18.622 Computers and the Humanities 1966-2004; the Blackwell's anthology

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Wed, 9 Mar 2005 07:34:13 +0000

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 18, No. 622.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

   [1] From: Daniel O'Donnell <daniel.odonnell_at_uleth.ca> (23)
         Subject: Re: 18.619 Computers and the Humanities 1966-2004

   [2] From: "Joseph Raben" <joeraben_at_cox.net> (201)
         Subject: CHum

   [3] From: Mats Dahlström <Mats.Dahlstrom_at_hb.se> (18)
         Subject: on the Blackwell anthology

         Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2005 07:12:36 +0000
         From: Daniel O'Donnell <daniel.odonnell_at_uleth.ca>
         Subject: Re: 18.619 Computers and the Humanities 1966-2004

As editor of a new humanities computing on-line journal due anyway now
<http://www.digitalmedievalist.org/>, I'm a big believer in this kind of

My question would be whether there is a way of combining forces in some
capacity. We are (slowly) trying to set up a "how to be a humanities
computing scholar wiki" at our site. The TEI is about to set up an XSLT
exchange. Several of us are setting up or running on-line journals. I
wonder if there isn't a way on improving on the old, semi-competitive,
scholarly publication model. My great fear is that we will end up with
multiple attempts at people reinventing methods of helping people avoid
reinventing the wheel. There are several competing (and incompatible) tools
projects out there. I'd like to see us do a better job of coordinating efforts.

Anyway. To the extent that I can help out, I'd be interested.

Daniel Paul O'Donnell, PhD
Associate Professor of English
University of Lethbridge
Lethbridge AB T1K 3M4
Tel. (403) 329-2377
Fax. (403) 382-7191
E-mail <daniel.odonnell_at_uleth.ca>
Home Page <http://people.uleth.ca/~daniel.odonnell/>
The Digital Medievalist Project: <http://www.digitalmedievalist.org/>
         Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2005 07:13:02 +0000
         From: "Joseph Raben" <joeraben_at_cox.net>
         Subject: CHum
Thanks, Willard, for those very fine words. At this distance from the
events, they are very acceptable compensation for the long years of
rewriting articles, overseeing their refereeing, consulting with authors,
negotiating with publishers (especially after 1974, when the financial
backing disappeared and I had to give up being my own publisher),
organizing conferences, starting up ACH, and traipsing around the world to
spread the word about humanities computing. Those activities were the
perspiration beneath the inspiration that you commend.
I would ask you to change only the word "stumbled" at the end. My
commitment to this endeavor was fully intentional, based on the discovery
in 1964 that there were many others who believed in using computers for
literary and other humanistic research. At the conference on literary data
processing organized by IBM at Yorktown Heights, several hundred of us
reported on our initial attempts. Mine was based on my eureka moment two
years ealier in the Reading Room of the British Museum while I was
attempting to invent a system for managing the verbal correspondences
between Milton and Shelley that I was discovering at a great rate but was
unable to organize.
Back in the States, I took the problem to the linguistics group at Yorktown
and was shown the mammoth computers installed there at that time. Like
Henry Adams confronting the dynamo at the Columbian Exposition, I saw there
the modern equivalent of the medieval cathedral, the emotional engine of
our culture. When IBM called us together to report on our pioneering
efforts, I determined to keep that group in touch and to create CHum.
Getting IBM, NSF and various foundations to supply the startup cash and
recruiting the individuals who lent their aid to the endeavor took up
substantial amounts of time and effort (no email then), but as you attest,
we did some noble things.
When the history of that era is written, there will be places for Ted
Nelson and the cancept of hypertext, Sue Hockey and her commitment to
enabling a generation to feel confortable with the monster machines, and
many others whose accomplishments may stand out more prominently from a
longer perspective. I hope that the first decades of CHum will be counted
among those accomplishments.
         Date: Wed, 09 Mar 2005 07:13:38 +0000
         From: Mats Dahlström <Mats.Dahlstrom_at_hb.se>
         Subject: on the Blackwell anthology
In #18.619, Michael Fraser wrote:
"Since you mention the Blackwell Companion to Digital Humanities, I'd
be interested to know why this work is priced so highly at 95 pounds
($150). Don't Blackwells expect to sell many copies? (A self-fulfilling
prophecy, surely!)"
I second that. And does anyone know whether a (much less expensive)
paperback edition is planned of this anthology? It's an excellent
collection of texts, many of which are and will be well suited as
required or recommended reading in new media courses for some years to
come, not least due to its broad coverage on many different digitisation
and new media matters. For instance, for our two upcoming courses on
digitisation this year, we might have included the entire anthology in
the syllabi, but stopped short as we noticed the price tag. It just
seems too heavy a financial burden to put on our students.
Mats Dahlstrom
Received on Wed Mar 09 2005 - 02:40:34 EST

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