Category Archives: Editors’ Choice

Editors’ Choice: Write-only

Editors’ Choice: Write-only

By Nicholas Carr | April 16, 2015

It’s interesting that Jacobs and Piper offer different explanations for the diminished role of textual commentary in intellectual life. Jacobs traces it to a shift in cultural attitudes, particularly our recent, post-Romantic embrace of self-expression and originality at the expense of humility and receptiveness. Tacitly, he also implicates the even more recent, post-modern belief that the written word is something to be […]

Editors’ Choice: 79 Theses on Technology. For Disputation.

Editors’ Choice: 79 Theses on Technology. For Disputation.

By Chad Wellmon | April 16, 2015

Alan Jacobs has written seventy-nine theses on technology for disputation. A disputation is an old technology, a formal technique of debate and argument that took shape in medieval universities in Paris, Bologna, and Oxford in the twelfth and thirteenth centuries. In its most general form, a disputation consisted of a thesis, a counter-thesis, and a string […]

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Editors’ Choice: The Challenges of Beginning a Scholarly Debate in the 21st Century

By Jo Guldi | April 14, 2015

C. P. Snow’s The Two Cultures (1959) began a critical debate about the role of the humanities in an increasingly scientific world.  It was also the receipt of such enormous criticism that Snow later wrote The Two Cultures: A Second Look (1963). In the last few months David Armitage and I have experienced a technologically-accelerated version […]


Editor’s Choice: Big History: or the Curse of Storytelling in Human Knowledge

By Gilles Roy | April 9, 2015

Language and storytelling is a stubborn trait of human nature, and, as we will see, an inherent part of History, if not science. Begin by squinting your eyes and peering just ahead: everywhere at the extremities of the Big Data space, storytelling rears its ugly, incarnate head. The signs of it are legion. Big Bang […]


Editor’s Choice: Randall Munroe’s What If as a Test Case for Open Access in Popular Culture

By Nancy Foasberg | April 9, 2015

  Open access (OA) is a longstanding and important discussion within librarianship. As Peter Suber explains, the “basic idea of OA is simple: Make research literature available online without price barriers and without most permission barriers.” For a good grounding in the basics of open access, I refer the interested reader to Suber’s book Open Access; […]


Editor’s Choice: Sentiment analysis is opinion turned into code

By mia | April 7, 2015

Sentiment analysis – mining text to see what people are talking about and how they feel about it – is based on algorithms and software libraries that were created and configured by people who’ve made a series of small, accumulative decisions that affect what we see. You can think of sentiment analysis as a sausage […]


Editor’s Choice: What’s the cost of curating content in the digital age?

By Neil Grindley | April 7, 2015

Knowing how much resource to allocate to managing your digital assets is one of the big questions facing digital curation practitioners today. Making sure that your digitised collections and research data (or indeed any ‘assets’ your organisation looks after) are reusable in the future requires investment throughout their lifecycle, but ensuring that this is done in a […]

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Editors’ Choice: Is it Research or is it Spying? Thinking-Through Ethics in Big Data AI and Other Knowledge Sciences

By Bettina Berendt, Marco Büchler, and Geoffrey Rockwell | April 2, 2015

Is it Research or is it Spying? Thinking-Through Ethics in Big Data AI and Other Knowledge Sciences has just been published online. It was written with Bettina Berendt and Marco Büchler and came out of a Dagschule retreat where a group of us started talking about ethics and big data. Here is the abstract: “How to […]

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Editors’ Choice: Not Enough Perspectives

By Scott Weingart | March 31, 2015

Digital Humanities suffers from a lack of perspectives in two ways: we need to focus more on the perspectives of those who interact with the cultural objects we study, and we need more outside academic perspectives. In Part 1, I cover Russian Formalism, questions of validity, and what perspective we bring to our studies. In Part […]