Talk: Computational Media Design + DH

This is a talk I gave on October 27th at the University of Calgary, “The Interface between CMD and Digital Humanities” about relationships between the Computational Media Design program and the digital humanities on campus. 
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Five things I’ve learned about the Digital Humanities

Melissa Terras wrote recently on the fifth anniversary of the UCL Centre for Digital Humanities. She closed with this call for responses:

what are the things you’ve learnt about the Digital Humanities in the last five years, from where you stand?

This blog post is my attempt at an answer.

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Augmented Criticism and Rhetorical Figures


This paper is the latest in a series about the Rhetorical Schematics Project, housed in the Augmented Criticism Lab: a digital collaboration between the Universities of Waterloo and Calgary, where Adam James Bradley and I are based.

I presented it first at the Canadian Society for Renaissance Studies (CSRS) conference at Congress 2015, and a revised version a few weeks later at the 2015 Shakespearean Theatre Conference in Stratford, Ontario. 


2015-05-30 CSRS slideshow.002

My subject is “Augmented Criticism and Rhetorical Figures.” If that sounds highly technical, let me assure you that Adam and I are literary critics first and digital humanists second. That is, we use computers only to augment traditional research inquities, that are rooted in philology.

Here, for instance, our inquiry is into rhetorical figures, or the patterns of repetition and variation that make poetic language memorable, compelling, and beautiful.

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DEVONthinking with MPU

One of my favorite podcasts, Mac Power Users, has just released a stand-alone show on DEVONthink, the information-management system for Mac that I’ve used for the past five years or so. If you’ve heard of Evernote, which is the system that MPU’s hosts Katie and David frequently talk about, then you know what DEVONthink is.

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Language Use and Cognition: Shakespeare’s Gradatio in Context

This is the text of my paper for a seminar at the Shakespeare Association of America conference (April 2015), called Form, Complexity, and Computation


This paper explores literary complexity as it manifests in rhetorical figures, or the patterns of repetition and variation that make language beautiful and memorable, and thus make it powerful. Figures have the advantage of being computationally tractable. My research team has a Python script that uses regular expressions to detect them — first in Shakespeare’s works, and then in a 400-play corpus (supplied by Martin Mueller) from 1576 to 1642. Below, I compare Shakespeare’s use of one figure to these broader habits of usage. I conclude that while Shakespeare’s use appears to be more nuanced, it is also more narrow in its ambitions.

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CFP: New Tech + Renaissance Studies @ RSA2016

A CFP for RSA 2016, 31 March – 2 April, Boston MA

Since 2001, the Renaissance Society of America annual meetings have featured panels on the applications of new technology in scholarly research, publishing, and teaching sponsored by Iter. Panels at the 2016 meeting (31 March – 2 April, Boston) will continue to explore new and emerging projects and methodologies — this year also featuring virtual presentations and interactions at and in advance of the conference in Boston, in partnership with Iter Community.

We welcome proposals for papers, panels, and or poster / demonstration / workshop presentations on new technologies and their impact on research, teaching, publishing, and beyond, in the context of Renaissance Studies.  Examples of the many areas considered by members of our community can be found in the list of papers presented at the RSA since 2001 and in those papers published thus far under the heading of New Technologies and Renaissance Studies.

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Second Annual RSA-TCP Article Prize

Cross-posted from the RSA site, where you can find more information. 

The Renaissance Society of America and the Text Creation Partnership (TCP) jointly offer a $600 article prize for scholarly uses of the range and depth of digitized Renaissance materials. The purpose of the prize is to encourage and reward scholarship that expressly emerges from the scholar’s use of databases or digitized research objects.

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Report on Big Data and Digital Scholarship

Capitalizing on Big Data: Toward a Policy Framework for Advancing Digital Scholarship in Canada

I spent today in an Ottawa conference room talking about data management plans for Canada’s digital scholars. It was hosted by the main federal granting agencies (SSHRC, NSERC, CIHR, and the CFI), collectively known as the TC3+. The TC3+ recently reported on the future of research data, including data stewardship and funding guidelines. Today’s conversation was based on that report, and on its 58 responses from universities, organizations, and individual researchers.

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Social-Media Sabbatical

tumblr_m1rbuwwVgO1r028o8o1_500I’m taking a 3-month break from social media from September through November, to finish a book manuscript. That means a hiatus from my Twitter, Facebook, Google+, and Pinterest accounts — and even from this blog. I’ll be back at the beginning of December.

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