graceful degradation

Graceful Degradation: Managing Digital Humanities Projects in Times of Transition and Decline

First announced at the Digital Humanities 2009 conference, the “Graceful Degradation” survey is now open at:

http://graceful-degradation.questionpro.com/

This is a survey of the digital humanities community — broadly conceived — on project management in times of transition and decline, and what we see as the causes and outcomes of those times. We invite participation by anyone who has worked on a digital project in or related to the humanities.

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on hoardings

Mine isn’t the only new blog in town. If you are interested in 19th-century scholarship, particularly as it is practiced and disseminated online, you should subscribe to Andy Stauffer’s The Hoarding. Andy has recently taken over the directorship of NINES from Jerry McGann. NINES is a scholarly collective and software project I worked on for several years, and I remain on its executive council — so it’s near and dear to my heart. (And if you’re here from the library world, you might be interested to know that it, in the form of Collex, provided the seed for Project Blacklight, an open-source catalog interface now being implemented by UVA Library and Stanford, among others.)

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lorem ipsum dolor sit amet

Or, Geeking to the Greeking.

There’s probably not a better way to begin a blog like this, than with a healthy dose of Lorem Ipsum. It’s an essential tool for designers of page and screen, helping us to imagine how our spaces will appear when they are filled with “real” content — a kind of metasyntactic variable, at scale.

What fascinates me about “greeking” (so called) is its hidden textual history, tracked down a bit several years ago by a Latin scholar at a Virginia college, but still inadequately explored. Okay, it’s mangled Cicero, metastasizing everywhere since the advent of desktop publishing and the Web — but did it spring fully-formed from the head of a Letraset designer in the ’60s, as in the earliest examples we can find? Or will we yet locate an elusive Aldine specimen book, evidence of the first time a printer said, “I need some fake text” and grabbed what was to hand, started swapping it up?

Lorem Ipsum becomes an even bigger cypher for me: of the ways we use our textual inheritance; of how physical those impulses are and how little they have changed in the digital context; and of how much we still have to figure out.  It’s the digital humanities.  It’s my own Etaoin Shrdlu, but with less signal for the noise.

I’m hoping this blog will be a place where (with a greater measure of discipline than this post may suggest!) I can explore some connected concepts of textual criticism, spatial and temporal representation, scholarly communication, the relation of constraint to poetic production and interpretation, and — still fairly new to me — the ins and outs of higher ed administration in the context of digital humanities labs and academic research libraries.

In other words, lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit. Praesent accumsan, orci id placerat dignissim, purus massa euismod orci, id ultricies leo risus ut orci. Fusce vitae felis vitae augue iaculis suscipit.

Now, don’t get me started on widows and orphans.