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Podcast: What Counts as Contemporary Fiction? Scale, Value, and Field

James-English James English, Professor of English and Director of the Penn Humanities ForumUniversity of Pennsylvania
MITH Conference RoomTuesday, October 20, 201512:30 pm

Scholars of contemporary fiction face special challenges in making the turn toward digitized corpora and empirical method. Their field is one of exceptionally large and uncertain scale, subject to ongoing transformation and dispute, and shrouded in copyright. I will present one possible way forward, based on my work for a special issue of MLQ on “Scale & Value” that I’m co-editing with Ted Underwood. My project uses quantitative relationships among mid-sized, hand-made datasets to map the field of Anglophone fiction from 1960 to the present. Some significant findings of this research concern a shift in the typical time-setting of the novel and a concomitant change in the relationship between literary commerce and literary prestige.

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MITH partners in $1.25 Million Mellon Grant Awarded to UMD’s Arts and Humanities College

A $1.25 million grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will fund research, education and training at the intersections of digital humanities and African American studies at the University of Maryland. The grant will help to prepare a diverse community of scholars and students whose work will both broaden the reach of the digital humanities in African American history and cultural studies and enrich humanities research with new methods, archives and tools.

The grant, Synergies among Digital Humanities and African American History and Culture: An integrated research and training model, awarded to the College of Arts and Humanities (ARHU) and co-directed by the Arts and Humanities Center for Synergy (Center for Synergy) and the Maryland Institute for Technology in the Humanities (MITH), will support a faculty project director, postdoctoral fellows, graduate students and staff in ARHU and the University Libraries. It also includes money to run workshops, to deliver public programming, to digitize materials from significant archival collections, to support faculty research and to integrate digital work into a number of innovative undergraduate curricular initiatives including UMD’s First-Year Innovation & Research Experience (FIRE) program, a new initiative to expose first-year undergraduates to rich research experiences, mentorship and social activities that are known to impact academic success. . . . Continue Reading

Hacking MITH’s Legacy Web Servers: A Holistic Approach to Preservation on the Web

Editor’s note— This is the second post in MITH’s summer series on stewarding digital humanities scholarship. For more background, see the previous post.

In September of 2012 MITH moved from its long-time home in the basement of the McKeldin Library on the University of Maryland campus to a newly renovated, and considerably better lit, location next to Library Media Services in the Hornbake Library. If you’ve had a chance to visit MITH’s current location, then you’ve likely noticed its modern, open, and spacious design. And yet, for all its comforts, for all its natural light streaming in from the windows that comprise its northern wall, I still find myself missing our dark corner of the McKeldin basement from time to time: its cubicles, its cramped breakroom, Matthew Kirschenbaum’s cave-like office with frankensteinian hardware filling every square inch, and especially its oddly shaped conference room, packed to the gills and overflowing into the hallway every Tuesday at 12:30 for Digital Dialogues.

In preparation for the move, we delved into those nooks and crannies to inventory the computers and other equipment that had accumulated over the years. . . . Continue Reading

Stewarding Digital Humanities Work on the Web at MITH

A digital humanities center is nothing if not a site of constant motion: staff, directors, fellows, projects, partners, tools, technologies, resources, and (innumerable) best practices all change over time, sometimes in quite unpredictable ways. As small, partly or wholly soft-funded units whose missions involve research, or teaching, or anchoring a local interest community, digital humanities centers face fundamental challenges involving the long-term digital stewardship of the work they help to produce.

The importance of stewarding digital scholarship will only grow and the work will need to be shared by the entire digital humanities community. Founded sixteen years ago in 1999, MITH is proud of the way it has faced and continues to face these challenges. We would like to take this opportunity to document our practices in a series of blog posts, beginning with this one, in the hope of providing a clear and potentially useful record of our principles for digital stewardship, the issues we’ve faced, and our practices for dealing with them.

In this initial post, we’ll provide an overview of the actions MITH has taken to steward the variety of digital humanities work created here. . . . Continue Reading

Recap Part II: Engaging the Public: Best Practices for Crowdsourcing across the Disciplines Workshop (CrowdCon)

Last week, we posted Part I of a series of two blog entries detailing the outcomes of our workshop entitled Engaging the Public: Best Practices for Crowdsourcing across the Disciplines (CrowdCon). For the second entry, we’ve gathered the final storified tweets and videos of the event, covering big challenges in research crowdsourcing, best practices and next steps. Click on the links below to read more about the final panels and discussion from this fantastic event!

  1. ‘Big Challenges for Research Crowdsourcing’ panel
    (Thursday May 7, 2015)

  2. ‘Best Practices’ panel, Q&A (Friday May 8, 2015)
  3. Pitches for Next Steps after #CrowdCon (Friday May 8, 2015)


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