Digital Humanities research has found increased funding and job opportunities, and it has become a center piece of efforts to raise the rankings and profile of universities seeking the highest Carnegie Research status. It also has a blossoming industry that includes “text analytics” widely used in national security studies.
That type of DH research usually means digitizing massive amounts of texts, constructing databases, organizing information, and representing the patterns into meaningful conclusions. The researchers mine data in texts to make existing texts more accessible, and to discover connections and patterns difficult to decipher without computing power and information design.In the midst of building a databases for two digital humanities project, Dr. Craig Saper realized that the interfaces his team had constructed online had a more profound impact on how one read the texts than the use of the database alone.
The online interface changed how one read — even changed the essence of what one read. The futures of reading using new devices, like e-readers, will have consequences for the definition and practice of what we call reading.
Saper’s presentation for MITH’s Digital Dialogues will look at four of his major digital humanities projects – two online and two just starting – on r\e\a\d/i/n/g/ as a publishing practice and potential strategic alliances among the campuses on the university of Maryland system.
Craig Saper (csaper<at>umbc<dot>edu) is on the faculty of the Language, Literacy, & Culture multi-disciplinary doctoral program at UMBC, and has published widely, and in multimodal formats, on the digital humanities. He is the author of Intimate Bureaucracies (2012), Networked Art (2001) and Artificial Mythologies (1997). He has edited, and written afterwards for, Bob Brown’s Words and The Readies (both 2009), and he edited, with C. J. Freeman and W. Garrett-Petts, an anthology on Imaging Place (2009). He has guest edited special issues of Visible Language (1988) and Style(2001), and co-edited, with Ellen Berry, a special issue of Rhizomes on “Drifts” (2007), and, with R. Burt, on “posthumography” (2010). He is also the reviews editor and “Blog Report” columnist for Rhizomes. He wrote the introduction to Sharon Kivland’s A Disturbance of Memory, II (2008). His curatorial projects include exhibits on “Assemblings” (1997), “Noigandres: Concrete Poetry in Brazil” (1988), “TypeBound” (2008), and folkvine.org (2003-6). He is presently completing a biography of a poet-publisher-inventor-impresario-writer in every imaginable genre, Bob Brown, who invented a reading machine. A New York Times Books section Back Page Essay described Saper’s research and publications on Brown in the context of new iPad’s and e-readers, and called Brown the “godfather of the e-reader.” An example of Brown’s machine: www.readies.org.