Live blog – Day 2

Professor Caroline Fennell’s opening speech restates the College’s commitment to the Forfas theme of Digital Cultures.

Professor Andrew Prescott used poetry, including the romantic poetry of Coleridge, and the more recent poetry of Jeffery Robinson to theorise and tease out issues surrounding the edition, representation and remediation online.  He uses The Eolian Harp as the poem to illustrate the changing nature of Coleridges work – there were 18 versions of the Ancient Mariner.  He explores the textual instability, the textual complexities of the work.  In Literature Online the text presented is fixed.  The humanities explore this – the instability, the uncertainty, the complexity.

Prescott suggests that as Baudrillard’s alarm at information – and Burke’s concern in the late 18C and 19C about the development of two classes the master, and the abject dependent and later theorises the humanities – are they a reaction of the human mind against the cash nexus?  …against modernity? …cultural resistance against a mechanistic vision of the world?

Prescott suggests that HASTAC is much more engaged and current than DHQ – Critical readings of code, theory, queer and feminist spaces on the web are all fora on the site.

References are made to The Enlightenment Cyborg – A history of communications and control in the Human Machine 1660-1830 by Allison Muri; and Mechanisms – New Media and the Forensic Imagination by Mathew Kirschenbaum.  These counter the concerns of Bauldrillard – the electronic text is a human artefact nonetheless.  Kirschenbaum reminds us of the materiality of act of digital inscription.

The Digital Humanities – the means of affirming and preserving our essential humanity in the face of the increasing commercialisation of knowledge.

Dr Alessio Assonitis – The Future of the Medici

Assonitis shows the vastness of the archive – buildings full of letters!  Correspondence includes Cosimo I, Michelangelo…  He is focussing on the correspondence of the Granducal Secretaries.  2 million letters arrived in Florence over 2 years from Medici ambassadors all over Europe.   There are 3000 volumes from the Granducal ambassadors.

Writers from all over the world report life in the 16th century, reports on medieval London, wildlife in North America, earthquakes, ‘fires that fell from the sky’ a comet in September 1542.

This archive is very important to early modern scholars – uses a Joycean analogy, that if Dublin were destroyed one could rebuild it brick by brick using Ulysses – the same is true of Florence (arguably Europe).

It is not free – it costs a lot of money and Alessio spends much of his time fundraising.

They have a webinterface that sits on an Access based database.  Alessio goes through the database – and explaining how they divide and catagorise the data.

He has had to change the way in which his organisation works – the platform has made a formative difference on the project.  They have a range of educational, publication and other platforms for disseminating the knowledge.  Their online paleography course that is moodle based has been a huge success.  The tuition pays the instructor.

They also have an Archival Studies workshop.

Peter Flynn Computer Centre UCC introduces Julianne Nyhan, Lecturer in Digital Information Studies, UCL.  She has a spent a year in the European Science Foundation, and 2 at the university of Trier before going to UCL.

She is working on a pan European collaborative project.  “Digital Research Infrastructures at the National and Pan-European level”.

She explains what the ESF is – a networking body – the SCH the Standing Committee for the Humanities, led by Professor Milena Zic Fuchs who has initiated an expert group for Research Infrastructures.  This is peer reviewed.

A research infrastucture is a term that will be adapted by and for researchers.  The first Research Infrastructures (RIs) were in the Humanities.

She quotes McGann – “reorganisation of our cultural heritage within a digital horizon”. Connexions 2010.

Nyhan offers a bibliography for  Preservation and Sustainability – beginning with Rothenberg, J. (1998)  Rosenthal, David S.H. “How are we ensuring the Longevity of Digital Documents?  On Vimeo”. 2009. web.  European Union, and Comite des Sages, The New Renaissance Report.

She names various initiatives for evaluating digital research – ERIH as a basic knowledge set, MLA and ESF.  Also she mentions the core projects, Text Grid, Dariah, Clarin, and the TEI.

LLC, DHQ, Digital Studies, and Interdisciplinary Science Reviews…  othe key initiatives include Humanist – ACH and the Chronicle of Higher Education’s ProfHacker sponsored Digital Humanities Q & A, Digital Humanities conferences and Digital Humanities now, twitter and blogs.

Education: New programmes in MA and MSc at UCL

Conclusions and recommendations

State of the Art and Needs

Physical and Digital RIs

Strategic Directions

Partnerships and Networking

Academic Recognition and Evaluation of RIs

Dissemination and Outreach

Powerpoint slides to follow here!

Next Dr Graeme Earl University of Southampton

Archaeological Computing Research Group – and the new  patina project Affiliated research groups: Theory, Representation and Cultural PoliticsMaritime Archaeology



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