Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Comparable Media:

This semester I've focused so much on apply Shakespeare to the digital world that it's really easy to see how my project compares to others. For instance in this class alone each one of your amazing blogs can compare to my project of documenting my observations of legitimizing digital humanities at BYU and on the larger scale. You guys really are my contemporaries in project structures! And of course the model I'll present for you is Professor Burton's blog:

I've also mentioned before several blogs that detail not only digital humanities but Shakespeare as well. Here's a small list of the many people I've come across:

Jonathan Hope's Blog: ,

Lisa Spiro's blog on digital scholarship:

David Perry's Blog (similar to Spiro's in idea and format):

Dan Cohen's blog on digital humanities (He's a big name in the digital literacy movement!):

Learning Outcomes:

As a way to promote my new blog I decided to post my learning outcomes on that one. I'll post the link here so that you can connect the two blogs together.

Learning Outcomes

Monday, April 16, 2012

Repurposed Content:

It's taken me far longer than I wanted to get my repurposed content up and there are actually several reasons for that. The first is that my computer decided to have an epic meltdown on me and most of my projects were deleted and I've been scrambling like a mad woman all weekend to get things sorted and fixed. My computer is finally on the mend but I'm behind in posting this and my video.

The second reason is a little different.

Originally I was unsure how to approach a repurposed project for my subject matter which focuses on the digital humanities and its growth. I couldn't really figure out how to justify doing something focused when the digital studies change constantly and new things are coming to light. It is a very difficult subject to pinpoint to one specific project.


I talked to Professor Burton and he suggested that I talk to Jeremy Browne and Jarom McDonald who work at BYU and are heading up the digital humanities program that is becoming a university focus in the coming year. What an opportunity to get involved!

I made the appointment and was able to talk to Jeremy last week (but like I said I'm posting this now because everything I had saved was inaccessible). I discussed with him what was going on at the university in regards to the digital program and he gave me some insight.

He mentioned that it is hard to figure out where to put the digital humanities program because it is such a vast program and covers a lot of different genres. People wonder just how to pin down digital humanities and how to apply them to the larger university scope.

He also mentioned that a lot of professors don't truly understand the digital humanities because they are focused more on the traditional methods of study and are in a way "stuck" in their discipline and unable to budge from that. It's a big issue for people, like my professor Gideon Burton, who think far beyond the here and now because they see the potential for growth new avenues of legitimate study.

So the Digital Humanities program-still very new in development-has a lot of work on in the coming months! But the exciting thing is that there is so much potential for this program!

I then inquired as to what I could do to help further this study and move things forward. Jeremy suggested doing a few things: getting involved with digital communities and researching what is going on here at BYU. He even commented that I should make a blog to detail these observations and digital communities so that I can remain in the loop and note where digital studies are going and contribute my voice to the growth of this discipline.

"Hey!" I thought, "That's what I've been trying to do all semseter!"

So really my Shakespeare blog has fascilitated in helping me solidify my new repurposed content. The digital humanities seem to be all about socializing and proving the significance of the discipline. I've been striving to connect to people and understand their views on digital studies as well as their projects and research. This "social proofing" has helped me to gain a passion for the fight to legitimize the digital studies here at BYU as well as in the wider sphere of learning.

So, here's a link to my new Digital Humanities Blog:

On this blog I'll be noting all the digital blogs of significance that I come across, the people I contact and interview as well as having guest bloggers to showcase their studies. At the same time I'll also be keeping updates available on the research done at BYU and the changes happening there!

Basically I'm determined to be the news on the digital humanities!

Sound exciting?

I think so!

Friday, April 6, 2012

Proof is in the Pudding....the social proof that is...

Okay, it's been long in coming, but I finally got a response from one of my contacts, Lisa Spiro, who is a strong advocate for the digital humanities. I shot her an e-mail and asked her a couple of questions and the other day she finally got back with me. Here's how the conversation went down:

My name is Kaleigh and I'm currently a Senior at Brigham Young University. I'm working on a project involving Shakespeare studies in the digital age and I was hoping that I could get some insight from you. If you wouldn't mind, perhaps you might answer some questions for me?
1. What do you think is the significance of the digital humanities? How are they beneficial to our current methods of study?

I think the digital humanities have broad significance. First, digital humanists have developed trustworthy digital collections that provide the basis for research. Second, they are creating tools and analytical approaches that enable researchers to, for example, discern patterns across large textual collections, visualize the relationships among participants in a network (for example, letter correspondents), model spaces and objects (including those that are imagined or destroyed), create geo-temporal visualizations that enable us to understand phenomena across space and time, etc. Third, digital humanists are experimenting with networked approaches to scholarly communication, including open peer review, multimedia publishing, networked communities, etc. Fourth, the digital humanities are devising pedagogical approaches that enable students to do original research and participate in networked communities. Fifth, DH is shaping new theoretical approaches, including a deeper understanding of the cultural implications of hardware and software. Finally, DH has a public impact by making information widely available and exploring approaches such as crowdsourcing.
2. Do you feel that digital studies will replace more traditional methods of study or enhance them? How so?

Ultimately, I think all humanities will be digital humanities, but that the core values of the humanities--interpretation, multiplicity, play--will abide.
3. How do digital studies affect our perception of texts and the humanities like Shakespeare? What can you do with digital data?

You can do lots with data: compare, mashup, map, visualize, mine, analyze, share, etc. With Shakespeare, for instance, one could compare the variants across folios, map relationships among characters, map the movements of characters, use topic modeling to detect larger themes across his works, use text analysis to plumb the significance of particular words and phrases, etc. Check out the MLA's Variorum Shakespeare Challenge:

There's also a special issue of the Shakespeare Quarterly you may wish to consult:
4. What do you think the trend is for digital studies?

I don't know that there is a single trend, beyond DH growing in visibility. I noted a number of sessions on DH at the most recent Modern Language Association conference.
5. What would you say to critics of the digital humanities?
Experiment. Play. See what's possible. Engage in conversation. Criticism is healthy, if it is informed, engaged criticism.

Good luck with your project!
I also got a response from another of my blogger contacts, David Parry, and he was kind enough to respond to my e-mail, though his comments were somewhat unexpected. His comment about Shakespeare and the digital humanities in particular made me do a double take. That being said, I appreciated his honesty and consideration in taking the time to respond to me. Here's his response:
The article linked to below should answer almost all those questions, and in much more detail than I could do in email responses. The only thing not addressed in that article is your question of Shakespeare.
Re: Shakespeare. Actually I am not really interested in that question. I think there are probably a lot of scholars who work on this question, but for me the question of leveraging data to redo scholarship on old texts is really the wrong approach, I want to use the digital to open up new perspectives and ways of being humanists.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Finally another video!

Several attempts to upload, frustration, and moments of complete and utter aggravation have finally paid off. I finally got my video to upload! It's a little late but better to have it posted then not at all right?

For some reason my youtube video wasn't showing up on the search, but if you want to view the video on youtube you can follow this link:

There's a few rough patches that I see after publishing the video, but I think it turned out okay. I'd love your feedback so feel free to comment. Thanks guys!

Monday, April 2, 2012

I Just Had a Thought:

Okay, quick little blurb that I had as I've been working on finishing my video. I've come to realize that the pursuit for legitimizing the digital humanities is very similar to the pursuit of attempting to legitimize the significance of studying humanities at the University level.

There is a lot of talk about how many scholars don't understand the complete significance of studying the Humanities at a university level. The argument stands that no definitive career is mapped out for you. There are too many variables and it often appears that the study of literature or art don't lead to a significant career in today's fast-paced, business-oriented world.

The other side argues that the Humanities are an essential study to our society today. Both men and women should study subjects such as literature and realize that even though there may not be a definitive career path, Humanities majors are actually far better off because they aren't limited by a chosen path. Humanities allow for a wide array of opportunities to present themselves. The door of possibilities is far larger as a Humanities major!

The contention with the digital humanities is that many people believe that taking a focus on the digital form of study hinders the significance of traditoinal forms of study. People, like Stanley Fish, feel that digital humanities can be significant if you are merely "crunching numbers." But he fears that the digital humanities can also cause people to focus more on the digital aspects and as a result many will ignore the necessity to explore texts in a more standardized format.

And then there are those who argue that the Digital Humanities allow for an expansion upon traditional forms of study. You can learn a lot of traditional studies. However, you can also apply digital study methods to enhance studies and open new avenues of comprehension that aren't available through more traditional forms.

Can you see the correlation I see?

'By my penny of observation'-A review of "Love's Labour's Lost" (BYU)

As the king of Navarre states at the beginning of Shakespeare's "Love's Labour's Lost":

"Our court shall be a little Academe,
Still and contemplative in living art."

Foreswearing the company of women, Navarre's court of scholarly men sought to gratify their minds through pursuits of the academic nature.

In short, no girls allowed!

That is until the princess and her ladies come to visit. Then all bets are off!

Once beautiful ladies appear, scholarly pursuits take a back seat to wooing and romantic escapades. And so commences a humorous portrayal of the follies of men and women in love.

Brigham Young University's 1940's adaptation of Shakespeare's early comedy does a fantastic job of capturing the essence of the Bard's play, while at the same time taking creative liberties to capture the spirit of a memorable era in American history. The scenes are constructed to remind the viewer of the times during World War II. The costuming, lighting, makeup, and  sufficiently and accurately capture the nostalgia of the 40's lifestyle: the sailors, the dancing, and the music.

One aspect of the play that I found interesting was the combination of 40's lifestyles and surroundings mixed with Shakespearean speech. The speech remained true to the traditional publication form that Shakespeare employed during his time. However, this speech was applied to a time far more modern. This tactic marries two histories together.

But how can someone achieve this? How can two seemingly different points in time connect to one another?

The answer seems simple really. Shakespeare's work transcends time and we can relate the concepts and subjects found within his works to our current situations. The theme of "Love's Labour's Lost" is the pursuit of love and the hilarity that can ensue during such acts. People in every time have experienced moments of humorous love-sick pursuits, where words are misconstrued and goofy relationship mishaps abound. Shakespeare was not unique in his subject matter. Such themes apply to his time as much as they applied to the 1940's and even today.

Ultimately, Shakespeare can be perceived as the most influential literary figure because his works transcend time. All people have the capacity to find meaning in Shakespeare's words.