In my day job I work on digital preservation, that is, ensuring long term access to digital information. Aside from that, I spend a lot of time participating in and listening in on conversations in the digital humanities. I feel digital preservation and the digital humanities aren’t in nearly enough conversation.
There is a lot of work focused on analyzing digitized texts, but there remains surprisingly little focused on the study of a range of born digital materials. Interestingly, the folks doing most of the work with born digital materials often tend to be working in fields like sociology, anthropology and have more of an affinity with the social sciences. So, I’d love to have a session where we talked a bit about the kinds of research and scholarship humanists could do based on born digital materials.
I’ve got a few examples of different kinds of born digital collections to spark you’re imaginations;
- 700,000 restaurant reviews from several major US cities from Yelp
- Collection of 3200 selfies pulled from instagram
- 51,000 Midi Files from the Geocities Archive
- The Internet Archive’s Historical Software Collection
- The Enron Email dataset
- Salman Rushdie’s Laptop
I figure in the session we can discuss some of these examples, add some more to our list, and think about what kinds of research and perspectives that humanities scholars could bring into analysis and exploration of these and related sources.