Open Scholarship to Engage Communities
Professor Paul Arthur
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0002-1494-0533
School of Arts and Humanities
Edith Cowan University
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
Dr Lydia Hearn
ORCID ID: https://orcid.org/0000-0003-2554-156X
School of Arts and Humanities
Edith Cowan University
Perth, Western Australia, Australia
In today’s digital world, unrestricted ‘open’ access to information and new ideas are our society’s most valuable resource. Openness in the scholarly and research environment—broadly considered as open scholarship—is quickly becoming recognised as a fundamental principle for academic research. While most researchers are aware of open access, few fully understand the more extensive concept of open scholarship and how it can change the way knowledge is created, preserved and shared, to better connect academics with the communities they serve (Arthur et al. 2021). Openness has become a catchphrase for the development of principles, policies, infrastructure, and practices to drive the communication and sharing of research in the public domain through open access to methods, data, tools, software, publications, workflows, and all other forms of openness in the scholarly and research environment with the goal of increasing quality, efficiency and credibility of research outputs to drive discovery and innovation. Committing to open access, open source, and open data is an ethical and practical option for scholarly communication and knowledge creation (Suber 2017).
This presentation will review open scholarship in the humanities, where the varied and multifaceted nature of research outputs – from books, manuscripts, maps, photographs, artwork, music and performance, to news, entertainment and many other kinds of texts (including in languages other than English) – can make their presentation in accessible open formats somewhat different to that of the science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) fields. It will illustrate how the digital humanities has a central role in promoting open scholarly communication to new and diverse audiences, through collaborative efforts across diverse stakeholder levels.
At the heart of open scholarship is the drive for greater equity of access to open data and support for citizen engagement through open access platforms and repositories to bridge the digital divide and re-align the mission of universities to be “engaged inclusive knowledge societies” (Beaulieu et al. 2018, Hampson 2020). Publications, manuscripts, conference presentations, and policy statements can now be made openly available online; data, methods, and complex software tools can be shared through digital platforms to offer public spaces for citizen participation in knowledge-based activities; research plans, processes, and outcomes can be presented, discussed, and criticized openly through blogs, wikis, and other such forums, including online chats; and findings can be considered through new peer-review approaches with anonymous or non-anonymous assessors and with opportunities for the public to post open review comments, questions, and assessments (Haustein, Larivière, and Sugimoto 2015, McKiernan 2017, Bartling and Friesike 2014).
Today, despite major international efforts like those of the Open Scholarship Initiative, supported through UNESCO, aimed at improving discoverability, accessibility, reusability, transparency, and sustainability of scholarly works, emphasis continues to be focused primarily on ‘open science’ as opposed to the broader concept of ‘open scholarship’ that promotes openness of all forms of knowledge, including in the arts and humanities, or what is increasingly referred to as ‘open humanities’ (Eve 2014, Knöchelmann 2019). Open scholarship in the humanities, includes collaboration, citizen engagement, and making humanities research data, tools, software and materials available in more findable, accessible, interoperable and reusable (FAIR) ways, and for ensuring the sustainable preservation and archiving of scholarly works (McLaughlin 2017, Veršić and Ausserhofer 2019). While the skills and strategies of humanities scholars in the study of language, use of archives, sensitivities to culture, concerns with perspective, regard for ethics and morals could have considerable public, political and cultural impact, in practice building sustainable infrastructure for open access to publications, data and methods in the humanities often requires niche approaches and formats grounded in regional, national and language-specific communities.
Within this context, digital humanities researchers are well placed to encourage open research practices and networks, as well as reaching and engaging with members of the public who may not be traditionally aligned with, or be an expected audience for, academic work. Digital humanities involve the integration of new ways of doing research through collaborative, transdisciplinary, and computationally engaged research, teaching, and publishing practices. It brings digital tools and methods to the study of the humanities with the recognition that the printed word is no longer the main medium for knowledge production and distribution. Yet if the digital humanities is to play a leading role in bringing together scientific and humanities research methods and data for the advancement of ‘open scholarship’, the field must continue to support and foster coordinated efforts from all stakeholders. This involves building on, and learning from, the experiences of networks and large-scale infrastructures like those of, the Humanities Commons platform, DARIAH, and OPERAS, the EU-based social sciences and humanities network that is systematically integrating books, monographs and humanities data into the European Open Science Cloud. This presentation emerges from a soon to be released publication as part of a special issue of the Oxford University Press Journal of Communication on “Open Communication Research”.
Bartling, S, and S Friesike. 2014. Opening Science: The Evolving Guide on How the Internet is Changing Research, Collaboration and Scholarly Publishing: Springer International Publishing, https://doi.org/https://doi.org/10.1007/978-3-319-00026-8_2.
Beaulieu, Marianne, Mylaine Breton, Astrid Brousselle, and Fiona Harris. 2018. “Conceptualizing 20 years of engaged scholarship: A scoping review.” PLOS ONE 13 (2). https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0193201.
Eve, Martin Paul. 2014. Open Access and the Humanities: Contexts, Controversies and the Future: Cambridge University Press.
Hampson, Glenn. 2020. “Common Ground in the Global Quest for Open Research.” Open Scholarship Initiative Proceedings. doi: https://doi.org/10.13021/osi2020.2725.
Haustein, Stefanie, Vincent Larivière, and Cassidy Sugimoto. 2015. “Guest editorial: social media in scholarly communication.” Aslib Journal of Information Management 67 (3). doi: https://www.emerald.com/insight/content/doi/10.1108/AJIM-03-2015-0047/full/html.
Knöchelmann, Marcel. 2019. “Open Science in the Humanities, or: Open Humanities?” MDPI 7 (4):65-81. https://doi.org/10.3390/publications7040065.
McKiernan, Erin C. 2017. “Imagining the “open” university: Sharing scholarship to improve research and education.” PLOS Biology 15 (10). doi: https://doi.or/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002614.
McLaughlin, Jeremy L. 2017. “A New Open Humanities: Introduction.” Bulletin of the Association for Information Science and Technology 43 (5):12-15. http://do.or/10.1002/bul2.2017.1720430504.
Suber, P. 2017. “Why is Open Access Moving So Slowly in the Humanities?”. https://blog.apaonline.org/2017/06/08/open-access-in-the-humanities-part-2/.
Veršić, Ivana Ilijašić, and Julian Ausserhofer. 2019. “Social sciences, humanities and their interoperability with the European Open Science Cloud: What is SSHOC?” Mitteilungen der Vereinigung Österreichischer Bibliothekarinnen und Bibliothekare 72 (2):383-391. doi: https://doi.org/10.31263/voebm.v72i2.3216.
Casting the Net Wider – challenges and opportunities in expanding the DH community
Gale have traditionally been best known within humanities and social sciences as a provider of digital primary source archives, including Eighteenth Century Collections Online (ECCO) and the Times Digital Archive. More recently, Gale has sought to work with the DH community to fulfil requests for the underlying data, either OCR or metadata, fuelling hundreds of text and data mining projects.
In 2018, Gale launched Gale Digital Scholar Lab, a cloud-hosted TDM platform designed to address three common challenges identified through working with academics around the world: access to data in optimised formats; issues with hosting large data sets locally; and the necessity of coding skills proving a barrier to entry.
In the subsequent years, the Lab has proved to be a popular addition to over a hundred institutions around the world and is frequently used to introduce digital humanities concepts to a non-expert audience, to enhance digital literacy skills and provide new lenses through which students and researchers can explore traditional subjects. An analysis of usage statistics shows that using this DH tool encourages a far deeper engagement with primary sources, and student outcomes have improved accordingly.
This talk will discuss case studies of Gale’s experiences of working with often (self-described) non-technically minded academics to incorporate the Lab into modules and develop sessions in support of course outcomes and assessments. Alongside this, we will explore some of the development challenges, including: creating a tool to benefit both an experienced and novice audience; bringing technically complex processes to an undergraduate classroom; working closely with DH scholars in the development process; creating as inclusive an experience as possible; and contextualising every step from how a digital archive is made to critically assessing algorithms.
Multiple handholds, a stronger web: working across communities in an uncertain environment to strengthen digital humanities support at the University of Adelaide Library
Alexis Tindall, Manager, Digital Innovation, University of Adelaide Library
In April 2020 the University of Adelaide appointed a Manager, Digital Innovation, to help deliver on commitments made in the 2019 to 2021 Strategic Plan Beyond the Library of the Future, including being leaders in information management, providing quality facilities, resources, systems and services, and building proactive partnerships.
This role was charged with supporting and stimulating digital humanities and related activities on campus. Key aspects of the role included considering how the Library supports humanities staff and students that are using digital methods and tools; community engagement to encourage best use of online platforms and tools; and creating opportunities to encourage data-enabled and digital humanities research.
Through events, online resources, strategic engagement and relationship building, the Library has become better informed about or Digital Humanities stakeholder communities. In addition to the originally envisioned digital humanists, the Manager, Digital Innovation, has built meaningful connections across humanities and arts research communities, created strategic links into mathematics and data science research and teaching communities, and has worked closely with University special collections and archives teams. Programs and activities have also been strengthened by new relationships with the Australasian DH community, bringing other researchers and resource developers in to enrich programming.
Global and local events have thrown up challenges for those working in universities, as well as for anyone trying to stimulate or strengthen new communities. The benefits of online tools for building new connections, and enabling dialogue across geographically dispersed locations are undeniable, but they are balanced by community fatigue from sustained professional uncertainty and current events that are distressing and beyond our control.
Discussion around the role of academic libraries in supporting digital humanities is not new, and approaches have been trialled, developed and debated over recent decades. In this presentation, the Manager, Digital Innovation, will discuss how incremental progress on multiple fronts, combined with strategic engagement across disciplinary and institutional boundaries, has delivered rewards for the University of Adelaide Library. Rather than charging ahead with a methods and tools based agenda, the Library has worked hard to be responsive to communities’ needs, and worked broadly, establishing multiple anchor points across relevant communities. In doing so, the Library has cultivated a broad base of community support, a useful outcome in a time when resources are limited and uncertainty prevails.
https://www.adelaide.edu.au/library/about-the-library/reports-publications [accessed 27 August 2021]
More-Than-Human Tongues: Talking Animals and Their Agencies in Technocultural Networks
Image-based participatory platforms allow users to develop synthetic personalities that combine the appearance of cute pets and human capability for verbal expression. Unfolding within the contexts that facilitate commodification of user-generated content, ‘talking’ pets provide new insights for rethinking ethical implications of using animal images and personalities as avatars for virtual communication. The practice of speaking for and through animals transforms them into a medium for the promotion of different ideas, values, products, services. Consequently, it makes them a driver for various forms of consumption as well as social activism. Some pet profiles feature former strays and pets with bodily deformities advocating for the adoption of animals perceived as defective. Some of these accounts go beyond the issues of animal treatment and try to enhance tolerance to people suffering from life-threatening and often stigmatised conditions caused by HIV, obesity or cancer. Other pet influencers serve as a visual background for irony and cynicism, criticising unattainable beauty standards, intolerance to LGBTQIA, devaluation of negative emotions, and other culturally inherited and newly-formed preconceptions enabling discrimination. This paper is a part of the PhD research that critically explores social media profiles featuring companion animals as new sites for affective labour. Considering various ethical concerns tied to the phenomenon of voiced pets it focuses on their positive agencies seen from the viewpoint of animal wellbeing. Through comparative data analysis this research identifies and explores specific patterns occurring in the representation of companion animals under the influence of commercial affordances of Instagram. It also involves critical analysis of selected findings from the perspective of several theoretical frameworks, including Sianne Ngai’s critique of the cute, Yi-FuTuan’s concept of dominance and affection and Maria Puig de la Bellacasa’s approach to everyday care based on ecofeminism and situated ethics. To the purpose of mapping possibilities for making SNS-based practice of talking for and through pets less harmful for them and other animals, this study engages with the critique of the attention economy and the concept of algorithmic governance (Tiziana Terranova, Franco ‘Bifo’ Berardi, Ganaele Langlois). Building on these ideas the paper analyses several case studies through which pet influencers manifest as an ambivalent force with potential for positive impacts. The research shows that in the past two years, talking animals ‘became’ more vociferous in their appeal to users, their popularity and influence are growing, so does the flow of ‘animal’ messages, both sophisticated and straightforward, careless and ethically charged. Some of them foster anthropomorphism, encourage further commodification of illness and freakery, incite impulsive adoption and support the shadow economy of unusual animal bodies. Others show us how to resist objectification and devaluation of animal subjectivity. This paper argues that even in the context of consumption-driven platforms using animals as effective tools for attention mining, there are ways in which voiced pets may resist negative impacts of digital capitalism.
Yes, I’m up for this: DH collaboration through shared trauma, memes and gaming
Collegiality, peer-support and a sense of belonging to a group contribute to a positive student experience and help alleviate academic stress. The COVID-19 crisis and the resulting challenges of remote learning (even across internal boundaries) and long periods of lockdown have made it difficult to form these cohorts, resulting in a sense of isolation and loneliness. In this paper, we report on a successful cohort-building endeavour, which saw an interdisciplinary group of students and staff at the Centre for Digital Humanities Research at the Australian National University come together on the Slack platform. In this student-led paper, we reflect on why this remote platform was successful in facilitating engagement, and what lessons can be learnt for the future, including providing learning support systems for even after students return to campus.”
What are literary games, and why do they matter?
Someone will remember that – Understanding Language Use Through Gaming
English & Linguistics
University of Otago
“Someone will remember that”, a recognizable quote to anyone who has played a title by Telltale Games, appearing whenever the player makes a choice which impacts the characters in the game. These prompts turn our unconscious use of language into overt and weighted choices. Many of the subtleties of our language use are unnoticed in everyday life (Schiffrin, 2006), however through video games and digital texts we can turn covert language choices into overt decision making.
The proposed paper will begin by establishing the links between linguistic choices and community, based on sociolinguistic research by both Gee and Schiffrin. Although this is widely accepted within the discipline of linguistics, it has not been explored in relation to the virtual world and communities which include fictional characters, such as NPCs. My paper would establish the power of games as possibility spheres in which these linguistic choices have merit. Games gain power from player agency (Salen & Zimmerman 2003) and by forcing the player to stop and think about linguistic choices, and their impacts within the game world, games are a strong medium for displaying choices which are normally unconscious as active decision making.
I will be addressing three distinct ways in which games and gaming communities create situations where unconscious language use becomes overt and meaningful. Two of these occur within the possibility sphere of the game, where repercussions are temporary and reversible, and the final one spills out of the virtual world into our physical reality, exploring the complex communities which have evolved around the MMORPG EVE Online (PC, 2003), asking if in-game choices impact real world dialogue.
The other two situations which I will focus on differ in how they relate to player agency. The first involves games with dialogue options such as Mass Effect (PC, 2007) and Tell Me Why (PC, 2020) and text based choice games like With Those We Love Alive (PC, 2014) where player agency actively dictates linguistic choices; players are given a variety of options to choose from, resulting in different outcomes and reactions based on what they say. The second situation involves games where linguistic choices are made by NPCs rather than players, such as dialogue changes in The Last of us Part II (PS4, 2020), depending on the path chosen by the player.
These games use language to create communities both within the game world, and the wider gaming community. They allow us to understand our linguistic choices and the impacts they have, turning covert choices into overt options – often through dialogue choices – which have repercussions we can visualize within the possibility sphere of the game (Salen & Zimmerman 2003).
I am hoping to explore the way our language choices change when they become conscious decisions, and if the way players approach dialogue within the sphere of a game is affected by the foreseeable and forewarned weight of their actions, something which is missing in real life. Would we use language differently if we were conscious of the choices we were making? Are games the medium to show this?
Bioware. 2007. Mass Effect.
CCP Games. 2003. EVE Online.
Bond, N. 2020. ‘How EVE Online’s Players Started a War That’s Cost $700K’, IGN, 9 Dec, available: https://www.ign.com/articles/how-eve-onlines-players-started-a-war-thats-cost-700k
Cooke, Laquana, Dusenberry, Lisa and Joy Robinson. 2020. Gaming Design Thinking: Wicked Problems, Sufficient Solutions, and the Possibility Space of Games. Pages 327-340
DeFreitas, C. 2020. List of Important Choices and Decisions. In Tell My Why Wiki Guide, IGN, 9 Sep, available: https://www.ign.com/wikis/tell-me-why/List_of_Important_Choices_and_Decisions
Dialogue. ‘Mass Effect Wiki’. Fandom. Accessed 2 Nov 2021: ‘https://masseffect.fandom.com/wiki/Dialogue
Dontnod Entertainment. 2020. Tell me Why
Ensslin, A. 2014. Literary Gaming. Cambridge: MIT Press. Available from: ProQuest Ebook Central. [2 November 2021].
Gee, James Paul. 2014. How to do Discourse Analysis: A Toolkit (2nd ed., pp. 1–208). New York: Taylor & Francis. https://ebookcentral-proquest-com.ezproxy.otago.ac.nz/lib/otago/detail.action?docID=1600495
Hall, C. 2020. ‘Eve Online player gets fired, starts war to ‘exterminate’ his old boss’, Polygon, 15 Sep, available:
Huang, A. 2017. ‘Word, wound, world: Innovations in storytelling in ‘With Those We Love Alive’’, The Stanford Daily, 22 Oct, available: https://www.stanforddaily.com/2017/10/22/word-wound-world/
Larose, P. 2017. ‘With Those We Love Alive and a Different Way to Write a Short Story’, Ploughshares at Emerson College, 8 May, available: https://blog.pshares.org/with-those-we-love-alive-and-a-different-way-to-write-a-short-story/
Mad_Hatter96. 2015. ‘A Conversation Guide For all Games’, Reddit. Accessed 2 Nov 2021:
Messner, S. 2020. ‘EVE Online’s developers turned its player-made cemetery into a permanent monument’, PCGamer, 23 July, available: https://www.pcgamer.com/au/eve-onlines-developers-turned-its-player-made-cemetery-into-a-permanent-monument/
Messner, S. 2021. ‘How EVE Online commandos pulled off a suicide mission to save 170 elite pilots’, PCGamer, 30 Jan, available: https://www.pcgamer.com/au/how-eve-online-commandos-pulled-off-a-suicide-mission-to-save-170-elite-pilots/
Messner, S. 2017. ‘How an EVE Online con artist tricked a ruthless pirate into giving him his priceless ship’, PCGamer, 24 May, available: https://www.pcgamer.com/au/how-an-eve-online-con-artist-tricked-a-ruthless-pirate-into-giving-him-his-priceless-ship/
Messner, S. 2021. ‘EVE Online’s record-setting war ends with a whimper’, PCGamer, 10 Aug, available: https://www.pcgamer.com/au/eve-onlines-record-setting-war-ends-with-a-whimper/
Messner, S. 2017. ‘How a scam in EVE Online turned into its greatest rescue mission’, PCGamer, 8 Apr, available: https://www.pcgamer.com/au/how-a-scam-in-eve-online-turned-into-its-greatest-rescue-mission/
Naughty Dog. 2020. The Last of us Part II.
Porpentine. 2014. With Those We Love Alive. http://slimedaughter.com/games/twine/wtwla/
Sanchez, KBABZ. 2021. Choices and Consequences. In Mass Effect: Legendary Edition Wiki Guide, IGN, 17 May, available: https://www.ign.com/wikis/mass-effect-legendary-edition/Choices_and_Consequences
Schiffrin, Deborah. 2006. From Linguistic Reference to Social Reality. In Anna De Fina, D. Schiffrin, & M. G. W. Bamberg (Eds.), Discourse and Identity (pp. 103–131). Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press. https://ezproxy.otago.ac.nz/login?url=http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511584459.006
Short, E. 2014. ‘IF Comp 2014: With Those We Love Alive (Porpentine, Brenda Neotenomie)’, Emily Short’s Interactive Storytelling, 16 Oct, available: https://emshort.blog/2014/10/16/if-comp-2014-with-those-we-love-alive-porpentine-brenda-neotenomie/
Spokes, M. 2020. Introduction: What are Games for?. In Gaming and the Virtual Sublime: Rhetoric, Awe, Fear, and Death in Contemporary Video Games (pp. 1-13). Bingley: Emerald Publishing Limited. https://doi.org/10.1108/978-1-83867-431-120201004
Zimmerman, Eric and Salen, Katie Tekinbaş. 2003. Rules of play : Game Design Fundamentals. Cambridge: MIT Press.
Ambiguous Utopias: New Weird Fiction, Video Games and Compassionate Estrangement
Weird fiction is not new to video games. id Software’s Doom (1993, MS-DOS) had the player battle demonic beings in labyrinths of flesh and circuitry, whose origins could be traced back to the careless tinkering of military scientists into realms unfathomable. Team Silent’s Silent Hill (1999, PS1) similarly featured eerie and monstrous beings, whose origins, in contradistinction to Doom, came from the human psyche itself.
In many ways, the evolution of weird fiction in video games has mirrored the evolution of weird fiction in literature, shifting from the terror of a foreign outside(r), to a more compassionate and complex understanding of foreignness as within and amongst us, inscribed through apparatuses of power (Hurley 1996, Newell 2020, Noys & Murphy 2016, VanderMeer 2008). The monstrous, the abject, and the marginal, are increasingly interrogated in video games as processes of othering, rather than as taken-for-granted properties of the other (see Inside 2016, PS4, Xbox One, Windows, for a gruesome and wry take on this).
These developments have been driven by not only a broadening of the political consciousness in the video games industry, but also through the unique capacities of video games. Operating through what Bogost (2007) calls procedural rhetoric, video games position the player in a system of feedback loops that constitute particular agential possibilities (Barad 2003). The player comes to understand the rules of the world through play — through virtual enactments that implicate them as a being-in-the-world with an existential stake. Under such circumstances, the player becomes that which the weird acts on, leading to medium-specific experiences of estrangement and response-ability (Haraway, 2016; Ryan, 2006). Though many video games operate as ethically-inconsequential spaces of play, video games as a medium contain latent potential for profound ethical encounters.
This talk will delve into a short history of weird fiction in video games, as well as a case study of Pathologic 2 (2019, PS4, Xbox One, Windows) — and Kentucky Route Zero (2013-2020, Linux, Switch, OS X, PS4, Windows, Xbox One) if we have time. I utilise the frameworks of game studies and critical posthumanism to show how the construction of agency in these texts generates an ontology of processuality and relationality. Such a stance complicates and resists an ontology of individualist striving and domination, so hegemonic in video games. I connect this phenomenon to weird fiction’s own antagonism between a position of individual disgust in the monstrous (to be killed or fled from) and a communal interrogation of monstrosity (that may lead to transvaluation — the creation of a new set of relations no longer founded on devaluing dualisms).
Bogost, Iain. 2007. Persuasive Games: The Expressive Power of Videogames. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.
Cardboard Computer. 2013-2020. Kentucky Route Zero. West Hollywood, CA: Annapurna Interactive.
Haraway, Donna. 2016. Staying with the Trouble: Making Kin in the Chthuluscene. Durham: Duke University Press.
Hurley, Kelly. 1996. The Gothic Body: Sexuality, Materialism, and Degeneration at the Fin De Siècle. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Ice-Pick Lodge. 2019. Pathologic 2. Russia: tinyBuild.
id Software. 1993. Doom. Richardson, TX: id Software.
Newell, Jonathan. 2020. A Century of Weird Fiction, 1832-1937. Disgust, Metaphysics and the Aesthetics of Cosmic Horror. Cardiff: University of Wales Press.
Noys, Benjamin & Murphy, T. S. 2016, Jul. “Introduction: Old and New Weird.” Genre 49, 2: 117-134.
Playdead. 2016. Inside. Copenhagen: Playdead.
Ryan, Marie-Laure. 2006. Avatars of Story. Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press.
Team Silent. 1999. Silent Hill. Tokyo: Konami.
VanderMeer, Jeff. 2008. “The New Weird: ‘It’s Alive?’” In The New Weird. San Francisco: Tachyon Publications.
A Journey Towards Collective Joy: Ritual, Communitas, and Video Games
Ursula Standring Bellugue
English & Linguistics
University of Otago
Many scholars have written about video games’ entanglements with ritual, with Rachel Wagner even comparing the software script to the liturgical script (2011, 60). Such comparisons are not new: in 1938 Johan Huizinga described the play element of culture and codified the intersections of play and ritual in Homo Ludens. With the rise of video games, his assertions seem to have become more topical than ever. While ritual can be practiced individually, in the fields of anthropology and religious studies it is generally studied as a social phenomenon, powerful in its ability to bring people together and establish feelings of togetherness, particularly through synchronicity. Thus, it is the social implications of ritual action in video games that I am most interested in. I suggest that through players performing ritual action, video games are capable of eliciting strong feelings of togetherness, akin to religious ritual.
My primary case study for this project is the 2010 video game Journey. I argue that in playing Journey, players perform a ritual that takes them through the clearly defined phases of a rite of passage—through its ritual structure, Journey is capable of generating strong temporary social bonds, which I liken to communitas. In creating Journey, Jenova Chen of Thatgamecompany described how they wanted to create a “church experience” (Sabate 2013). Certainly, in comparison to other multiplayer games, Journey stands out because of its simple yet deeply impactful multiplayer system. Players are anonymous, conventional multiplayer features of scores and rank are curiously absent, and social interaction is limited and entirely non-verbal. Yet it is through this simplicity and equalising of rank and status that Journey is able to elicit powerful social experiences for its players.
Communitas, at its simplest, can be described as an expression of “togetherness itself” or of “collective joy” (Turner 2012, 4). It describes a temporary social experience that brings people together on a most baseline level, emphasising that which is fundamentally communal and shared. One of the key aspects of communitas is the breaking down of hierarchies and social structure. Many Journey player stories describe intense and emotional connections to their companions, despite the simplicity of their interactions with one another, and words like “equals” and “synchronicity” are often at the forefront of such stories. Games such as Journey pose the question: why do we play video games? Is it just for fun and escapism, or are we searching for something more, and something fundamentally shared?
Philosophical Writing in Early New Zealand Newspapers
A Case Study of Corpus Construction from Large Digitised Newspaper Datasets
New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour
University of Canterbury
Historical newspaper content is increasingly being made available online in the form of both scanned images and XML files produced by optical character recognition (OCR). The availability of this content is promising for scholarship in the digital humanities. However, there are many difficulties in using historical newspaper content, especially OCR-generated XML files. OCR quality problems lead to low quality text strings and thus exclude methods which require good sequence data, while the typically tiny fraction of the newspaper items relevant to a specific research question means that methods such as topic modelling and cooccurrence analysis are unlikely to provide any insight when applied to full newspaper datasets.
This paper presents a study of philosophical content in early New Zealand English-language newspapers to illustrate a general method for overcoming these problems. The method produces a corpus relevant to the research question by labelling articles of interest, training a naive Bayes classifier, evaluating the resulting corpus, and, if necessary, feeding the corpus back in to the labelling stage. In this study, two iterations are sufficient to generate a corpus which provides some insight into philosophical discourse in New Zealand newspapers.
The study is motivated by a lack of scholarship on philosophy in New Zealand before the development of more-or-less contemporary academic philosophy in New Zealand in the middle of the 20th century. Sometimes early philosophical activity in New Zealand is dimissed on the basis that it did not produce monographs or publications in major philosophical journals (e.g. Davies and Helgeby 2014, p. 24). However, as Ballantyne has argued in the case of colonial Otago, newspapers were “the fundamental infrastructure for intellectual life” (2012, p. 57). The resources for running intellectual periodicals or publishing monographs were not present in New Zealand and international journals were too far away. So, we might expect that early New Zealand academic philosophy is present in the newspapers of the time. Moreover, a turn to newspapers allows us to extend our view to non-academic philosophy—philosophy by and for the general (English-language) newspaper reading public.
The investigation of early New Zealand English-language newspapers was enabled by the National Library of New Zealand releasing a large dataset as part of their newspaper Open Data Pilot. The dataset contained the OCR data, derived from microfilm scans, in METS/ALTO XML format from 1839-1899. In order to enable the application of the general method used in this study to other projects, a series of Jupyter notebooks is currently being developed corresponding to each stage of the method. These will be made public before the presentation of this paper.
Finding novel ideas in writing through computational graph-theoretic analysis
Whether it be two-way co-construction of meaning or one-way monologue, language contains ideas. We explored computational techniques to identify novel ideas in a large corpus of language on a single topic. The goal is to identify variation and the factors that increase variation. Doing so would allow the digital discovery of novel or marginalised contributions.
We studied a corpus of 1,000 short essays on the topic of the drinking age in New Zealand. Most corpora are built for broad coverage of a language and contain many authors discussing many topics (British National Corpus, 2007; Corpus of Contemporary American English 2018). However, our focus is on the variation emerging from a writer, and so the corpus contains many authors all writing on one topic (Cop & Hatfield, 2016, 2017). We modelled each essay as a graph (Buckley & Lewinter, 2003; Gross & Yellen, 1999; Jimenez & Dueñas, 2017). A word was represented as a node in the graph with an edge between nodes if one word followed another word. Additionally, a single graph containing all essays at once was constructed to compare one student’s essay against the total word space by all writers. We then calculated the following measures:
- Rare words
- Rare word sequences
- Normalised summary surprisal (Hale, 2001; Levy, 2008) to measure novelty over an entire essay
- Centrality measures of rare words.
We document how this research purpose requires an intermediate level of meaning representation between the lexical level and topic modelling, plus the identification of an external measure of success.
Buckley, Fred & Marty Lewinter. (2003). Introductory Graph Theory with Applications. Long Grove, IL: Waveland Press.
Cop, Michael and Hunter Hatfield. (2017). An athletes performance: Can a possessive apostrophe predict success?” English Today, 33(3), 39-45. 1-7. doi:10.1017/S026607841600064X
Cop, Michael and Hunter Hatfield. (2016). Which grammatical errors do first-year university students make and do those errors matter? A focusing inquiry” New Zealand Journal of Teachers’ Work, 13(1), 22-38.
Davies, Mark. Corpus of Contemporary American English. Provo: BYU, 2008. https://corpus.byu.edu/coca/
Gross, Jonathan & Jay Yellen. (1999). Graph Theory and its Applications. Boca Raton, FL: CRC Press.
Hale, John. (2001). A probabilistic Earley parser as a psycholinguistic model. In Proceedings of the Second Conference of the North American Chapter of the Association for Computational Linguistics (Vol. 2, pp. 159–166). Pittsburgh, PA: Association for Computational Linguistics.
Jimenez, Sergio & George Dueñas. (2017). G-WordNet: Moving Wordnet 3.0 and it resources to a graph database. Proceedings of CCC 2017:Advances in Computing, 100-114.
Levy, R. (2008). Expectation-based syntactic comprehension. Cognition, 106, 1126–1177.
Sentiment and Topics in Letters Written by 19th Century Immigrants in North America
Suzanne Alayne Moody
This study answers a call by the United Nations International Organization for Migration for research that listens to and learns from migrants. Conducted under a pragmatic research paradigm that integrates elements of reflexivity, feminism and decolonization, the aim of this study was to measure sentiment and model topics in historical migrant letters and examine the relationships between these narrative features and variables related to time and authorship. Research questions include: What topics and sentiments are detectable in the letters, and do these vary by calendar year, number of years since immigration or the age, gender, religion, national origin, country of settlement or occupational class of the writer. The dataset comprises 915 letters sent between 1789 and 1914 by 218 first-generation immigrants in North America. The texts are in English, either originally or through translation, and they are in machine readable format, having been previously transcribed from handwritten manuscripts. Sentiment analysis, topic modeling, Bayesian regression and data cleaning, processing and visualization were executed in Jupyter Notebook using the Python and R programming languages. Sentiment was measured with the Valence Aware Dictionary and sEntiment Reasoner (VADER). On average, it was mildly positive, with a subtle decline over the 19th century but increases with writer age and the passage of time since migration. Positivity in letters was associated with male, Protestant and English authorship and membership in the agricultural class. Letters from immigrants in the United States and in the industrial class were less positive. Twenty-one topics were identified using the Mallet implementation of Latent Dirichlet allocation (LDA) in the Gensim package for Python. These were mostly oriented around practical matters (e.g., money), relationship maintenance (e.g., family and friends) and local affairs (e.g., news and events), but some suggested contemplation about broader, more abstract subjects (e.g., modernization). The distribution of topics varied most notably by gender and country: Men wrote more about farming and women about recollection, with American immigrants writing less about both topics, which were among the highest scoring for sentiment. The findings are largely in line with previous scholarship on migrant correspondence, particularly with regards to prominent narratives about invisibility and industrialization. The quantitative techniques revealed subtle patterns, especially around gender, and they offered insight into how Bayesian data analysis and multilevel modeling might address the problem of female and minority under-representation in cultural datasets, which is the principal limitation of this study. Recommendations for future work include the use of these methods for more nuanced modeling of migrant correspondence and for other work within the field of the digital humanities.
Open/Ours: Librarians Yacking & Hacking Community in Te Pokapū @ Otago
Lisa Chisholm, Judy Fisher, Alexander Ritchie
Subject Librarians, University of Otago Library, Ōtepoti | Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand
In her brief discussion of the opposition between ‘theorising’ and ‘building’ in the Digital Humanities, Nowviskie called for ‘more talk and grok, hack and yack’ (2016, 69). From late-2016 to late-2019, Ōtepoti | Dunedin-based University of Otago (UO) Humanities Librarians, Shiobhan Smith, Judy Fisher, Lisa Chisholm, Christopher Seay, and Alexander Ritchie sought to heed her challenge, developing an online pathfinder, participating in annual research expos, and actively supporting and staffing a new Ōtepoti | Dunedin campus hub for digital humanities to uplift the thinking and practice of DH @ Otago.
As Librarians, we actively contributed to co-creating a DH community at UO, bringing together library and IT colleagues, undergraduate and postgraduate students, and academic staff across disciplinary and divisional boundaries and hierarchical knowledge structures to discuss, share, challenge, and delight in mutual and interdisciplinary interest around the place of the digital with/in the humanities.
Taking inspiration from Varner (2016), Vinopal and McCormick (2013), and Bonds (2018), we wondered what Digital Humanities @ Otago could be. We began with developing and launching an online Digital Humanities pathfinder that included a network of Otago digital expertise, and participating in annual on-campus DH research expos, both to learn what was already happening and to share what the library was doing. This work led to an invitation to be part of the development of a DH Hub in the Arts Building at Otago – an incredible opportunity to serve and weave thick-stranded relationships with our academic and student community by co-creating space on campus.
With the backing of the Library Executive, we undertook to staff and promote Te Pokapū Matihiko o Te Kete Aronui | the Divisional Digital Humanities Hub over 10 months in 2018 and 2019. Working with academics and students across English and Linguistics, Classics, Religious Studies, Media, Film, and Communication, Peace and Conflict Studies, Archaeology, and Computer Science together with librarians and IT folks, we ran ‘Open Hours’ a series of seminar-demonstrations on topics ranging from machine learning for handwriting recognition, through data wrangling, to audio-visual essays for assessment.
Taking roles as organisers and facilitators, some-time presenters, and full-time promoters, we sought to create a welcoming, collaborative, interdisciplinary space that set the sparks of community, to celebrate and share digital teaching and research @ Otago, and to widen the space for digital tools and methods in curricula and research projects. In parallel to this external ‘community-creating’ work, we continued to upskill and helped create a collegial network within UO Library to ensure we could properly advise our staff and students on using digital tools and methods.
We received engaged, positive feedback from our DH colleagues who participated, and provided evaluation data to the library executive to enable further conversations with the Division. We were also able to contribute to the development of the first undergraduate DH course at Otago. Following on the success from the previous year we started planning a seminar series for 2020, but changes in staff and priorities within the Humanities Division and the Library, together with the ever-increasing workload demands, and, of course, the horrific global disruptions of COVID, meant that active Library contribution in this space was paused at the beginning of 2020. We are still committed to participating and supporting the DH community and look forward to seeing what else emerges in this space in the coming months.
Nowviskie, Bethany. ‘On the Origin of “Hack” and “Yack”’. Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016, edited by Matthew K. Gold and Lauren F. Klein, University of Minnesota Press, 2016, https://doi.org/10.5749/j.ctt1cn6thb. JSTOR.
Varner, Stewart. ‘What DH Could Be’. Stewart Varner, https://stewartvarner.com/2016/01/what-dh-could-be/. Accessed 7 Sept. 2021.
Vinopal, Jennifer, and Monica McCormick. ‘Supporting Digital Scholarship in Research Libraries: Scalability and Sustainability’. Journal of Library Administration, vol. 53, no. 1, Jan. 2013, pp. 27–42. Crossref, https://doi.org/10.1080/01930826.2013.756689.
Resurfacing archival sound in humanities research: the recordings of New Zealand’s World War II Mobile Broadcasting Units
This presentation will outline the history of the Units which operated overseas with New Zealand’s forces from 1940-1945, recording their experiences of the conflict for broadcast on radio. The 1600 surviving lacquer discs they recorded were inscribed in the UNESCO Memory of the World Aotearoa Register in 2019 and are the subject of a research project, funded this year by grants from the New Zealand History Research Fund and the Judith Binney Trust.
One focus of this project is placing the recordings in context, as artefacts of New Zealand’s sound, social and media histories. Sarah will discuss research into how the work of the Units was received by home-front audiences and will play some examples of the recordings, which are part of an on-going digitisation project (Courtesy of RNZ and Ngā Taonga Sound & Vision.)
She will also describe her experience working in the public history space, resurfacing material held in Radio New Zealand’s sound archives via a weekly radio programme, and the rich potential for greater use of this collection by digital humanities research communities and collaboration across institutions.
Digital Humanities Laboratories: Communities of/in practice
Christopher Thomson & Urszula Pawlicka-Deger
For many, digital humanities is best imagined as a community rather than as a discipline. A notable example of this view is Ray Siemens’ 2014 Zampolli lecture in which he discussed the view of digital humanities as a ‘community of practice’, a term introduced by Lave (an anthropologist) & Wenger (a computer scientist) in 1991. In more recent times, as the computing techniques and resources used in digital humanities research and teaching continue to proliferate, questions of infrastructure, methodologies and institutional change have also come to the fore. A renewed focus for such questions has been the appearance of laboratories in digital humanities, which have recently been discussed as institutional structures (Foka et al. 2018), situated knowledge practices (Oiva & Pawlicka-Deger 2020), and as ‘lab discourse’ with its wider relevance to popular culture as well as academic knowledge (Wershler et al., 2021). What, then, might digital humanities laboratories add to the specification of digital humanities, and how might they prompt us to reconsider the nature of ‘digital humanities community’?
These questions, among others, are to be the topic of a forthcoming edited collection (Digital Humanities Laboratories: Perspectives on Knowledge, Infrastructure and Culture, Eds. Urszula Pawlicka-Deger & Christopher Thomson, Routledge, 2022), and we propose this panel as a conversation between some of the contributors to that volume. The five panellists will each present a 5-minute summary of the research informing their chapter, followed by a discussion of the following questions:
- What makes a laboratory different from a community – if, in fact, it is – and how can labs build a sense of community?
- In what ways can laboratories help bridge traditional and computational humanities research practices?
- How might labs help us to re-configure research infrastructure alongside, or embedded within, understandings of research as a social practice?
- How can labs be configured to work towards greater racial and gender equity and diversity?
- What is needed in terms of institutional, management and socio-cultural actions in order to mitigate or overcome the hierarchies that may appear in DH laboratories, such as those of technical expertise (‘technical’ / ‘non-technical’ roles), or labour practices (precarious employment, gender biases)?
Lave, Jean, and Etienne Wenger. Situated Learning: Legitimate Peripheral Participation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, 1991.
Oiva, Mila, and Urszula Pawlicka-Deger. ‘Lab and Slack. Situated Research Practices in Digital Humanities – Introduction to the DHQ Special Issue.’ Digital Humanities Quarterly, vol. 014, no. 3, Sept. 2020.
Wershler, Darren et al. The Lab Book: Situated Practices in Media Studies. University of Minnesota Press, forthcoming 2022. Draft available at https://manifold.umn.edu/projects/the-lab-book
Gender and Digital Humanities Labs: A Student-Centered and Interdisciplinary Approach
Jacquelyne Thoni Howard (Newcomb Institute of Tulane University, US)
Considering the recommendations of scholars, a feminist Digital Humanities lab should support its student labor force and decisions about labor should be organized from the bottom-up as much as possible. Digital Humanities should avoid copying oppressive lab systems when building DH labs. Newcomb Institute intentionally designed its Technology and Digital Humanities Lab to operate as an extended Digital Humanities learning space for students and faculty using feminist pedagogy and epistemologies principles. The Digital Research Internship program provides a model for building a supportive community of feminist technologists, guides students in gaining employment by providing them with opportunities to gain technical skills and confidence-building, delivers opportunities for students to meet, learn from, and work with faculty, staff, community members, and peers across campus by encouraging collaboration when working on Digital Humanities projects. As part of their jobs, interns examine social issues such as gender and race through the lens of technology studies. Lastly, students become makers by contributing to the Digital Humanities projects, conducting their own research within technology studies, and documenting their work. Each of these objectives align with feminist praxis, especially when applied to a Digital Humanities lab.
The Nurturing Digital Humanities Lab: An Inside Perspective
Itay Marienberg-Milikowsky (Ben Gurion University of the Negev, Israel)
The flourishing of digital humanities in the last two decades has led not only to a change in research methods and theoretical thinking, but also to the emergence of new institutional frameworks, such as laboratories, to aid activity in the relatively new discipline. However, what is the purpose of a laboratory engaged in computational research in the humanities? Why is it necessary? Is this just an attractive title that allows universities to be proud of winds of change and up-to-datedness, or is there something beyond that? Obviously, these questions may have varied answers in different places, times and institutions. As researchers have already shown, digital humanities laboratories are indeed characterized by a multiplicity of different models.
Based on the biologist Uri Alon’s description of the ideal laboratory, and the theory of the trickster as a cross-border liminal figure in literature and culture, this very short presentation seek to outline and illustrate a model for a nurturing digital humanities lab: a laboratory built from the outset in a way that helps us conceptually and mentally – not less than practically to deal with the challenges that distinguish this unique interdisciplinary field; a field which requires us very often to move freely, like tricksters, between spaces, in a way that emphasises such challenges and makes them visible, instead of taking them for granted.
The Lab as Lifeworld: DH Laboratories as Techno-Humanistic Experiments
James Smithies (King’s College London, UK)
King’s Digital Lab (KDL) was established in late 2015. At the time, Digital Humanities (DH) was conceived by commentators as (variously) either a brave intervention into traditional scholarship and the emerging political and intellectual discourse of early twenty-first century capitalism or a naïve capitulation to the logic of markets and hyper-rationalism. DH laboratories have an uneasy relationship to this wider debate: they are surely arch symbols of the ideological, practical, financial, and intellectual choices made by universities and cultural heritage institutions investing in them. To invest time and money in a laboratory, whether virtual or physical, is a demonstration of institutional purpose and strategic intent.
It would be intellectually moribund to leave analysis there, however. Donald Ihde’s notion of the lifeworld suggests that any coherent and sustainable economic model for DH laboratories need to be informed by critical and phenomenological analysis, to understand the nature of the thing-itself before extrapolating operational and administrative support mechanisms. The goal must be to consciously attend to and then move beyond the hyper-rational ideologies that Silicon Valley promulgates, towards a more mature scholarly model where technology is socialized and fully integrated into the value system of the Arts & Humanities and wider university and cultural heritage sectors.
This has implications well beyond the digital humanities community: if implemented the realisation of lab-as-lifeworld, conceptualised in technical but also political and socio-economic terms, could inform an operationalised phenomenology of technology relevant to society as a whole. Building on this vision, the next phase in the articulation of DH laboratory models may well support national, trans-national, and even global aspirations.
More Than a Lab: Infra-structuring the Humanities in the Digital Studio
Tyne Daile Sumner (University of Melbourne, Australia)
This presentation canvasses three interrelated components of Humanities research practice that (re)define infrastructure in the context of the Digital Studio at the University of Melbourne: a practice-based epistemology manifested through critical assemblages of resources, architecturally inflected interdisciplinarity organised around transparency and fluidity, and a connected intelligence approach to empowering sustainable inter-institutional knowledge creation. It considers the role of experimentation, and the alliances that are formed in the process of proto-typing as the epistemic conditions for research in the twenty-first century humanities. It also considers an ethics of durability and flexibility of digital research labs over the past 18 months, in which Universities have experienced what might be called ‘the infrastructural swerve.’ In this unprecedented reformulation of many labs, researchers, teachers, and students have been dispersed and disconnected, throwing into question our reliance on physical space and resources. Finally, the presentation considers the philosophy of place as a constitutive element of the future digital humanities lab. Specifically, place as unique to the human perspective and the values, meaning and diverse cognitive systems that researchers bring to place.
The Lives in the Scholars’ Lab: Values-Driven Digital Humanities”
Brandon Walsh (University of Virginia Library, US)
For more than thirteen years, the Scholars’ Lab has served as the University of Virginia Library’s community lab for the practice of experimental scholarship in all fields, informed by digital humanities, spatial technologies, & cultural heritage thinking. This presentation will argue that a lab’s success must be measured by the degree to which it advocates for the lives of those in its community. For the Scholars’ Lab, this advocacy takes the form of collectively authored documents that serve as the foundation for engaging in values-driven digital humanities work directed, in particular, to supporting the needs of students and early-career scholars. The talk will address the urgency of directing support to these under-resourced members of the community while also describing the challenges of constituting a community in this way.
In the “The Life of a Digital Humanities Lab,” the larger chapter from which this work originates, six leaders of very different DH labs around the United States synthesize key challenges and affordances common to the lab as a space, but also highlight divergences and particularities through focused case studies unique to our institutions. In particular, the chapter analyzes the infrastructural role of the DH space in terms of funding and sustainability, articulates common activities and approaches to labor, and reflects on the importance of diversity and equity in the DH lab.
An introduction to Jupyter notebooks for text analysis: Virtual workshop for absolute beginners
Dr Sara King, Training and Engagement Lead, AARNet
Dr Simon Musgrave, Lecturer of Linguistics, Monash University
This workshop is offered as part of the early developmental phase of the Australian Text Analytics Platform (ATAP). ATAP’s aim is to provide Australian researchers with access to an open-source environment, scripts, and training in text analytics. ATAP will target researchers across a select range of disciplines and a broad range of experience and skills levels including those who find a computational environment and text analytics tools difficult to navigate, across a select range of disciplines.
The aaDH conference workshop will introduce you to Jupyter Notebooks, a digital tool that has exploded in popularity in recent years for those working with data (Merkel 2018). You will learn what they are, what they do and why you might like to use them. The workshop offers an introductory set of activities for those who are brand new, have little or no knowledge of coding and computational methods in research. By the end of the workshop, you will have a good understanding of what Notebooks can do, how to open one up, perform some basic tasks and save it for later. If you are really into it, you will also be able to continue to experiment after the workshop by using other people’s notebooks, such as the GLAM Workbench, as springboards for your own data adventures!
This workshop is targeted at those who are absolute beginners or those who might define themselves as ‘tech-curious’. It includes a hands-on component, using basic programming commands, but requires no previous knowledge of programming.
Please check that you have access to cloudstor.aarnet.edu.au . If you do not have Cloudstor access you can still attend, just advise the trainer beforehand so arrangements can be made. The workshop is ~3 hours (including breaks) and is limited to a maximum of 15 participants. To register, email email@example.com.
Technology, Art, and Science at play in the Neganthropocene
How does art function within the space of the Anthropocene? What can be done within this space? The time has long passed when any division between the digital and the arts could be upheld. Instead, the question is around the political, the instrumental, and the power of the aesthetic to hold things in apposition: that is, a state of suspension that enables experiential and cognitive development and a resolution that is experienced as one’s own.
From a human stand-point and with the ongoing life of human and non-human in mind, moving within the Anthropocene entails a re-distribution of values. That re-distribution can be called an ecological stand-point, in that it seeks to understand shared agency within systems, the kinds of agency described by many, such as Félix Guattari in his Three Ecologies, but signalled in Norbert Wiener’s initial explorations into what he called cybernetic theory.
Anthropocentrically and epistemologically, the natural language of the Anthropocene is the digital. Without the digital the implications of scalar difference would be simply the province of the imaginary. Intersections between the sciences, technologies and the humanities are intrinsic to this space. In the mid 1970s, when climate change was already at issue, phenomenologist Don Ihde made the argument for the indivisibility of technology and science (technoscience), but today this can be extended for all systems of knowledge. More recently, Bernard Stiegler coined the term “Neganthropocene” following the lead of Schrödinger’s idea of negentropy or negative entropy: “the capacity of the living to temporarily and locally defer entropy”. Stiegler takes the position that our co-evolution with tools (exosomatization) is a pharmakon (a word used by Plato and developed by Derrida to mean both poison and remedy) that may produce negentropy or neganthropy. Pushing back against the flow is one modality in which digital art operates.
In ‘Anthropocene aesthetic’, Bridie Lonie considers the relationship between “ecology” and “the Anthropocene” in terms of systems theory, arguing that the contested readings of the Anthropocene reflect resistance to the term’s intrinsic interdisciplinarity, while the aesthetic space offers a site for the negotiation of its complexities.
In ‘Fragility and Responsiveness: Bruno’s Thin Skin’, David Green investigates Bruno Latour’s re-visioning of the living Earth as biofilm by modelling this “epistemic break” (Hayles) through a site-specific installation artwork. We are delicately woven into our planet’s critical zones with fragile others that we recognise through distinctive forms and motions. Can artists use cinematic grammēs that call upon memory and imagination to constructively redefine an individual and collective sense of agency?
Finally, in ‘Houses for Plants by Plants: Making With Plants and Speculations on a Community Biosemiotics’, Finn Petrie will discuss inquiries from his practice-led Masters of Visual Arts research. Coming from the sciences, he will outline an interdisciplinary approach to art that aims to bring forth the agencies of plants. This will include the kind of post-human relationality that emerges from contact between the digital and botanical – namely a relationship of sympoiesis. His project focuses on epiphytes and other air-rooting plants, thinking through how they home and make with other plants; as well as how those urban epiphytes make with ‘us’. Ultimately, in the context of the Anthropocene, the project asks how ‘we’ may responsibly allow plants a say within our systems – those technological and architectural – and what they then might say back to ‘us’.
Looking for Māoriland
Rhys Owen, Rere-No-A-Rangi Pope and Sydney Shep
Identifying, contacting and engaging missing shareholders constitutes an enormous challenge for Māori corporations, iwi and hapū across Aotearoa New Zealand. Without accurate data or tools to harmonise existing fragmented or conflicting data sources, issues around land succession, opportunities for economic development, and maintenance of whānau relationships are all negatively impacted. Kimihia te Matangaro | Finding the Missing (1) is a kaupapa Māori-led Science for Technological Innovation-funded National Science Challenge which aims to reconnect Taranaki whānau to their whenua through the processing, analysis, and visualisation of cultural data. We have created a Te Reo informed Linked Data triplestore populated with publicly available data from Māori Land Online, Births-Deaths-Marriages Historical, Cenotaph, Tiaki Names, and most recently, Land Information NZ, and are using Bayesian record linkage methods to determine probability of matches between persons and places. We have now developed a webapp that plots land ownership and succession over time using georectified historical base maps from LINZ, the GeoDataHub and MapsPast. These geospatial timeslices are overlaid with both specific land parcels which change over time and a representation of the networked relationships that emerge from the integrated data. Combining this interactive tool with cultural knowledge from our research collaborators and kaitiaki, Parininihi Ki Waitōtara Inc [PKW], we can visually narrate powerful stories of land confiscation, alienation, and restitution. Along the way, our Mātauranga Māori project team has engaged with critical issues such as Māori Data Sovereignty, Indigenous ways of knowing, building Te Tiriti-based relationships with Crown data providers, and decolonising computing in the GLAMR sector (2).
(2) Sydney Shep ; Marcus Frean ; Rhys Owen ; Rere-No-A-Rangi Pope ; Pikihuia Reihana et al. – Indigenous frameworks for data-intensive humanities: recalibrating the past through knowledge engineering and generative modelling. Histioinformatics special issue (2021) Journal of Data Mining & Digital Humanities: https://doi.org/10.46298/jdmdh.6095
Intellectual property – data sovereignty in action: A contribution to global conversations
Attribution is a vehicle that contributes to intellectual property which is the kaupapa of this whakaaro. A personal challenge at work has been uncertainty about how to navigate safely the interface between academia and employment, as well as the interface between kaupapa Māori and kaupapa Pākehā whilst retaining sovereignty over personal whakaaro and its whakapapa.
After sharing a whakaaro with colleagues the whakaaro, my data, was visualised in an online presentation. There were over 100 staff in attendance. I recognised my words on screen. They were my words exactly and I knew this because the nuances and intent mirrored my own languaging. I queried how this happened yet without my consent. I reflected on what and when I shared my whakaaro and how it could support our collective kaupapa yet I also asked that the whakaaro not be made public. There was no consent for use given, and no agreed process for attribution. Neither had attribution been afforded me or anyone else.
Through tirohanga Māori the WAI262 report, Ko Aotearoa Tenei, articulates the value of mātauranga Māori (Sullivan & Tuffery-Huria, 2014), so too would attribution demonstrate the value of intellectual property but through tirohanga Pākeha (western lens). My reaction was to exercise sovereignty over use of my data, personal mātauranga and my interpretations thereof. The principles of CARE and FAIR (Global Indigenous Data Alliance, 2021) seemingly mirror sentiments expressed in Ko Aotearoa Tenei.
There has been a huge amount of work to operationalise indigenous data sovereignty such as the CARE (in 2019) and FAIR (in 2018) principles. The CARE principles address concerns related to the people and purpose of data; Collective benefit, Authority to control, Responsibility, and Ethics. In addition, the CARE Principles are designed to complement the FAIR Principles – Findable, Accessible, Interoperable, Reusable (Carroll, Herczog, Hudson, Russell, & Stall, 2021). Closer to home, application of CARE and FAIR are well supported by indigenous data protocols that include Ngā Tikanga Paihere, a data ethics framework that draws on Māori world concepts (Stats NZ, 2020); a Māori data sovereignty agenda (Kukutai & Taylor, 2016); and SfTI’s (Science for Technological Innovation) investment in Māori data futures, specifically the 2019 hui in the Far North where discussion about Māori data protection and intellectual property took centre stage (SfTI, Data-ILG, & Media, 2019).
Attribution whilst navigating the interface between academia and employment requires careful resolve and insight which necessitates constant reflection to enable futures thinking decision making. I don’t yet have a great understanding of the different frames of reference with which people perceive data but I am now presented with a few possible outcomes.
As I continue to reflect on my story, these questions remain:
- What do we understand about operationalising kaupapa Maori principles?
- How do we reflect the complexity of Māori data sovereignty in our operational practices?
- How do we acknowledge and give attribution to Māori authors and creators in and out of the workplace?
- To what extent are our operational practices designed to be inclusive of indigenous cultures?
Thank you to Te Puna Raraunga (Data Sourcing programme) of Stats NZ for providing a safe platform upon which to grow and evolve my whakaaro, who are actively committed to gaining a deep understanding of te ao Māori (a Māori worldview), and the development of tirohanga Māori as a step toward building trust and confidence with our Te Tiriti o Waitangi partners. Thanks also to the School of Information Management, Victoria University of Wellington and the support of my Phd research supervisors Dr Sydney Shep, Reader in Book History, Wai-te-ata Press and Dr Allan Sylvester, Deputy Head of School, School of Information Management.
Global Indigenous Data Alliance. (2021). CARE Principles for Indigenous Data Governance. Retrieved from https://www.gida-global.org/care
Kukutai, T., & Taylor, J. (Eds.). (2016). Indigenous data sovereignty: Toward an agenda. ACT, Australia: The Australian National University Press.
SfTI, Data-ILG, & Te Hiku Media. (2019, 20-21 March 2019). Māori data futures – Intellectual property. Paper presented at the Māori Data Futures, Te Aurere, Kaitaia.
Stats NZ. (2020). Ngā tikanga paihere: A framework guiding ethical and culturally appropriate data use. Retrieved from https://www.data.govt.nz/toolkit/data-ethics/nga-tikanga-paihere/
Sullivan, B., & Tuffery-Huria, L. (2014). New Zealand: Wai 262 report and after. Journal of Intellectual Property Law & Practice, 9(5), 8. doi:10.1093/jiplp/jpu040
Building Transnational Relationships for Live Performing Arts Databases
Dr Sarah Thomasson
Te Herenga Waka – Victoria University of Wellington
The Australasian performing arts ecology is enriched by trans-Tasman touring circuits that facilitate cultural exchange between Aotearoa New Zealand and Australia. As performance and mobilities scholar Fiona Wilkie has persuasively argued, ‘[t]he circulation and production of contemporary arts practices have an intrinsic mobility that is worth conceiving as such’ (Wilkie 2015: 9). In our region, the transnational movement of artists and theatrical performance between the two countries has been built on the historical legacy of commercial theatre producers and venue operators such as J. C. Williamson’s in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries. Today, it is maintained by the network of international arts festivals in each of the major cities that facilitate the flows of theatrical production into and out of the region. How do we measure, understand, and interrogate the cultural work that these flows undertake? Alexandra Portmann argues that we need new historiographical methods of analysis to move beyond ‘atomised’ national histories to a transnational approach (Portmann 2020: 36; 51). Here, digital technologies, such as live performing arts databases, can help to shift the scale of analysis from individual performances to their transnational transmission and provide quantitative data for analysis using digital humanities approaches. In this paper, I outline a project to document Aotearoa’s diverse performance tradition by building communities and collaborating with AusStage to develop a transnational database.
This project aims to honour Aotearoa’s Te Tiriti O Waitangi partnership in the creation of digital infrastructure that supports, preserves, and promotes performing arts research. It will build international interoperability by linking with AusStage (the Australian live performing arts database) and its partners in the UK, Norway, and China and hopes to inspire new avenues for performing arts research, particularly the quantitative analysis of large datasets. AusStage is a collaboratively constructed relational database that captures and stores live performing arts events data – venue, dates, contributor information, organisation details etc. – and makes this information freely accessible online. Expanding the platform to capture New Zealand data will reveal the depth and scope of theatre, dance, circus, cabaret, and Māori performing arts in Aotearoa over decades and archive this information for artists, industry, funding bodies, students, researchers, and members of the public. The data can be analysed and visualised using digital humanities methodologies such as mapping the circulation and measuring the volume of the performing arts ecology in the region and beyond. This collaboration seeks to contribute to mātauranga Māori by developing the database to serve First Nations communities. In bringing together communities of artists and researchers across the Tasman, this project seeks creative and sustainable digital solutions to capture data on inherently ephemeral events and to better understand the impact of these transnational flows and relationships.
The Australian Cultural Data Engine: Connecting Research, Industry and Government
Tyne Daile Sumner
This paper will cover some of the aims, key research questions, and early exploratory work of a new Australian Research Council-funded project: The Australian Cultural Data Engine for Research, Industry and Government (ACD-Engine), based at the University of Melbourne with collaborators across Australia and the UK. The ACD-Engine is a collaborative open software engineering project designed to interact with leading existing cultural databases in architecture, visual and performing arts, humanities, and heritage to bridge to information and social sciences. The paper will consider the ways in which the coordinated extraction and analysis of information from arts databases within Australia has the potential to contribute to policy debates, cultural reform, and new ways of understanding and influencing mainstream forms of consumption. It will also briefly consider the role of cultural data in better understanding the geographic diffusion of Arts in Australia, the vibrancy and social impact of local scenes, and the crucial relationship between data, performance, memory and storytelling in the contemporary Australian arts and cultural scene.
Evolution of community discourses in Cantabrians’ reiterated earthquake stories: A combined topic model and positioning analysis approach
Hayden Blain (University of Canterbury) and Christopher Thomson (University of Canterbury)
In 2012, the University of Canterbury (UC) Digital Arts Lab established the UC Quakebox—a mobile shipping container fitted with a recording studio—to collect peoples’ stories of experiencing the 2010/2011 Canterbury earthquakes. In 2019/2020, a subset of these volunteers were contacted to retell their earthquake stories. This has resulted in a substantial sub-corpus of >100 earthquake stories told in 2012 (QB1), and >100 retold and revised earthquake stories from 2019/20 (QB2). This sub-corpus (the ‘QB Returnee corpus’) comprises >650000 spoken word tokens. This corpus presents a unique opportunity to investigate, from both quantitative and qualitative perspectives, how personal stories of disaster evolve over time.
When dealing with a large corpus, a key problem that discourse and narrative analysts face is convincingly selecting representative extracts of text for close analysis (Koller & Mautner, 2004). In line with Jacobs and Tschötschel (2019), we suggest that Latent Dirichlet Allocation (LDA) topic modelling (Blei, Ng, & Jordan, 2003) is well suited to synthesising quantitative computational methods with qualitative discourse analysis of narrative. LDA is an unsupervised machine learning model used to understand the topics or themes underlying a collection of documents. It is a generative model which aims to approximate an assumed topic structure based on the words and documents in a corpus. LDA provides the analyst with a summary of probabilistically grouped topics across the corpus, and their relative proportions in documents. LDA can be considered a computationally sophisticated equivalent to manually reading through interview transcripts, and highlighting sections about ‘community’ in yellow, and sections about ‘government’ in green, and then tallying approximately how much of each transcript is comprised of yellow and green highlight.
As Jacobs and Tschötschel (2019) point out, topic modelling preserves the relationality of meaning, applying the same words to different topics which would express different meanings of the word. This level of indexicality arguably makes topic modelling epistemologically compatible with ethnomethodologically-grounded positioning analysis. As such, we synthesise topic modelling with positioning analysis (Bamberg, 1997, 2008; Bamberg & Georgakopoulou, 2008)—a fine-grained form of narrative analysis which explicates how the narrator positions, and is positioned by, (1) story-world characters, (2) interactional interlocuters (both real and imagined), and (3) social discourses produced in the story. Following Jacobs and Tschötschel (2019), we treat themes identified in the topic model as discourses, theorising how narrators (re)produce or resist social discourses in their narratives, and the impacts the local narrative performances may have on society more broadly.
In this paper, we present preliminary results from our combined exploratory topic modelling/positioning analysis on the QB Returnee corpus. We show how the topic model identified more than one ‘community’ topic in the corpus, with a notable shift from QB1 (2012) to QB2 (2019/2020). Drawing on positioning analysis, we discuss an exemplary instance of this shift, showing how storytellers produce changing discourses of community over time. Through our analysis, we aim to show how stories produce evolving discourses of community as people come to terms with the aftermath of disaster.
Bamberg, M. (1997). Positioning between structure and performance. Journal of Narrative and Life History, 7(1-4), 335-342.
Bamberg, M. (2008). Twice-told-tales: Small story analysis and the process of identity formation. In T. Sugiman, K. J. Gergen, W. Wagner, & Y. Yamada (Eds.), Meaning in action: Constructions, narratives, and representations (pp. 183-204).
Bamberg, M., & Georgakopoulou, A. (2008). Small stories as a new perspective in narrative and identity analysis. Text & Talk, 28(3), 377-396. doi:doi:10.1515/TEXT.2008.018
Blei, D. M., Ng, A. Y., & Jordan, M. I. (2003). Latent dirichlet allocation. Journal of Machine Learning Research, 3, 993-1022.
Jacobs, T., & Tschötschel, R. (2019). Topic models meet discourse analysis: A quantitative tool for a qualitative approach. International Journal of Social Research Methodology, 22(5), 469-485. doi:10.1080/13645579.2019.1576317
Koller, V., & Mautner, G. (2004). Computer applications in critical discourse analysis. In A. Hewings, C. Coffin, & K. O’Halloran (Eds.), Applying English grammar: Functional and corpus approaches (pp. 216-228). London, UK: Arnold.
Towards an electronic reference grammar of Idi
Dineke Schokkin, University of Canterbury, New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour, The Australian National University
Robert Fromont, University of Canterbury, New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour
Gia Hurring, University of Canterbury, New Zealand Institute of Language, Brain and Behaviour
It is estimated that by the turn of the century, at least half of the world’s languages may have disappeared (Payne 2005). To address rapid language death, improved methods of language description and documentation are urgently needed in order to support academics and communities alike in their efforts to keep Indigenous languages strong. For many such languages, a reference grammar is the only detailed resource available, and it typically takes the linear written form of a book. The past decades have brought to light numerous issues with this method, both from a scientific and a community-based perspective, amongst others (Ameka et al. 2006; Nordhoff 2008, 2012; Thieberger 2009): they often provide limited access to the primary data they are based on, they are not well suited to address language-internal variation, with an additional risk of becoming sources of prescriptivism which may hinder revitalisation efforts (Florey 2004), and they may come with a prohibitive price tag detrimental both to communities and to academics in developing countries.
This paper reports on our efforts to develop a framework for an electronic descriptive reference grammar (e-grammar): a fully online resource that integrates hypertext linguistic description, based on an existing corpus of Idi (ISO-369: idi; Pahoturi River family), a Papuan language spoken in Western Province, Papua New Guinea. This corpus of naturalistic speech was collected throughout six years of involvement with the Idi speech community in Dimsisi village, in close collaboration with a local language committee to ensure both ongoing broad community support and a representative sample of interspeaker variation. Raw audio and video recordings are archived with PARADISEC (Schokkin 2015).
Idi audio recordings, annotated transcripts and relevant metadata are stored in and accessible through LaBB-CAT, an open-source, browser-based linguistic data management and research tool developed at the University of Canterbury (Fromont & Hay 2012). This tool has wide-ranging functionality in terms of tagging and annotation, searching, integration with commonly used linguistics software such as Transcriber, ELAN and Praat, options for exporting, and performing other customized operations using e.g. Python, R or Java. LaBB-CAT has been widely and successfully used to manage and perform research on corpora of te reo Māori and German, in addition to multiple varieties of English.
We will demonstrate the functionality of LaBB-CAT as relevant for the Idi corpus, and discuss the process of adapting the existing infrastructure in order to develop a modular, wiki-type grammatical description linked to the Idi corpus. The results from this pilot project will be useful to establish best practices for this new methodology, and inform questions about the adaptability to other languages and the needs of different user groups, not only linguists and other academics but also teachers, NGOs, local communities and speaker diasporas or heritage speakers. The proposed method will provide a much improved means to meet these needs, as the online framework allows for a more interactive and reciprocal collaboration between researchers and community members, and can be adjusted to suit various local circumstances including in places where internet connectivity is limited. This is in line with an emerging focus on the importance of community-based research as a preferred model in language documentation (Bischoff & Jany 2018). Particularly in a changing world with ongoing uncertainties around travel, methods that facilitate part of this collaborative effort to take place over longer distances will help to future-proof the language documentation and revitalisation enterprise.
Bischoff, Shannon T. & Carmen Jany. 2018. Insights from Practices in Community-Based Research: From Theory to Practice around the Globe. Berlin: De Gruyter Mouton.
Florey, Margaret. 2004. Countering purism: confronting the emergence of new varieties in a training program for community language workers. In Peter K. Austin (Ed.), Language Documentation and Description, vol. 2, pp. 9-27. London: SOAS.
Fromont, Robert & Jennifer Hay. 2012. LaBB-CAT: an annotation store. Proceedings of Australasian Language Technology Association Workshop, pp. 113-117. Dunedin: Australasian Language Technology Association.
Nordhoff, Sebastian. 2008. Electronic Reference Grammars for Typology: Challenges and Solutions. Language Documentation and Conservation 2(2): 296-324.
Nordhoff, Sebastian (Ed.). 2012. Language Documentation and Conservation Special Publication 4: Electronic Grammaticography.
Payne, Thomas E. 2005. Introduction. In Thomas E. Payne & David J. Weber (Eds.), Perspectives on Grammar Writing. Special Issue of Studies in Language 30(2): 235-243.
Schokkin, Dineke. 2015. Recordings of the Idi language (WSDS1). Digital collection managed by PARADISEC [Open access]. DOI: 10.4225/72/56E97A18E14F3.
Thieberger, Nicholas. 2009. Steps toward a grammar embedded in data. In Patience Epps & Alexandre Arkhipov (Eds.), New Challenges in Typology: Transcending the Borders and Refining the Distinctions, pp. 389-407. Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter.
Expanding the user community of scholarship: language description as an example
Simon Musgrave (Monash University, University of Queensland)
Nick Thieberger (University of Melbourne)
Scholarly outputs can be difficult to access even for their primary audience. Problems can be encountered at the level of physical access – even libraries of major research institutions may not hold a wide range of such material across all disciplines – and at the level of content – the language used and the knowledge assumed may make the material very hard to comprehend. And where there is another potential audience – such as members of the community who are the subject of research – these problems may make the material completely inaccessible.
These problems apply in the case of descriptions of small languages, for linguists and for the communities who speak the languages and even if one has access to a description, the internal organisation of the material may also make use difficult. Since the work of Franz Boas, a complete description has been understood to include a dictionary, a collection of texts, and the grammar proper; today we would include as a fourth element the media recordings which form the basis for the work. These different components are often published separately even though they form a closely interlinked whole. Understanding texts will depend on consulting dictionary entries and relevant parts of the grammar; dictionary entries and points in the grammar will refer to text instances as supporting evidence; and all will ultimately depend on the recordings. An extreme example of how difficult this can be is the description of Nunggubuyu (Wubuy) by Jeffrey Heath (1980; 1982; 1984) in which the grammar and the dictionary do not include full example instances but instead provide pointers to relevant parts of the text collection. Heath’s work poses an additional challenge for Wubuy speakers because he used an idiosyncratic orthography (spelling system) not used by anyone else.
These various impediments to using work such as Heath’s can be addressed (in part at least) by making the material available online as a suite of web resources with rich interlinking, and we have been working on implementing this, using the Text Encoding Initiative guidelines for encoding text. This approach extends access to anyone with internet access. Additionally, our implementation allows the user to choose which orthography they will view (and to change between the alternatives freely), extending access to members of the Wubuy community. The interlinking of resources makes the material easier to use and also allows users to choose their own paths through it; again, this makes the material less forbidding for a non–linguist. All of these benefits work together to enlarge the communities who can make use of such resources, while at a more general level, we are reinventing a mode of scholarly communication by taking advantage of technological developments.
Heath, Jeffrey. 1982. Nunggubuyu dictionary. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.
Heath, Jeffrey. 1984. Functional grammar of Nunggubuyu. Canberra: Australian Institute of Aboriginal Studies.
Separated by a Common Language: Barriers to creating communities through ‘F.U.N.* words, alternative meaning(s) or specialised terminology
Tully Barnett, Jenny Fewster, Mary Filsell, Aaron Humphrey, Sara King, Diana Newport-Peace, Linda Pearce, Alexis Tindall
Interoperability, community, practice, integration, user, data, humanities, archive, infrastructure, tools, architecture, platforms, space, method, creative, interdisciplinarity, transdisciplinarity, theory, practice, roadmap, attribution, text, corpora, publish, preprint, interactive, engagement, impact, library, vocabularies…
These are just some examples of language that serves to confuse, confound, create barriers, and entrench gatekeeping in collaborative research.
Interdisciplinary work is (rightly) recognised as crucial for solving complex problems, to address social inclusion and intersectionality, and to position humanities politically as an equal and complementary research partner to STEM. But, all disciplines come with their own language (Grandjean 2016; Flanders 2016).
Specialised terminology can separate people, can make people think they are talking about the same thing when maybe they aren’t, and this can lead to gulfs that inhibit genuine dialogue and meaning making. Library Carpentry approaches have jargon busting activities for a reason. By working together to actively explore the space where words and meaning diverge we choose to expand our shared understanding of our own and each others’ understanding of the words we use in our disciplines. This offers positive, generative outcomes and allows us to discover new territory together.
Creating communities across disciplines, institutions or professional expertise is hard, and a supposedly common language can, at times, act as a barrier.
This interactive panel brings together digital humanists who work in architecture, literary studies, media studies, libraries, and collaborative research infrastructures to explore the hilarity, frustration and opportunity in shared or unshared vocabularies of our inter/disciplines.
* F.U.N. = Fxxxed Up Nomenclature
Grandjean, Martin. “A social network analysis of Twitter: Mapping the digital humanities community.” Cogent Arts & Humanities 3.1 (2016): 1171458.
ADA – Digital and Community in Aotearoa NZ
Panel: Smith, Whitaker, Bachler & Buxton
Aotearoa Digital Arts (ADA) network is a NZ based organisation researching the expanded field around media, new media, electronic and digital art, interarts and cross-disciplinary practice involving the creative use of technology. The ADA Network enables communication between artists, curators, teachers, critics, theorists, writers and the interested public. ADA develops public understanding through its online forum, through publications and exhibitions, and by touring speakers, holding master classes and symposia. ADA’s Board proposes to host a panel during the Digital Humanities conference.
Reality today, as mediated through the virtual, is increasingly indeterminate. Digital and physical are increasingly intertwined with socio-cultural infrastructures. The nature of object, signal and architecture is no longer bound by conventional materialities. Interarts creatives are creating and operating in new contexts and forging unusual collaborations across other disciplines – such as science and technology – routinely in the process. One of the key grounding elements is community. Communities of value-shared practitioners (like ADA) as well as the meeting point between these communities and other groups: flax-root audiences, cultural groups, academic organisations). This panel is focussed on the issues, practices and ideas that emerge at these intersecting points.
Vicki Smith creates work threading local global issues with her experience from wielding drawing and making tools through to digital constructions, online community and out to the virtual edges of realtime story making. An ADA member since 2003, Vicki will discuss multi-disciplinary intersections within the scope and reach of the ADA back catalogue, interrogating past projects to tease out the connective tissues of the diverse and distributed community involving the broad digital arts field in NZ.
Ted Whitaker will discuss the 2017 project Storm Channels, co-facilitated by ADA and the Anteroom. This joint project was led alongside Charlotte Parallel to create a three-day event celebrating Artist-Run Initiatives in Ōtepoti Dunedin. The project included exhibitions, workshops, performances and expanded cinema events across six different spaces. Key messages were of DIY community involvement, knowledge and space sharing.
Next, Birgit Bachler (birgitbachler.com) will discuss creative practice at the intersection of electronic arts and media technologies in the light of climate crisis. Birgit will speak to the tensions that emerge within her own practice in which she develops hardware and software that aims to develop and foster connections with the more-than-human world. while being largely dependent on digital networks and electronic resources, that often cause disruption.
Finally, Dr Maggie Buxton (AwhiWorld/ADA Board Chair) will provide an overview of her technology based creative practice whose aims are to rejuvenate urban and suburban social and physical infrastructure, catalyse community based innovation, and to support regional development in Northland, Aotearoa. Dr Buxton will discuss the challenges of working outside of academia as a freelance practitioner and some of the ways that organisations, like ADA, provide much needed publication platforms and peer support.
Strengthening the Digital Environmental Humanities (DEH)
John C. Ryan (Southern Cross University and Nulungu Institute, University of Notre Dame)
Paul Arthur (Edith Cowan University)
Lydia Hearn (Edith Cowan University)
Researchers in the complementary fields of the Digital Humanities (DH) and the Environmental Humanities (EH) have begun—over the last decade in particular—to stage convergences between their activities under the auspices of the Digital Environmental Humanities. Abbreviated in this presentation as DEH, this term is also figured in the scholarly literature as ecoDH or the Ecological Digital Humanities (Cheng 2021; Cohen and LeMenager 2016; Sinclair and Poplawski 2018; Travis and Holm 2016). DEH’s overarching objective is to leverage digital technologies in understanding and confronting the urgencies of the Anthropocene. Yet to be ratified by the scientific community, this neologism designates the current era, marked by humankind having become a planetary agent impacting the biosphere in historically unprecedented ways through climate disturbance, land degradation, species diminishment, resource exploitation and the fragmentation of Indigenous communities’ biocultural networks (Zalasiewicz 2017; Zalasiewicz et al. 2019). DEH scholars have defined this relatively recent yet clearly burgeoning field as one ‘that still remains largely undefined, but that asserts the importance of the humanities in responding to the ecological crisis while leveraging new tools and technologies’ (Posthumus and Sinclair, 2014, 254). DEH can be understood as a scholarly-activist response to the Digital Anthropocene—the confluence of the digital revolution, climate urgencies, and social, political and economic upheavals (Travis and Holm, 2016).
On the whole, DEH brings the tools, methods and modes of critique of the Digital Humanities to bear on the ecological, geological and planetary questions guiding the Environmental Humanities. In turn, EH ensures that concerns of ecological and social justice become embedded in theories and practices of DH, including the question of the material sustainability of digital communication technologies. The aim of this paper is to bring DEH and open scholarship (OS) into generative dialogue through an analysis of current research bridging both areas. While DEH holds promise as an anthropocene intervention, scholarship in the field has yet to articulate the range of open scholarship principles and practices at work in various projects—from open publications, data and education to citizen-engaged research and more participatory modes based on community contributions to DEH work.
Towards this aim, this presentation will provide an overview of five prevalent themes in DEH research, including: (i) place-mappings (Music Geography Project); (ii) citizen ecohumanism (Atlas of Living Australia); (iii) long-term, perennial eco-archiving (Rosetta Project); (iv) interactive Anthropocene narratives of loss (What is Missing?); and (v) human-plant-environment relations (Native American Ethnobotany Archive). Within each theme, the paper will examine how open digital scholarship can be put into practice by highlighting elements of an exemplary DEH initiative to engage with and create communities for action. After our analysis of these five DEH case studies from an open scholarship perspective, we will conclude that the increasing integration of open access and open scholarship principles into DEH research is essential to promote ecological awareness, sustainability and human-non-human justice in the Anthropocene epoch. We will also make recommendations for supporting DEH through democratizing knowledge through open and community engaged scholarship (Abbott & Tiffen, 2019).
Belbin, Lee, Elycia Wallis, Donald Hobern, and Andre Zerger. 2021. “The Atlas of Living Australia: History, Current State and Future Directions.” Biodiversity Data Journal 9 (e65023): 1–35. https://doi.org/10.3897/BDJ.9.e65023.
Cheng, Alenda Y. 2021. “Pitching the ‘Big Tent’ Outside: An Argument for the Digital Environmental Humanities.” In Alternative Historiographies of the Digital Humanities, edited by Dorothy Kim and Adeline Koh, 377–397. Goleta, CA: Punctum Books.
Cohen, Jeffrey Jerome, and Stephanie LeMenager. 2016. “Introduction: Assembling the Ecological Digital Humanities.” PMLA 131 (2): 340–346.
Neylon, Cameron, Belsø, Rene, Magchiel Bijsterbosch, Bas Cordewener, Jérôme Foncel, Sascha Friesike, Aileen Fyfe, Neil Jacobs, Matthias Katerbow, Mikael Laakso, and Laurents Sesink. 2019. Open Scholarship and the Need for Collective Action. Lincoln, NB: Knowledge Exchange.
Sinclair, Stéfan, and Veronica Poplawski. 2018. “Digital and Environmental Humanities: Strong Networks, Innovative Tools, Interactive Objects.” Resilience: A Journal of the Environmental Humanities 5 (2): 156–171.
Travis, Charles, and Poul Holm. 2016. “The Digital Environmental Humanities: What Is It and Why Do We Need It? The NorFish Project and SmartCity Lifeworlds.” In The Digital Arts and Humanities: Neogeography, Social Media and Big Data Integrations and Applications, edited by Charles Travis and Alexander von Lünen, 187–204. Cham, Switzerland: Springer.
Zalasiewicz, Jan. 2017. “The Extraordinary Strata of the Anthropocene.” In Environmental Humanities: Voices from the Anthropocene, edited by Serpil Oppermann and Serenella Iovino, 115–131. London: Rowman & Littlefield.
Zalasiewicz, Jan, Colin N. Waters, Mark Williams, and Colin P. Summerhayes, eds. 2019. The Anthropocene as a Geological Time Unit: A Guide to the Scientific Evidence and Current Debate. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.
Geocoding spaces in the de-colonial classroom – thoughts toward a local, decolonial teaching of DH in southern Aotearoa
Alexander Ritchie, Kate Knox
Subject Librarians, University of Otago Library, Ōtepoti | Dunedin, Aotearoa New Zealand
Semester 2, 2021 saw the launch of the first undergraduate DH paper taught at the University of Otago. As Humanities Subject Librarians at the University of Otago (UO) involved in on-campus digital humanities support, Alexander Ritchie and Kate Knox were invited to contribute a 2-hour lab to this co-taught paper. We chose to explore geo-cultural mapping and focus on the use of ‘local’ project examples and data from Aotearoa.
The course prescription sought to weave both practical method and intellectual critique, including computational text and network analysis and visualisation, expressive AI & neural networks, and game-based learning in the syllabus. As tau iwi | non-indigenous, we decided to structure our co-taught lab around discussion and practice of cultural mapping in the context of Māori data sovereignty (Hudson et al.) to begin exploring what ‘local’, i.e., ‘from Aotearoa’, DH practice might involve. Drawing on scholarship and practice within Aotearoa (Shep et al.; Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu; Mercier et al.) and from the USA (Risam), we sought to explore the ways that Māori data sovereignty might shape teaching and research in DH.
We had many questions and few answers! How might scholars and students read and make with resources that are ‘from here’? How do we address the complex challenges of colonial histories, as well as the data colonialism of digital platforms like Google, and still ‘work’ with data? What sort of distinctive geo-cultural contribution we – scholars and practitioners in Aotearoa New Zealand – can make to global DH scholarship and practice?
While this journey is just beginning, one preliminary way point is to wonder how non-indigenous scholars might centre indigenous and local bi-cultural/multi-cultural scholarship, rather than treating it as an adjunct – something to be ‘included’ in light of inclusionary politics. Thanks to the ongoing generosity of thinking practised by indigenous scholars, might all of us – indigenous and non-indigenous alike – reach for a more empowering, equitable, and sustainable way of seeing ourselves in and as ‘data’?
Risam, Roopika. ‘Navigating the Global Digital Humanities: Insights from Black Feminism’. Debates in the Digital Humanities 2016, University of Minnesota Press; CUNY, Graduate Center, 2016, https://dhdebates.gc.cuny.edu/read/untitled/section/4316ff92-bad0-45e8-8f09-90f493c6f564#ch29.
Shep, Sydney, et al. ‘Indigenous Frameworks for Data-Intensive Humanities: Recalibrating the Past through Knowledge Engineering and Generative Modelling.’ Journal of Data Mining & Digital Humanities, vol. HistoInformatics, Episciences.org, Jan. 2021. jdmdh.episciences.org, https://jdmdh.episciences.org/7018/pdf.
Te Rūnanga o Ngāi Tahu. ‘Kā Huru Manu | Ngāi Tahu Atlas’. Kā Huru Manu – Cultural Mapping Project, 2018, http://www.kahurumanu.co.nz/atlas.
Mercier, Ocean Ripeka, et al. ‘Te Kawa a Māui Atlas’. Te Kawa a Maui, Victoria University of Wellington, 2014, https://www.atlas.maori.nz/.
Insert Link: Connecting Digital Humanities and Digital Literature in New Zealand
In recent years, the international trend has been a merging of the field of digital humanities and that of digital (or electronic) literature at the institutional level. For example, in 2016 the Electronic Literature Organization (ELO) held its conference jointly with the renowned Digital Humanities Summer Institute (DHSI) at the University of Victoria, Canada. Such institutional shifts reflect growing recognition of creative media as a practice-based research, as evident in Scott Rettberg’s contribution to A New Companion to the Digital Humanities (2016), which frames creative production and scholarly analysis of digital-literary forms as digital humanities. This framing was further developed in the edited collection by Dene Grigar and James O’Sullivan, Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities: Contexts, Forms, and Practices (2021).
In one sense, we are yet to witness this convergence in Aotearoa New Zealand. In another sense, the two fields were never really separate to begin with. That is, there was simply not enough critical mass to sustain either of the two domains in isolation and, given NZ’s relatively small size, digital literary studies inevitably overlapped with digital humanities. The extent to which either could be characterised—or indeed internationalized—as a community per se would depend on what one considers as the minimum necessary conditions. In any case, coming late to the DH game has had its advantages, as the creative and critical adoption of digital tools and technologies have had the opportunity to co-evolve.
Even if DH in NZ has started to indulge its creative side, however, a significant disconnect still remains between academic proponents of digital humanities and those artistic and educational communities who might have much to gain from its technical and intellectual infrastructure. This panel explores the theme of “Creating Communities” in the adjectival sense of communities that create, and it aspires to connect some of the historical, pedagogical, and artistic nodes in a network coalescing around the arguably transient entity called digital humanities. In doing so, we aim to consider some of the distinctive contributions New Zealand might make to this disciplinary synergy by way of its cultural and geographical position.
In “Learning the Power of Narratives in Digital Media,” April Salchert discusses the ethical challenges that arise when videogames are designed to represent marginalized identities, and she considers these challenges in context with digital technology learning areas in the New Zealand curriculum. She suggests that, along with educational initiatives aimed to teach students how to work with, create, and design digital content, curriculum should include the study of narratives in digital media—similar to literary studies—to foster critical awareness of how narrative representations in digital media can impact our perceptions of others.
In “Using Code to Decode Code: Reflexive Digital Literary Scholarship,” Nat Moore reflects on some of the computational methods he applies in his research on computational poetry. He suggests that we can leverage the computational methods of digital literature in ways that respect and complicate our understanding of poetic making.
Finally, in “Diving into the World Wide Wreck: on New Zealand’s Digital Literary History” David Ciccoricco considers the collective, periodic amnesia regarding the academic and popular reception of digital fiction in New Zealand, from its inception as hypertext fiction to the present day outpouring of freely available works created in Twine. He suggests that the convergence of digital humanities and creative digital-literary practice could carry a significant upshot in the New Zealand educational system, occupying a strategic place in relation to conventional literary studies and contemporary game-based learning initiatives.
Learning the Power of Narratives in Digital Media
English & Linguistics
University of Otago
The New Zealand curriculum now includes learning areas that range from computational thinking to digital content design, ensuring students “become digitally capable individuals” (TKI Te Kete Ipurangi 2018). Even beyond the walls of academia, initiatives are underway to encourage student engagement with digital technology. A recent nationwide student competition was hosted by the online platform Gamefroot, which invited students to portray Aotearoa New Zealand histories through interactive stories (Milward 2021). Other inspiring educational projects include the post-apocalyptic survival game Katuku Island (2021). The game portrays “the world through a ‘Māori lens,’” and players “create Māori warrior-inspired avatars, design weapons, build tribes, and escape crumbling cities; while undertaking literacy and decision-making challenges” (Gilbertson 2021). Developed to offer “students with minimal education to get a second chance at learning,” Katuku Island is an indigenous mobile gaming app designed to “transform the cultural learning space for indigenous peoples from 6-year-old upwards” (Gilbertson 2021).
Videogames like Katuku Island, however, can pose ethical challenges in terms of representation. Such representations risk supporting or establishing stereotypes of marginalized identities. If students are playing games like Katuku Island or even designing games to represent their own experiences, does this guarantee they understand the power of the representations they are playing and creating? For instance, a student who does not identify as Māori could play Katuku Island and assume that playing the game is equal to understanding the experience of all those who identify as Māori.
Of course, this does not mean that videogames like Katuku Island should not be made. On the contrary, my research has shown that narratives in digital media have the ability to disrupt stereotypes and even foster empathy, but my research has also shown that these effects are most likely to occur when the player is aware of the power of the narrative representation in the game. This critical awareness, however, is unlikely to develop in a vacuum. Ideally, players will have an opportunity to share their gaming experiences with a community of other players.
I suggest that incorporating the study of narratives in digital media into primary and secondary school curriculum offers such an opportunity. Just as we teach reading, writing, and literature in schools, we should do the same for videogames. A similar sentiment has been expressed by scholar Matthew Farber in an interview with WE Charity, where he states: “Treat games like books. Kids won’t understand the significance of To Kill a Mockingbird just by finishing the book” (Kielburger 2020). If New Zealand wants to ensure students “become digitally capable individuals,” this initiative should include cultivating an understanding of the ethical implications of the stories we tell through digital media. Sharing experiences in a formal learning environment can facilitate discussions between young players and teachers about their experiences with narratives in digital media and encourage awareness of how digital representations in videogames impact our real-world perceptions of others.
Using Code to Decode Code: Reflexive Digital Literary Scholarship
English & Linguistics
University of Otago
Criticism of computational poems has largely proceeded by extricating poetry from code and vice versa. This is not to suggest, of course, that critics tend to neglect one component in favour of the other. I mean to propose, rather, that the conventional procedure to prevent such neglect–isolating code to trace its paths of execution, isolating poetry to subject it to close reading–creates a false impression of the ease with which readers of computational poetry can silo program from poem. (A duet is still a duet even if the singers are sequestered in different rooms.) What, then, might criticism of computational poems that has passed through both computers and poetry look like?
My proposed paper attempts to answer this question by way of two examples. The first example’s point of departure is Nick Montfort and Stephanie Strickland’s computational poem Sea and Spar Between, a text that commands its readers to imagine alternative modes of reading with unusual imperative force, not least because it weighs in at an impressive 225,000,000,000,000, stanzas. I offer a reading of this literally unreadable poem in the form of a website that duplicates Sea and Spar Between’s formal qualities but reimagines its textual content. Instead of a sea filled with words from Herman Melville’s Moby-Dick and the oeuvre of Emily Dickinson, the sea of my website is filled the words that appear most frequently in the critical literature on Sea and Spar Between, in an experimental test of Montfort and Strickland’s assertion that the “most useful critique” of their poem is a “new constitution of elements” (2013).
My second example’s point of departure is GPT-2, an open-source AI, released by OpenAI in 2019, that generates (relatively) congruent textual imitations of its input data. Having trained GPT-2 on the introduction and three chapters of my dissertation, I instructed it to generate imitations of my writing, with the constraint that its imitations should begin with the phrase “In conclusion”. I then included six of GPT-2’s imitations in the conclusion of my dissertation, as a reflexive performance of the imbrication of humans and machines in literary networks. It is precisely this reflexivity that I want to offer as an interesting and legitimate form of critical analysis.
Diving into the World Wide Wreck: on New Zealand’s Digital Literary History
English & Linguistics
University of Otago
Who wrote the first digital fiction in New Zealand? Or, for that matter, who was the first New Zealander, anywhere, to write one? More generally, is there any coherent or continuous tradition of digital-literary practice in New Zealand to speak of? These questions provide the point of departure for the proposed paper, which attempts to historicise, or at least hypothesise, a community of digital-literary practice in Aotearoa. Of course, so much depends on how one defines the menagerie of narrative media that make up the field of digital (or electronic) literature.
Although I insert several links between existing creative media examples in New Zealand and some of the broader categories that make up digital literature (from digital poetry to improvisational online performance with sundry generative, computational, and Augmented / Virtual Reality artworks in between), this research is delimited by a focus on narrative and what can be collectively—if not uncontroversially—described as “digital fiction.” My historical framework traces a path from pre-web hypertext fictions from the late 1980s (mainly created in Storyspace), through to web-based hyperlinked fiction from the 1990s, on to graphically enhanced Adobe Flash-based digital fiction in the late 1990s and 2000s, and finally to the proliferation of open source digital fiction created in Twine from around 2010.
The proposed paper will establish some of New Zealand’s points of intersection in this framework, while noting that, for a field that is all about connection and linkage, the digital-literary landscape remains disconnected in significant ways. Such dark spots in the network, in turn, have ongoing effects in terms of the NZ educational system and the sustenance of a national community working in digital art and literature. In light of international initiatives to “document and evaluate various models and forces of creative communities in the field of electronic literature” (ELMCIP 2014), Aotearoa New Zealand may be a case of undocumented creativity.
Gilbertson, Georgia-May. 2021. “Māori Culture Launched to the World of Digital Gaming for the First Time.” stuff.co.nz, July 21, 2021. https://www.stuff.co.nz/pou-tiaki/125743400/mori-culture-launched-to-the-world-of-digital-gaming-for-the-first-time.
Grigar, Dene and James O’Sullivan, eds. 2021. Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities: Contexts, Forms, and Practices. New York: Bloomsbury.
Kielburger, Craig. 2020. “Can video games build empathy?” Posted on the WE Charity Website, 2020. https://www.we.org/en-CA/we-stories/opinion/craig-kielburger-using-video-games-as-empathy-machines.
Milward, Dan. 2021. “NZ Histories Gamefroot + Interface 2021 Competition.” The Gamefroot Blog (blog), June 14, 2021. https://blog.gamefroot.com/blog/2021/nz-histories-gamefroot-interface-2021-competition/.
Montfort, Nick, and Stephanie Strickland. 2010. “Sea and Spar Between,” nickm.com, accessed August 30, 2021, https://nickm.com/montfort_strickland/sea_and_spar_between/index.html.
______. 2013. “Cut to Fit the Toolspun Course.” Digital Humanities Quarterly 7, no. 1, accessed August 29, 2021, http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/7/1/000149/000149.html.
Rettberg, Scott and Sandy Baldwin, eds. 2014. “Electronic Literature as a Model of Creativity and Innovation in Practice (ELMCIP): a report from the HERA joint research project.” Morgantown, WV: Center for Literary Computing.
Rettberg, Scott. 2016. “Electronic Literature as Digital Humanities” in A New Companion to the Digital Humanities. Susan Schreibman and Ray Siemens, and John Unsworth, eds. London: Wiley Blackwell.
TKI Te Kete Ipurangi. 2017. Ministry of Education Te Tāhuhu O Te Mātauranga. “Learning Area Structure / Technology,” https://nzcurriculum.tki.org.nz/The-New-Zealand-Curriculum/Technology/Learning-area-structure
ResBaz Aotearoa 2021 Crossover Event: GLAM Workbench
DHA2021 and ResBaz Aotearea 2021 are pleased to coordinate for Tim Sherratt’s ResBaz talk on GLAM Workbench.
More and more institutions in the GLAM sector (Galleries, Libraries, Archives, and Museums) are sharing their collection data online, but what is it, and how do you use it? Associate Professor Tim Sherratt will survey the types of data available and explore possible research topics using tools and examples from the GLAM Workbench, including Aotearoa/NZ collections. Tim will show how GLAM data can be harvested, aggregated, analysed, and visualised, and share his enthusiasm for what GLAM data tell us about history, society, and culture.
New life for digital research
Nick Thieberger, University of Melbourne
Amanda Harris, University of Sydney
Marco La Rosa, University of Melbourne
We will discuss the preservation of primary Humanities research data that has been created in the course of research over the past generation. We advocate a dedicated process to locate and secure such data, and show how we have worked to do this with records of Indigenous languages in the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC) for the past 19 years. While a major focus of our work has been to locate analog media that is at risk of loss, the infrastructure we have built is increasingly hosting born-digital material which now represents about half of the 14,500 hours of audio recordings in PARADISEC, which holds 140 terabytes of primary research material.
Primary records of research need to be preserved: (1) in order to allow verification of research claims; (2) to allow further research to be conducted, since a single project typically does not exhaust the possibilities of the data; (3) because of broader community interest in the materials, especially if the research is based on records of historical, cultural, or linguistic interest to the broader community; (4) because the research was publicly funded and there is a reasonable expectation that primary records should be publicly accessible (with suitable licences).
In addition to the major task of locating and making records accessible, there is the technical aspect of how this can be done. In our experience, many projects do not take their endings into account and so their content is lost when funding runs out, or soon after (see also the Canadian Project Endings https://endings.uvic.ca/).
Collections exist in many different shapes and formats. Generally the format is determined by the application used to capture / curate the data, and, typically, the metadata is stored separately. In many cases, making the collection shareable and preservable is an afterthought if it is considered at all.
In this paper we will outline how we use Research Object Crate (RO-Crate) to describe language items and collections in the PARADISEC collection in an open and shareable form from the very beginning of their lifecycle. These objects are managed using the Oxford Common Filesystem Layout (OCFL) which gives us guarantees of completeness, robustness, parsability, versioning, and permits storage on a range of systems.
Combined, these two standards enable us to manage the PARADISEC collection of language information with more than 140TB of data in varying form (text, audio, and video) and shape so that it meets the FAIR principles3 of being findable, accessible, reusable by services and other users and interoperable with archives, preservation systems and analytical systems.
We will demonstrate the current version of the collection viewer which is composed of a set of microservices to search and interact with a diverse range of datatypes (images, media and time-aligned transcripts, text). We will demonstrate how this approach enables and supports a data commons that is open, secure, performant, and extensible to multiple domains. Furthermore, this approach allows us to amplify our collection by enabling repatriation of subsets of the collection to the source communities.
From archival find to public domain: Otto Rank’s Homosexual Tendencies in Mythology and Literature
A/Prof Dr Birgit Lang, German Studies, School of Languages and Linguistics, The University of Melbourne
A/Prof Dr Nick Thieberger, School of Languages and Linguistics, Director of Social and Cultural Informatics, Faculty of Arts, The University of Melbourne
Brigid Grigg, PhD candidate, School of Languages and Linguistics, The University of Melbourne
Dr Daniel Russo-Batterham, Research Data Specialist, MDAP, The University of Melbourne
Dr Edoardo Tescari, Senior Research Data Specialist, MDAP, The University of Melbourne
Dr Robert Turnbull, Research Data Specialist, MDAP, The University of Melbourne
In 1906 Otto Rank (1884–1939) approached Sigmund Freud with three manuscripts that were written in response to Freud’s 1905 Drei Abhandlungen zur Sexualtheorie (Three Essays on the Theory of Sexuality). They made such a favorable impression on Freud that he introduced Rank as the secretary of the Vienna Psychoanalytic Society, and the editor of its minutes. Freud saw in Rank a ‘young man … of very unusual comprehension’ (Freud 1914: 25). Until Rank’s break with Freud over The Trauma of Birth (1929), Rank functioned as Freud’s right hand in general and expert in cultural matters in particular. Rank carved a new interpretative space through the application of psychoanalysis to literary history. Two of the three original manuscripts submitted to Freud by Rank have been published and translated, with the third believed to be lost. Instead, Über den Ausdruck homosexueller Neigungen in Mythos und Dichtung (On the manifestation of homosexual tendencies in myth and literature) has remained hidden away in Rank’s Papers at the Rare Book and Manuscript Collection at Columbia University.
The 300-page book-length manuscript is widely intact and consists of the second unfinished draft of the original manuscript from 1906. The German text was photographed in its entirety on a research trip by B Lang with a view to publication of a bilingual print edition. Diverse readerships for this text exist both in the German- and English-speaking worlds, in part a function of the interdisciplinary success of psychoanalysis and of Rank’s work and later migration to the United States. While a print publication did not come to fruition due to the unwillingness of publishers to take on a project of such considerable length, a digital edition was identified as a viable alternative due to the diverse audience of this text. Its content speaks to a wide range of scholars with an interest in the history of sexuality and psychoanalysis as well as literary scholars. Since it makes a hitherto unknown contribution to early psychoanalytic theorising about homosexuality, it is also of relevance to members of the LGBTI community who will be served well with an Open Access edition. A digital edition also allows for an image of the manuscript to be displayed alongside a critically edited transcription and translation, which provides for varying levels of engagement depending on the readers’ interests.
Following transcription, Lang engaged the Social and Cultural Informatics Platform and the Digital Studio at the University of Melbourne who worked with her to encode the transcripts using the standard established by the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI). This initial work led to a proposal for more detailed work with the University’s Melbourne Data Analytics Platform (MDAP). MDAP is a team of Academic Specialists with a broad range of backgrounds and experiences, specifically created to enable data-intensive research across the disciplines. Together we used the Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) and a variety of supporting technologies and standards including IIIF and TEI Publisher. In particular, MDAP trained Lang and Grigg in using TEI to mark up the transcript to provide additional editorial information (about authors, references to primary and secondary texts, specific terminology, and places). MDAP also developed custom tools to support the workflow and display the results. This is of particular importance since the original photos were taken for archival and not publication purposes. These tools are available as open-source packages for similar use-cases.
The presentation will briefly present the overall project. We will specifically discuss how we designed a workflow to enable a multi-disciplinary team to collaborate on this project. The presentation will also problematize the recognition of digital research outputs in the Australian tertiary context (cf. Thieberger et al 2016).
Thieberger, Nick, Anna Margetts, Stephen Morey, & Simon Musgrave. (2016) Assessing Annotated Corpora as Research Output, Australian Journal of Linguistics, 36:1, 1-21, DOI: 10.1080/07268602.2016.1109428
You don’t know what you’ve got til it’s gone: understanding the value of primary research data in the humanities
Tully Barnett and Nick Thieberger
Humanities research projects generate numerous direct and indirect outputs, which have value for the general public as well as for researchers and which have short term and long term and direct and indirect benefits. But many factors intervene in the capacity for research to articulate a project’s value. For example, a lack of resources in time and budget can lead to struggles to preserve the outputs of projects (websites, databases, and so on) as well as the primary data that populates those outputs. How can we place a value on research data so that it can be evaluated alongside more traditional research outputs? What value is gained by preserving and making them available for future research? Simon Tanner’s (2012; 2020) balanced value impact model for digital resources applies notions of economic value (use value, non-use value) to digital humanities projects and its resources but we need to augment this work with evaluation mechanisms that take into account a fuller picture of the lifecycle of digital projects, the people, institutions and disciplines that contribute to them, and the dangers and negative effects involved in losing them. These evaluation mechanisms must acknowledge more than just monetary value, given that cultural objects are not always amenable to price-based value mechanisms but clearly have value, often enormous value. This is especially so in the case of postcolonial repatriation and restitution which reveals a further dimension of value to objects.
This paper is written from a dialogical perspective bringing cultural policy studies (Meyrick et al 2018) into conversation with linguistic research and its infrastructures (Thieberger et al 2016), to focus in particular on the experience of building and using the community and infrastructure of the Pacific and Regional Archive for Digital Sources in Endangered Cultures (PARADISEC). The paper asks what questions from cultural policy studies around forms of value for arts and culture, their evaluation, reporting and impact might be useful for understanding and communicating the value of digital HASS work in an increasingly complicated research environment. The paper addresses private and public value, the tension between innovation and maintenance (Vinsel and Russell 2020), primary data and secondary outputs, and some potential benefits and risks associated with a better understanding of the forms of value that pertain to digital HASS infrastructure and the projects that inhabit it. The paper concludes by considering if digital humanities work needs bespoke frameworks for value and evaluation given the unique characteristics of DH work and, perhaps more significantly, of digital objects. We ask how digital humanities projects might be considered a more foundational part of national cultural infrastructure.
Meyrick, Julian, Robert Phiddian, and Tully Barnett. What matters? Talking value in Australian culture. Monash University Publishing 2018.
Tanner, Simon. 2012. Measuring the Impact of Digital Resources: The Balanced Value Impact Model. London: King’sCollege London.
Tanner, Simon. Delivering Impact with Digital Resources: Planning your strategy in the attention economy. Facet Publishing, 2020.
Thieberger, Nick, Anna Margetts, Stephen Morey, & Simon Musgrave. 2016. Assessing annotated corpora as research output. Australian Journal of Linguistics. Vol 36: 1, 1-21
Vinsel, Lee, and Andrew L. Russell. The innovation delusion: How our obsession with the new has disrupted the work that matters most. Currency, 2020.
Visualising Postcolonial Mobility Labor in the Digital Humanities
In 2012, Melissa Terras generated a map to assess the digital humanities’ scope. Consisting of 114 centers in 24 countries, the visualization was meant to provide evidence for the notion of the field as a “big tent” with a unique willingness to embrace international collaboration. Detractors observed, however, that the map concealed DH scholarship and research that took place apart from major research centers and institutional support. In particular, scholars of the Global South asserted that similar visualizations, and the digital humanities more broadly, perpetuated a neocolonial outlook where high-income countries brought enlightenment, funding, and knowledge to the “uncivilized.”
These criticisms of the digital humanities as a neocolonial project have been particularly targeted towards the field’s chief organization: the Alliance of Digital Humanities (ADHO). Formed in 2005, ADHO serves as an umbrella conglomerate for other DH organizations and hosts the annual Digital Humanities Conference. Despite attempts to expand membership to new entities, quantitative analysis of conference paper submissions and special conference issues in the journal of Digital Scholarship in the Humanities (DSH) have shown that ADHO lacks regional, linguistic, and gender diversity. Postcolonial scholars have called for embracing a postcolonial computing tactic as a means of countering these trends. This paper answers their calls by showcasing a work-in-progress GIS visualization entitled “Are We There Yet? Diversity and Mobility in the Digital Humanities” that geocodes conference destinations along with home institutions of scholars at major digital humanities conferences. Its goal is to embrace the rhizomatic connection of the digital humanities to make bare how scholars in high-income countries perpetuate a hegemonic digital humanities that disproportionately requests mobility from scholars in the Global South.
Commons and Communities: Initiatives in research infrastructure
The Australian government announced funding for research infrastructure for humanities, social sciences and Indigenous research in November 2020. The funding is delivered through Australian Research Data Commons (ARDC) and the initiative is referred to as the HASS Research Data Commons and Indigenous Research Capability Program. Knowledge commons have now been discussed for a number of years (e.g. Hess & Ostrom 2007), and the names used here would seem to situate the Australian initiative in that discourse. However, there is a rather different discourse which emphasises the technical aspect of the notion of a data commons. For example, Grossman et al. (2016) give the following description: “Data commons collocate data, storage, and computing infrastructure with core services and commonly used tools and applications for managing, analyzing, and sharing data to create an interoperable resource for the research community”. But this ignores (or at least downplays) the canonical understanding of a knowledge commons as a socially particular way of managing resources. As Hess and Ostrom (2007) put it: “a commons is a shared resource that is vulnerable to social dilemmas. Outcomes of the interactions of people and resources can be positive or negative or somewhere in between.” This session will start from the assumption that the social context of a research data commons is vital to its success or failure, and ask what social groups are relevant to a data (or knowledge) commons serving Australasian researchers in the humanities and social sciences.
A community is a social group whose members have something in common, such as a shared government, geographic location, culture, or heritage. One attribute which a community may also share is an interest in a data or knowledge commons. As Levine (2007) notes: ‘commons typically involve the sharing of resources by multiple users. Often, the word commons implies that everyone within some relatively broad community (even the whole globe) has the right to share the resource, but who has rights with respect to what data is not straightforward and can be contested. Moving in from Levine’s broadest community, we can identify a number of communities which may have an interest in a data commons, and for each group we need to ask what is the nature of the relation to the commons: in what way does this community benefit from sharing resources and in what way does it incur a cost?
The various communities associated with a data commons include:
- Data owners (in the case of data for which the concept of data sovereignty is relevant, such as that sourced from Indigenous communities)
- Data providers
- Data users
- Funding bodies
- Specific disciplines
- The scientific community more broadly
- Society in general
Of course, any individual or group may identify with several (even all) of these communities. This session will present voices identifying with different combinations across this range of communities, focusing especially on questions about how the interests, values and goals of different groups can be served by a data commons: can a single research commons build a community which includes all of these groups (and potentially even more), and how can the commons governance model resolve differences in a way which ensures that the interactions of people and resources are positive rather than negative?
The session will be divided into two sections. The first will include contributions from ARDC, from one of the four streams of the program which relates most directly to the humanities (language data commons), and from the Australian Academy of the Humanities. The second part will broaden the scope of the discussion, with contributions from the social science and Indigenous research streams of the HASS RDC program, the Australian Academy of the Social Sciences, as well as a voice from Aotearoa/New Zealand.
Hess, Charlotte & Elinor Ostrom (eds.). 2007. Understanding knowledge as a commons: from theory to practice. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
Levine, Peter. 2007. Collective Action, Civic Engagement, and the Knowledge Commons. In Charlotte Hess & Elinor Ostrom (eds.), Understanding knowledge as a commons: from theory to practice. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press.
Come to the party, bring a plate: artificial intelligence, libraries, archives, museums, and the DH community, demystifying the work
Alexis Tindall, Manager, Digital Innovation, University of Adelaide Library, Ingrid Mason, Australian National University, Canberra, Australia, Sydney Shep, Victoria University of Wellington, Wellington, New Zealand
Over the last twelve months a small group of volunteers have established the Australian and New Zealand chapter of Artificial Intelligence (AI) for Libraries, Archives and Museums (LAM). Established as a community of practice and critical reflection for Australian and New Zealand, AI4LAM encourages discussion and knowledge transfer around how AI may shape users’ information practices and expectations in cultural heritage institutions and clients. A program of webinars, learning groups and other communications have contributed to improved understanding of AI and machine learning (ML) projects linked with Australian and New Zealand collections organisations. In addition, small communities have initiated learning groups, aiming to improve their own skills in certain areas. Discussions have explored the practicalities and principles of considering these approaches in relation to library, archive and museum collections. One benefit of these community discussions is an improved awareness of the work that goes into delivering AI/ML and other digital projects using LAM collections. This could have been expected as a side effect of the network’s goal to demystify AI for an interested but inexperienced audience. AI/ML projects are delivered in these environments by bringing the work of several communities together – ideation and exploration of computational approaches to challenges; curation, evaluation, assessment and preparation of data; data science and coding skills; as well as governance, policy and ethical considerations. In this short presentation the coordinating group of the AI4LAM AU/NZ network will report on learnings from a series of webinars and community events, and stimulate discussion about how to make the best use of AI and ML as DH researchers and LAM professionals come together.