Author: Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Report: The Academic Book and Its Digital Dilemmas

From the post:

Focusing in particular on the arts and humanities, this article asks how, and under what conditions, the digitally mediated long-form academic publication might hold a viable future. It examines digital disruption and innovation within humanities publishing, contrasts different models and outlines some of the key challenges facing scholarly publishing in the humanities. This article examines how non-traditional entities, such as digital humanities research projects, have performed digital publishing roles and reviews possible implications for scholarly book publishing’s relationship to the wider research process. It concludes by looking at how digital or hybrid long-form publications might become more firmly established within the scholarly publishing landscape.

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: Reflecting on Critical Making in Digital History

Creative Commons image by evmaiden via Flickr

Editors Note: This is the second post in a two-part post exploring a digital history course taught at Carleton University in Winter 2018. Part one explains the premise behind #hist3812.

In part one, Graham explained the rationale and unfurling of HIST3812, Critical Making in Digital History. At the end of the course, he invited the students to craft a collaboratively written ‘exit ticket’ that explored their understanding of what the course accomplished. This exit ticket was not graded, although the students could incorporate it into their end-of-term portfolio of work.

The exit ticket was written on the final day of class (a 1.5 hr block of time) through a student-directed discussion and division of labour on an open Google document. Graham prepared the shell of the document before hand with suggested headers (which the students left largely intact). Graham observed the discussion, but periodically left the classroom, so that the students could discuss issues openly without him.

Read part one here and part two here.

Editors’ Choice: Sexism, Twitter, and ‘Algorithms of Oppression’ (Round-Up)

At DHNow we try to use our Editor’s Choice pieces as an opportunity to highlight debates and important scholarship related to the Digital Humanities. Below is a round-up of commentary on two controversial twitter debates related to Safiya Umoja Noble’s (@safiyanoble) forthcoming book Algorithms of Oppression: How Search Engines Reinforce RacismThe controversy began when the manager of the IEEE History Center’s Twitter account (@IEEEhistory) sent several tweets denying the argument and evidence of Noble’s book without reading the work. In a second separate exchange, twitter users questioned and dismissed the existence of racist data structures — a component of Noble’s argument about digital redlining in Algorithms of Oppression. Noble’s book is set to be released on February 20 and contributes to a growing body of scholarship on the issue of bias in computing and digital ethics. Below are links to two responses prompted by the twitter exchanges as well as a link to Safiya Umoja Noble’s talk at the Personal Democracy Forum in 2016 which serves as a preview of her forthcoming book.

Tech History Group Dedicated to Preserving Information Busted Deleting Apology Tweets by Melanie Ehrenkranz:

Everyone knows what you post online is never truly gone, but rarely are attempts to scrub something from the web quite this ironic—or infuriating.

Last week, the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers History Center tweeted out an apology to author Safiya Umoja Noble after one of its historians shared a glaringly insulting criticism of her work from the organization’s Twitter account. But it appears the IEEE History Center—which was established to help preserve information on electrical technologies—has since deleted the apology.

Read full post here.

Why We Need To Stop Questioning Women of Color by Colin Rhinesmith:

After admitting and accepting that I was wrong, I discovered a few ways to move forward.

I began reading the work of Black feminist scholars who Safiya and other women of color were citing and discussing in their scholarship. Through this process, which continues today, I began learning that there are multiple ways of knowing about the world. By understanding the perspectives of women of color, I could begin to see why men continue to question women of color and why it needs to stop.

I also began to recognize that I, as a White cisgender heterosexual man from a privileged background in a position of power in higher education, can use the powerful platform that I have to work toward changing these stereotypes and addressing oppression in academia and beyond.

More recently, I have begun to assign Black feminist scholarship in my classes at Simmons. This is because, as Patricia Hill Collins (2000) explained, “It is more likely for Black women, as members of an oppressed group, to have critical insights into the condition of our oppression than it is for those who live outside this structures” (p. 39). Collins’s writing, as well as the writing of many other Black feminist scholars, can be an incredibly important starting point for library and information science students in learning to develop the tools, skills, and knowledge needed to challenge the oppressive systems and structures that continue to impact our profession and the communities we serve in harmful ways.

My hope in writing this post is that it will ultimately serve as a call to other men, like myself, to begin questioning not only what we know but how we know. More importantly, I hope this post will cause other men to stop questioning women of color and to start asking ourselves critical questions such as, “maybe what I know is wrong.”

Read full post here.

Challenging the Algorithms of Oppression by Safiya Umoja Noble:

Watch the talk here.

Editors’ Choice: Teaching Underrepresented Students How to Navigate Higher Ed Via Digital Humanities

Creative Commons image by vial3tt3 via Flickr

This is the third part in a multi-part series about participants in the Race, Memory, and the Digital Humanities conference. This series features public intellectuals discussing digital literacy issues.

“He was always on the lookout for what the next big thing would be, and made sure I knew about it.” In an email interview with DML Central, Parham explained that her grandfather was also an enthusiastic booster for tennis as a sport, although “pre-Williams sisters” women of color like Parham might have felt hesitant to follow his lead. “The tennis didn’t take, and we never got the Kaypro, which was, of course, too expensive and too useless for an 8 year old. But, the imagination of that computer did take hold, and soon after, we went to Sears to buy me a Commodore 64.”Professor Marisa Parham of Amherst College, who has led the Five College Digital Humanities initiative has a long history with digital media. “My earliest experiences with computers and devices mainly stemmed from my grandfather’s obsession with Kaypros in the 1980s. I was 8 or 9 years old. He would take me downtown to ogle what must have been some iteration of the Kaypro II, which for some reason, we found more intriguing than the Compaq II, though I remember thinking that the Compaq was hideous to behold.

As a future digital humanist, access to home computing proved critical to her literacy story. “The Commodore 64 was transformative for me because I could do so many different kinds of things with it. I still remember making my way through Turtle and then Basic. Over the years, though, I spent most of my time playing interactive text narratives, which is an interest I still have today!”

Read the full post here.

Resource: Preserving Accented and Non-Roman Characters in CSV Workflows

From the post:

Digital work in and around the Humanities often involves moving data from one system or format to another. That data often involves complex textual materials in multiple languages and writing systems. One commonly used format is the “Comma-Separated Values” text file. It’s not uncommon to find that characters not used in English get garbled when exported from a spreadsheet program like Microsoft Excel to CSV (or imported from CSV into such a program). What’s going on and how do you make it stop?

Source: Preserving Accented and Non-Roman Characters in CSV Workflows

Announcement: Workshop – Miranda Digital Asset Platform

From the post:

This two-day workshop aims to bring together a variety of participants from early modern studies, digital humanities, and libraries and archives for a behind-the-scenes look at the Folger’s new digital asset platform, Miranda. Participants will get a first-hand tour of Miranda and a chance to explore its future development and potential outcomes. Conversations will be framed in the context of current tools and the trajectory of digital scholarship with a keen eye towards efficacy and practical use. Participants will contribute to small, collaborative working groups and provide guidance to the Folger for current and future development.

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: The Accuracy of Rights Statements on

A pie chart of results.

Since 2009 we have been contributing to the development of Europeana, the European platform that provides access to the digitised collections of cultural heritage institutions (CHIs) across Europe. One of our main contributions to Europeana is the Europeana Licensing Framework which ensures that data published on Europeana can be freely reused, and that all digital objects available via Europeana come with easy-to-understand information about their copyright status and under which conditions they can be reused…

We have constructed a methodology in which we individually assessed the accuracy of the rights statements+Kennisland has been working with Europeana since 2009 to make cultural heritage available for reuse. Read here more. of a representative sample of the digital objects made available via Europeana. The results from the sample give an indication of the accuracy of the rights statements of the entire database of Europeana. The results show that at least 61.8% of the rights statements were accurately applied and that at least 9.1% were inaccurate based on the available information. The accuracy of 17.4% of the rights statements is questionable, while for 8.8% it was not possible to determine the accuracy.

Read the post here.

CFParticipation: Survey on DH Collaborations

About the survey:

I consider three dimensions of trading zones, as mentioned in an earlier blogpost: 1) cultural maintenance, 2) coercion, and 3) contact & participation. The current survey focuses on this final dimension, the contact & participation. With this dimension, we aim to gain an insight in the ways people in a trading zone participate, and the organisational structures of interdisciplinary collaboration.  It is entirely possible that you are part of multiple collaborations; e.g. you could be part of a DH centre that has a lab, and you work on one or more projects. If that is the case, we kindly ask you to take the survey for each individually, and not combine answers in one go. We are particularly interested in collaborations that include historians.

Read more here.

Resource: Developing A Photogrammetry Toolkit For Rapid, Low Cost And High Fidelity 3D Scans

From the resource:

As a current PhD student in the Communications Cultural Studies and New Media Program at McMaster University, my research revolves around the application of new media to create personal archives for individuals or relatively small communities, groups and peoples, primarily marginalized populations, including: ageing populations, people of colour, indigenous peoples, people with accessibility needs and migrant populations, especially those displaced by climate disaster, armed conflict, and global economics.

These new media archives are rooted in enabling the community itself to accessibly and rapidly generate their own archival content in response to the inability of traditionally large institutions like museums and government run organizations to include marginalized people, especially in the face of rapid change caused by climate disaster or armed conflict. The new media forms I intend to include in my research are: audio recording, photography, 3D scanning, and 3D printing. For the Sherman Centre Graduate Residency in Digital Scholarship I will mainly be focused on photogrammetry technology.

Read the full resource here.

Editors’ Choice: Stewardship in the “Age of Algorithms”

Creative Commons image by Conor Lawless via Flickr

This paper explores pragmatic approaches that might be employed to document the behavior of large, complex socio-technical systems (often today shorthanded as “algorithms”) that centrally involve some mixture of personalization, opaque rules, and machine learning components. Thinking rooted in traditional archival methodology — focusing on the preservation of physical and digital objects, and perhaps the accompanying preservation of their environments to permit subsequent interpretation or performance of the objects — has been a total failure for many reasons, and we must address this problem. The approaches presented here are clearly imperfect, unproven, labor-intensive, and sensitive to the often hidden factors that the target systems use for decision-making (including personalization of results, where relevant); but they are a place to begin, and their limitations are at least outlined. Numerous research questions must be explored before we can fully understand the strengths and limitations of what is proposed here. But it represents a way forward. This is essentially the first paper I am aware of which tries to effectively make progress on the stewardship challenges facing our society in the so-called “Age of Algorithms;” the paper concludes with some discussion of the failure to address these challenges to date, and the implications for the roles of archivists as opposed to other players in the broader enterprise of stewardship — that is, the capture of a record of the present and the transmission of this record, and the records bequeathed by the past, into the future. It may well be that we see the emergence of a new group of creators of documentation, perhaps predominantly social scientists and humanists, taking the front lines in dealing with the “Age of Algorithms,” with their materials then destined for our memory organizations to be cared for into the future.


Read the full paper here.