Byte me: Technological Education and the Humanities
Posted: December 20, 2008 Filed under: Digital Humanities, Essays, Research, Reviews, Teaching | Tags: Computers, digital humanities, digital pedagogy, education, pedagogy, universities
I recently had a discussion with the head of a humanities
organisation who wanted to move a website. The website was
written using Coldfusion, a proprietary suite of server-based
software that is used by developers for writing and publishing
interactive web sites (Adobe nd). After some discussion of the
pros and cons of moving the site, we turned to the question of
Head of Humanities Organisation: We’d also
like to change the software.
Me: I’m not sure that is wise unless you really
have to: it will mean hiring somebody to port everything and you
are likely to introduce new problems.
Head of Humanities Organisation: But I don’t
have Coldfusion on my computer.
Me: Coldfusion is software that runs on a
server. You don’t need it on your computer. You just need it on
the server. Your techies handle that.
Head of Humanities Organisation: Yes, but I use
I might be exaggerating here—I can’t remember if the person
really said they used a Mac. But the underlying confusion we
faced in the conversation was very real: the person I was talking to did
not seem at all to understand the distinction between a personal
computer and a network server— basic technology by which web
published and read.
This is not an isolated problem….