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Dispatches from Capitol Hill: #2, or EEBO and the Infinite Weirdness

Today at #emda13 (as Early Modern Digital Agendas has become, bowing to the necessity of a convenient hashtag), we discussed Early English Books Online and the English Short Title Catalogue with Ian Gadd (of Bath Spa University) and Deborah Leslie (Folger Shakespeare Library). Although our discussion began with the English Short Title Catalogue and EEBO as a jumping off point, we quickly went down the rabbit hole of both EEBO history and the very odd corners both scholarly resources contains.

EEBO and the ESTC both have complex and tangles histories (and sometimes an entangled history as well) that was so complex I’m sure I missed half of it. Perhaps most intriguingly, when we consult about the seemingly very digital ESTC, we are actually consulting a resource that began with Edward Arber’s 1875 Transcript of the Register of the Company of Stationers of London; this project morphed into the Catalogue of Books in the Library of the British Museum (1884), which eventually turned into Pollard & Redgrave’s Short Title Catalogue printed in 1926–since revised later in the 20th century. This STC was followed when University Microfilm International (UMI) began photographing early modern texts in the 1930s and 1940s, in the face of World War II. Eventually, the STC morphed in to the ESTC (which originally stood for *Eighteenth* century STC) in the late 1980s. Continue Reading

Dispatches from Capitol Hill: #1

As I posted above, I’m here in hot & muggy Washington DC for Early Modern Digital Agendas, an NEH Institute for Advanced Topics in Digital Humanities. Writing on lunch break on the second day, reflecting on the first.

The initial hours of the institute can fairly be summed up with one word: orientation. As a new reader at the Folger Shakespeare Library, I had to have myself photographed, fill out forms, learn how to use the (seemingly innocuous but quite complicated) combination locks in the cloak room, learn my way around the maze of multiple levels, how to request books, etc and so on.

The group–a list of whom you can find here–started off with a consideration of Turner-prize winning artist Grayson Perry’s multimodal art project The Vanity of Small Differences. Continue Reading

Early Modern Digital Agendas

For the next three weeks (8-26 July) I will be attending Early Modern Digital Agendas, an Institute for Advanced Topics in the Digital Humanities taking place under the National Endowment for the Humanities’ Office of Digital Humanities. As the Directors’ “Dear Colleague” letter shows, these three weeks promise to be a sustained, productive discussion about how the digital turn in the academy is changing the field of early modern studies–or perhaps how it should be changing it. Hosted by the Folger Institute at the Folger Shakespeare Library, the Institute (in its words) “seeks to create a forum in which participants can historicize, theorize, and critically evaluate current and future digital tools and approaches.” I’m pretty excited to get my first ever Folger Reader’s Card and dive right in to talking about the intersections of early modern studies, computational methods, and how we “do” literary & cultural studies. Continue Reading

Notes Towards a Regional Digital Arts & Cultures Collaboratory; or, HASTACing With the Neighbours

[This is the text of a presentation I recently gave at the Humanities, Arts, Sciences, and Technology Advanced Collaboratory (HĀSTAC) Conference at York University in Toronto, ON. Taking place 25-28 April 2013, the theme of the meeting was The Decennial: The Storm of Progress: New Horizons, New Narratives, New Codes. This presentation centres on how a focus on regional networks of collaboration–and what a network might look in the Pacific Northwest/West Coast region of Canada and the US–might impact how we “do” digital humanities and grow the field in the future. I have included the slides, as presented, for your edification.]

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