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Posts

2019

On Code Literacy

7 minute read

The following is the transcript of a short speech I contributed to the panel “Programming Humanists - What is the role of coding literacy in DH and why does it matter?” at the DH Benelux 2019 Conference, held at ULiège in Luik, Belgium. The organizers asked me to try to be provocative. That is, provocative to non coding humanists. However, the title of the panel – as I was afraid – caused a rather self-selecting crowd of code savvy scholars...

A Note on Interpretation

2 minute read

Thinking and reasoning about what interpretation exactly is, is an endless source of joyful wondering. I was just rereading my own Screwmeneutics (2016) – while preparing my thesis conclusion, there was no vanity in that action! – and it struck me that there is a problem between Heidegger (2010 [1927]) and Gadamer (2013 [1960]). Heidegger thinks interpretation is purely subjective, we can only read ourselves in text. Gadamer, however, thinks that works of others can expand our horizon.

Moving to Computational Humanities

1 minute read

Folgert Karsdorp, a colleague of mine over at the Meertens Institute doing impressively experimental work in the application of computing in the humanities voiced a recognizable unease yesterday by tweet (see on the left).It has become my understanding the past few months that the number of people active in the field of DH with such sympathies is on the rise. I have no idea if it is actually the case that computational intensive work is currently marginalized and pushed to...

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2018

Why We Should Think About a Domain Specific Computer Language (DSL) for Scholarship

23 minute read

Introduction This is the text of a paper I presented during the conference “Digital Hermeneutics in History: Theory and Practice”, organized by the C2DH of Luxembourg University on 25 and 26 October 2018. I have been toying with the idea for a Domain Specific Language for textual scholarship for over a decade. Manfred Thaller—not aware as far as I know of my idea—has propelled it out of its dull momentum again for me by a wonderful blogpost that he published...

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2017

Being a Critical Journalist in Digital Times

9 minute read

Geert Lovink who does wonderful work at the Institute of Network Cultures yesterday tweeted a cry of horror on finding out via TechCrunch that Google is funding the development of software that writes local news stories. Media the world over have parroted the same news which seems largely based on a press release from the UK Press Association. The parroting in itself is a indicator of the dire situation in journalism where uncritically posting press releases has become a stand in...

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2016

Singularity

5 minute read

Willard McCarty on Humanist pointed me to a, quite silly, article in the Economist entitled “March of the Machines”. It can almost be called a genre piece. The author downplays very much the possible negative effects of artificial intelligence and then argues that society should find an ‘intelligent response’ to AI—as opposed, I assume, to uninformed dystopian stories.

Methodological safety pin

4 minute read

There is a trope in digital humanities related articles that I find particularly awkward. Just now I stumbled across another example, and maybe it is a good thing to muze about it a short bit. Whence the example comes I don’t think is important as I am interested in the trope in general and not in this particular instance per sé. Besides, I like the authors and have nothing against their research, but before you know it flames are flying...

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2015

Intellectual Glue and Computational Narrative

9 minute read

There exist several recurring debates in the digital humanities. Or rather maybe we should position these debates as between digital humanities and humanities proper. One that is particularly thorny is the “Do you need to know how to code?” debate. In my experience it is also frequently aliased as the “Should all humanists become programmers?” debate. One memorable event in the debate was Stephen Ramsay’s (2011) remark “Do you have to know how to code? I’m a tenured professor of...

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2014

This Graph is my Graph, this Graph is your Graph

5 minute read

There is no better way to acknowledge that you are an academic or digital humanities arrival than finding yourself on the receiving end of a class act hatchet job on your work. This year at DH2014 Stefan Jänicke, Annette Geßner, Marco Büchler, and Gerik Scheuermann of Leipzig University’s Image and Signal processing group and Göttingen’s DH Center presented a paper firmly criticizing the graph layout that CollateX and StemmaWeb apply. Tara Andrews (who is responsible for the programming that makes...

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2013

Careful what you wish for

6 minute read

At the Social, Digital, Scholarly Editing 2013 conference Peter Robinson made a statement that he repeated a week later at the Digital Humanities 2013 conference. This statement is going to be taken so far out of context, going to be misused, abused, perverted, and corrupted so much that we had better deal with it now.

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2012

Nederlab: Concerns from the Research Perspective

7 minute read

Nederlab is a recently awarded Dutch Science Foundation large infrastructure investment. The successful proposal for a 2.4MEuro subsidy was carried by an impressive consortium of leading researchers in the fields of linguistics, history, and literary scholarship. Reading the proposal I find there are several serious issues that may cripple the project from the start. I think both researchers and technicians involved should tackle these issues rather now than later.

The human face of interoperability

4 minute read

On 19 and 20 March 2012 a symposium in the context of Interedition was held at the Huygens Institute for the History of the Netherlands. Next to excellent papers presented by for instance Gregor Middell (http://bit.ly/KTBJp9) and Stan Ruecker (http://bit.ly/KTBVVm) a number of development projects were presented that showed very well what Interedition is all about. Interedition promotes and progresses the interoperability of tools used in Digital Textual Scholarship. A nice example was given by Tara Andrews (http://bit.ly/LjhKi6) and Troy...

Bring out yer dead!

3 minute read

Tristan Louis blogged about how we are killing the internet by moving our data from discoverable networked http spaces to closed off databases at Facebook and Apps on Android and Apple. And sure enough the big dot-com companies are playing a serious game of land grab. Currently that game is played with applications and data. With those two elements the dot-coms form silos within the Internet, and we can’t play nice with them in the open data sense. However, data...

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