Beyond Anglophone Digital Humanities, DH in the Spanish-speaking world

It’s interesting (and heartening) to see that a lot of the groups (http://dayofdh2014.matrix.msu.edu/groups/) taking part in #DayofDH have a regional/national/cultural perspective. A lot of my research over the last year has been focused on global perspectives on digital humanities, in particular in the Spanish-speaking world* and I was one of the initiators of the Spanish/Portuguese language ‘edition’ of #DayofDH, Día/Dia de las Humanidades Digitales 2013 #DiaHD in 2013, an experience  we’re hoping to repeat again in the next couple of months. Time will tell if a separate edition in those languages is really necessary, but the experience was very useful in forging contacts, mutual awareness and a sense of ‘community’ (although that word does tend to get rather over-used in DH!) and we’ll be discussing the experience in a short paper at the DH2014 conference in Lausanne.

My other activity in Lausanne will be a joint presentation with Elena Gonzalez-Blanco (from the UNED University in Spain,  similar to the Open University in the UK) with the title ‘Global Challenges, Local Interpretations. An analytical perspective about DH in Spain’, which forms part of a panel on Global Outlook DH. Elena and I recently submitted a historical perspective on the field in Spain to a journal in Germany and are now turning our attention to broader challenges in how to track Digital Humanities activity in countries which have not traditionally received much international coverage, in a field with a clear Anglophone bias.

* I have a chapter coming out shortly in an online monograph due to be published by Janus (http://www.janusdigital.es/), for example.

Quick summary so far …

Well predictably I didn’t have time to write anything for DayofDH due to  spending most of my day in meetings, and then ignoring the old adage that ‘Email is the enemy of creativity’ I decided to  focus on that for a while, because there are some big things coming up which I want to concentrate on without leaving people feeling ignored! So inbox down to single figures, but what of my day? What did I do today?

One area that’s taking up a lot of my time at the moment is project research. A large proportion of my time at the moment is still taken up with projects like the Schenker Documents Online, the Gascon Rolls project and Mapping the Medieval Countryside, which are all coming to an end in the next year or so, and which all in one way or another focus on some of my main research interests -including digital editing, digital publication and the impact of technology on the scholarly research process as a whole.

My main project focus today was on Schenker Documents Online, where my colleagues Paul Caton, Faith Lawrence and I reviewed final bugs/features for the site, and discussed additional research (made possible due to the hard work of the project team in bringing the main work to prompt conclusion), exploring the insights we can achieve through linked data, ontological and visualization approaches to the humanities data. Paul and Faith both have some exciting ideas for papers arising from research on the project, which I’m sure will see the light of day in due course, and really this research is about looking beyond the basic structured editing and publishing approaches common in TEI projects to see what kind of new publication paradigms emerge, and what kind of tools people need to edit or curate them. My own recent writing about this so far has been mostly in Spanish (see for example http://revistes.uab.cat/anuariolopedevega/article/view/v20-spence), although I’m preparing some publications in English which I hope will see the light of day before too long too.

A second major focus has been on teaching – I’m starting to take on greater responsibilities on our MA in Digital Humanities (http://www.kcl.ac.uk/artshums/depts/ddh/study/pgt/madh/index.aspx), one of the earliest in the world (see  Hannah Jacob’s excellent post from a student’s perspective http://dayofdh2014.matrix.msu.edu/kclhannahlj/2014/04/08/why-kcl/) – and today included a very useful chat with my colleague Stuart Dunn about upcoming Skype Days for prospective students. I’ve also been giving some early thought to next year’s Web Technologies module, which I teach, and which takes both critical and practical perspectives on some of the core technologies used on the web today.

Starting the day

I started this, my fourth DayofDH, on the bus in to London (I live in  Oxford) for a day packed with meetings – some for projects I’m involved in, but also some to explore new teaching and research ideas . Having such a long commute gives me a chance to catch up on email, after a few days concentrating on finishing off some work on a Spanish language DH project, and to make various plans,  about which more later.

Just another Day of DH 2014 site

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