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Editors’ Choice: How Digital Are the Digital Humanities? An Analysis of Two Scholarly Blogging Platforms

In this paper we compare two academic networking platforms, HASTAC and Hypotheses, to show the distinct ways in which they serve specific communities in the Digital Humanities (DH) in different national and disciplinary contexts. After providing background information on both platforms, we apply co-word analysis and topic modeling to show thematic similarities and differences between the two sites, focusing particularly on how they frame DH as a new paradigm in humanities research. We encounter a much higher ratio of posts using humanities-related terms compared to their digital counterparts, suggesting a one-way dependency of digital humanities-related terms on the corresponding unprefixed labels. The results also show that the terms digital archive, digital literacy, and digital pedagogy are relatively independent from the respective unprefixed terms, and that digital publishing, digital libraries, and digital media show considerable cross-pollination between the specialization and the general noun. The topic modeling reproduces these findings and reveals further differences between the two platforms. Our findings also indicate local differences in how the emerging field of DH is conceptualized and show dynamic topical shifts inside these respective contexts.

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CFParticipation: AHA, “AskHistorians,” Outreach and Its Challenges in an Online Space

AskHistorians is an all-volunteer, multi-platform new media forum with over 350,000 subscribers, making it the largest historical space of its kind on the internet. Unlike most outreach, the forum is structured like highly public “town hall meeting” on a global scale—a question-and-answer session in which knowledgeable experts publicly interact with individual questioners while an audience watches. By inviting individual lay readers to ask a question, AskHistorians allows them to set the topic and thus direct their own learning. By making it public, other interested parties can both learn from and join in the discussion to take it in new directions, fostering total engagement.

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Editors’ Choice: Is Digital Humanities a Collaborative Discipline?

Collaboration is widely considered to be both synonymous with and essential to Digital Humanities (DH). This is because one person can rarely possess all of the (inter)disciplinary and technical knowledge needed to implement many DH projects. In DH research literature, in grey literature and on scholarly blogs the collaborative nature of DH is often evidenced by reference to the joint and multi-authored publications that are seen as characteristic of the field. However, literature from the domain of information science emphasises that collaboration and co-authorship do not necessarily have a parallel relationship. There are many reasons for this, for example, different disciplines (and even teams) have different conventions for deciding who should be named on a paper and in what order (only those who wrote the paper? Should those who programmed the computational model that the research is based on be listed as co-authors or named in the acknowledgements?)  Looking to the DH context, we noted that there does not seem to be a consensus about authorship conventions.

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Opportunity: Digital Methods Initiative, Winter School 2016

The Digital Methods Initiative (DMI), Amsterdam, is holding its annual Winter School on Critical Analytics and the Meanings of Engagement. The format is that of a data sprint, with hands-on work on engagement metrics for political, social and media research, together with a programme of keynote speakers and a Mini-conference, where PhD candidates, motivated scholars and advanced graduate students present short papers on digital methods and new media related topics, and receive feedback from the Amsterdam DMI researchers and international participants. Participants need not give a paper at the Mini-conference to attend the Winter School. For a preview of what the event is like, you can view short video clips from previous editions of the Summer School in 2015 and 2014.

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Announcement: Scottish Network on Digital Cultural Resources Evaluation

Following the success of our first workshop back in May we’ve been busy developing and planning a next round of events. First up is a day-long workshop on ‘Crowd-Sourcing, Co-Creation and Co-Curation in the Cultural Sector.’ This event will take place on December 1, 2015 at The Lighthouse in Glasgow. The workshop’s sister event is a Knowledge Exchange day on December 2, 2015 at the Kelvingrove Art Gallery & Museum.

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Job: Open Rank Professor / Program Director College Park, MD

From the ad:

The College of Arts and Humanities at the University of Maryland seeks a dynamic scholar at the rank of advanced assistant, associate, or full professor with a proven record of conducting innovative research and teaching at the intersection of African American History & Culture and Digital Humanities to direct a major Andrew W. Mellon Foundation-funded project: Synergies among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture.

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Editors’ Choice: An Introduction to the Textreuse Package

A number of problems in digital history/humanities require one to calculate the similarity of documents or to identify how one text borrows from another. To give one example, the Viral Texts project, by Ryan Cordell, David Smith, et al., has been very successful at identifying reprinted articles in American newspapers. Kellen Funk and I have been working on a text reuse problem in nineteenth-century legal history, where we seek to track how codes of civil procedure were borrowed and modified in jurisdictions across the United States.

As part of that project, I have recently released the textreuse package for R to CRAN. (Thanks to Noam Ross for giving this package a very thorough open peer review for rOpenSci, to whom I’ve contributed the package.) This package is a general purpose implementation of several algorithms for detecting text reuse, as well as classes and functions for investigating a corpus of texts. Put most simply, full text goes in and measures of similarity come out.

 

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Job: Assistant Professor in Digital Media

From the ad:

The School of Visual Arts and Design, College of Arts and Humanities, University of Central Florida seeks two assistant professors for research and teaching in digital media. These are nine-month, tenure-earning positions, the duties of which include teaching, research, and service. The anticipated start date is August 2016, pending the availability of funding.

 

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Job: Assistant Professor – Media Culture and History

From the ad:

The Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta invites applications for a tenure-track appointment at the rank of Assistant Professor in Media Culture and History, to begin 1 July 2016. Applications are welcome from candidates working in or across any temporal period and within any theoretical paradigm. We seek candidates with expertise in media old or new—established, emerging, and/or in transition—all broadly conceived: print, audio, oral, visual, or digital.

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