Unfortunately I am not at the Digital Humanities conference in London right now. But I am following bits and pieces of it on Twitter #dh2010. Melissa Terra of University College London’s Centre for Digital Humanities gave the plenary today, “Present, Not Voting: Digital Humanities in the Panopticon.” One comment of hers that gave me pause was:
It’s not enough just to whack up a website and say “that’ll do, now back to writing books”. If we are going to be in the business of producing digital resources, we have to be able to excel at producing digital resources, and be conscious of our digital identity and digital presence.
She stressed that not only do we need to add to the digital collection, but we also have to archive things that are already digital but in danger of being lost due to outmoded software or platforms. YIKES! I have been toying with the idea of writing about the University of Local Knowledge using Sophie 2.0. My friend Brett Bloom, though, reminded me that perhaps this software would be hard to read in two years. Hmmm. So now I have signed up to follow Digital Humanities Now, a “fully automated” publication…”created by ingesting the Twitter feeds of hundreds of scholars followed by @dhnow.”
Another quote from Terra about the hazards of multimedia and online publishing in terms of the ever-so-slow-to-adapt academic culture:
It’s not enough to make something that is successful and interesting and well used: you have to write a paper about it that gets published in the Journal of Successful Academic Stuff to make that line on your CV count, and to justify your time spent on the project.
Yep. She concluded with a few suggestions for tackling present crises, including:
We’re bad at knowing our own history, as a discipline, and having examples listed off the top of our heads of why our research community is required in today’s academe.
Speaking of which, my interview with Wendy Plotkin about the early days of H-Net and H-Urban should be coming out in a couple of weeks in the Digital Humanities Quarterly. I will definitely tweet about it. UPDATE: It is linked here in the Fall 2010 issue.