World is a better place 3. Career 0.

The last couple of days have been, by any measure, a huge success.

A visit by Dot Porter to Lethbridge got my DH class revved up and also led to a breakthrough in our understanding of the Visionary Cross project and a blog posting yesterday that seems to be making its way around the DHosphere.

Over the weekend, the executive and members of GO::DH led to the development of a report on diversity and intercultural communications issues that also seems to be hitting a nerve

And finally, there was some cool twitter chatter about my ongoing Unessay research.

Or actually, I shouldn’t say that it was a huge success by “any measure.” In fact, it was a wash, as far as career progress went, since none of these are official citations or refereed publications. Although, as I’ve argued elsewhere, Canadian universities are better than many in their ability to use non-bibliometric measures of success, we’re not that good at it. Read the rest of this entry »


Well that’s that. Solving (?) the VC model and workflow

Yesterday, Dot Porter, one of the leads on the Visionary Cross project visited Lethbridge for a project meeting (and to speak to my DH class). The main purpose of her meeting was to plan the work that needs to happen on the Digital Library side of the project.

This is a core issue for us. As we say on the front page:

The Visionary Cross project is an international, multidisciplinary research project whose principle objective is the development of a new kind of digital archive and edition of texts and objects associated with the Visionary Cross tradition in Anglo-Saxon England.

Taking its cue from recent developments in digital editorial theory and practice, the project takes a data-centric, distributed, and generalisable approach to the representation of cultural heritage texts, objects, and contexts in order to encourage broad scholarly and popular engagement with its material.

The important things here are that it is an archive-edition: it is data-centric, distributed, Read the rest of this entry »


If there’s such a thing as “computing for humanists” is there also such a thing as “humanities for computer scientists?” On implementing interdisciplinarity in the Digital Humanities

This is a just a brief initial thought piece on a question I’ve been asking colleagues about, from whom I’ve not heard the answer I want.

The Digital Humanities is an interdisciplinary field that involves the intersection of computation and the humanities. That means, amongst other things, that neither computation nor humanities is primary to the discipline but both must be present in some way or another. In this way, the Digital Humanities is different from, say, the “History of Science” (History is primary) or “Cognitive approaches to cultural understanding” (Cognitive science is primary).

In actual practice, for most of its life as DH and in its earlier form, Humanities Computing, DH has been mostly the domain of humanists. The people have been located in Humanities departments and the projects have in many ways been developments from and extensions of humanities research. So while Digital Humanities, in terms of content, is more “digit Read the rest of this entry »


Eating your cake and having it to: Solving the comment troll problem

An article in today’s Globe and Mail by Denise Balkissoon discusses the problem of comment trolls on popular news sites.

“Play this game: go find any article on [the National Post website] about a woman. Read the comments,” argued illustrator and journalist Steve Murray (whom I find pretty smart, and very funny). For him, eradicating comments entirely is the only way for publications to show zero tolerance. “Why would any woman want to subject themselves to that?”

Allow me to speak for all women everywhere when I say: We don’t. I consider a thick skin a prerequisite for any career in the public eye, which includes most journalism. That doesn’t mean that the racist, sexist, nonsensical garbage often lobbed my way by hateful cowards is easy to deal with, or fair. Read the rest of this entry »


Could we design comparative metrics that would favour the humanities?

A quick, and still partially undigested, posting on metrics that might favour the humanities over the sciences in “open” competitions. I’m working this out in response to a discussion I had recently with a senior administrator who argued that the University’s tendency to channel resources disproportionately to the Natural Sciences was simply the result of their comparative excellence as measured in “open” competitions.


A “Thought Piece” on Digital Space as Simulation and the Loss of the Original

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A “Thought-Piece” on Digital Space as Simulation and the Loss of the Original: Final Paper for Dr. O’Donnell’s English 4400: Digital Humanities, Fall 2014

          In beginning to think about how I could integrate theory into my final project, I recalled Kim Brown, the DH Maker-Bus, and how she spoke about how her workshops with children have prompted kids to ask “big questions”. It occurred to me that the way in which humanists approach their own work is often very dependent on the ways humanity and culture are defined. It also occurred to me that now, more than ever, humanity and technology are converging. In this paper I want to explore the ways technology and the digital are seen as “copies” of an “original”. Drawing on theories post-humanism and post-modernism I will discuss technology and the internet as simulation. This paper will examine technophobia in the humanities and look to Jean Baudrillard’s theories of simulacra, si Read the rest of this entry »


Four National and International talks by University of Lethbridge Digital Humanities students

A quick catchup post: this semester is shaping up to be a blockbuster in terms of University of Lethbridge Digital Humanities students’ success in national and international refereed conferences.

The semester began strongly with Kayla Ueland’s presentation “Reconciling between novel and traditional ways to publish in the Social Sciences” at the Force 2015 conference in Oxford this past January. Ueland is a graduate student in Sociology and a Research Assistant in the Lethbridge Journal Incubator.

We have also just heard that four students and recent graduates of the University of Lethbridge’s Department of English have had papers accepted at the joint meeting of the Canadian Society for the Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques and the Association for Computers and the Humanities.

The students and their papers are:


Four National and International talks by University of Lethbridge Digital Humanities students

A quick catchup post: this semester is shaping up to be a blockbuster in terms of University of Lethbridge Digital Humanities students’ success in national and international refereed conferences.

The semester began strongly with Kayla Ueland’s presentation “Reconciling between novel and traditional ways to publish in the Social Sciences” at the Force 2015 conference in Oxford this past January. Ueland is a graduate student in Sociology and a Research Assistant in the Lethbridge Journal Incubator.

We have also just heard that four students and recent graduates of the University of Lethbridge’s Department of English have had papers accepted at the joint meeting of the Canadian Society for the Digital Humanities/Société canadienne des humanités numériques and the Association for Computers and the Humanities.

The students and their papers are:


A First Law of Humanities Computing?

The law

A little more than a decade ago, when I was working on my “electronic edition” of Cædmon’s Hymn, I developed a formulation that I have since come (only semi-jokingly) to consider something of a law about the use of computing in the Humanities:

The application of computation to humanities problems inevitably requires an examination of first principles.

What I mean by this is that you can never just copy a technique from the pre-digital humanities into the digital space. If you try, you will inevitably find yourself thinking before long about fundamental questions of why, what, and how: why you want to do whatever it is you are doing, what it actually is that you are trying to accomplish, and how the thing you are trying to accomplish actually does what it is you think it does.


Testing the GRAND-DH Website

GRAND-DH is the Digital Humanities project of the GRAND National Centre of Excellence.

This is a test to see that the blog aggregator is working.

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More on Aauthors and Aalphabetical placement

In an earlier post today, I discussed some of the economic implications of having a last name beginning early in the alphabet in disciplines that traditionally order the authors on multi-author papers alphabetically.

I’ve since looked up the original paper (Einav, Liran, and Leeat Yariv. 2006. “What’s in a Surname? The Effects of Surname Initials on Academic Success.” The Journal of Economic Perspectives 20 (1): 175–88). This is more startling than I thought.

First of all, from the authors’ own description:

Read the rest of this entry »

A is for Aardvark and author. The economic implications of having a last name with an early letter in the alphabet

In many disciplines, when more than one researcher contributes to a paper, the authors are listed in terms of the relative contribution: the first author is assumed to have done the most work, the second the second most, and so on until the last position, which is often as prestigious as first.

In other disciplines, however, the tradition is to order author names alphabetically.

This can be unfair to authors whose names come later in the alphabet, because citation conventions for multiple author contributions usually spell out the names of only the first two or three authors.

But it turns out it can also have career and financial implications. As Marusic, Bosnjak, et al. (see?) report:

Read the rest of this entry »

The credit line

I think it is time to get rid of authorship altogether, at least in research communication.


The Lethbridge Journal Incubator: A new business model for Open Access journal publication (Elsevier Labs Online Lectures February 18, 2014)

The Lethbridge Journal Incubator: A new business model for Open Access journal publication by Daniel Paul O’Donnell with contributions from Gillian Ayers, Kelaine Devine, Heather Hobma, Jessica Ruzack, Sandra Cowen, Leona Jacobs, Wendy Merkeley, Rhys Stevens, Marinus Swanepoel, and Maxine Tedesco. Elsevier Labs Online Lectures February 18, 2014.

The Lethbridge Journal Incubator: A new business model for Open Access journal publication by Daniel O'Donnell with contributions from Gillian Ayers, Kelaine Devine, Heather Hobma, Jessica Ruzack, Sandra Cowen, Leona Jacobs, Wendy Merkeley, Rhys Stevens, Marinus Swanepoel, and Maxine Tedesco.

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Living out loud: The Visionary Cross Project and the Public Humanities (CMRS/ETRUS. University of Saskatchewan January 16, 2014)

Just posted our talk on Living out loud: The Visionary Cross Project and the Public Humanities to slideshare.

Living out loud: The Visionary Cross Project and the Public Humanities from Heather Hobma, Daniel O'Donnell, Marco Callieri, Matteo Dellepiane, James Graham, Catherine Karkov, Roberto Rosselli Del Turco.

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