Humanist Discussion Group

Humanist Archives: Nov. 9, 2022, 6:45 a.m. Humanist 36.247 - why Humanist: sustainability

              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 247.
        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
                Submit to:

        Date: 2022-11-08 20:39:59+00:00
        From: Öyvind Eide <>
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.243: why Humanist

Dear Alan,

thank your for your question, which nudges me to clarify the future of the
Humanist data, which I should have done already some time ago. My apologies for
the lateness of this.

As you will know, we have a simple online archive for Humanist which includes
the posts since the system went online in Cologne in 2021. Earlier posts are
still made available by King's Digital Lab (KDL) at King's College London. We
have also signed an agreement with KDL which will make a transfer of the entire
Humanist archive to Cologne possible. This has two consequences:

1. The long term preservation of the data is secured through our Data Center for
the Humanities:
based on the technical infrastructure of the the IT Center University of Cologne
(previously RRzK), in addition to the long term preservation at KDL:

2. We will make a coherent search system for the whole of Humanist available,
hopefully in 2023.

All the best,


Prof. Dr. Øyvind Eide
Institut für Digital Humanities — Historisch-Kulturwissenschaftliche
Universität zu Köln
D-50931 Köln

Büro: Universitätsstraße 22, Raum 1.02 (1 OG)
fon: +49.221.470.1752 (Vorzimmer .4430)

> Am 07.11.2022 um 09:32 schrieb Humanist <>:
>              Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 243.
>        Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
>                      Hosted by DH-Cologne
>                Submit to:
>    [1]    From: Enrica Salvatori <>
>           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.238: why Humanist? (83)
>    [2]    From: Alan Liu <>
>           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.238: why Humanist? (56)
> --[1]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        Date: 2022-11-06 21:10:33+00:00
>        From: Enrica Salvatori <>
>        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.238: why Humanist?
> Dear William,
> your exhortation is so beautiful. Thank you.
> I have the impression that the Digital Humanities have now made the first and
> second (the third?) halfway point, they have “grew up" for better or for
> This mean they are full into a process of disciplinary closure that "in
> inhibits debates like the ones you want.
> Am I wrong?
> Enrica Salvatori
> Medieval History
> Digital Public History
> University of Pisa
> ------------------
>             Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 36, No. 238.
>       Department of Digital Humanities, University of Cologne
>                     Hosted by DH-Cologne
>            <>
>       Date: 2022-11-05 07:31:20+00:00
>       From: Willard McCarty
> <<>>
>       Subject: Humanist
> There are likely but a very few here who have been in Humanist since the
> beginning, in 1987, and only a few more long enough to understand its
> role in establishing what we now call digital humanities as an academic
> discipline or practice. The crucial need then, and now, was to provide a
> means for scholarly conversation about problems and methods. Humanist
> quickly progressed beyond the mere exchange of information about this
> and that, e.g. conferences (there were very few then), new software etc.
> Notices of worthy events, academic positions and the like will always be
> welcome, but the point of Humanist in particular is conversation about
> things that matter to the scholarly character of academic life and work.
> Back when I was a doctoral student, I was advised by a fellow student, a
> successful careerist, to keep what I was doing secret so that someone
> else wouldn't 'get there first'. I ignored this advice; I found it
> repugnant--and still do. Sitting one day in an Old English course
> before the professor arrived, I overheard fellow students complaining
> about having to read Beowulf. I had just spent the previous evening,
> after putting my son and daughter to bed with stories, being swept
> away by that very poem. So in the classroom the next day I found
> myself wondering why the complainers had become graduate
> students at a time when jobs were scarce. The only plausible
> hypothesis I could come up with was that they were in it for the
> comfortable position in a nice office with a good salary. Nothing
> against that for sure, but really!
> Perhaps I am naive, only protected from the damaging consequences
> of my naivety by senior status. But I have a higher opinion of scholarly
> work than that suggests, having seen over and over again how the
> intellectual and personal value of research is unique to the person--
> and utterly transformative. There may be better arguments for being a
> scholar rather than a careerist. I would very much like to think they are
> stronger for the satisfaction of basic needs as well. Something along
> the lines of winning the game but losing your soul in the process?
> So, let us use this medium in its current form to discuss crucial
> problems we're having with our research--when they actually can be
> articulated. Let us throw false caution to the winds and say what
> puzzles us. And when someone is brave enough to do that, let's jump in
> and help. This happens here sometimes. It needs to happen more often.
> Digital humanities in my view is starving for it--for arguments not so
> bullet-proof that they have become proof-like and so, dead.
> Comments?
> Yours,
> WM
> --
> Willard McCarty,
> Professor emeritus, King's College London;
> Editor, Interdisciplinary Science Reviews;  Humanist
> --[2]------------------------------------------------------------------------
>        Date: 2022-11-06 08:50:01+00:00
>        From: Alan Liu <>
>        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 36.238: why Humanist?
> Dear Willard,
> Kudos to you from someone who entered the digital humanities circa 1993 (a
> bit junior to Humanist). Kudos for the forum for quality thought (combined
> with announcements, etc.) that you started and steadfastly maintain.
> I want to add to your conversation-starter the thought that there is
> currently a heightened need to think about the role and value of Humanist
> and other platforms/forums for scholarly interchange. As you know, many of
> us who have split our attention between Humanist and so-called "academic
> Twitter" to discuss the digital humanities are currently in the wind about
> whether to stay with that social media platform or to go ... somewhere
> else. (I myself just joined Mastodon,, the
> currently surging open-source and decentralized Twitter alternative, to see
> if it is viable for academic Twitter to move there, and in case Twitter
> dies. (I'm on Mastodon). Humanist is of course a
> different kind of forum that you built for deeper and more sustained
> discussion. But the total current DH discussion ecosystem -- in which many
> of us split our attention between Twitter, blogs, "commons" platforms (such
> as Humanities Commons), and Humanist and other lists -- is likely to
> reconfigure in the wake of the current turmoil in one of the major channels
> in the total multiplex mix.
> For me -- in my situation as also now a too senior DH scholar with
> sunsetting digital projects, worries about digital sustainability, and an
> interest in deposit projects in trust repositories -- this all raises
> uncomfortable issues about where to concentrate one's energies if one
> weighs available channels and media from the point of view of legacy. The
> issues are pragmatic ones about any platform for our DH community. They are
> about sustainability. I have started many projects myself that have ceased
> or will not be sustainable for combinations of funding, institutional,
> platform (technical), and personal reasons. (I call them *one-bus*
> projects, in the sense that if I am hit by a bus, then the project stops.)
> Currently, Twitter in a different way has become a one-bus
> platform--reliant on the whims and fate of one owner who himself is the
> careening bus.
> I wonder what your thoughts are about the ongoing sustainability of
> Humanist for those who want to know what basket in which to put their most
> important eggs now? Has planning been done at DH-Cologne (where Humanist is
> presently maintained) for ongoing sustainability or -- the reality for many
> DH initiatives -- for eventual deposit of archives and listserv code in a
> trust digital repository?
> I know this is an unpleasant, mortal topic. But I am among the few (only
> slightly junior to you) who can broach the issues from the perspective of a
> shared concern. In all honesty, when I look at all my own projects and
> initiatives, I think they stand less of a chance than Humanist of going or
> or becoming part of the lasting record. But it would be good to know your
> thoughts (and any planning thoughts in particular) in regard to Humanist.
> Thoughts?
> --Best, Alan

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