Bethany Nowviskie

a tribute to Leah Buechley

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Last year on Ada Lovelace Day, when we celebrate women in technology, I wrote about two inspiring friends: Johanna Drucker, who taught me letterpress printing (foundational to my thinking about design and the digital humanities in the context of evolving technologies of the book) and Bess Sadler, then of Scholars’ Lab R&D and now at Stanford, who had just released Blacklight into the world as a step toward making library research more joyful. This year, I got Ada’d my own self (thanks, Julie!), with a picture from a recent workshop that confirmed my desire to write about the amazing Leah Buechley.

Leah Buechley’s work speaks to everything I hold dear about the digital humanities: that it interprets, operates within, and both impacts and reflects the experienced world — of messy, embodied, personal, subjective, aesthetic, poetic, cyborgic, enveloping life. In other words, Buechley does high-touch as well as high-tech. Read the rest of this entry »

day of digital humanities

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Just a quick post to say that I participated again this year in the Day in the Life of the Digital Humanities “community publication project,” along with these fine folks. This is becoming an annual exercise in which digital humanities scholars and practitioners of all kinds document the ins and outs of a typical day.

My own blog posts and pictures are here, at the somewhat ominously named “Day of Bethany Nowviskie“. Some other folks from the Scholars’ Lab contributed, too: Kelly Johnston, Joe Gilbert, and Wayne Graham.

I’ve been peeking in on the RSS feeds, and am looking forward to reading day-in-the-life posts from many, many friends and not a few strangers all over the world. You can also get a snippet-y sense of the activity by watching the #dayofDH hashtag on Twitter.

  • Published: Mar 13th, 2010
  • Category: higher ed

on compensation

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I have felt troubled, lately, by the number of tenured and — to a much lesser degree, tenure-track — faculty (pardon me, friends, all!) whom I’ve heard whining about the “uncompensated” time they spend on their digital humanities scholarship. They are not talking about the sorts of unpaid service many of us render every day in support of the digital humanities community: time spent planning conferences and other gatherings, serving on advisory and executive boards for various projects and digitally-oriented professional societies, advising graduate students and junior colleagues not our own, inserting scholarly voices into commercially- and institutionally-driven conversations about the transformation of our cultural archive in the electronic age, and offering methodological training or building resources meant to bootstrap other scholars in their ability to engage meaningfully with digital objects and processes.

No. That’s all good work — necessary, important work, and it’s work that I have chosen to undertake, in my non-tenure-track, library-based position on the “administrative and professional faculty” of the University of Virginia, to the detriment of my ability to focus on my own research and writing. I don’t waste time, but time periodically wastes me. To someone who trained as a humanities scholar at a large research institution, a role like mine can feel like a reversal of the natural order of things. I work on “my” scholarship at off hours — stolen weekend mornings in coffee shops, or late at night — and spend most of my energy on service, the consuming category of activity against which graduate students and assistant professors are warned, and which I find — in all regards — richly rewarding.

But that’s not what I’m talking about. Read the rest of this entry »

Creative Commons License This site uses a heavily modified version of Bryan Helmig's Magatheme. Work at by Bethany Nowviskie is always CC-BY. Want to know why? The falling letters are by Wayne Graham. He kindly made them to replace a set I designed in Flash in the late 1990s and had in place for more than 17 years. Not a bad run! Ave atque vale.