (upstairs), 27 Museum st, WC1A 1LH.

The topic up for discussion is the Digital Humanities Manifesto

Hope to see you there!

DDH #11 Coming up on 23rd March

By Claire S Ross, on 7 March 2011

The next DDH, number 11, will be held on the 23rd March.  The topic of this Decoding Digital Humanities will involve discussions about “A Day in the Life of Digital Humanities 2011”.

Start: Mar 23, 2011 5:30:00 PM

End: Mar 23, 2011 7:30:00 PM

Location: G24, Foster Court, UCL

A Day in the Life of Digital Humanities (Day of DH 2011) is a project documenting a day of computing humanists around the world on March 18th, 2011. More details about Day of DH 2011 can be found at: http://tapor.ualberta.ca/taporwiki/index.php/Day_in_the_Life_of_the_Digital_Humanities_2011.

You can get a feel about what some of the UCLDH team got up to last year here.  We want to hear peoples experiences, who took part and why.  Is it a good project, how could it be expanded?

There is also a reading:

Rockwell et al 2010: A Day in the Life of Digital Humanities. Digital Humanities 2010. (pp.208-211). London: Office for Humanities Communication. in HTML, PDF,or  XML

We have also decided to change locations of DDH.  The Wheatsheaf was incredibly noisy, despite it serving a decent pint, we couldn’t hear ourselves think. So we shall be trying inside UCL for a change.  Foster Court has a new Common Room, with lovely red sofas.  Wine will be provided!

Hope to see you there.

DDH London #9

By Claire S Ross, on 4 November 2010

Due to the Jeremy Bentham pub becoming too noisy during previous meet ups, we have changed location to the Wheatsheaf and also have had to ammend the date slightly.  DDH is now on Monday 29th November.

Hopefully the Wheatdheaf will prove to be a good location for our Meet ups, lets find out on the 29th!

Topic: Second Life in Higher Education
Date: Monday, 29th November 2010
Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Location: The Wheatsheaf, 25 Rathbone Place, London W1T 1JB (map)

Reading: Warburton, S. 2009. Second Life in higher education: Assessing the potential for and the barriers to deploying virtual worlds in learning and teaching

Hope to see you there!

DDH London #8

By Claire S Ross, on 5 October 2010

The next Decoding Digital Humanities meetup will be held on:

Date: Tuesday, 19th October 2010
Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Location: Jeremy Bentham pub, 31 University Street, London, WC1E 6JL (map)

This month’s topic is Virtual Research Environments.

The reading is: Alexander Voss, Rob Procter, (2009). Virtual research environments in scholarly work and communications.

Hope to see you there!

If you cannot make this date but are interested in future meetings, you can join the the DDH e-list!

DDH #7 London debrief

By Claire S Ross, on 23 September 2010

Last night we were discussing Alan Liu’s 2003 paper entitled The Humanities: A Technical Profession. Lui raises questions about the concept of Knowledge, of protocols, organisation and information behaviour and the institutional nature of the humanities.  Liu discusses in his paper,  the idea that humanities scholars are now “knowledge workers” and that a distinguishing feature of “knowledge work” is that it is governed by a set of common norms and values in institutional, disciplinary, communicational, and technical protocols.  This raised questions from the group because it was felt that formal norms and values systems are often difficult to apply to humanities research.  This led on to a discussion about what constitutes ‘excellence’ in digital humanities work, as often it is not as quantifiable as ‘pure’ science or computer science.

The discussion raised some very interesting questions with the group and then sparked some lively discussions on twitter.

Here are some of the questions we raised:

  • Is there a distinction between research and scholarship?
  • Is technology infrastructure like communism? Good idea but actually really prescriptive on the community?
  • Digitised humanities vs born digital humanities. who would win? Is there a difference?
  • Difference between applying techniques and DH scholarship. What is actually different?
  • Is IT now defunct? Would we ever use it as a term now? What for?
  • Why do we separate practioners and academics?
  • Is humanities actually a science?
  • Why do we have so many names and awkward phrases for DH are they different? Is e-humanities the same as DH?
  • Evolved semantics? Does it not mean the same thing as it always did?
  • Should Programming be mandatory for humanities students?
  • Ideas of commodity causing problems in DH?
  • Is Language as a tool taken for granted?
  • How do we identify excellence in digital humanities scolarship?

A selection of the tweets:

In response to: is technology infrastructure like communism?

sdbeck: Technology infrastructure is only prescriptive when its governed by IT staff, not by end users. User governance works.

clairey_ross: does user governance always work? Wikipedia for example I find quite prescriptive

sdbeck: Wel, Wikipedia might be seen as user-governance run amok. Too many cooks in the kitchen.

sdbeck: On the other hand, if the cyberinfrastructure is only run by technical folks, you only get the tools they understand.

clairey_ross: Is there a non amok example of ‘good’ user governance?

sdbeck: I’m thinking more along the lines of core infrastructures (wikis) not specific applications (wikipedia).

sdbeck: wikipedia is proscriptive because it wants to force consistency and standardization. but Dublin Core gives authors ability to develop their own tools, with guides for interoperability.

imagine if all wikis could readily share data without centralization.

Ajprescott: it is striking how in v capitalist countries (USA, japan) the electrical and other infrastructure is v ramshackle.

In response to: should programming be mandatory for humanities students?

PatParslow: A knowledge of programming or software design should probably be mandatory. Don’t need to be software engineers tho, surely?

benbull: “Programming should be mandatory for humanities students? #ddh” -I disagree. because IMHO programming is a discipline which takes years to learn to do well, and that’s if you’re is CS grad. it’s the principles which take the years to perfect, languages come and go. I do see your point, but I just don’t agree.

SdFunkyChick : no, it shouldn’t. I see programming as a particular set of skills & interpretation of humanities subject fields that not everyone can easily get. I see the programming in humanities as a speciality in the field which compliments research by providing tools but … Whether this should be taught to students as compulsory part of their studies, I’m not convinced

In response to: Is IT now defunct? Would we ever use it as a term now? What for?

PatParslow: Technology related to information. I would use it to describe such things, but not what I do, I don’t *do* nouns, per se

re ‘doing’ IT; do you *do* DH? Or do you do things in the conceptual domain of DH?

SimonTanner: sometimes the problem is that we feel IT or DH is “done” to us rather than us doing it ;o)

PatParslow: Does DH take similar grammatical role to “washing up” or “aerobics” there? So it is an activity (a nounal verb??)

SimonTanner: I make my living from IT & DH! But _sometimes_ it’s done cos it’s bright & shiny not cos it benefits R&D outcomes. thus always must focus in on the scholarly benefits & outcomes rather than the tech for tech sake.

PatParslow: you often cannot know what affordances the shiny gives until you play with it. Pedagogy first is rather strange

SimonTanner: research desires objectives – if is “let’s play with tech and see what happens” great, but still needs stating

pedagogy is teaching focussed not research. Research objectives are not in conflict w process of discovery

PatParslow: Pedagogical objectives better not be in conflict with process of discovery either!

SimonTanner: Tech is merely a tool & as such must serve our objectives not dominate them. My concern is dominate = bad research

PatParslow: Research methods, pedagogy – both also only tools (and, indeed technologies)

ernestopriego:…but ‘tech’ can be the object of study itself *and* the tool to study it…

PatParslow: I prefer not to elevate pedagogy (or Res methods) above other tools. Though I may be influenced by shiny 🙂

We raised a lot of questions, if anyone has any answers to them please do let us know.

DDH #7 London

By Claire S Ross, on 8 September 2010

The next Decoding Digital Humanities meetup will be held on:

Date: Tuesday, 21th September 2010
Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Location: Jeremy Bentham pub, 31 University Street, London, WC1E 6JL (map)

This months topic has been suggested by Richard Lewis: The Humanities: A Technical Profession

The reading is: Lui, A. 2003. The Humanities: A Technical Profession

Hope to see you there!

If you cannot make this date but are interested in future meetings, you can join the the DDH e-list!

DDH #6 London

By Claire S Ross, on 4 August 2010

The next Decoding Digital Humanities meetup will be held on:

Date: Tuesday, 24th August 2010
Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm
Location: Jeremy Bentham pub, 31 University Street, London, WC1E 6JL (map)

This months topic has been suggested by John Levin: The free software movement

Richard Stallman’s The GNU Project

and The General Public License

These texts build on the DDH #4’s discussion on Eric Raymond’s The Cathedral and the Bazaar, but are less about the process of coding, and more on the programmer in the world.

To read more about John’s selection please visit his blog.

Hope to see you there!

If you cannot make this date but are interested in future meetings, you can join the the DDH e-list!

DDH tweets

By Claire S Ross, on 24 June 2010

Monday night saw our Decoding with a twist meet up.  There had been a lot of discussion following the Launch of the Centre for Digital Humanities so we followed it up. Setting three readings which looked at  the value and differences between paid for and free content and software.  What does copyright, paywalls, and open source mean for the Humanities, educational institutions and cultural content?

Many thanks to all who came, including the lovely students from the Pratt Institute School of Information and Library Science, New York who are taking part in the DIS e-publishing Summer School.

The topic provoked quite a lot of discussion and the majority was captured by the wonderful Ernesto Priego producing a real time tweet account of the disscussion. Ernesto has kindly allowed us to reproduce his Twitter feed here in order to provide a view of the discussion.

I have used Twapper Keeper to capture the tweets, which is a brilliant service, but it seems the times of tweets are a bit out of sync, but the content remains the same.

ernestopriego The hashtag for Decoding Digital Humanities is #ddh Mon Jun 21 01:45:52 +0000 2010
ernestopriego The crew gets together at the Jeremy Bentham pub… #ddh Mon Jun 21 01:45:54 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Academia 2.0 at #ddh @UCLDH http://twitpic.com/1yrr6d Mon Jun 21 01:45:55 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Participants introducing themselves. #ddh Mon Jun 21 03:15:52 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Computer science art history library science humanities all well represented at #ddh Mon Jun 21 03:15:57 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@kathrynpiquette introduces the first topic on copyright and open access. How are information and creativity made available? #ddh Mon Jun 21 04:45:57 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Difference between open source and free content explained #ddh Mon Jun 21 04:45:59 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@melissaterras on the myth that creating content is cheap/free #ddh Mon Jun 21 04:46:00 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@clhw1 a real problem with the lack of model to keep content available #ddh Mon Jun 21 04:46:02 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@clhw1: commercial resources are available but the academic resources are not #ddh Mon Jun 21 04:46:03 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@clhw1: we need a model to update digital content #ddh Mon Jun 21 05:46:04 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Questions of license and money need to be addressed #ddh Mon Jun 21 05:46:05 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .kathrynpiquette on the models of the cathedral and the bazaar; cites the Bentham project directed by @melissaterras #ddh Mon Jun 21 05:46:09 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@clhw1: at the moment cultural organisations do not see digital preservation/curation as part of their responsibilities #ddh Mon Jun 21 07:46:03 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Who gets the money from publishing in academic journals? #ddh Mon Jun 21 07:46:04 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Should scholars charge for the peer review process? [do they?] #ddh Mon Jun 21 07:46:06 +0000 2010
ernestopriego [Journalists panicking about lack of new business models for journalism but scholarly publishing seems in more trouble! #ddh] Mon Jun 21 09:16:01 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Very interesting discussion about the future of journalism and new business models for digital publishing in #ddh Mon Jun 21 09:16:03 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Refreshment break! #ddh Mon Jun 21 09:16:04 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Ale-sourcing the Digital Humanities @UCLDH #ddh http://twitpic.com/1ys4u2 Mon Jun 21 09:16:06 +0000 2010
ernestopriego At #ddh @clairey_ross @lewisrichard @tiedeu @virtualdutch @schopflin @janrito @melissaterras @clhw1 @caitefa @babeelibrarian @volume_knob Mon Jun 21 09:16:07 +0000 2010
ernestopriego At #ddh @bravadoavocado @briansuldo @kathrynpiquette Mon Jun 21 10:46:13 +0000 2010
ernestopriego and of course @simon_mahony ! #ddh Mon Jun 21 10:46:15 +0000 2010
ernestopriego RT @anterotesis: @ernestopriego and @anterotesis is at #ddh Mon Jun 21 11:46:03 +0000 2010
ernestopriego RT @anterotesis @ernestopriego and @anterotesis is at #ddh <–yes! 🙂 Mon Jun 21 12:15:56 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Now discussing ways in which publishers and scholars can collaborate #ddh Mon Jun 21 12:15:57 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Thinking @ChandosTweets would have lots to say in this conversation! #ddh Mon Jun 21 13:30:02 +0000 2010
ernestopriego …and between librarians archivists and scholars #ddh Mon Jun 21 13:57:38 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@simon_mahony on the ironies of academic libraries the cutting of funds for e-journals e-journals seen as peripheric publications #ddh Mon Jun 21 14:20:23 +0000 2010
ernestopriego We need an academic pirate bay! -@anterotesis  #ddh Mon Jun 21 14:23:12 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@clhw1 on manuscript circulation in the 16th century a social networking #ddh Mon Jun 21 14:42:48 +0000 2010
ernestopriego RT @canadiancat: @ernestopriego I feel as if I’m missing out on something #ddh. The pace of work has been busy and tweeting has slowed v … Mon Jun 21 15:15:52 +0000 2010
ernestopriego How do public libraries deal with the transition to digital? #ddh Mon Jun 21 15:15:54 +0000 2010
ernestopriego RT @epriani: RT @ernestopriego: We need an academic pirate bay! -@anterotesis  #ddh  // si… Mon Jun 21 15:15:55 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@simon_mahony on the flawed logic of News Corp #ddh Mon Jun 21 15:18:25 +0000 2010
ernestopriego #ddh now on the disappearance of books hops and records shops Mon Jun 21 16:18:51 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Now media specificity is discussed… the role of experience #ddh Mon Jun 21 16:19:26 +0000 2010
ernestopriego ‘the more you digitise the more you want to see the real object’ -@clhw1 #ddh Mon Jun 21 16:43:38 +0000 2010
ernestopriego What are all the other values not just the monetary value we give to content? -@kathrynpiquette #ddh Mon Jun 21 16:46:16 +0000 2010
ernestopriego The http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Research_Assessment_Exercise now discussed #ddh Mon Jun 21 16:53:10 +0000 2010
ernestopriego The http://www.hefce.ac.uk/research/ref/ discussed #ddh Mon Jun 21 16:56:04 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@simon_mahony: irony of citation metrics: ‘if I disagree with you if I cite you your ranking will go up’ #ddh Mon Jun 21 16:57:22 +0000 2010
ernestopriego the different temporality of citation in the humanities and the sciences #ddh Mon Jun 21 16:58:29 +0000 2010
ernestopriego .@virtualdutch now on ‘Publish or Perish’ based on Google Scholar http://www.harzing.com/pop.htm #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:00:16 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Summarising the discussion now #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:00:31 +0000 2010
ernestopriego How accessible is what we do? #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:01:57 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Separation between media concerns and looking at the commercial model and how to find a middle ground #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:02:41 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Do we need to find a way to monetise more what we do? #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:03:46 +0000 2010
ernestopriego How will we deal with government cuts to research? We need commercial money. #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:06:22 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Sources of revenue combined with saving money -@clhw1 #ddh Mon 21 Jun 2010 17:07:58 +0000
ernestopriego Getting commercial funding does not mean you will be unethical. #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:12:24 +0000 2010
ernestopriego We must not assume humanities people only consume technology; digital humanities exists because we can teach scientists things #ddh Mon 21 Jun 2010 17:16:27 +0000
ernestopriego That last tweet was a quote from -@clhw1 #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:17:47 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Digital humanities is not useless. People need to know that. XML. MS Windows. Invented by Digital Humanities. #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:21:44 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Physics and digital humanities. Archeology and digital humanities. Factual realities. Very useful research. #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:25:09 +0000 2010
ernestopriego We need to know how much the humanities contribute to the general economy. #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:27:08 +0000 2010
ernestopriego We cannot quantify everything that we call culture. #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:36:21 +0000 2010
ernestopriego The cultural value of what we do needs to be articulated. We have to learn to demonstrate it. #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:40:17 +0000 2010
ernestopriego In digital humanities we CAN communicate the positive economic and intangible value of what we do -@clhw1 #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:41:33 +0000 2010
ernestopriego @samplereality never underestimate the power of the tweet #hackacad #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:42:03 +0000 2010
ernestopriego Decoding Digital Humanities is every month; started in February this year. Follow @UCLDH and #ddh for updates. Mon Jun 21 17:42:29 +0000 2010
ernestopriego RT @SimonTanner: @ernestopriego Higher Ed as a whole generates £59 billion for UK economy and about 680000 jobs – thus Humanities a big chunk of impact #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:43:01 +0000 2010
ernestopriego RT @mwidner: RT @ernestopriego: [Don’t] assume humanities ppl only consume technology; digital humanities exists b/c we can teach scientists things #ddh Mon Jun 21 17:43:24 +0000 2010

Decoding Digital Humanities #4

By Claire S Ross, on 3 June 2010

The next Decoding Digital Humanities meet up will be held on 21st June, 2010.

Decoding with a twist

There is a slight twist to this meet up.  There has been a lot of discussion following the Launch of the Centre for Digital Humanities so we are following it up! We are going to focus on the value and differences between paid for and free content and software.  What does copyright, paywalls, and open source mean for the Humanities, educational institutions and cultural content?

As before, we have assigned some reading to provide a focus for our discussions:

Murdoch, J. 2010. Tomorrow’s Humanities: Lecture for the launch of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities

Or you can watch the webcast here

Raymond, E.S. 2005. The Cathedral and the Bazaar

McCracken, R. 2006. Cultural responses to open licences and the accessibility and usability of open educational resources.

Date: Monday, 21st June 2010

Time: 5.30pm – 7.30pm

Location: Jeremy Bentham pub, 31 University Street, London, WC1E 6JL (map)

This event is open to UCL staff and students, and their guests. RSVP is appreciated but not required. If you cannot make this date but are interested in future events, you can subscribe to the Decoding DH mailing list or send us a quick email .

Decoding digital humanities #3 London: the round up

By Claire S Ross, on 11 May 2010

Salina Christmas suggested the idea of technoromanticism
Coyne, R., “Introduction” pp. 2-15 and “Ch. 1 Digital Utopias” pp. 19-45 in Technoromanticism: digital narrative, holism, and the romance of the real
Coyne suggests how narratives about the technology, computers are grounded in Enlightenment and romanticism.  He suggests that because of these digital narratives, discourse about technology is subject to similar critiques of romanticism.  This raises ideas about unity, multiplicity and the concept of a Digital utopia.

Unfortunately I was a bit late to the meetup – so I missed about half of the discussion, so if anyone wants to fill me and others in about what I missed that would be great.
When I got there, the discussion was focusing on Pink Floyd and the changes in the way we listen and share music; whether it is a ‘you’ or a ‘we’ exercise. We then moved on to multiplicity on the internet and the construction of multiple identities.

Questions were raised about the idea of the digital culture producing mediocrity and a lack of talent. Causing digital collectives emerging in London?  Suggesting that Technoromantism is a reaction to “the man” , a break away from the constraints provided by an increasingly standardised digital output.  Predominately using visualisations and images rather than text.

This then brought us on to the blending of the digital world with the analog world. Why when told the story about a man who embedded a RDFI chip into the palm of his hand to make his life easier, does it cause a negative reaction?    Do we need those digital identifiers? Is this the next step? Is resistance futile? Are we too far down the digital track?

Finally we discussed gold farming.  Now I hadn’t heard the term before. But is it really economically viable to sell digital games goods in the real world? It sounds bizarre, but its being done.

There is an interesting  Working paper:
Current Analysis and Future Research Agenda on “Gold Farming”: Real-World Production in Developing Countries for the Virtual Economies of Online Games
Which is part of the Development Informatics series at the University of Manchester. Well worth a read.