20 February 2013

-worked through Stephen Ramsay‘s wonderful “Algorithmic Criticism” article in A Companion to Digital Literary Studies. A great article which pushes textual analysts to do more with the data produced by their clever computational systems–to go beyond the data outputs and ask new questions, produce new critical interpretations of literary texts, not simply data-sets. Ramsay’s article also contains an interesting and persuasive discussion of methodology in the humanities, particularly as it contrasts with scientific methodology. A plurality of anecdote does not produce a scientific fact but necessarily produces a humanistic fact–of course the two facts serve different purposes: the scientific fact is an answer to a question whereas a humanistic fact produces a host of new questions.

-Also read Johanna Drucker‘s excellent article “Scholarly Publishing: Micro Units and Macro Scale” in the first issue of the AModern journal (which is co-founded and -edited by Darren Wershler and looks really interesting). Drucker’s article describes what might also be called the, gulp, rhizomatic dispersal of academic work through multiple channels–from books to blogs and from texts to Twitter–and wonders how these channels will be monitored and used to evaluate the intellectual output of groups and scholars. Implicit in this discussion is the importance of collaboration and the difficulty of evaluating collaborative input and assigning credit for collaborative works. Drucker’s essay is a quick read and moves with an almost Kroker-esque force and enthusiasm. It is a piece filled with excellent questions and thoughts and is a joy to read (even if it needs a bit of a copy-edit…).

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