Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic

I’m at the DH 2014 conference in Lausanne, Switzerland, and enjoying it immensely, despite cold and rainy weather which should be impossible in July. I’ve just delivered my paper “Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic” (abstract here), along with colleagues Mia Ridge and Brian Croxall (co-author Amy Papaelias couldn’t make it but contributed remotely). Iʼll blog more on the conference itself in a separate post, but for now I thought Iʼd put my portion of the presentation online. Hereʼs Miaʼs portion, and here Brian’s portion.

Play as Process and Product: On Making Serendip-o-matic

Hi, Iʼm Scott Kleinman, and my job is to introduce you to the One Week | One Tool experience which led to the creation of Serendip-o-matic. One Week | One Tool was a summer institute sponsored by the National Endowment for the Humanities. It was organised by Tom Scheinfeldt and Patrick Murray-John, and hosted by the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media at George Mason University. The idea for One Week | One Tool was inspired by models of rapid community development and advertised as a digital “barn-raising”, in which a diverse group of twelve DH practitioners would gather “to produce something useful for humanities work and to help balance learning and doing in digital humanities training.” The entire process from conception to release was to occur in six days.… Read more…

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Digital Humanities as Gamified Scholarship

The Digital Humanities trace their origins back to Father Roberto Busa’s efforts to analyse the works of Thomas Aquinas in the 1940s, which was then followed by further efforts to perform textual analysis with the aid of computers. Since that time, the Digital Humanities has expanded to encompass a myriad of other activities (and acquired its name in the process) and a devoted community of practitioners. Nevertheless, doubts persist about whether the growth of the Digital Humanities has had, or has the potential to have, any significant impact on scholarship in the Humanities as a whole.  Although I can’t say for certain, my feeling is that when doubters look back at the past, they tend to be thinking primarily of computational textual analysis as the method that has failed to obtain a wide impact. Whether this is a fair assessment of the Digital Humanities, or whether the appropriate criteria have been selected for assessing the significance for even this one area, is worthy of discussion, but my intention here is to look forward, rather than back. Computational textual analysis is beginning to evolve more rapidly, and to become more widely accessible to both students and scholars, meaning that the past should not be taken as an indication of the future.… Read more…

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A Whirlwind Summer

This summer has been something of a whirlwind, which hasn’t left much time for blogging. It began with a mad dash to re-write the Lexomics software, changing the language from PHP to Python. Whilst I struggled to pick up a new language (I had only skimmed a few Python tutorials), the amazing students at Wheaton were transforming the tool into something truly awesome. I struggled to keep up and add a few visualisations. The finished tool, called Lexos, is a complete text analysis work flow from pre-processing to statistical analysis to visualisation. I was really excited to see the finished tool (as much as any tool is “finished”), and I look forward to using it in my research.

Barely two weeks later, I departed for DH 2013 in Lincoln, NE, the beginning of a three-week trip. This was a really exciting opportunity to see what’s going on in the Digital Humanities world “up close” (and I had never been to Nebraska). The non-DH highlight was definitely the reception in the natural history museum.

 

DH 2013 Reception

The opening reception at DH 2013 took place in the Natural History Museum at the University of Nebraska, Lincoln. There were some strange guests.

The conference was a whirlwind (not because of the 100-degree heat), and I was particularly happy to spend time with Brian Croxall and Mia Ridge with whom I’d be working in a few weeks time on One Week | One Tool.… Read more…

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NEH Funds the Archive of Early Middle English

I’m excited to announce that I have received an NEH Scholarly Editions and Translations grant, which I will co-direct with Dorothy Kim from Vassar College. The grant will help create an Archive of Early Middle English (AEME). We’ll start with a full digital edition of Oxford, Bodleian Library, Laud Misc 108, with a complete set of images. Other manuscripts will follow, and by the end of the grant we expect to have a full set of metadata and editorial conventions for other to submit materials. AEME will be designed to be flexible. Not everybody can afford to photograph full manuscripts, so we’ll be working to accommodate images as they become available in the public domain (perhaps licence a few that are not). We’ll also take individual texts, in addition to whole manuscripts. And and all ye multilingual enthusiasts, we haven’t forgotten one of the most important developments in recent scholarship. Although we want Early Middle English (about 1066-1350) to be at the centre, we’ll take any materials in any language that is also found in manuscripts containing Early Middle English.

I will write much more once the project gets started. For now, you can learn a little more on the AEME web site.… Read more…

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