Being Numerous on Digital Humanities 2011 @ Stanford

I forgot what a great post this was about DH 11 @ Stanford this past spring.

DH 11 Stanford University

To my mind, Douglas Knox perceives four emerging issues in Digital Humanities among the talks at the conference:

  1. Scale — How does the digital move among scales and sizes of analysis, from minutia and closeups to epic data mines to everything in between? There is a speed to the movement between different perspectives, from bird’s eye to worm’s eye, from interiority to externalized perceptions, from close to distant readings, to which we must continue to adjust our interpretive lenses.
  2. What is text? — Literary words, digital codes, and everything in-between, but are all texts compatible and transmutable? If they are not, what kind of translations must take place.
  3. Materiality — A number of presenters are exploring the re-materialization of digital technologies, whether online, or in new uses of hardware, or in the interplay between the real and the virtual. This is a question I’m starting to think a lot about with the Digitizing Folk Music History/Digital River of Song project that uses the Berkeley Folk Festival collection at Northwestern. It seems to me that the virtuality of the digital enables a new kind of material history. Given the right tools and design, we can manipulate archival sources in unprecedented ways, literally (or is it virtually?) tearing them up, collaging them, comparing them, layering and twisting and turning and slicing and mutating evidence to yield new insights. Out of the virtual, the tangible meaning of things can emerge in suprising ways.
  4. Interface and Design — What should digital humanities look like online? Should it be designed in an open-ended manner given that we cannot anticipate what and how the future user might want to examine online materials? Or must we design within our own imaginations, closing off some potential interface options in the name of more vividly opening up others? How do we make these decisions? By what means?

Thanks Douglas for the great post!

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