Category Archives: digital humanities

Vectors Review (Week 2 assignment)

This week Tyler and I are asking our Intro to DH Freshman Seminar students to review an article or project from Vectors with the concept of design in mind. We are doing the same.

Being the archival obsessive I am, I decided to look at Vector’s first edition from 2005, one focused around the concept of evidence (a core archival principle). I visited the table of contents and picked a project/article randomly: Virtual Vaudeville, by David Saltz. The editors’ introduction drew me in, so I clicked “Launch Project.” What I received was…

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“Technological obsolescence and other factors” are enemies of the archive, and negate any ability for design (good or bad) to be realized. My work as an archivist is focussed on opposing the inevitable onslaught of technological obsolescence. Progress is slow, at times glacial. In a kind of oxymoronic loop, we attempt to combat technological obsolescence with other technologies that inevitably fall prey to their own set off preservation ills (DAT tapes and bit rot) or access impediments (looked for 3/4″ Umatic player lately, or how about a player for your Moving Image JPEG 2000 files?). And what of these “other factors” mentioned in the above error message? Are these rights and ownership related factors? If so, those challenges can kill any project, no matter how technologically sound.

While I’m  disappointed by Virtual Vaudeville‘s totalizing virtuality, I feel some solace knowing that archival struggles permeate all realms, even (especially?) the cutting edge.  I’m empathetic with what I’m sure are the creator’s and editors’ frustrations, and will use this as an example of challenges when I meet again with fellow members SCALAR’s Archive and Preservation Working Group.

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Intro DH | Welcome UW Students!

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Hello and welcome to our seminar, Intro to Digital Humanities! As Tyler Fox and I mentioned at our first meeting, this course is exploratory. We–definitely me–will be using it as an opportunity to find out what, why, and how Digital Humanities (DH) is what it is or, perhaps more accurately, is in relation to what others claim on its behalf. From mapping Ireland’s literary history to re-contextualizing discourse in the midst of combat, much digital output falls under the DH umbrella.  We will be exploring the diverse nature of what the term covers, but we’ll also be checking out the umbrella itself, investigating and dissecting what it’s made of and what assumptions we may be making on its behalf. I look forward to working with and learning alongside all of you this quarter.