19.742 studies in interactive reading

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 07:03:26 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 742.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Sun, 30 Apr 2006 06:55:27 +0100
         From: tatjana.chorney_at_smu.ca
         Subject: RE: 19.731 computer science, the humanities and
humanities computing?

Hi Willlard,

You raise an issue that has been of interest to me in the past few
years. Without wishing to toot my own horn, I have done some work on
the potential of interactive reading fostered by the hypermedia to
change the way that material in the humanities is being taught. In
particular, thus far I've been focusing on the similarities between
interactive reading in the Renaissance (through examples in MSS) and the
kind of reading that can be and is done in hypertext. There is a brief
bit on this subject appearing in the December 2005 issue of
Academiccommons.org; there is also a longer essay, unpublished. I am
also happy to say that I longer project I proposed late last year on a
similar topic--interactive reading and integrative learning in the
humanities of the global age-- has just been funded by the government
here (Canada), which hopefully signals an interest in this kind of

Best regards,
Tatjana Chorney

Assistant Professor
Department of English
Saint Mary's University
Halifax, NS

> Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 731.
> Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
> www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/
> www.princeton.edu/humanist/
> Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu
> Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 07:08:49 +0100
> From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
> >
>Since the early 1970s there have been a number of speculations about
>a relationship between computer science and the humanities, e.g. by
>Jean-Claude Gardin, Nancy Ide, Christian Koch, Robert Oakman, Tito
>Orlandi, Manfred Thaller and others. In the US, the National Research
>Council has sponsored two major reports that touch on the
>possibilities, Computing the Future (1992) and Beyond Productivity
>(2003), and a Roundtable Meeting (1997) which resulted in Computing
>and the Humanities (1998), published by the American Council of
>Learned Societies. The US National Initiative for a Networked
>Cultural Heritage (NINCH) held a Building Blocks Workshop in 2003,
>again to explore the relationship. In Europe the British Library has
>published Interpretation in the Humanities: Perspectives from
>Artificial Intelligence, ed. Richard Ennals and Jean-Claude Gardin
>(1990) and the Advanced Computing in the Humanities (ACO*HUM) project
>has produced the book Computing in Humanities Education: A European
>Perspective (1999) identifying the basis for what in several European
>languages is more easily called a humanities computing "science". My
>own book, Humanities Computing (Palgrave, 2005), has a chapter that
>explores computer science in order to clarify the relationship with
>humanities computing. This year, the US Commission on
>Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences is
>concluding its work -- a draft report is now in circulation; unlike
>the earlier US reports, its focus is on what the humanities can gain,
>a relationship with CS is mentioned (by my count, 5 times). Later
>this year, at the University of New Brunswick, the Canadian Symposium
>for Text Analysis (CaSTA -- not to be confused, as Google does, with
>supermodel Laetitia Casta) is holding a conference dedicated to the
>topic, with an unsurprising emphasis on textual computing: Breadth of
>Text: A Joint Computer Science and Humanities Computing Conference,
>at the University of New Brunswick.
>Significant, I think, is the fact that at the CaSTA conference this
>October, members of the concluding panel (which includes me) have
>been asked to make provocative statements as to our perceptions of
>how the two research areas can inform each other. Apparently a
>question-mark remains the most prominent aspect of the putative
>This note has two purposes. My first purpose is to ask you kindly to
>supply references to any discussions of this relationship that I have
>somehow overlooked. Indeed, if you think from looking at this list
>that I am asking the wrong question, please say so. My second purpose
>is to urge anyone involved in collaborations between computer
>scientists and humanists, including humanities computing
>practitioners, to write about what is happening or has recently
>happened, or to attract those who will analyze and theorize the
>collaborations, e.g. PhD students from the social sciences. If you
>are in possession of unpublished writings on the topic and are
>willing to send them to me, then I would be very grateful.
>In addition to the above, that is, I am in the process of cataloguing
>a number of untheorized but very interesting collaborations of
>computer scientists, scholars in the humanities and humanities
>computing practitioners, so that my own speculations will be better
>informed. The question I am asking is, I think, a bit different, more
>of a philosophical enquiry. It is, rather, that given the basic
>tendencies and inclinations both of computer science and of the
>humanities, what kinds of developments might actually be worth
>pursuing? Raiding parties from CS are to be expected but from my
>point of view not very interesting. I want to know about new ways of
>thinking and working that may be of long-term value to us.
>Thanks very much for any suggestions.
>Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities Computing | Centre for
>Computing in the Humanities | King's College London | Kay House, 7
>Arundel Street | London WC2R 3DX | U.K. | +44 (0)20 7848-2784 fax:
>-2980 || willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/wlm/
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