By Heidi Kaufman and Matthew Hannah
Our last working group meeting on Nov. 20th sparked an exciting discussion of DH at UO. Enjoying coffee and brownies, over twenty faculty and graduate students from departments across campus listened to fascinating presentations by Dr. David Wacks and Dr. Massimo Lollini, followed by conversation and brainstorming of new ideas. This Research Interest Group meeting nicely encapsulated the twin poles of the DH project spectrum: the nascent concept and the finished tool.
Dr. Wacks presented his ideas for annotating the Bible in a new way, which would allow scholars in Hebrew, Arabic, English, and Latin to create side-by-side annotations for the text. Although still in the planning stages, this project offered some wonderful possibilities for Biblical scholarship. Relatedly, Dr. Wacks also invited suggestions for another project mapping decorative sculptures on European churches such as gargoyles or animals. These two projects prompted lively discussion of digital tools that could help build such web resources.
(Dr. Massimo Lollini discussing the Open Petrarch Project)
This discussion of possible digital platforms was followed by a presentation on a completed resource, the Open Petrarch Project designed by Dr. Lollini and his collaborators. Annotating Petrarch’s Rerum vulgarium fragmenta using TEI, this team created an original edition of this centuries-old poem. According to their web page, this web resource will allow for deeper reading of the poems: “Digital technology and hypertext approach create the condition necessary to appreciate the importance of each configuration of the Rvf in relation to the others conceived by Petrarch and/or the Petrarchan tradition.” Dr. Lollini’s presentation suggested some exciting concepts for teachers of literature: the linkage of digital humanities to innovative pedagogy.
Both presentations fit together nicely. Dr. Wacks offered us an early vision of a concept that the audience helped think through theoretically and logistically. In this portion, we imagined future possibilities for DH tools. With Dr. Lollini’s presentation, we enjoyed exploring the fully formed DH project and discussing ways to teach using it. Both projects inspired many in the audience to think about possible projects we want to develop and to conceptualize ways to teach using new tools.
Our next meeting will convene in winter term: January 8th, 2-4 p.m., in McKenzie 122. Save the date for what promises to be another wonderful set of conversations!