From BASIC to the Day of DH 2012

March 8, 2012 in Biography, Reflecting

I’m happy to be taking part in the Day of DH for 2012. In previous years the Day has passed me by, but this year I’ve decided that not having the time to do something worthwhile is a poor kind of reason to not do it. So, here I am, contributing from the perspective of someone who teaches English literature and digital humanities, who lives in London and teaches in Glasgow, and who never dreamed that the road from programming in BASIC in primary school in the 80s and wrestling with unintuitive music notation software on an Atari in high school in the 90s (see image at right) might one day lead her to a dream job using digital tools to study literature and culture, and being paid to write and talk to other people about it.

As I’ve written on my own site, there are many things to like about the Day: it embodies the DH ethos of openness and sharing one’s work with as wide an audience as possible; it disregards the hierarchies that are so entrenched in academia, as anyone can participate; and it will create a resource for further study in the form of a dataset of all the posts and images, and no doubt tweets and other things. (Oh, and I love that among the tags for tagging one’s posts is “DDH-CoffeeHouse”. Put me down for that.)

What am I likely to be doing on the Day of DH? In a perfect world, I would be happily buried in one or other of my digital-projects-in-process: an edition of correspondence between mid-century Canadian modernists, and a digital map of writers and events in Paris with relevance for modernist culture. As it is not a perfect world – and is in fact the last week of the teaching term at my university – it is much more likely that I will instead by buried under a raft of emails from students panicking about exams and assessments, trying to preempt potential tech fails for the screencasts and transatlantic Skypecast for the student presentations that are occurring the following day in TextLab, one of the DH courses I help to run at Strathclyde, and snatching as much time from all of that as I can in order to write polish a conference paper I am giving the following week on digital mapping and Canadian literature. And you?

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