In his opening talk of the Herrenhausen conference on the Digital Humanities (#dighum1213), Jeffrey Schnapp proposed that the future of the world as a hot spot might be one that is punctuated by increasingly sought after cold spots, places where we are not connected by the digital transfer of data, where we as humans can trust our own senses to make decisions about what it is we see, hear, smell, feel, and express verbally. Rejecting the curation of nature as one that might involve pinning QR codes to trees, Schnapp instead called for another way to make data matter in the human weaving together of narrative to make places meaningful. Digital ecologies, as he termed them, might consist not of us experiencing nature mediated by the digital (sorry, no Google Glass on the Buffalo Valley Rail Trail!) but rather by the human observer using the digital device to collect and record data that later is uploaded in what he termed a crowdsourcing of the environment. Citizen science produces knowledge, much as for Luis von Ahn, human computation digitizes millions of books through the use of that annoying Captcha. Continue reading “Curating the Cold Spots…”
Xaver has passed, the Digital Humanists gone, Herrenhausen Palace has served us its last sumptuous and definitely not virtual repast of venison and salmon, and still the questions remain unanswered.
Why the digital in DH? Why mark this category in a way that is left unmarked in the social or natural sciences? Could the digital denote a departure from what Gregory Crane calls the “monastic” humanities where value is set through publishing specialized articles in paid journals that are read by the same 50 people? Does the digital denote the need for humanists to be morally engaged, to recognize the imperative of making digitized content useable by the public and thus presenting us with a new editing task that recognizes the profound, wide appeal of detailed knowledge? Crane would say yes, please. Let us move away from the a model of the humanities that hides us away and rediscover the roots of citizen science as espoused by the founder of the University of Berlin, Wilhelm von Humboldt. Continue reading “Marked or Unmarked? Defining the (Digital) Humanities at #dighum1213”