During the 2007-2008 academic year, Harvard will be hosting a number of talks and workshops on the “digital humanities” in an effort to introduce innovative computing techniques for research and teaching in the humanities and non-quantitative social sciences.
The first workshop, co-sponsored by the Humanities Center and the Initiative for Innovative Computing, was held on October 17, 2007. It provided an overview of a variety of technologies useful in humanities research and teaching, including: geospatial visualizations, text mining, multiverses, 2D and 3D imagery, audio technology, content management systems, wikis, online collaboration, and various online humanities sites. The primary audience for this event was Harvard faculty, but a large number of librarians and technology-minded researchers also attended.
Professor Mark Schiefsky of Harvard’s Department of the Classics joined me in presenting the topic of Texts: Encoding, Mining, Analyzing. Here is Mark’s abstract for his talk entitled “The Challenges of Philology for the Digital Humanities”:
While recent developments in information technology have certainly opened up new opportunities for scholars working in philologically oriented fields, the challenges posed by such fields for the long-term development of the digital humanities are perhaps even greater. We need new software that is (1) linguistically aware, (2) based on the distribution rather than centralization of resources, and (3) more interactive, allowing for annotation as well as browsing and providing a means for the results of automatic analysis to be used as the starting point of further research. I will present a software platform developed at Harvard University as a first step towards meeting these challenges (see http://archimedes.fas.harvard.edu).
My talk, “ePhilology in Action: Corpus-Level Analysis and Discovery,” focused on some of the innovative tools transforming the philological study of literary texts, including: automated morphological analysis, verbal pattern identification, and machine-enabled concordance generation. I briefly illustrated three Web projects that highlighted the application of some of these technologies: the Princeton Dante Project, the Perseus Digital Library, and the Nora Project.
Future events in the digital humanities series at Harvard will feature innovative computing projects at other institutions, new courseware tools, various Web development platforms, a discussion of funding sources for the digital humanities, and related topics. For additional information on the series and links to humanities computing projects, conferences, organizations, articles and other key resources, please consult The Digital Humanities Initiative web site at Harvard.