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Updated: 56 min 33 sec ago

Editors’ Choice: Good AI Computing Well

Thu, 04/26/2018 - 11:00
Two Directions in AI

In the inaugural issue of AI & Society, published in 1987, Ajit Narayanan identified two directions that propelled the discipline of artificial intelligence. The first was “Implement and be damned” whereby programs are produced to replicate tasks performed by humans with relevant expertise (p. 60). Motivated by efficiency, these programs might only tangentially be identified as AI, Narayanan noted, because, rather than adhering to certain computing principles, they might simply be written in a particular programming language associated with AI. (See, for example, Lisp.) The second direction was “We’re working on it,” which he associated with “grandiose claims” about the future of AI systems that “‘could control a nuclear power station’” or “‘shield us from incoming missiles’.” But both directions in AI shared the same dangers, according to Narayanan: an economic imperative that would further displace the care of humans for that of profit and a misplaced belief in the power of computation to solve problems more accurately than humans, perhaps even perfectly. To combat these dangers, he pointed to the importance of accountability to the general public; for, “as long as AI is removed from the domain of ordinary people, AI will remain unaccountable for whatever products it produces” (p. 61).

AI Now

In the three decades since Narayanan made his argument, much has changed, with ordinary people being dialed into the everyday relevance of AI, as well as its potential for transformative societal effects. In addition to the near constant heralding of the practical benefits of AI on college campuses, to the aging, in music streaming, and with transportation, AI has also been celebrated for its potential in creative endeavors in IBM’s Watson advertisements that have featured Bob Dylan and Stephen King. (Much-needed parody of Dylan’s ad is available here.) And although such celebration may be premature, the success of Google’s AlphaGo points to the very real possibility of strategic, quotidian invention on the part of AI.


Read the full post here.

Job: Digital Publishing Librarian, Columbia

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 13:30

From the ad:

The Columbia University Libraries seek a creative, service-oriented Digital Publishing Librarian to lead publishing services for its Digital Scholarship division. This new position reports to the Assistant Director of Scholarly Communication and Projects and is part of a newly-formed team that encompasses scholarly communication, digital humanities, and emerging technologies. The Digital Publishing Librarian occupies a key role, helping define, execute, and assess digital publishing partnerships with the Columbia community, including developers, library subject specialists, project managers, faculty, and students.

Read the full ad here.

Job: Digital Scholarship Technologist, UMass Amherst

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 13:00

From the ad:

The UMass Amherst Libraries seek a dynamic and innovative Digital Scholarship Technologist. The Digital Scholarship Technologist develops applications and tools to support incoming and ongoing academic research projects, with a focus on building infrastructure to support digital scholarship. In collaboration with stakeholders, identify requirements, develop workflows, and implement digital services solutions for incoming and ongoing research projects and curricular initiatives. Potential projects may include data mining, text analysis and other related digital scholarship methods, consultation on solutions for digital scholarship projects.

Read the full ad here.

CFParticipation: Call for Associated Researchers to work on 19th – 21st century European historical newspapers

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 12:30

From the call for participation:

The impresso project is looking for associated researchers working in History, Digital Humanities, Media studies and related fields to work with us on the development of novel tools for the study of historical newspapers. We invite you to bring your field expertise in historical research methodologies. impresso. Media Monitoring of the Past consists of a vibrant, interdisciplinary team of historians, computational linguists, engineers and designers based in Luxembourg and Switzerland.

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: Reviewing is an Act of Leadership

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 12:00

[At Jeff McClurken’s invitation, I was recently part of a panel focused on reviewing digital history at Organization of American Historian’s annual meeting. My portion of the discussion was to focus on reviewing digital public history projects, which have their own particularities that make them different that some other genres of digital history. I welcomed the opportunity because I think that the work of review is one of the most important of an historian’s professional obligations. Below is a version of my comments.]

A generous and conscientious review process at a crucial stage can make the difference between a mediocre project and a great one. And, a careful review after a project launches can be an essential authorizing element for that work and the people who produced it.

The work of a reviewing is an act of leadership in the field—-in digital history, in academic history, in public history. As such, we would do well to consider the qualities that seek in effective leaders before we turn to the form and content of an effective review.

We seek out leaders

  • who prize collaboration and cooperation;
  • who have vision, but make room for other voices;
  • who honor many types of experience and expertise;
  • who acknowledge the important contributions of others;
  • who clearly admit that they do not have all the answers.

Individuals who embody these qualities often stand out as the people we turn to help us move our work forward. They are people we trust. I would submit, that these are also the people we want to review our work.

We can and should do our best to create a culture of reviewing that is humane and constructive. In that effort we might turn the groundbreaking work of the HuMetricsHSS Project to help structure our thinking. The project is working through a process to create and disseminate a “humane evaluation framework” that builds upon the values that participants have identified as central to humanities and social science disciplines, including collegiality, quality, equality, openness, and community.


Read the full post here.

Editors’ Choice: Can We Do Better Than a 10 Year Gap in Knowledge (re: digital privacy, ethics, etc)?

Tue, 04/24/2018 - 11:00

I have been chewing on a topic and I could use others’ help. I, like many others, am frustrated by the enormous time gap between scholarly understanding of the privacy issues in digital media technology here in the U.S. and public and political awareness.

This is an area of research and teaching for me, so I’ve long known about the monetization of data, the use of social media production in research in both industry and academia, and the incredible risks that some people face just in engaging online. Along with many colleagues in STS, Media Studies, Information Studies, and more, I’ve spoken on the issue, been asked to advise on the topic, and have written about some of the many topics in this complicated space.

Understanding that what we circulate in academic communities does not circulate as public knowledge, I work creating installations, data events, and writing for popular audiences. So do many other colleagues, some of whom have been working on these topics longer than I have.

I am glad that Facebook is in the hot seat. I’m glad that Mark Zuckerberg testified today. He and others (it’s not just Facebook) should have to be accountable.

But I’m also feeling disempowered by the number of my colleagues who even today have to remind people that this has been going on for more than a decade. I’m frustrated that people still aren’t hearing that it’s not just Facebook. I’m upset that when hundreds of women and non-binary people called for attention to the sexist, racist, and transphobic behavior on the internet few listened. Too few still listen.


Read the full post here.

Job: Library Digital Strategist, WMU School of Medicine

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 13:00

From the ad:

Western Michigan University Homer Stryker M.D. School of Medicine has a great opportunity for a Library Digital Strategist. You would work as a member of the library’s team to develop, support and manage web-based systems and services, including the library’s website and digital collections. Responsible for creating robust systems that facilitate search, discovery, curation, and the delivery of library services and content in an agile environment. Be able to create and maintain cross-platform designs to provide cross-platform navigation for the library’s digital solutions. This person should understand how to maintain the integrity and reliability of the library’s virtual presence and its resources.

Read the full ad here.

Opportunity: UC Berkeley Digital Humanities Summer Program

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 12:30

About the opportunity:

Looking for something to do this summer that includes a data science perspective? If so, enroll in the Digital Humanities Summer Program to gain practical, technical, and programming skills and experience while engaging with fascinating content from the arts and humanities.

UC Berkeley undergraduate students can enroll in summer courses to earn an official UC Berkeley Minor in Digital Humanities. Non-UC Berkeley students and Berkeley graduate students can earn a Certificate of Completion in Digital Humanities. Either option puts you on the cutting edge of an exciting field and can help greatly with your graduate school or career prospects.  Check out the video below for an overview.

Read more here.

Announcement: Manifold Scholarship Phase Two

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 12:00

From the announcement:

The University of Minnesota Press in partnership with the GC Digital Scholarship Lab at The Graduate Center of The City University of New York, and digital development agency Cast Iron Coding has been awarded a $789,000 grant from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation to launch phase two of Manifold Scholarship, an open-source web-based publishing platform that integrates the publication of media-rich, networked monographs into existing university press publication workflows. With this grant the Manifold Scholarship project will focus on assisting with installations at other institutions, further development of platform features, and a research project about potential OER (open education resources) uses of the platform.

Read the full announcement here.

Opportunity: ACH Paid Communications Internship

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:30

About the opportunity:

The Association for Computers and the Humanities seeks applicants for a paid Communications internship. The intern will work with the ACH Executive to write blog posts and announcements about ACH and the broader digital humanities community; monitor and update ACH’s social media presence; assist in maintenance of its website; and perform other communications-related responsibilities. The Intern should anticipate spending approximately 10 hours per month on the position. The internship comes with a small annual stipend of $2000. It is well-suited for advanced undergraduate or graduate students who seek to supplement their existing digital humanities coursework or projects.

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: Old Bailey Proceedings Part 1 – Offences

Thu, 04/19/2018 - 11:00

If you know me, the topic of this first post may come as unsurprising but also a bit eyebrow-raising. “Sharon, you’ve been working on the Old Bailey Online project (OBO) since forever. Aren’t you bored with it yet?”

Meanwhile, those who don’t know me might more likely be asking, “What are the Old Bailey Proceedings?” So, a bit of background. The Old Bailey Proceedings is the name most commonly given to a series of trial reports that were published from 1674-1913.

the largest body of texts detailing the lives of non-elite people ever published, containing 197,745 criminal trials held at London’s central criminal court.

I’ve been project manager for this and a number of spin-off projects (which I’ll undoubtedly write about in future posts; brace yourselves) since 2006. And yet I only started to really dig into the Proceedings data quite recently. This is because it consists of more than 2000 intimidatingly complicated XML files, reflecting the complexity of a criminal trial – there can be multiple defendants, multiple charged offences and multiple outcomes. The central aim of the project from its conception was to accurately represent this complexity as well as provide searchable full text.

In fact, I spent several years cheerfully encouraging others to use our data while I had no real idea how to go about doing so myself. In 2011, the project released the Old Bailey API, and I started to tinker with that, but I didn’t really get very far, until a couple of years ago I finally bought myself a book on XQuery and got down to it. And then I started to discover exactly how complicated the XML is. (So I’ve also been thinking about ways to make it more accessible; putting the XML files on our institutional repository is a good start but it’s really just a start.)

The data

There are two facets to the the Proceedings data: firstly, structured markup that enables searching and quantitative analysis of many aspects of the published trials (especially the characteristics of defendants, offences, jury verdicts, sentences); and secondly, the full text of the reports, amounting to more than 125 million words in total.

My first two posts are tasters of a few of the structured data categories: here, I’ll look at how offences tried at the Old Bailey changed over the 250 years documented in the Proceedings; in the second post, I’ll look at defendants’ gender and offending. In subsequent posts I’ll start to explore the text of trial reports.


Read the full post here.

Job: Director, Arts & Humanities Research Computing, Harvard

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 13:00

From the ad:

Harvard University Information Technology (HUIT) is a community of Information Technology professionals committed to understanding our users and devoted to making it easier for faculty, students, and staff to teach, research, learn, and work through the effective use of information technology.  We are recruiting an IT workforce that has both breadth in their ability to collaborate and innovate across disciplines – and depth in specific areas of expertise.  HUIT offers opportunities for IT professionals to learn and work in a unique technology landscape and service-focused environment.  If you are a technically proficient, nimble, user-focused and accountable IT professional who also connects with the importance of collaborating well in a team environment we are looking for you! HUIT Arts and Humanities Research Computing serves the Faculty of Arts & Sciences by facilitating effective use of technology in support of faculty research in the Division of Arts & Humanities, and Humanists at Harvard more generally.

Read the full ad here.

CFP: Japanese Association for Digital Humanities 2018

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 12:30

From the CFP:

The Japanese Association for Digital Humanities is pleased to announce its eighth annual conference, to be held at Hitotsubashi-Hall, Tokyo, Japan, September 9-11, 2018 hosted by the Center for Open Data in the Humanities jointly with the TEI conference 2018.

The conference will feature posters, papers and panels. We invite proposals globally on all aspects of digital humanities, and especially encourage papers treating topics that deal with practices that aim to cross borders, for example, between academic fields, media, languages, cultures, organizations, and so on, as related to the field of digital humanities.

Read the full CFP here.

Job: Postdoctoral Fellowships/Associates in the Digital Humanities, MIT

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 12:00

From the ad:

The MIT School of Humanities, Arts, and Social Sciences (SHASS) announce two Postdoctoral Fellowships/Associates in the Digital Humanities. One postdoc (position a) will be for one year, with possible renewal pending available funding; one postdoc (position b) will be a two-year position. Postdocs will work within the newly created, Mellon-funded SHASS Digital Humanities Lab to pursue their own research and enable the creation of digital tools to assist in other faculty research and pedagogy.  Depending on departmental needs, each scholar will teach up to one class per year in their area of research or discipline.

Read the full ad here.

Resource: Visualization color picker, based on perception research

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 11:30

About the resource:

The colors you choose to visualize data can completely shift what you convey to a reader. With an ominous color palette, a graphic meant to be light and fun comes off the wrong way. Or the other way around. You wouldn’t use Comic Sans for your résumé (right…?), so choose colors that fit the topic. Viz Palette, made by Elijah Meeks and Susie Lu, aims to make the choosing part easier.

It’s still up to you to figure out the right overall scheme, but Viz Palette takes care of the stuff in between, such as designing for color blindness and perceptually evenly-spaced shades. It also includes a “color report” that points out shades that might look the same in various situations.

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: Immersed in the Past – Room-Scale Virtual Reality for Public History

Tue, 04/17/2018 - 11:00

Last year, I wrote about my early impressions of the possible uses of virtual reality technology for public history and history education. I also led a session in my fourth-year digital history class on virtual reality and its potential for generating a sense of historical presence, an ability to simulate the sensation of standing in past places. I have been somewhat enthusiastic about what this technology can add to museums, classrooms, and other settings for public history and history education.

My focus last year was on smartphone-based VR with stereoscopic viewers (Google Cardboard, Daydream View, Gear VR). This type of VR technology can generate a powerful sense of presence, but the user is limited to rotational movement along three perpendicular axes (pitch, roll, yaw). This is like being a camera fixed in space that can spin around, but cannot move within that space. Tethered VR headsets that use PCs and spatial tracking systems add translational movement (heave, sway, surge) to VR experiences creating six degrees of freedom of movement. These headsets also include tracked motion controllers that can reveal the user’s hand movements in VR environments and enable interaction with 3D objects. Altogether, this is sometimes called “room-scale VR.” The experience is incredibly immersive.

Recently, I put this kind of immersive VR experience to the test by reviewing three examples of public history VR projects that use room-scale technologies. I used an Acer Mixed Reality Headset, part of Microsoft’s line of virtual reality headsets that use “inside-out tracking” in order to achieve room-scale experiences. Two cameras on the front of the headset map and track the environment around me and the motion controllers generate allow me to interact with objects in a 3D space.

What did this add to VR experiences for public history and history education? How best could it be used? What are its limitations? Let’s find out:


Read the full post here.

Resource: Free Access to University of California Press Journals in April 2018

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 13:00

During the month of April, there will be free access to all University of California Press Journals

Access resource here.

Resource: Free UC Berkeley Data Science Course Online

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 12:00

From the post:

It’s worth passing along a message from UC Berkeley. According to its news service, the “fastest-growing course in UC Berkeley’s history — Foundations of Data Science [aka Data 8X] — is being offered free online this spring for the first time through the campus’s online education hub, edX.” More than 1,000 students are now taking the course each semester at the university. Designed for students who have not previously taken statistics or computer science courses, Foundations of Data Science will teach you in a three-course sequence “how to combine data with Python programming skills to ask questions and explore problems that you encounter in any field of study, in a future job, and even in everyday life.”

Read more here.

CFP: African American Digital Humanities Conference

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 11:30

From the CFP:

Good news- after numerous inquiries about extending the deadline for our Fall 2018 Conference: Intentionally Digital, Intentionally Black, we have agreed to do so! You now have until Sunday, April 15th at 11:59pm to submit your abstract for a paper, roundtable, panel, poster, or digital tools demonstration.

Read more here.

Editors’ Choice: How the EU’s Copyright Reform Threatens Open Source

Thu, 04/12/2018 - 11:00

Open Source and copyright are intimately related. It was Richard Stallman’s clever hack of copyright law that created the General Public License (GPL) and, thus, free software. The GPL requires those who copy or modify software released under it to pass on the four freedoms. If they don’t, they break the terms of the GPL and lose legal protection for their copies and modifications. In other words, the harsh penalties for copyright infringement are used to ensure that people can share freely.

Despite the use of copyright law to police the GPL and all the other open source licenses, copyright is not usually so benign. That’s not surprising: copyright is an intellectual monopoly. In general, it seeks to prevent sharing—not to promote it. As a result, the ambitions of the copyright industry tend to work against the aspirations of the Open Source world.

Read the post here.


Directory of DH Scholars

Looking for collaborators, expertise, or other scholars with related interests? 

Please see our list of affiliated scholars at KU.

If you would like to be included in this list please complete our affiliated scholars form.


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