“Data Envy” at MLA 2016

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”.

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Asking Better Questions

The other night I had one of those eureka! moments that bring me joy and make me crazy. But mostly bring me joy.
As some of you know I've been trying to sort out how to track Queen's Men touring practices in the 1580s by teasing information out of the Records of Early English Drama dataset and looking at it on maps. I had some early success - 1583 record scraps offered what looks like a split tour during the summer months. I've been pinning the record scraps to an ArcGIS online map (and a pretty crappy job I did of it, too) and explaining away the vagueness of my plotting because I don't always have very specific geo references (aside from an extant guildhall here and there, for which I'm grateful.) Continue reading Asking Better Questions

Student Digital Edition: Observations & Reflections

Title page, 1598 edition of The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth

I've written before about the final project I assigned to my students for this term's ENGL1102: Shakespeare's English Histories course. The assignment was an ambitious experiment to see how students would collaborate on a digital edition of the Queen's Men play The Famous Victories of Henry the Fifth. I haven't yet assessed the students' final artifacts, and before I see the results I thought I would take a moment to practice a form of self-evaluation and write some observations about what I've seen work and what I would do differently if I were to include a similar project in a future course.
The assignment objective was to teach students about the editorial process and test my hypothesis that scaffolded assignments with final group components strengthen the learning experience. Everything we've done this term has, in one way or another, built toward this assignment. Assignment components included rough and revised transcriptions of the 1598 facsimile edition with word definitions and glosses, contextual research projects pertaining to the medieval subject matter, its importance to Elizabethan culture and politics, and the relationship of the play to Shakespeare's subsequent Henriad.

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