Diane Jakacki http://dianejakacki.net "Tam arte quam marte" Thu, 18 Apr 2019 21:22:58 +0000 en-US hourly 1 https://wordpress.org/?v=5.1.1 160057191 Announcing Debates in DH Pedagogy! http://dianejakacki.net/announcing-debates-in-dh-pedagogy/ http://dianejakacki.net/announcing-debates-in-dh-pedagogy/#respond Thu, 24 Jan 2019 20:00:13 +0000 http://dianejakacki.net/?p=1450 Brian Croxall and I are thrilled to announce a call for abstracts for a forthcoming edited volume, Debates in Digital Humanities Pedagogy. The book will appear in the Debates in the Digital Humanities series from the University of Minnesota Press, edited by Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein.

Over the last decade, Digital Humanities (DH) has reinvigorated discussions of pedagogy in the academy. Unconferences on DH pedagogy and blogs about teaching with digital methods in the humanities classroom have led to extensive discussions about approaches to teaching at annual disciplinary conferences. At the same time, conversations and debates about teaching digital humanities—whether to undergraduates, graduate students, or to the faculty themselves—have led to more and more people becoming involved in the field, each of them coming from different subjects bringing their own perspectives and praxes with them to the teaching of DH. We have arrived at a moment when institutions are formally integrating DH into the curriculum and granting degrees; we are creating minors, majors, and even graduate certificates in DH; all of this while many of us are still new to the experience of (teaching) DH. This calls for another round of discussion of DH pedagogy or a discussion of pedagogy in a new key.

These students—and the ways in which we teach them—are a very real expression of what each of us as instructors believes digital humanities to be. As our students and our colleagues continue to ask us “What is digital humanities?” we have the opportunity to answer their questions in terms of how we teach digital humanities.
Read more at the full CFP here, including the deadline to submit abstracts.

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Resolving the Polynymy of Place: or, how to create a gazetteer of colonized landscapes http://dianejakacki.net/resolving-the-polynymy-of-place-or-how-to-create-a-gazetteer-of-colonized-landscapes/ http://dianejakacki.net/resolving-the-polynymy-of-place-or-how-to-create-a-gazetteer-of-colonized-landscapes/#respond Fri, 29 Jun 2018 21:41:21 +0000 http://dianejakacki.net/?p=1440 This is the abstract for a paper I co-presented with Katie Faull at DH2018 in Mexico City on June 28, 2018.

The slides and notes for the talk are deposited on Humanities Commons: https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:19929/.

Conference abstract: This paper will explore the problem of creating a gazetteer of colonized landscapes, specifically those of the mid-Atlantic in the 18th century, in which the name of a place (toponym) changes depending on the person or political entity who is describing that place. In colonized landscapes, there can be multiple names for one place. Maps of this period are veritable palimpsests of conquests and defeats; and travel diaries, mission records and letters contain accounts of human experience of places that are multiply identified. The task is made more complicated still when one factors time into the equation: when competing spatial identities persist across generations. The paper proposes a two-phased approach to developing the Moravian Lives gazetteer, which will expand geographically to places beyond North America and will need to resolve polynymic complexities in Central Europe, the Arctic areas of Greenland and Newfoundland, the Caribbean, South Africa and Australia.

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Christine Seidel http://dianejakacki.net/christine-seidel/ http://dianejakacki.net/christine-seidel/#respond Sat, 10 Feb 2018 22:07:15 +0000 http://dianejakacki.net/?p=1431

2. The Widow Christine Eleonore Seidel

Christiane Eleonora Seidel, page 1

2. The Widow Christine Eleonore Seidel.
(her Maiden Name was Peistel)
She wrote of herself:
I am born the 28th of May 1707 at Litowiz in Misonie. Myn Vater has been Carl Fridric Peisteland my Mother Eleonore born of Bradenstein, of the generation Zoeshen by Merseburg. We have been 5 Brethren & SistersChildren, two of them are gone home in their tender Ages, and we three have been brought up at home, and we came according to our Pradestination to the Congregation. We had a Lovefull but a serious Mother, who had our true best at Heart, She was a Lover of the Cross of Christ & acknowledged Christ crucified for her only Happiness in time & Eternity for every Body. She had a Connectionw.th our Saviour & did not Love the World, & This has been the Subsect of her discoursing w.th us, in a very evangelical Manner & this effected towards our Mother by us a great Love & respect. By occasion She very often declard to us: that our Saviour certified her Heart, that not one of her Children should be lost, but all should become his Property & live for him in this World. This made some times a deep Impression on our Hearts, I for my Part was not without Feeling, nevertheless I did not know my Redeemer. In the Time following the Lust to the World begun to stir & I began to like the World & the World liked me & seekd for me.

Christiane Eleonora Seidel, page 2 (left and right)

Alone my true Saviour did't leave me Rest in Pleasure whatsoever but transformed all wordly Pleasuresinto Bitterness, Grief & Mourning. I knew very well I was not converted & therefore took one Resolution after the other, but without Effect; then I always begun driven by the Restlessness of my Heart w.th my own
Power, therefore I never found rest or get into a true Connection w.th our Saviour. By the infattigableDesire of our dear Mother our Saviour provideth for us, and we got a Proceptor from Dr Buddei, Named Hofman (a intimate Friend to our blessed B.r Vierroth) who recommended contualy continually the Love of our crucified Saviour w.th a burning Heart to us; and was of one Opinion w.th our Dear Mammy.

A.o1735 our dear Saviour took our dear Mother on a sudden but very happy home to himself. We, her three Children where present, because our Brother to the same time a Prussian Officer came home by a instinct unknown for what, he found her still well, but had not long to wait to see her closing her Eyes happy & in Peace. Her so happy & JoyfulFarewell, had such a Effect on our Hearts that we three together took the resolution at once, to have no part w.th the World, but to give our whole Hearts to our Saviour Jesus Christ. But I for my part did't know this true Friend of Sinners. I tried all the means I could, I read very

often the History of the Suffering & Death of our Saviour not without Effect upon my Heart; but I alwaysbeganby becoming Pious & to Show my Duty to God, and so I came by all my restlessness not farther. Then I became acquainted with Separatists, & would undoubtedly have fallen deeper & deeper in my own Working; had not our Saviour directed, that Magister Seidel was calld as Deacon to Mutschen as the Place of our Residence. He begun to preach our Saviour w.th Power & Grace & our Sav.r regulated it so that I became his Wife, notwithstanding all the Difficulties which would arise in this respect. This Marriage was a great Blessing to my
Heart. My Husbands' tender Conversation w.th our Saviour moved my Heart anew, that as he ask'd me in the first Days of our Marriage: how it would be
with me? if People would drive him out for the Sakeof our dear Saviour out of the Town & Country? I made a Covenant w.th him, to follow him willingly [.] and partake w.th him for our Saviours Sake what would follow. A. 1740. He went to see the Congregation in Hhuth. This Visit brought a great Blessing about his Heart and I got my Share by that dreams to. From this Time quite a new a happy Period begun w.th us. A.o1741. The 22d of March as he was
Preaches to the Garrison at the of Königs Stoneour dear Saviour took him home in his eternal favoty. He Witnesseth still on his Sick Bed towards all

Christiane Eleonora Seidel, page 3 (left and right)

who came to see him, from the Power of the Blood of Christ with a becoming Tenderness. His happy & Joyful Departure to our Saviour renewd & fastened the Impression, I had, of the blessed Con_versation w.th him.

Now my former Inclination to the had fixd in me such a Fear of myself, that I no where trusted to live, & imagined Danger every where; but the Friend of my Soul soon recollected to me, that I lookd more on my blessed Husband as on the Connection w.th him. This made me prostrate myself before & I begged w.th 1000 Fears forgiveness over all what passed. He Mercy took me as I was, & I had from thence a more happy Period. By all that, I could not get rid of my Scrupulosity by the feelings of my Misery & like a Child draw near to him according to my Wish, therefore the Fear of myself darkneth my happy Hours very often. In this very Year, I & my Sister went to see the Con_gregation at Hhuth, there I felt the very Peace of God, and the Brethren & Sisters I looked on as Children of God and had a great respect towards them & I wishd incognito to live in this Place. 1742. We came to see Hhuth a second time & there we determined to remove thither. But by setting out for Herrnhuth some Accident happened & we postponed our Journey. Hereby

a dangerous Period for my poor Heart begun, a false Poeple filled our Minds with so much dangerous Expectations and Things against the Congregation, that our Journey was quite dropped. By all that our Saviour was so gracious to beware that I did't sin against his Church, & my Desire still remaining to spend my Days under this Poeple. I was busy in reading the DisciplesSermons deliverd at Berlin & begged our Saviour very often that if I belonged to this Folks, he would himself find means to bring me thither. As my Brother moved from Wetteravia to Bertholsdorf, I & my Sister paid him a Visit there for some Weeks, by that we saw what false Opinions had for foundation. But for all that I knewvery well that some People who came to the Con_gregation have been sent by & by back again, this made me terribly afraid to venture asking Leave
nevertheless I felt a Instinct in my Heart that I belonged to this People. At last I & my Sister desireth Leave to stay in Bertholsdorf(only to be near Hhuth & to try if we belong to the Congregation or not) We got Leave & then the 9th of Jan. 1747. we arrived in Bertholsdorf to stay there.

Exact a Month passed as the 9th of Febr. in a


Christiane Eleonora Seidel, page 4 (left and right)

Meeting at the Hall in Hhuth as they sung this verse: Wie bin ich doch so herzlich froh. My bloody Redeemer on a sudden appeard before me, & my poor Heart melted away by feeling his blessed Nearness for Shame about my deep Misery & Sinful Condition. I never can forget this blessed Moment & I shall remember it & adore my Saviour therefore in Eternity.

From this Time the Sisters took more particular Care upon me, & for all I liveth in Berthols_dorf I got Leave to partake on the Communion_Meetings in Hhuth.

1747 the 22d of Octob.r to the greatest Joy & Shame of my poor Heart, I was received in the Congregation in Hhuth, this gave one a new Spirit to lay down my whole Heart before my Redeemer as a poor Reward for his Trouble; and still I remember by every Reception, the Grace beflowed upon my Soul by this Opportunity.
A.o1748 March 20th I removed from Hh Bertholsdorf to Hhuth

March 25th our Saviour beflowed the great Mercy on me to partake w.th the Congregation the holy Sacrament of his inestimable Flesh & Blood. Here all Words fall to short to express what my


poor Heart felt thereby.

From that Time I passd my Time as well in the Congregation as my dear Choir cheerful and happy and my Heart was really attached to our dear Saviour. If some times a cloudy Hour came upon me, as whereto my poor Temper much inclined, it was soon dispersed as soon as my Heart wept for our dear Saviours feet.

A.o1756 the 14th of March I was taken among the hourly Intercessors, by this special Conversation w.th our dear Saviour, I had many Blessings & for fo my own part many delightful Insights into the Siner_ loving Heart of our Redeemer.

The 3th of Febr. a.c. I was received amongst the Acoluths. received. the 8 of July as the new Classes who were errected I became a Help Mate in one of them. The 3th of Febr. I became the first time Choir Disciple which was a Opportunity to keep close to the Heart of my dearest Redeemer & a true blessing for my poor Soul (after that this Grace happened oftener to her, and She was the last Choir Disciple.) In the Beginning of the Year 61. Our dear Saviour was very gracious to me & blessed me w.th his Nearness & my constant Prayer was only: Dear Saviour remain so with me, till I see thy face to Face.

18th Febr.

Christiane Eleonora Seidel, page 5

The 16th of Febr. a.c. I had the Pleasure to move in our new Choir-House. I desireth by that means by our Saviour as a Present a quite happy Choir Heart. (Since that I had lived in the House of my Brother.) He alone knoweth the Fears of my Heart, and I know he'll transfer me by his Mercy to his own & holy Pleasure.

So far her own Words.
That our Saviour was near to our blessed Sister in her Choir-House & heard her Desires may easily be seen by the following verses, which she made on her last Birth Day the 28th of May:

Wie dank ich dir mein ewger Mann
for das, was du dis Jahr gethan
an deinem armen sundgen Kind
das nichts als Mängel an sich findt.

Ich gebe deinen blutgen Fuss
den sünderhafsten Gruss und Kuss
for alle Gnade und Geduld
und fors vergeben meiner Schuld.
Ach wie beshämt es mich so sehr
Dass ich dir noch nicht mehr zur Ehr
Schenk mir ein ganz zersehmolzen Herz
verliebt in deinen Todt und Schmerz
Gott heilger Geist du Mutter mein
lehr mich dir recht gehorsam sein
ergiess Dich reichlich uber mich
Zum Pfingst-Fest das erwarte ich.

Christiane Eleonora Seidel, page 6

Und hofe auf ein seligs Jahr
Als sonsten noch Nie keines war.
O dass du mich so schmuktest aus,
Dass mich mein Mann nehm bald nach Houss.
Wie würde doch dem Würmelein
Beym Sehn des Lams zu Muthe sein
Vielleicht ben ich heut ubers Iahr
By Ihm in seiner obern Sohaar.
Drum soll myn Aug auf nichls mehr Sehn
Als nur auf seine Leidens Schön
Dem Ohr gefalle sonst kein Klang
als nur der Passions Gesang.

It was very plain to be perceived, that the holy Ghost hastened with her Adornment; She could herself nothing imagine more sweet as to receive the last Kiss from the lovely Lips of her Lover; and this her last Sickness was the Opportunity to still her Desire. The 23th of March, She was taken by a hard fit of Colic, that She was forced to keep to her Bed, but by all her Pain, the Conversation w.th our dear Saviour & his Smart & Sufferings made her Sick bed easily & supportable supportable to her.

The 24th She found herself very weak &


Christiane Eleonora Seidel, page 7 (left and right)

her great Sabbath Day with extaordnary Longing took tender Leave by Words so much for Weakness' would allow to express by her Brother, Sister & other Acquaintances, but afterwards She expressd her tender Love by a smiling Look on, [a] so She remaineth present to herself to the last Gap or Breath. When They sung verses, She refresheth her Heart by and sung accompanied w.th a broken Voice, sometimes strechd out her Arms towards her Brautigroom!

As the last Moment came nearer, then they Blessed her in the Name of her Choir w.th a uncommon Feeling of the Nearness of our dear Saviour, & under these Words: Ihr Glieder rein Gott ehr euch, des heilge Geist ver- klär euch. flew the 23th in the Evening her reconciled Soul happy home in the Wounds of Jesus Christ. A still & blessed Peace of God extended themselves about all who were present & left to her Corpse a lovely Prospect.

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CFP for MLA 2019: What Do We Teach When We Teach DH? http://dianejakacki.net/cfp-for-mla-2019-what-do-we-teach-when-we-teach-dh/ Wed, 07 Feb 2018 20:54:54 +0000 http://dianejakacki.net/?p=1414 What Do We Teach When We Teach DH?

(A special session on digital humanities pedagogy at MLA 2019)

Over the last decade as digital humanities research has flourished, the MLA convention—as well as other venues—has witnessed increasingly vigorous discussions about teaching digital humanities. We now find ourselves in a discipline that is not so new (acknowledging, of course, that DH is as old as the computer itself) and simultaneously at a moment when we need to talk formally about teaching and learning. As such, if the unacknowledged debate that sits at the heart of discussions about digital humanities is always, “What is digital humanities?”, it’s important to acknowledge how that question is always already related to the question of how we teach digital humanities.

We are interested in proposals that tackle one or more of the following three broad subjects:

  • The academic integration of digital humanities
    • effective class sizes and the use of lab-like structures in place of / addition to “normal” course sessions
    • tensions between breadth and depth in teaching digital humanities
    • who, exactly, has the bona fides to teach digital humanities
    • how digital humanities pedagogy might differ for undergraduate and graduate students
  • Ethical ramifications of teaching digital humanities
    • the line between students’ experiential learning and student labor
    • the complicated status of so much digital humanities pedagogy being performed by graduate students, staff, and non-tenure-track faculty
    • the invisible labor of teaching in a field that is still developing
    • the privileges inherent in teaching digital humanities (e.g., which schools have the resources to afford a DHer and/or the equipment that might be necessary)
    • student labor, invisible labor, complicated status, accessibility, closed/open pedagogies & software, privilege viz DH
  • DH pedagogy across languages and literatures

Given the nature of the conversation we hope to host, this session will not focus on the following:

  • Expositions of assignments and/or syllabi
  • Institutional models for support (funding, human resources, infrastructure)


The panel will be made up of 3 papers of 10-15 minutes each, followed by a response by the organizers, and then discussion with the audience.

Drafts will be shared internally for comment and review on 1 November 2018. Final papers will be posted publicly on 1 December 2018 for comments and discussion leading up to the Convention in Chicago.

Send 250-word abstracts and CVs to dkj004@bucknell.edu and brian.croxall@byu.edu by 15 March 2018.

REED London: Humanistic Roots, Humanistic Futures at MLA 2017 http://dianejakacki.net/reed-london-humanistic-roots-humanistic-futures/ http://dianejakacki.net/reed-london-humanistic-roots-humanistic-futures/#respond Tue, 13 Jun 2017 15:16:41 +0000 http://dianejakacki.net/?p=1396 This is the transcript of a paper I gave as part of the "Digital Scholarship in Action: Research" panel at CSRS (Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies) in Philadelphia on January 6, 2017. The attendant PowerPoint is stored and indexed on the MLA Commons Open Repository Exchange, and is available here: https://hcommons.org/deposits/item/hc:14373/

"REED London: Humanistic Roots, Humanistic Futures"

In November of this past year the executive board of the Records of Early English Drama approved my proposal to develop a new large-scale, long-range collaborative endeavour called REED London. The reason why I think that this nascent project offers a valuable perspective in talking about how we keep the “H” in DH is because the project is to its very bones a HUMANITIES project that can only exist in a DIGITAL realm. We, as pre-modern performance and theatre historians, are using digital methods to aggregate its materials, access and analyze a remarkably broad array of archival documents, and amplify their importance to a broader spectrum of humanities scholars and potential collaborators than we cannot have been able to do through more traditional means.

REED London develops from the Records of Early English Drama, an international scholarly project that has for the last thirty-five years worked to locate, transcribe, and edit historical documents that contain evidence of drama, secular music, and other communal entertainment and ceremony in England, Wales, and Scotland from the Middle Ages until 1642, when the Puritans closed the London theatres. REED has published twenty-seven collections of records in print comprising 36 volumes - over 17,000 pages of transcribed records plus invaluable contextual materials. A further 25 collections are planned or in progress.

Since 2003, REED has recognized the importance of developing online access to archival materials as well as the creation of new born-digital resources: these include the Patrons and Performances website, the Early Modern London Theatre database, the Fortune Theatre Records digital edition, the Anglo-Latin Wordbook as well as fully searchable, open access digital editions of all of those forthcoming REED collections launching in early 2017 with Staffordshire’s dramatic records.1

REED London Corpus

REED London therefore establishes for the first time a comprehensive resource of documentary materials referring and related to London-centric performance, theatre, and music spanning the period 1100-1650. REED London’s goal is to bring together London-centric print “legacy” collections, with existing online resources, in-progress digital editions, and pave the way for new collections and remixing the ways in which scholars and students engage with the editorial and archival materials. Archival and bibliographical records and editorial contextual materials are compiled from:

  • Existing print published editions (Civic London to 1558, Ecclesiastical London, Inns of Court)
  • Collections in progress (Surrey including Southwark, Middlesex)
  • Existing online resources (Early Modern London Theatres database, Patrons and Performances website)
  • Online resources and collections in development (Professional theatre records, Civic London 1559-1642)

... as well as references to London performances from REED provincial print collections.

What is a Record?

These materials are transcribed texts and excerpts from secular and ecclesiastical legal proceedings, parish church records, London Corporation and guild company minutes and accounts, household accounts, playscripts, costume and property inventories, and correspondence.

Project Objectives

* Establish stable, extensible item model that anticipates as many types of records as possible
* Draw records from already print-published collections, already online resources, in-progress collections, and in-design/in-development projects
* Associate metadata and editorial material with individual records, supporting intersections among records
* Accommodate descriptive and semantic markup

Scholarly Output

* Machine-readable, fully-searchable record texts
* Re/presentation of all scholarly editorial materials written by REED editors specifically for the REED collections, editions, and projects
* Prosopography of all identifiable people in the records
* Complete geocoded gazetteer of all identifiable places in the records
* Authority list of organizations and offices
* Comprehensive list of all archival documents referred to, pages or leaves consulted, and their current locations/availability in archives and libraries

It cannot be understated that the creation of REED London brings a crucial new scholarly and pedagogical focus to our work from a much broader audience in pre-modern studies. The nature of the records - legal, ecclesiastical, civic, political, personal - means that the project offers profound resources for our colleagues beyond performance history. One colleague has already expressed interest in using the REED London record texts to undertake a never-before possible corpus linguistics dialect analysis of the English language from medieval times.

At the same time, the records as extracted from contemporary documents offer an unusual opportunity for new scholars to return to the archives to capture what REED has had to forego because of editorial time constraints. If properly negotiated, the REED London record sets will establish a hub from which other research projects can grow, potentially augmenting our records with others from the same documents that involve other scholarly foci, thereby encouraging a much larger interdisciplinary research platform involving as yet unidentified colleagues.

  1. Since this paper was presented, REED Online has launched the Staffordshire collection.
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Trying to Move the Needle: Expanding the DH Reviewer Pool http://dianejakacki.net/trying-to-move-the-needle/ http://dianejakacki.net/trying-to-move-the-needle/#respond Sat, 25 Jun 2016 03:15:38 +0000 http://dianejakacki.net/?p=1369 Today it was #Brexit. Two days ago it was #nobillnobreak. Two weeks ago it was #Orlando. Friends and colleagues in Texas are attending workshops on how to deal with campus carry. Friends and colleagues in the U.K. and Europe are wondering about ... everything. I don't mean to conflate the profound and disturbing events and trends that have led to fear and hatred and tragedy on so many levels. What can we do in the face of all of this, when doors are being slammed shut, and friends and colleagues are in real physical and personal and professional danger?

We can keep wedging open a door. Even a little bit.

It's been almost exactly a year since I was drawn formally into the increasingly fraught and urgent discourse on diversity and inclusivity within the digital humanities. And it is through this lens, trying to make sense of the regional and cultural complexities of diversity in our rhizomatic academic discipline, that I have watched and listened and read, and received advice from many wise people who have patiently helped me to understand why seemingly miniscule efforts like changing the climate of an annual conference can actually help us affect change on a much larger level. At DHSI two weeks ago, one of those wise and patient friends, Kathi Inman Berens, advised me to think about DH2017 in terms of small amounts of meaningful progress. She said something to the effect that, 'if we move the needle just seven degrees we'll still have moved the needle.' So it's time to start moving the needle.

Earlier this week, after really valuable, productive, instructive collaboration among the combined program committees for DH2017 and DH2018, I submitted to the ADHO Conference Coordinating Committee a recommendation that we expand the DH conference reviewer pool. My request was that the CCC consider, comment upon, and amend the proposal if necessary, and then forward it to the Steering Committee for further consideration and hopefully adoption this summer, so that we can then reach out to Constituent Organizations, Special Interest Groups, and other associated committees and invite nominations.

I made the decision to do this formally, inviting input from and collaboration with the joint committees, to begin to frame the discourse about diversity and outreach in terms of the annual conference - knowing that as a program committee our purview is limited, but aware that the conference is in some ways and for some colleagues a metonymy for the discipline. In the process of drafting the proposal, we have identified further subjects that the committee will address regarding how the submission and review process works, and what we can't effect for DH2017 I hope we can move into position for DH2018.

I won't publish the proposal now (I think it's appropriate to wait until the CCC has given their input and it has been reviewed by the SC) but think it's reasonable to share the rationale behind the proposal.

How does adding more reviewers help our process?
With more *active* reviewers, more abstracts can be thoroughly vetted and we are better able to consider the value of a broader array of proposals.

What does adding new reviewers to our pool offer to our conference(s)?
It better reflects and represents the dimension of scholar-practitioners in DH whose work is presented at the conference in all inclusive senses (in terms of language, region, race, ethnicity, culture, labor, identity, as well as the ever-expanding types of scholarship, publication, and expression that are associated with DH).

Why does adding new reviewers help our discipline?
It supports ADHO’s recognition of the global as well as professional footprint of DH, and invites participation from scholars who may have been and/or are currently underrepresented.

To give you a sense of scale, approximately 450 reviewers took part in the DH2016 conference review process. There are some 3,500 registered users of ADHO's conference database. You can see the geographical disbursement in the rough visualization below (NB: I have shared only a screenshot of a CartoDB visualization; several members of the program committees and I have been trying to clean up data, but it is not yet in a state where I feel that I can responsibly share more dynamic and sophisticated visualizations.) Even this snapshot reveals what a huge task and opportunity we have ahead of us.

DH conference reviewers (green) and registered members of ADHO conference database (orange).

Claire Clivaz drew my attention this week to something that is particularly promising (and of which I was unaware): according to ADHO's Annex to Conference Protocol, "[a]uthors of accepted papers from the past two years should be invited to serve as reviewers; reviewers should also be encouraged to recommend additional reviewers."

You see what that means, yes? If the Steering Committee approves our proposal, then in August I will send invitations to a remarkable number of people (well, remarkable from a disciplinary perspective) asking you/them to commit to being an active reviewer and nominating your/their colleagues to take part in the review process for DH2017 and DH2018. We'll have expanded the criteria for nomination, as well, in the hope that we really can begin to recognize many, many more of the professionals who constitute our discipline. I think that could nudge the needle just a bit.

Thinking best thoughts for friends and colleagues everywhere who suffer in the face of adversity. Be strong and resilient.

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How we Teach? Digital Humanities Pedagogy in an Imperfect World http://dianejakacki.net/how-we-teach-digital-humanities-pedagogy-in-an-imperfect-world/ http://dianejakacki.net/how-we-teach-digital-humanities-pedagogy-in-an-imperfect-world/#respond Sun, 05 Jun 2016 15:45:51 +0000 http://dianejakacki.net/?p=1349 I was honoured to give this keynote at the CSDH/SCHN conference at Congress in Calgary on Wednesday.

I would like to start by thanking Susan Brown, Jon Bath, Michael Ullyot, and CSDH for inviting me to speak here. I’m sorry Susan isn’t here because I wanted her to hear this, too, so would someone tweet out to her that it is a particular honor for me to be here because #myDH (as the hashtag goes) is Canadian. Many of the people in this room have been directly responsible in ways they will never know for shaping my relationship to the Digital Humanities and my identity as a Digital Humanist - my training, my professionalization, my research and publication agenda. But more important, you have epitomized for me the possibilities for progressive, collaborative, thoughtful DH, and why that is crucial to the ways in which global DH should be conducted. You have also taught me that those possibilities come with responsibility, and that that responsibility cannot be taken lightly. And so I take this talk very seriously and personally.

I’m going to do something that may seem a bit daft at a digital humanities conference, but I’m not going to use slides. It feels weird, and I may regret the decision, but I want to resist the temptation to put up a lot of slides of computer screens and software logos and code and deliverables. I don’t want this to be a workshop. Come Friday and you will find me in that mode. But this is different. And yet I’m not so clever as Bethany Nowviskie to use beautiful abstract paintings to underscore my words. I also want to privilege the human-ness of teaching, and reaffirm that we cannot absent ourselves from teaching environments - even as we’re talking *about* teaching environments. And I’m not so clever as Jacque Wernimont to express myself through myself vibrantly. And I’m not so confident as Amy Earhart when she framed disruption at last summer’s CSDH conference through a close reading of DH projects and publications. But maybe as I stand up here on this small stage with my iPad modeling the difficulties of talking about what we do when we teach, it will encourage you to take part in what I hope is a conversation after what I’m sure is going to be a shortish keynote. Or maybe you’ll decide that there is no way in heaven that you will ever make *this* mistake.

When I proposed the title for this talk I thought I was being clever and strategic - that here was an opportunity to participate in the discourse about access through the lens of pedagogy. I didn’t realize that I was setting myself up - that I didn’t want to present what could very well be sad and disheartening. Because so often when we talk about access, we are actually talking about the lack thereof. And I went through so many drafts - so many - that took me down that rabbit hole and I couldn’t get myself back out. And yet I have been struggling lately with what it means to teach DH, why we must differentiate it from other practices of digital pedagogy, and whether in this world that is so very imperfect in so many ways, that we can effectively support the Digital Humanities at a curricular level.

As we become more attractive to our institutions as a brand, something that our presidents and chancellors can point at when they talk to trustees and donors as exemplary of the progressiveness of our institutions, more pressure is being put upon us to apply what we do with our research in the classroom. And we - in this room - are the ones who are expected to develop and implement curricular DH. We, who have probably not experienced the learning of DH in a structured way.

I’m making the assumption that most of us have experienced what amount to two educations. Our first education was in the humanities or more broadly the liberal arts. Chances are we fell in love with literature or history or language or philosophy or media or anthropology or gender studies or whatever our first field was because we had remarkable, passionate teachers; these powerful, charismatic, knowledge-sharers convinced us that we needed to be part of their community of scholars.

Our second education was more complicated and for many of us much more idiosyncratic. We taught ourselves DH: we went to DHSI or similar training events, we read books that someone recommended and reverse engineered other people’s code and picked up the tools and methods we needed to work on a particular research project. We reached out to our DH heroes, hoping that they would mentor us - actually, I think sometimes I was hoping they would adopt me. And then we turned around and taught our peers. So in order to create our community of scholar-practitioners we adopted very particular relationships with knowledge- sharers that don’t always translate into a traditional classroom, or with our colleagues in the arts and humanities more broadly.

In our first education we took survey courses and theory courses and special topic courses. But in our second education until recently there was no equivalent. We read Hayles and McGann and Turkle and Gold and Drucker and so many others on our own, and our reading lists were as idiosyncratic as our training, and not necessarily as part of any formal course of study. Suzanne Westfall, she who shared her love of early modern theatre with me and made me want to be part of her community, gave me Janet Murray’s Hamlet on the Holodeck to read - sometime in the mid 90s - and I knew I needed to be a part of “that”. I didn’t know what “that” was, but it made sense to me, and when I applied to grad school I wrote about how I wanted to study the idea of a digital scriptorium. I didn’t know what DH was, but that was 2003 and you were just in the process of branding it so how could I. The University of Toronto cannot be blamed for not knowing what to do with me. The University of Waterloo was much more helpful in pointing me at a secondary field of “Multimedia Theory and Design”. But it was Aimée Morrison who found the funding for me to go to DHSI and begin to learn text-encoding, and then I got to meet Julia Flanders, and Susan Brown, and Ray Siemens, and just about all of my DH heroes.

Just as we learned idiosyncratically, there was no way that any of us could become DH generalists. We are specialists in text analysis, encoding, data or spatial visualization, desktop fabrication, augmented reality, e-lit ... our methods are as varied as our subject matter, and specializations continue to grow and expand and evolve in ways that make it impossible for anyone to be fluent in more than a few, although we’re constantly teaching ourselves more ways to engage in different ways - in better ways? - with our subject matter that is still mainly related to our first love.

So at this point in time when our institutions, our disciplines, the press ... are finally paying attention to us, for better or worse, we, the self-taught and scrappy, now find that we have to adopt more formal pedagogical styles as we tread another new path.

Those of you who attended DHSI last summer may remember Claire Warwick’s keynote on the last day of week one. What I heard Claire say - which is apparently different from what Connie Crompton heard her say - was a call for more focus on pedagogy within the fields that comprise the digital humanities. She said (or so I paraphrased her on Twitter): “It’s very important that DH moves from research to teaching. It’s important to teach people and train the next generation.” She was emphatic that as we draw increasing attention from more traditional humanities departments, from our institutions, as well as from grant-funding agencies, we need to think about questions of longevity and sustainability in the training of new scholar practitioners in addition to the continuing focus we must place on funding and institutional infrastructural support. Claire went on to call for more attention to be focused on digital humanities pedagogy at the undergraduate level, which you can imagine resonated for me, but in particular because a group of us at Bucknell - including John Hunter and Katie Faull - were at that moment designing a DH minor that was subsequently approved by the curriculum committee last fall.

But I think what Claire was calling for was actually more specific, that it’s important for *digital humanists* to teach people *digital humanities* and to train the next generation of *digital humanists*. That’s very different than what I thought she was saying at the time (remember that I had just taught five days of DH pedagogy course, so I hope I can be forgiven for hearing Claire with ears attuned to something akin to incorporating DH methods at a sophisticated level in a learning environment. And that finally leads me to ask questions that we have to tackle if we’re going to figure out how the heck we’re going to teach DH.

So who do we teach and why do we teach them DH? And who are the “we” that teach DH to them?
Who are we teaching and why are we teaching them? Certainly at an undergraduate level, we’re teaching students from across our departments and schools and colleges, and often because we look more relevant to the people across the quad than perhaps we do when we’re teaching what may seem to outsiders more arcane but is truly in line with more traditional approaches to our fields.

My favorite class as an undergrad was a senior seminar taught by an historian and a computer scientist called “The History of Technology”. They invited students to sign up for the course in a way that ensured it was half humanities and half engineering students. This was in the fall of 1985, so our readings were a bit unusual (we spent a lot of time thinking about the transition from punch cards to personal computers, which were still weirdly new). It was transformative for all of us because it was the first time we students had communicated formally across disciplines about our perspectives on technology and society. The Historian and Computer Scientist happened to be married to each other, which also fascinated us. When they got divorced a year later I kind of wondered whether we in that course were one of the reasons they didn’t stay together. Why are students so fixated on their teachers’ human existence?

My favorite class to teach was the first iteration of the Humanities 100 course that Katie Faull and I designed in 2014 and that we’ve spoken and written about. What was so important and transformative about that course for me was how Katie and I relied on each other to teach the other just as we were teaching our students. And so it became this joyful - sometimes exhausting - but always wonderful way to teach. That is the kind of teaching I really enjoy - when colleagues and students come from different perspectives across campus, and the DH glues us together and we can participate in unique dialogues and teach each other and complement the others’ skills. But students can’t do that on their own - certainly not as undergraduates.

Katie Faull and John Hunter encouraged me to submit my text analysis course this fall as a W2 - an advanced writing requirement at Bucknell - because it would draw STEM students and increase enrollment for a new untried course. I joke about bringing engineers and computer science majors over to the bright side. But at the same time that I joke about this, I know that to many of them this is a novelty or ticks a box that might help them on the job market. It’s not just STEM and Management students. I know that the Humanities majors in my classes are also trying to prove to their parents and potential employers that DH makes them more marketable. And there are students that we have taught that have gone on to get jobs at Google and Adobe and the US Government because of their skill with media and GIS. There is no shame in creating an opportunity that will help a student gain employment.

I can’t speak to teaching in the graduate experience except from my own as a learner. Maybe that changes from program to program, where in some there is a smattering of DH in the few courses that grad students take, or in others, where there is a formal certificate awarded. For me I was hired as a research assistant, and Christine McWebb and I figured out what I needed to do together in order to help her build her project in medieval French literature. I don’t know what's true in graduate programs now. I just don’t have the perspective to speak to it. Maybe someone else can when I stop talking.

We have to remember that we’re not just teaching students, and we’re not just teaching each other. We also have to acknowledge that we are always going to teach our colleagues and our administrators at our institutions. If we’re going to implement curricular DH, institutional DH, then we need to make our deans and our provosts understand exactly what that means and what that requires. We need to show them that we need to teach along a trajectory just as we do in other disciplines, and that a DH degree requires commitment in terms of teachers and teaching spaces.

If that LARB article did anything, it triggered a conversation among many to re-frame how we participate in DH at an institutional level. There were so many thoughtful pieces that came in response to it. I was struck by something that Brian Greenspan said in his piece that made the rounds last week that didn’t necessarily have to do with teaching but I think applies to how we push back at our institutions when they make assumptions about us becoming science-y or selling out for our students. He said, "If anything, DH is guilty of making all too visible the dirty gears that drive the scholarly machine, along with the mechanic’s maintenance bill.” Brian went on to say that, "The fault and burden of DH is that it reveals all the pieces of this model of post-secondary funding that seems novel to many humanists, but which has long been taken for granted within the sciences. This is the model that acknowledges that most funding programs aren’t intended mainly for tenured professors to buy books and travel, but for their research infrastructure and, above all, their students who justify the mission of scholarship in the first place."

So, then, who are the we that teach DH?

A quick show of hands: how many of you are tenure track faculty? How many of you are adjunct faculty? How many are graduate students or postdocs? How many of you are librarians? How many of you are alt-ac? How many of you didn’t I identify?

Ok. Now: how many of you are scheduled to teach or co-teach or are embedded in a DH course in the coming year?
(NB: most of the people in the room raised their hands at tenure track; several were students or postdocs, there was one librarian and one other alt-ac, as well as a passerby who wanted to know what all this DH was about).

I ask these questions because you - all of us - represent the instructor pool for digital humanities across the curriculum. And I’m not convinced that our universities understand what this means in terms of human resources for instruction - what it means to teach the digital humanities.

When I was on the job market I included digital humanities prominently in my list of research interests and included digital pedagogy-rooted courses that I had taught in my teaching dossier. I applied for jobs that identified DH as one of the fields of research or administrative focus. And yet in several interviews it became clear to me that the search committee didn’t really know what they meant by digital humanities, and were sometimes uncomfortable or even resistant to ways in which it might be incorporated into a classroom environment. I recall a particularly awkward exchange at Fordham about Twitter in the classroom, when the search committee looked at me in mortification ... I didn’t get the job, dear reader. I do think that’s changing, in large part because of the efforts of scholars like Miriam Posner, Alex Gil, Brian Croxall, Mark Sample, Ryan Cordell, Lee Skallerup-Bissette, and many others who have shared their experiences and expertise, acting as advocates to administrators and department heads, and as mentors to others who follow on their heels, clarifying how such work should be undertaken and assessed, and how one should position one’s self on the market and within disciplines to demonstrate success. But note that most of the people on that list are "junior scholars". That so many who are representing and sharing the problems and challenges of figuring out models for best practice in teaching DH are those who are not in positions of academic power or in traditional academic positions; many of whom are not recognized by our institutions as instructors at all because we are not tenure-track faculty. And those who are tenure-track but still untenured are questioned when they employ progressive teaching models and bring students into their DH research through their teaching, as part of their understanding of what it means to teach.

In my experience at Bucknell, I’ve tried to differentiate between working with faculty members who are already doing DH (whether or not they knew that before) and those who are curious about including an assignment or a module that is digitally inflected. There's nothing wrong with that. Having the DH minor makes a difference because I can work with faculty and in the classroom in a more intentional way - finding ways to create expansion bridges, as Katie Faull would say, that take undergraduates from survey to methods to special topics. But frankly I’m swamped by the other faculty who want to reconfigure their courses so they can say they’re doing DH. I can only give so many faculty workshops and consults with people who want to do a little mapping, some text encoding, some text analysis, some data visualization without understanding what it could lead to. With all of these faculty members I’ve demonstrated how I’ve taught such assignments, helping them to create rubrics and develop assessment techniques that emphasize critical engagement and process, and not fall prey to the pretty/shiny. But for many it will and probably should remain just something that’s pretty and shiny. There's nothing wrong with that.

But when we’re talking about curricular DH, that means that someone - a librarian, a specialist, an instructional technologist, or someone like me who seems to defy description, is embedded in or co-teaching those courses. We may not be identified as an instructor of record, but in effect we can become that. In some cases we are formally co-teaching - John and I are teaching together next spring, and I’m really excited because I think (or I’m trying to convince him) that we can use the course to tease out issues that we’re both interested in, in the public/private/paranoic aspect of the digital in society at the same time that DH can help us address ideas of social justice such as what Toniesha Taylor was talking about yesterday. That’s a special topic course if ever there was one.

What I’m saying is that the traditional model of one instructor (or perhaps an instructor plus grad student TA’s) for a course doesn’t work in DH. The model has to change to reflect complementary teaching skillsets - and skillsets that change and evolve as the tools and platforms and devices students use to do this work expand, become more sophisticated, become more available at the same time that we’re establishing ways for them to experience what for us were two separate educations, building a curricular DH that is both the making and the theorizing. It is wonderful when a student or a colleague can show us something that we don't already know - when someone from computer science or math or statistics or race studies or linguistics or rhetoric can reveal something about a scatter plot graph or a piece of code or a map that moves everyone’s understanding forward. And we are notorious magpies for pulling what we’ve learned from them into our classrooms. I love those moments. But we can’t expect students to teach themselves. And I don’t think we can survive if we continue to expect ourselves to teach ourselves everything so that we can teach it in turn to others.

So, how do we manage this multi-instructor model? Obviously resources are not infinite and the idea of co-teaching or embedding a specialist or a colleague (or multiples of any of these people) in a course is not scalable, and perhaps to borrow Connie’s term from another panel, we should honor the bespoke nature of how we teach rather than figuring out how to scale it. Certainly, in my experience at Bucknell, I get pushback from the library - “not now” or “not this semester” when it comes to working with faculty in DH courses at a highly sophisticated, intentional level. But what does that mean? That courses are removed from the catalog because there is suddenly not a human resource available? We have to reconfigure ourselves and we have to be honest about what we can and cannot teach and we have to identify holes in our curricula and be intentional about how we fill them. Look at how Northeastern conducted its cluster hire this year, and how it recognized that in order to be more holistic in their approach to DH research and teaching that they needed to expand the skill sets of their faculty.

So, how do we teach DH? We combine and refine both of our educations. We try to sustain the way that we learned because it was so organic and intrinsic to our understanding of how computational methods could transform our engagement with our first loves, and we bring more of that into the classroom, just as we find ways to shape a more formal education for the students who we want to join us.

We listen to Claire Warwick and we train people and we train each other - because with us we are still the next generation. So we keep going to DHSI and teach as we learn. And we take Ray’s offer to go out and figure out what a DHSI at Congress or at MLA or at Guelph or Oxford or what becomes HILT or any other training vehicle can be and we make that. We make DH work for our environments by creating it meaningfully in our environments. We know that there is no one DH model that can possibly work across institutions, but we can shape DH for our institutions in the way that it makes sense for us and for them. We hire the people who we need to make that happen. And we ensure that they have what they need to be part of the building and teaching of DH - whether it be curricular in a traditional sense, or in something that looks more like the way “traditional” DH does - through research projects that are themselves internally and intrinsically pedagogical in the ways that they create new knowledge.

We professionalize. We are the one humanities discipline I can think of that understands what it means to deal with the crisis in jobs in higher-ed because we have always been nontraditional in the ways in which we recognize ourselves professionally. It is not coincidental that the term alt-ac works for DH in ways that it does not and cannot for other disciplines because we build our teams knowing that it is not only disingenuous but unhelpful to try to replicate a linear model that only goes from grad student to postdoc to tenure-track. At the same time, you who are in positions of power need to resist the temptation that your colleagues still, wrongly I think, embrace, that the “gold standard” of a tenure-track position - as it was described to me by a dean of graduate studies - is the only path of value for graduate students. You need to teach yourselves just as we do that the digital librarian or alt-ac job for a Ph.D. is not a consolation prize, but that in DH it is a crucial component to ensuring that if we have any chance of thinking about longevity and sustainability in our continuing efforts to fund and ensure institutional infrastructural support - you need us.

We must be more honest than our colleagues and encourage rather than console. I need to learn this because I still feel that somehow I failed my teachers by not meeting that gold standard. But maybe that’s part of modeling what we do. We spend so much time looking forward, and yet our mentors - our knowledge-sharers - are right in front of us as we saw last night when we heard Ian Lancashire speak to us, still trying to figure out how we are all going to keep going, still teaching each other as they teach us and we teach those next in line. So maybe those of us who are coming up in whatever wave of DH this is - I’ve never quite figured out how it maps against waves of feminism - need to stop worrying about titles, make sure that we are employed, and figure out what it means for us to teach. Because our academic world is always going to be imperfect. And because so many DH scholar-practitioners are amazingly agile and amazingly resourceful and amazingly generous teachers, we need to get on with it and do what has always worked for us. Now we’re just doing it on a larger stage.

Thank you.

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REED and the Prospect of Networked Data at CSRS 2016 http://dianejakacki.net/reed-and-the-prospect-of-networked-data/ http://dianejakacki.net/reed-and-the-prospect-of-networked-data/#respond Thu, 02 Jun 2016 22:27:56 +0000 http://dianejakacki.net/?p=1341 This is the transcript of a long paper I gave as part of the "Digital Scholarship in Action: Research" panel at CSRS (Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies) in Calgary on May 30, 2016. The attendant PowerPoint is stored and indexed on the MLA Commons Open Repository Exchange, and is available here: http://dx.doi.org/10.17613/M6CK59

"REED and the Prospect of Networked Data"

At the MLA in January I gave a short paper entitled “Data Envy” - a contemplation of my inferiority complex with regards to scholars who have massive corpora to work with - Moretti-sized data. I reflected on the fact that the type of research with which I’m usually involved relies on close reading of texts and maps - and at the very most I’ve been able to work with is 2,500 records. I’ll get back to that in a moment, but I’d just like to say that I ended that short talk with a provocation - one that I’d like to use as the jumping off point for this paper: in today’s DH environment, where big data and linked data are increasingly the focus of scholars looking for ways to extend their research questions through more expansive and complementary datasets, what is the role of the individual research project? Is its value now truly in its integration and association and aggregation with other datasets?

As with the MLA paper I’ll focus my comments today on the Records of Early English Drama, although my association with the Internet Shakespeare Editions and the Map of Early Modern London project also inform my participation in collaborative, pan-project initiatives such as the Early Modern Social Network partnership and Linked Early Modern Drama Online. But I would like to extend my reflection to consider intra-operability as well as interoperability. Because while REED might not constitute what in some circles is called “big data”, it is a dense and complicated corpus - or, perhaps I should say subject-driven corpora.

REED is in its fourth decade, and is a remarkable and unparalleled resource for theatre and performance historians. Rather than focusing on play texts and playwrights, from its inception it has focused on gathering and publishing archival documents that bear some relation to performance. The REED editorial team has published 23 collections in some 34 volumes - by my count over 17,000 pages of references dating from 1100-1650. That doesn’t take into account thousands of incremental pages of editorial, bibliographical, and linguistic content produced by dozens of theatre scholars, or the records in the pipeline awaiting publication. These collections are organized by county or by city or by category: there is a Dorset collection, a York collection, an Ecclesiastical London collection, etc.

Since 2003 REED has explored ways in which discreet aspects of its record set might be presented online. First with Patrons and Performances, more recently with the Early Modern London Theatres database and its associated “How to Track a Bear in Southwark" site, and soon with Staffordshire - the first born-digital collection, REED has looked for ways to share bibliographical information and more with theatre historians. That experimentation has proved prescient, as the expense of purchasing the ever-expanding set of “red soldiers” - as the print volumes are called - is proving beyond the budget of an increasing number of research libraries. Currently the only alternative to purchasing the volumes (at least some of them) is to access them through the Internet Archive, which, while necessary, is not the most efficient way to use REED’s resources.

For years many of us associated with REED have tried to find ways to extend that online presence, and in effect transport REED from a print to a completely online resource. This task should be more … manageable (?) because REED has always ever been used as the basis for scholarly research - these are not editions in the way that ISE publishes digital editions of play texts. But I hesitate to call the process manageable because of its denseness and the complexity of the records, their associated data and metadata, as well as the caliber and rigor of REED’s editorial process, all of which we are committed to maintaining as we shift from the print to the digital.

As with any long-range, large-scale research project, REED has been intentional with its approach to data gathering and organization. I confess to not having been through the intense experience that REED field editors have - of working through 14th century guildhall receipts, or 15th century parish registers, or 16th century assizes transcripts, negotiating the paleography, tracking the sources, the owners, and the scribes, describing the condition of the materials. But I understand that while there are established standards and processes, the editors’ experience in working through the sources must be reflective of and responsive to the scope and focus of these documents. So as we look at how to manage the transition to a digital resource we need to take these things into account:

  • Ensure that our interpretation of what constitutes a record remains inclusive of source types rather than presumptuous that one size fits all.
  • Maintain the connection between archival record, metadata, and the original editorial decisions made about the source material.
  • Establish data structures that align born-digital with legacy-print records and related material.
  • Articulate a “data management plan”, for want of a better term, that focuses on the data rather than the delivery - in other words, to resist the temptation to “publish” in a traditional sense.

All of this means that it is time to shift from an experimental to an intentional mode. I think, although I expect that some would disagree with me, that we need to go back to the beginning in order for us to move ahead.

We need to come to an agreement about what constitutes a “record” in a way that accommodates the various sources and types of records.

To some of us these are individual records - a specific item - and while its complexity and length may vary from item to item it refers to one transaction, act, or event.

To others of us this is a record - a set of items compiled from one source, such as a household account ledger, a register book covering a particular period in a parish’s history, the business of producing a series of mystery plays in a particular city, etc. Neither is right or wrong (although I lean toward the more granular item level because I think it allows for more nimble and dynamic uses of the data.)

Regardless of which we choose we need to commit to that decision for all “records” and at the same time articulate a very structured metadata schema, as well as a process for relating specific editorial, bibliographical, and linguistic work.

This is of particular importance right now to the legacy print volumes, which include significant editorial materials that should remain available in dynamic ways both in line with the records as well as in connection with other “templated” material [such as …]

We need to stabilize all of the records and related materials so that they will be transferable as data repositories and encoding languages evolve. Some of us are also interested in the possibility of remixing - if a scholar wants to access a set of records focusing on the 1580s, or Robin Hood plays, or troupes that performed only in the North and West Ridings, she should be able to access that set.

We must find ways to store and share this data outside of particular content management systems. I have particular experience with this.

The Patrons and Performances website constitutes a subset of records that document a performance transaction between a patron (through his or her patronized troupe), an event (via contract or one-time payment), at a location (on a particular date or over a series of dates). This information was parsed from print REED volumes, and is designed to drive the user back to a particular page in a particular volume for the full record. About two years ago the website was rebuilt in Drupal, which accommodates search and some ancillary content such as photographs of performance sites. But in this case, for efficiency’s sake, the University of Toronto built one database within one Drupal instance to store not only REED data, but also that associated with CanWest, xx, and xx. So REED data (patron name/ID, location name/ID, date(s), payment, page number in REED volume - is all stored within the same tables as those other projects that are supported by the UT libraries.

I discovered this last fall when I asked my REED colleagues for access to data focused on touring troupes in the 1580s. I was sent a zipped file of flat files sucked out of Drupal. The data required a lot of cleaning and probably an unnecessary amount of time on my part, but I ended up with a joined table of 2,600 touring data (not full records) covering 1100-1650, and was able to use that in my DH methods course for some straight-forward data and spatial analysis. While frustrating, this was something of a victory because I was able to demonstrate to the REED board how valuable the release of clean raw data could be for pedagogical as well as research purposes. The welding of the Patrons data to a particular content management system, and the excision of what is actually metadata from the record itself showed them how we are barring rather than offering access to scholars.

I discovered this again this spring when we began to discuss the future of EMLoT (Early Modern London Theatres). EMLoT is currently a database of references to pre-1642 London theatre in publications printed between 1642 and __. It doesn’t include the references themselves so much as citations for the references. This is the only REED content that I know of that focuses on evidence outside of REED’s defined scope. But it could be brought in line with the increasing amount of data being compiled about performances and performance spaces in London and vicinity. An enhanced EMLoT (I think we’d be at 3.0 by now) could finally offer a multi-faceted view of London performance - Civic, Ecclesiastical, Royal, Inns of Court, Purpose-built theatre, inns, taverns, etc.

However, EMLoT is currently published in a customized Django-based interface that is out-of-date, no longer supported, and in need of a new server home.

So we can either spend significant resources bringing EMLoT up to Django code, or we can disassemble it, stabilize that data in line with the other of the REED records, and focus on REED as a deep data pool into which we can pour standardized record data and metadata and from which we can pull dynamically organized evidence sets.

We have to stabilize the data before we can release it into the wild. Stabilizing it means we actually must go back and deconstruct REED’s record-ing process - making that process more efficient at the same time that we respect editorial, bibliographical, and indexical processes that have served as best practice for 40 years. We have to make the legacy-print records and editorial content line up with born-digital files (much of the early printed texts will need to be re-digitized, because we no longer have pre-print document files and the Internet Archives PDFs are not OCR-able.

So what does all of this have to do with early modern social networks and data analysis? We at REED need to get our own data house in order before we can be serious about entering into larger, interlinking collaboratives and initiatives like EMSN or LEMDO. We have to micro-manage our data - we have to be precise, intentional, and deliberate because the decisions we make now will not be easy to overhaul as we get too far into the process. We have to ensure that our data is intra-operable and that we know what we have to offer before we can begin to work with our colleagues to harvest prosopographical and toponymic data.

One of the first questions in my mind is how do we manage entities? I think in terms of semantic mark-up, so … who gets a ? Who gets an xml:id? I expect there would be a discussion about priorities: in terms of value for a prosopography royalty, nobility, and aristocracy score highest on the personography scale. And of course we’re interested in personages related to performance. But what about ecclesiastical hierarchies? Is the parish priest important? What about the legal realm? Judges, almost certainly, but witnesses or claimants in a court case? I have no idea how many people are identified by name in REED’s 17,000 pages of records. Who is going to enter that information into an entity field? How specific should we be? The same goes for places. I assume that urban locations (and lat-longs where possible) have the highest value, but I want to track down the sites that no longer exist. I assume others do, too. I also want to break the county-prescribed spines of the red soldiers and seek out the liminal places between counties. In this case we need to think in terms of gaps in REED that will be filled by others so that our datasets - if not fully interoperable, at least offer moments for warping and weaving.

I am convinced that REED needs to follow this path, although I really have no concept of time or resources or who else shares my vision. But I do know that REED’s future lies in its reconstitution and its availability to scholars and students beyond those of us who focus on performance history.

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And so it begins: working towards DH2017 http://dianejakacki.net/and-so-it-begins-working-towards-dh2017/ http://dianejakacki.net/and-so-it-begins-working-towards-dh2017/#respond Sun, 01 May 2016 13:51:04 +0000 http://dianejakacki.net/?p=1330 On Thursday I sent an email to the combined Digital Humanities 2017 and Digital Humanities 2018 conference program committees welcoming and congratulating them on being part of the work we will take on over the coming 16 months (and in the process support the planning process for DH2018).

[for those of you who are friends not steeped in things DH, I'm talking about the DH2017 and DH2018 conferences that will take place in Montreal (2017) and Mexico City (2018]

My intention is that - as regularly I am able - I will post updates here about the progress the committee(s) are making toward those goals. While I don't intend to make all of the contents of the committees' email communication public, I think it's appropriate here to share some excerpts from my first email; these are my words to the committees as well as to Karina van Dalen-Oskam (Alliance of Digital Humanities Organizations Steering Committee Chair), Claire Clivaz (Conference Coordinating Committee Chair), Stéfan Sinclair and Michael Sinatra (Local Organizers for DH2017), and Susan Brown (President of the Canadian Society for Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques):

Ours is an important charge: as those tasked with shaping the conference program we address some of the immediate issues that we face as an internationally-oriented discipline and as a community of professional colleagues. The increasing breadth of proposals as well as the increasing number of conference attendees from more institutions in more countries means that in planning the conference we must be attentive to more voices and responsive to more perspectives. Many people associated with ADHO, the COs, and the program committees have worked very hard and with great care over the past several years to address a broad spectrum of issues and concerns that affect us all. This work continues and we will take part in it as befits the program committee. I am committed to making sure we represent the best scholarly practice and collegial behavior possible, and am convinced that we continue to make good progress on all fronts.


The DH2016 program committee engaged with the CCC in a series of discussions about what constitutes diversity and inclusivity in our conferences; it should not come as a surprise that because our discipline makes great use of social media, that these discussions therefore took on a particular public dimension. There is no doubt that all eyes will be upon us as we undertake our duties, and the expectations for the manner in which we address these issues is high. I believe our best way forward is to be as transparent as possible in terms of our process while maintaining confidentiality as is warranted. Again, I see this as an opportunity to play a productive role in moving our discipline forward.

In that email I pointed the committee to three links on the ADHO website that will assist us (all) as we move forward:

ADHO Conference Protocol: (http://adho.org/administration/conference-coordinating/adho-conference-protocol)
ADHO Memorandum of Understanding (http://adho.org/sites/adho.org/files/MemorandumADHOConferencesDefinitive2016.pdf)
ADHO Conference Code of Conduct: (http://adho.org/administration/conference-coordinating-program-committee/adho-conference-code-conduct)

One of our first orders of business will be to put forward recommendations for keynote speakers at DH2017; I would also like to find ways to involve more voices in the review process, and so will ask the committees to draft a proposal that we will put forward to the CCC and through them to the ADHO Steering Committee to consider ways in which we can effectively expand the pool of reviewers. I think it's important to note here that everyone who serves on the program committees (as with everyone else on ADHO committees and the individual Constituent Organizations) does so on a volunteer basis.

To close this first post on a personal note, I would like to reiterate that I am committed to making the program for DH2017 as strong a reflection of the conference theme (Access / Accès) as possible, and to best support and include as many of the excellent scholarly voices now at work around the world. But while I am committed to this, I want to find ways to be constructive and not divisive.

As academics we are accustomed to debating with one another. And we do not all have to be "mates" (as Willard McCarty opined this past week on Humanist) although in my experience ours has usually been a collegial discipline. We should be forward-thinking and consider how our work should be in tune with societal discourse. And we should absolutely make every effort to bring attention to and recognize and honor the excellent work of our colleagues - full stop. In order to do these things we need to engage in honest and frank dialogue at the same time that we respect one another. I expect that a big part of my job in the coming sixteen months will be to listen and ask questions and help shape the work that the committee(s) will do. I'll be as honest and transparent as I feel I can be while respecting the rights of my colleagues on the committees to *not* have their words put forward without their permission.

And so I will listen, and watch for the "#myDHis" and "#whatifDH.." hashtags on Twitter, and the Facebook threads, and ask questions when I don't understand the context of a comment or the experience behind an observation. I'll share what I hear and learn with the members of the committee, and encourage them to share what they know with the group. I hope we don't end up mired in backchannels, but that we can have discussions about diversity and inclusivity and access as openly as possible. Call me on my own implicit biases and my confusions. Be patient with me when I misstep so that I can better understand and support as many of the perspectives that constitute our discipline(s) as I can. Our goal as the program committee is to ensure that each conference represents the excellence in our field. I know that we will do our best to achieve that goal.

Let's do this.

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“Data Envy” at MLA 2016 http://dianejakacki.net/data-envy-at-mla-2016/ http://dianejakacki.net/data-envy-at-mla-2016/#respond Sat, 30 Apr 2016 16:00:46 +0000 http://dianejakacki.net/?p=1320 This is the transcript of the short paper I gave as part of the "Digital Scholarship in Action: Research" panel at MLA 2016 in January . The attendant PowerPoint is stored and indexed on the MLA Commons Open Repository Exchange, and is available here: https://commons.mla.org/deposits/item/mla:667/

"Data Envy: Or, maintaining one’s self-confidence as a digital humanist at a time when everyone seems to be talking about …  Big Data"

SELF-CONSCIOUS: Perhaps I’m being overly self-conscious, but lately I’ve felt increasingly out of the loop in terms of DH discourse - namely because I don’t do big data. Or at least I don’t think I do. And I observe that discussions about DH invariably involve topic modeling and pattern recognition and linked data and large-scale data visualization and “bags of words”.

TOO FEW NOTES: I work with lots of words, but I don’t think I have a bag-full. In fact, David Hoover once told me I can’t do proper text analysis - even with all of Shakespeare’s plays. To flip Emperor Joseph II on his ear: too few notes.
SMALL DATA? My text mining involves spelunking into what I think is semantic inline markup and precise linked data - primarily in my edition of Henry VIII for the Internet Shakespeare Edition and associated content in other ISE editions as well as the Map of Early Modern London.
CONFLICTED DATA: What I want to discuss here is the work we’re beginning to do with the Records of Early English Drama - in fact, this week we’re having an intensive work session to figure out what we really mean when we talk about turning REED into a DH resource.
WHAT IS REED? REED is in its fourth decade, and is a remarkable and unparalleled resource for theatre and performance historians. Rather than focusing on play texts it has from its inception focused on archival documents that somehow relate to performance. It has published 23 collections in some 34 volumes - over 17,000 pages of references dating from 1100-1650. That doesn’t take into account thousands of incremental pages of editorial, bibliographical, and linguistic content produced by dozens of theatre scholars. These collections are organized by county or by city or by category: there is a Dorset collection, a York collection, an Ecclesiastical London collection, etc.
WHAT IS REED ONLINE? Since 2004 REED has experimented with ways in which discreet aspects of its record set might be presented online. First with Patrons and Performances, and more recently with Early Modern London Theatres, REED has looked for ways to share bibliographical information with researchers. For years we’ve tried to find ways to extend that online presence, and in effect transport REED from a print to an online resource. Our objective has been to ensure that REED will continue to increase its value to scholars and students who are trying to work more dynamically with information that even with the best indexical practice is untenable across collections. At the same time, REED editors have been experimenting with born-digital projects that extend and augment the printed work that has already been completed.
BIG CORPUS ≠ BIG DATA: With 17,000 pages of records spanning over six hundred years, this would seem to constitute a big data project and I should feel better about myself. I can play with the cool kids. But I think REED is not big data. It’s a big corpus … but if you look at the records with which we work, there are few commonalities beyond their relationship to some form of performance. Records range from payments for performance to costume lists to legal ordinances and law suits to contracts … In these two cases (both from the Bristol collection) you see an Ordinance of the Common Council in 1596 imposing a fine on any mayor who allows players to perform in the guildhall - and a payment of twenty shillings made to the Queen’s Men in 1585 NOT to perform.
This fall I was able to hand-scrape 500 records of performance for the decade 1580-90, and the data available to me was exactly this: performance troupe, location, record (not necessarily performance) date, place, payment. I finally got a data dump of the Patrons and Performances Drupal site (not easy) and ended up with 2,600 records covering 1100-1650. That’s a partial dataset (London is not yet included), but I don’t think it is going to get too much bigger.
WHAT DO WE DO? How do we resolve the conflict between small data and big data? Perhaps more worrisome is how do we efficiently make the legacy print data (much of which will have to be re-digitized and is not OCR-able) line up with born-digital data?
We have to micro-manage our data - we have to be precise, intentional, and deliberate because the decisions we make now will not be easy to overhaul as we get too far into the process.
RETROFITTING / ANTICIPATING: We have to stabilize our data before we can release it into the wild. Stabilizing it means we actually need to go back and deconstruct REED's editorial process. We have to respect editorial, bibliographical and indexical processes that have served as best practice for 40 years while customizing a schema that will encompass all of the disparate types of data. We actually need to figure out what constitutes *a* record and determine how to associate all of the existing editorial content from both the legacy-print editions and the born-digital projects. We also need to decouple the existing databases (P&P, EMLoT) from their current publication platforms. Drupal is not our friend.
ANTICIPATION: We need to do this so we can “publish forward” integrating the legacy-print and born-digital content into an open-access online environment. That means (I believe) enabling data customization and open export for a wider array of medieval and early modern scholars (e.g. those interested in law). By doing so we will be able to create moments for digital interlocution - if not fully linking data - across projects and resources.
  • So that leads to the question I would pose to my fellow panelists and the audience when we get to discussion: is this kind of small data valuable in its own right?
  • Or in light of how DH is trying to find ways to integrate and associate and aggregate
  • Is REED only now valuable because of its relationship to larger and more “traditionally” considered big data sources?
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