Posts Tagged ‘digital humanities’

  • Archives, Media and Scholarship


    I’m interested in looking at media-based geo-location software such as WhatWasThere and Broadcastr in order to explore how scholarly research can be enhanced with online visual and audio collections. In addition, new developments in archiving and digital exhibits are moving traditional finding aids and “back room” scholarship onto the open and visible Web. At Eastern Michigan University we are using these two tools and looking at others to explore those ideas.

    I would also like to look at how particular collections might be useful and enhanced for online scholarly research, and for this purpose I would like to offer EMU’s Gordy Motown Collection as a test case. How do we design the collection’s online presence to encourage open scholarship?

  • One+ Language: Three+ Scripts?


    My research and teaching is based in Hindi and Urdu.  Although arguably different spectrums of the same language, they are written in different scripts.  Hindi, which in general has more Sanskrit vocabulary  is written in a left-to-right devanagari (देवनागरी) script and Urdu, which draws more on Persian and Arabic, in a right-to-left Perso-Arabic script called nastaleeq (نستعلیق).  Both scripts are generally but not entirely phonetic.

    In a series of small projects, I have explored the possibility of creating a meta-notation that will encapsulate enough information to allow the representation both scripts, as well as phonetic transcription and diacritic-based transliteration, of any given text ( ;  The overall goal of my project is to use digital technology to override the limitations of the division between these scripts/languages.  My interest is in encoding more phonetic of etymological information about texts than Unicode will allow, so that digital texts can be used for both advanced humanities research as well as for language pedagogy.

    My  particular research interest is in Urdu poetry, which is among the most prized literary genres in South Asia.  I have explored ways of building on the class-based lexer/parsers used for script conversion in order to facilitate computational prosody of Urdu poetic texts.  Urdu meter is based on length rather than stressed syllables.  Using the meta-notion therefore would allow that these popular texts could be read not only in Hindi and transliteration but also exposed as sound in time.  How can that be visualized?

  • Putting Content in Context: Geo-Locating Images and Audio with WhatWasThere and Broadcastr


    In this era of rapid digitization, I fear that we may be losing our sense of place. Comments such as “It’s the content, not the carrier,” imply that no significance should be attached to previous technologies, but does the same hold true for location? Photos stripped of their origin often lose their significance, especially those of places and events. Being able to leverage technologies such as to see the changes between the past and the present can provide significant platforms for discussion (e.g. the loss of buildings and commerce in Detroit) in addition to chronicling local history.

    Aural history faces similar problems, which I will illustrate through my local bands project that features ska, alternative, and punk music from Livingston County in the 1990s. Originally designed for storytelling, can handle 4 MB audio clips, which you can use to preserve and disseminate a variety of aural content including (but not limited to) oral histories, campus walks, music, poetry readings, birdcalls, or any material could be enhanced by cartographic context.

    Both WhatWasThere and Broadcastr have iPhone apps and Broadcastr just released their Android app. For example, with the WhatWasThere app, you can take a virtual walk through the history of Ann Arbor and other cities as an immersive experience.

  • Embracing the multi-dimensionality of digital resources


    Similar to some of the other posts that have popped up recently, my current work focuses on the impacts of digital resources in the classroom. Specifically (in my ongoing project), I’m interested in how students learn new languages when curricula incorporate a variety of multimedia tools developed specifically for students. This is especially interesting for nontraditional or endangered languages that do not command market development of resources for educators. These educators create resources to teach their students, but which also function as cultural artifacts of underrepresented languages.

    I’m also interested in the larger implications of putting these resources online for use by a wider audience. I’d love to talk with other THATCampers who create and use Open Educational Resources or other born-digital materials in their classroom. Can digital resources help bridge the gap between teaching, research, and collaboration online? How can we assess the long-term value of these materials and ensure their preservation into the future?

    More generally, I just wanted to say how excited I am for what I know will be an amazing experience. I can’t wait to meet everyone and discuss all of the exciting topics I’ve been reading about!

  • To Tech or Not To Tech: Exposing Digital Humanities to Academic Luddites


    Ah, not last!

    Being a historian with only a cursory background in the digital humanities (which is to say I can use the Internet and DIY the guts of my computer from time to time), I am interested in having a general meta discussion on brainstorming the best ways to introduce the concepts, skills, and technology of the digital humanities to non-DH scholars (aka Academic Luddites). This is a topic that has been of growing importance for me lately as I have stumbled and groped my way through this broad field/culture, following people on Twitter, poking through key websites (e.g. CHNM), and now even going to THAT Camps (hi all). However, one key takeaway I have from all this is the gap that exists between DH practitioners and, well, everybody else. Anecdotally, I know that among my current and past colleagues in higher education (historians primarily) interest in digital humanities, technology, or whatever is heavily tempered by tech resistance, perceptions of cliquish attitudes, code fear, or perceptions that learning how to harness new DH methods in research and teaching would be too alien, take too much time, or isn’t scholarly enough. What then are the best practices to help overcome this for an individual who finds themselves in an academic department or school relatively untouched by the digital humanities?

    Discussion topics for the session could include: 1) the good technological first steps, easy and basic, for an Academic Luddite to start with to join the DH playing field; 2) the resources that exist to help one overcome code fear; 3) useful lines of discussion when talking about DH approaches with skeptical colleagues; 4) other Campers’ experiences bridging the DH-Luddite divide; and 5) the existence (or creation?) of a clearinghouse for best practices (a Digital Humanities for Dummies type thing, perhaps?).

    Ideally, I would be interested, if the idea seems valuable or useful, to work towards compiling such a clearinghouse (if one doesn’t already exist, in which case, point me to it). However, I do not want to lay any grand expectations on the session beyond having an interesting discussion.

  • Faculty-archives collaboration in digital humanities


    I was thinking of proposing a camp discussion topic on faculty-archives collaboration in digital humanities to support interdisciplinary scholarship, enhance metadata (DC, EAD, TEI, etc) collaboratively.   Archives are a source of knowledge that can be used and re-used for scholarly research and/or administrative decision-making purposes,  but rigid (and often obsolete) description standards may render valuable collections hidden to potential users.

    • Can archives work with researchers to update the terminologies (controlled vocabularies, taxonomies, ontologies) periodically to facilitate the retrieval of old records?
    • Can archives support interdisciplinary research in digital humanities through collaborative metadata enhancement?
    • What improvements can archives make to promote research in specific fields (such as disability history/disability studies)? Will updated controlled vocabularies or techniques such as taxonomy mapping (between older and newer collections) work here?

    These are just questions.  I don’t expect all to be answered but will look forward to THAT camp for good ideas and discussions.