new (and renewed) work in digital literary studies

This is just an early announcement about a session at January’s MLA convention. We now have a timeslot (8:30am on Friday, January 7th), so I thought I’d announce it as people begin to make travel plans!

ACH is sponsoring a highly interactive and forward-looking showcase of digital humanities research, teaching, and publication in MLA’s new “electronic roundtable” (read: poster session!) format. Be there or be square.

New (and Renewed) Work in Digital Literary Studies: An Electronic Roundtable

The Association for Computers and the Humanities (ACH) is pleased to sponsor an electronic roundtable and demo session featuring new and renewed work in media and digital literary studies. Projects, groups, and initiatives highlighted in this session build on the editorial and archival roots of humanities scholarship to offer new, explicitly methodological and interpretive contributions to the digital literary scene, or to intervene in established patterns of scholarly communication and pedagogical practice. Each presenter will offer a very brief introduction to his or her work, setting it in the context of digital humanities research and praxis, before we open the floor for simultaneous demos and casual conversations with attendees at eight computer stations:

Station 1: Kathleen Fitzpatrick (open peer review with MediaCommons and CommentPress);
Station 2: Laura Mandell and Andrew Stauffer (for NINES and 18th-Connect);
Station 3: Joseph Gilbert (representing four new literary projects at UVA Library’s Scholars’ Lab — on teaching prosody, analyzing collective biographies of women, sharing audio tapes of William Faulkner, and mining 18th-century texts for metaphor — with project directors Chip Tucker, Alison Booth, and (tentatively) Brad Pasanek in attendance);
Station 4: Doug Reside (the TILE project for linking texts and images);
Station 5: John Walsh (extensions to the Swinburne Project);
Station 6: Randall Cream (the Sapheos image-based collation project),
Station 7: Matthew Wilkens (on statistical measures of allegory in literary history); and
Station 8: William Pannapacker and Ernest Cole (using new media in the undergraduate classroom, with “Post-Conflict Sierra Leone”).

We’ll be posting extended abstracts for each of these projects on the ACH site later this semester.

day of digital humanities

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.

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.