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Job: Digital Humanities Strategist, Princeton University

From the ad:

The Center for Digital Humanities (CDH) is an interdisciplinary research center and academic unit affiliated with the Princeton University Library that combines technology, design, innovative methodology and humanistic scholarship. Staff members collaborate with faculty, students and library partners on digital humanities projects, teach undergraduate classes and hands-on workshops, conduct independent research, and host a variety of events.

The CDH seeks a Digital Humanities Strategist to help raise the level of digital humanities research, awareness, and integration at Princeton, and to promote the work of the CDH to the broader community.

The successful candidate is a dynamic digital humanities scholar who will enrich DH scholarship at Princeton and help shape the growth of CDH programs and projects. Reporting to the Assistant Director, the DH Strategist will work with faculty, graduate students, undergraduates, and members of the CDH team to carry out the mission of the Center…

Source: Read the full ad here.

Announcement: Jessica Marie Johnson Lecture at University of Rochester

From the announcement:

The Andrew W. Mellon Fellows in the Digital Humanities at the University of Rochester are excited to announce the upcoming visit of  Professor Jessica Marie Johnson (Department of History, Johns Hopkins University) as a Distinguished Digital Humanist during the April 8-10. Detailed schedule of events TBA.

Events include: a public lecture (“Constellation Noire: Scrying Diasporic Futures in Plain Text”); a roundtable on Black Code Studies; and a graduate workshop on black digital praxis.

This program is co-sponsored by the Department of History, the Department of Art and Art History, the Graduate Program in Visual and Cultural Studies, the Frederick Douglass Institute for African and African-American Studies, the Center for Learning in the Digital Age (LiDA), the Digital Scholarship Lab, and the University Committee for Interdisciplinary Studies.

Read the full announcement here.

Conference: Digitizing the Stage

About the conference:

The Centre for Digital Scholarship, Bodleian Libraries, and the Folger Shakespeare Library will convene a second conference highlighting digital explorations of early modern drama, to be held on 15-18 July 2019 at the Weston Library, Oxford.

The inaugural Digitizing the Stage event in summer 2017 gathered scholars, librarians, theatre professionals, and others in a convivial and productive series of talks over three days. We look to foster the same convivial spirit over a four-day event in 2019, including a pre-conference workshop, with a renewed emphasis on performance.

Registration is now open. For more information, please contact

Read more here.

Resource: Getting Started in Digital Archaeology

From the resource:

Digital archaeology, as I have conceived it here, is not about computation in the service of finding the answer. It is about deforming, and thinking through, the various networks and distributed agencies that tie us to the past and simultaneously make it strange, that enchant and confound us. There are any number of courses on the books at universities around the world, any number of tutorials on any number of websites, that will walk you through how to do x using software package y, and when you know exactly what it is you need to do, these can be enormously helpful.

The best strategy for deformance however is to play. Play around – you’re allowed! Try things out. See what happens when you do this. But we – as the academy, as the guardians of systemized knowledge – have managed to beat playfulness out of our students. What’s more, when you’re just starting out, and you’re not sure of the terminology, not sure of even what it is you’re after, what question you’re really asking, it is easy to succumb to information paralysis – too much information means you’re not able to act at all. The strategy I take with my own students is to make it safe to fail, safe to play around, what Stephen Ramsay famously called the screwmeneutical imperative. To do this, you need to have someone model productive failure, to have someone to point to who is trying things out and reporting back on what has worked and what has not. Beyond this, there is therefore no magic recipe, no silver bullet:

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: Let’s fight some more about the digital humanities!

Nan Z Da’s “Computational Case Against Computational Literary Studies” (CLS) in the latest Critical Inquiry has been making the rounds on my social media feed. It’s a thorough and inventive argument and I am impressed by its doggedness, cross-field erudition and commitment to its idea: she re-did studies, chased down data sets, and reconstructed analyses. My long critique below is simply a result of my being impressed enough to care about some subtleties of the argument. Because I have seen disagreements turn into blood sport in literary studies before, let me be crystal clear: nothing I say below should indicate anything other than admiration the author or her work.*

So, what’s my concern?

I think the critique overshoots its mark in claiming that because there are errors in the data science, data science should be greeted with suspicion by literary critics. I am about to publish a co-authored paper on some of the inflated claims regarding machine learning and audio mastering, so I am sympathetic to Da’s skepticism as a general stance, but I’m concerned about how it works out in this case.

For those who haven’t read it, Da’s article proceeds by careful readings of a few CLS texts in order to argue with their modes of statistical interpretation and their relevance for literary criticism. I’m not going to dispute any of the statistical criticisms offered in the essay, because for me the main issue is how humanists should think about computation, quantification, and truth standards. (And I expect that the CLS crowd will offer its own response, and leave it to them to defend themselves.)

I also think Da is asking the right question, which is to be posed to any new movement in scholarship: what does it contribute to the conversation beyond itself? This is especially true if a field claims to displace another. In other words, your burden of proof is higher if you argue that quantification should displace other modes of literary interpretation than if you argue that quantification can be useful along side other modes of literary interpretation. I am firmly in the latter camp.

So, my issues with the piece really come down to two places:

1. What are the standards to which we want to hold humanities work? The warrant behind the main arguments of the piece: the claims of CLS do not stand up to statistical scrutiny, or are artifacts of data mining, or if the results are true, they are banal. The problem is that no humanistic hermeneutic enterprise, apart from maybe some species of philology and bibliography, could actually withstand the burdens of proof implied by Da’s critique. Da’s suggestions for reviewing CLS work at the end of the appendix also suggest a kind of double standard for quantitative and qualitative work in literary studies…


Read the full post here.

RECOMMENDED: Research data: To keep or not to keep?

A recent study, “Research data: To keep or not to keep?”, by Neil Beagrie (Charles Beagrie Ltd) aims to assist researchers in determining whether or not data collected should be retained. According to the study, reproducibility and research integrity and the potential for reuse of data for research are the primary factors in determining to keep data, though other more general principles are also mentioned.

Commissioned by Jisc, Beagrie interviewed 28 individuals in order to provide insight on assessing the value of the data and illustrate how these assessments can work in a practical setting across disciplines, but especially in the arts and humanities. In a world where copious amounts of data are constantly collected, insight about how to evaluate all of the information gathered can be quite useful to DH practitioners when supporting researchers who may not view their stuff as “data.” For instance, Simon McVeigh from the Practice Research Advisory Group points out the need for code-switching in meaningful ways when talking about data and shifting disciplinary norms, in order to raise awareness of preserving research data.

CFP: Materia on the Move: Trade & Colonisation of Collections – Digital Studies in Provenance

Submissions are currently being accepted to participate in the workshop, “Materia on the Move: Trade & Colonisation of Collections – Digital Studies in Provenance,” which will take place in conjunction with the 2019 Digital Humanities Conference, to be held July 9-12 in Utrecht, The Netherlands.

From the call:

This workshop aims to bring together researchers from various humanities disciplines, such as history, ethnography and archaeology, with the established guardians of collections, namely researchers in archival, library, museum studies and information science professionals and stakeholders to present and discuss approaches in tracing and documenting provenance, be it geographical or cultural and ideological.

Collections of cultural heritage data, such as art collections or digitized manuscripts, that focus on areas of interest, including using linked data for data integration, historical information modeling, and working with geographical information and historical location resolution, will be ideal for this workshop.

Long papers of up to 8 pages presenting on a completed project, and short papers/demos of up to 6 pages focusing on a work in progress, will be considered. The deadline for submissions is May 5.

JOB: Humanities Data Curator, University of California, Santa Barbara

From the announcement:

Reporting to the Director of the Data Curation Program, the Humanities Data Curator is responsible for the planning and implementation of scholarly initiatives in support of data-intensive research and digital scholarship in the humanities on campus with the goal of ensuring the high functionality, discoverability, and preservability of digital research data throughout its lifecycle. As part of a growing team of data curators, the candidate will make substantial contributions to his/her primary area of responsibility as well as collaborate with other team members in addressing curation of data from other disciplines.

JOB: Digital Archivist & Special Collections Librarian, Rhode Island College

From the announcement:

The individual will provide vision and leadership in directing and managing the College’s Special Collections and Digital Initiatives unit to provide Rhode Island College members and the community access to locally produced content and the College’s unique collections. Processes primary source materials including rare books, manuscripts, college archives, and photographs that require specialized storage and services. Stewards locally produced content, including media, student projects, and faculty publications. Oversees the digital initiatives unit in digital preservation planning to ensure long-term accessibility of digital assets. Promotes undergraduate and graduate research using primary materials. Provides instruction on using archival material in scholarship.

JOB: Data Literacy Librarian, DePaul University

From the announcement:

Reporting to the Coordinator of Reference, Instruction, and Academic Engagement, the Data Literacy Librarian will play a key role in developing programmatic support of numerical and geospatial data services, including facilitating access to data resources and providing research and instruction support to faculty and students in their use across the curriculum. The position will also serve as a liaison to one or more academic departments.

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