Digitising Cultural Complexity: Representing Rich Cultural Data in a Big Data environment

Authors : Jennifer Edmond, Georgina Nugent Folan

One of the major terminological forces driving ICT integration in research today is that of « big data. » While the phrase sounds inclusive and integrative, « big data » approaches are highly selective, excluding input that cannot be effectively structured, represented, or digitised.

Data of this complex sort is precisely the kind that human activity produces, but the technological imperative to enhance signal through the reduction of noise does not accommodate this richness.

Data and the computational approaches that facilitate “big data” have acquired a perceived objectivity that belies their curated, malleable, reactive, and performative nature. In an input environment where anything can “be data” once it is entered into the system as “data,” data cleaning and processing, together with the metadata and information architectures that structure and facilitate our cultural archives acquire a capacity to delimit what data are.

This engenders a process of simplification that has major implications for the potential for future innovation within research environments that depend on rich material yet are increasingly mediated by digital technologies.

This paper presents the preliminary findings of the European-funded KPLEX (Knowledge Complexity) project which investigates the delimiting effect digital mediation and datafication has on rich, complex cultural data.

The paper presents a systematic review of existing implicit definitions of data, elaborating on the implications of these definitions and highlighting the ways in which metadata and computational technologies can restrict the interpretative potential of data.

It sheds light on the gap between analogue or augmented digital practices and fully computational ones, and the strategies researchers have developed to deal with this gap.

The paper proposes a reconceptualisation of data as it is functionally employed within digitally-mediated research so as to incorporate and acknowledge the richness and complexity of our source materials.

URL : https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01629459

The heteronomy of algorithms: Traditional knowledge and computational knowledge

Author : David M. Berry

If critical approaches are to remain relevant in a computational age, then philosophy must work to critique and understand how the materiality of the modern world is normatively structured using computation and the attendant imaginaries made possible for the reproduction and transformation of society, economy, culture and consciousness.

This call is something we need to respond to in relation to the contemporary reliance on computational forms of knowledge and practices and the co-constitution of new computational subjectivities. This chapter argues that to comprehend the digital we must, therefore, know it from the inside, we must know its formative processes.

We must materialize the digital and ask about the specific mediations that are made possible in and through computation, and the infrastructural systems which are built from it. This calls for computation and computational thinking to be part of the critical traditions of the arts and humanities, the social sciences and the university as a whole, requiring new pedagogical models that are able to develop new critical faculties in relation to the digital.

URL : https://books.openedition.org/editionsmsh/9091

Perseids: Experimenting with Infrastructure for Creating and Sharing Research Data in the Digital Humanities

Author : Bridget Almas

The Perseids project provides a platform for creating, publishing, and sharing research data, in the form of textual transcriptions, annotations and analyses. An offshoot and collaborator of the Perseus Digital Library (PDL),

Perseids is also an experiment in reusing and extending existing infrastructure, tools, and services.

This paper discusses infrastructure in the domain of digital humanities (DH). It outlines some general approaches to facilitating data sharing in this domain, and the specific choices we made in developing Perseids to serve that goal.

It concludes by identifying lessons we have learned about sustainability in the process of building Perseids, noting some critical gaps in infrastructure for the digital humanities, and suggesting some implications for the wider community.

URL : Perseids: Experimenting with Infrastructure for Creating and Sharing Research Data in the Digital Humanities

DOI : http://doi.org/10.5334/dsj-2017-019

Introduction à l’écrilecture scientifique et aux modalités techniques de son augmentation

Auteurs/Authors : Evelyne Broudoux, Gérald Kembellec

L’objectif de cette introduction est de placer l’écrilecture numérique dans le contexte des humanités numériques afin de mieux saisir l’ancrage de ce procédé comme partie prenante de cette mise en mouvement disciplinaire.

L’écrilecture, y compris scientifique, est une pratique ancienne dont les procédés évoluent en même temps que les outils et qui structure la réflexion de générations de penseurs.

URL : https://archivesic.ccsd.cnrs.fr/sic_01494369

Humanités numériques responsables

Auteur/Author : Bernard Reber

Les humanités numériques sont bien loin de se résumer aux seules sciences documentaires augmentées. Elles affectent les savoirs eux-mêmes. Cet article part donc des humanités dans leur origine historique pour comparer et lier de diverses manières les sciences qui lisent et celles qui comptent.

Il aborde également les façons dont ces sciences se répondent, un des sens de responsabilité (responsiveness). Nous esquisserons cinq itinéraires de pensée au sein des humanités numériques, entre technologies de l’information et de communication et sciences humaines et sociales.

Cela fera le lien entre les humanités numériques et la notion émergente, principalement en Europe, d’Innovation et de recherche responsables (IRR). Elle est différente des évaluations éthiques qui s’imposent déjà à toute recherche (Ethical complicance).

Celles qui comportent des technologies d’information (TIC) ont détrôné par leur nombre celles qui préoccupaient la bioéthique. Nous verrons alors la richesse des conceptions de la responsabilité morale. Nous terminerons avec des problèmes liés à l’ontologie des humanités numériques, à celle de l’action, et à la décontextualisation qu’elles induisent.

URL : http://terminal.revues.org/1575

Networks of digital humanities scholars: The informational and social uses and gratifications of Twitter

Authors : Anabel Quan-Haase, Kim Martin, Lori McCay-Peet

Big Data research is currently split on whether and to what extent Twitter can be characterized as an informational or social network. We contribute to this line of inquiry through an investigation of digital humanities (DH) scholars’ uses and gratifications of Twitter.

We conducted a thematic analysis of 25 semi-structured interview transcripts to learn about these scholars’ professional use of Twitter.

Our findings show that Twitter is considered a critical tool for informal communication within DH invisible colleges, functioning at varying levels as both an information network (learning to ‘Twitter’ and maintaining awareness) and a social network (imagining audiences and engaging other digital humanists).

We find that Twitter follow relationships reflect common academic interests and are closely tied to scholars’ pre-existing social ties and conference or event co-attendance. The concept of the invisible college continues to be relevant but requires revisiting.

The invisible college formed on Twitter is messy, consisting of overlapping social contexts (professional, personal and public), scholars with different habits of engagement, and both formal and informal ties.

Our research illustrates the value of using multiple methods to explore the complex questions arising from Big Data studies and points toward future research that could implement Big Data techniques on a small scale, focusing on subtopics or emerging fields, to expose the nature of scholars’ invisible colleges made visible on Twitter.

URL : http://ir.lib.uwo.ca/fimspub/71/

 

Apport et limites des Humanités Numériques (HN) dans la construction, la reconstitution des réseaux d’acteurs à partir de l’exploitation d’une revue numérisée : l’exemple des Annales d’hygiène et de médecine coloniales (1898- 1940)

Auteur/Author : Isabelle Thiebau

Notre étude porte sur une revue médicale coloniale centenaire, ce qui s’avère relativement rare. Ce périodique est singulier non seulement parce qu’il dépend directement du ministère des Colonies, mais également parce qu’il traite de médecine, d’hygiène et de pharmacie coloniales et/ou tropicales, tandis que de nombreuses autres revues médicales se sont spécialisées autour d’une seule discipline.

De nombreuses questions se posent alors. Quelles spécificités relient une revue à un domaine colonial, médical et militaire ? Quel type de réseau peut-on établir autour d’une revue ? Quels sont les acteurs et leurs caractéristiques ? Quels sont les indicateurs significatifs et modélisant pour une revue ?

Pour y répondre, l’analyse des usages actuels des Humanités Numériques (HN) dans la construction ou la reconstitution de réseaux d’acteurs dans une revue médicale coloniale, semble pertinente. Néanmoins, il faut en souligner les apports, les modèles, les limites et les risques.

C’est ainsi, que nous prendrons position face à l’histoire des sciences, aux HN et à la médiation en fonction d’une prise de distance et d’une analyse réflexive de notre pratique, de nos essais et de nos besoins. Autrement dit, il y a bien sûr une part singulière et subjective à certaines de nos hypothèses de travail et de notre regard sur l’utilisation de certains outils et méthodes.

URL : http://memsic.ccsd.cnrs.fr/mem_01347103v1