humanities computing centres, cont. (218)

Fri, 7 Apr 89 20:29:25 EDT

Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 813. Friday, 7 Apr 1989.

(1) Date: Thu, 06 Apr 89 20:28:29 EDT (45 lines)
From: Ian Lancashire <>
Subject: Creating a Humanities Computing Centre

(2) Date: Thursday, 6 April 1989 2309-EST (17 lines)
Subject: Starting a Center

(3) Date: 7-APR-1989 11:33:39 GMT (30 lines)
Subject: Computing Centres for Humanities

(4) Date: Fri, 7 Apr 89 15:58:25 EDT (14 lines)
From: Chuck Bush <ECHUCK@BYUADMIN.bitnet>
Subject: shrouded colleague

(5) Date: Fri, 7 Apr 89 14:36:56 EDT (43 lines)
From: Charles Ess <DRU001D@SMSVMA.bitnet>
Subject: humanities computing centres

(6) Date: Fri, 7 Apr 89 16:59:23 EDT (29 lines)
From: bobh@phoenix (Robert Hollander)
Subject: centres

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 06 Apr 89 20:28:29 EDT
From: Ian Lancashire <>
Subject: Creating a Humanities Computing Centre

In Ontario the demand for intelligent, technologically well-trained
graduates far outstrips the number who proceed through (for instance)
programmes in computer science and engineering. The one hundred
graduates of Toronto's department of computer science may almost
write their own ticket in the private sector, and competition is
intense for their services. Many positions remain unfilled.

One of the best arguments for a humanities computing centre is its
role in giving our students the confidence to move into such positions.
Industry has gradually come to recognize that, to meet its needs, it
has to widen the pool of potential candidates for its jobs to include
students from the liberal arts. In a word, the "recruitment"
needs of an information society can be better met if universities
give technology to the humanities **on its own terms**.

The anonymous colleague who wonders how to create a humanities
computing centre should start here, with the university's
(still) most obvious role, producing workers for society.

If a college has two or three faculty committed to humanities computing,
for whatever reasons, it has what's needed to get started. From that
point on, centres of quite different characters take root. Several
models operate successfully throughout North America. They develop
according to the professional goals of those faculty and so any one cannot
easily be taken as "the best way" to found a centre. To administrators
who think in the long term, who develop strategies to increase the
influence and so the budget of their universities, however, the argument
that computing humanists will better enable their institutions to
meet society's needs will be almost universally admitted.

This is especially true now that the novelty of seeing humanities
faculty using computers has been exhausted and it is no longer
"innovative" (in a national or an international community) to set
up humanities computing centres. The argument now has to be that
it is **essential** to create them.

Ian Lancashire
Centre for Computing in the Humanities
University of Toronto
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------20----
Date: Thursday, 6 April 1989 2309-EST
Subject: Starting a Center

At some point -- but not until at least after 15 April! --
I would be willing to contribute to a discussion of what is
involved in starting and maintaining a Center/Centre. If the
mysterious inquirer is at the Toronto conference, he/she might
wish to attend the panel discussion on Archives (Thurs evening),
at which many of the relevant issues are sure to surface in one
form or another! Ah, Toronto; the needs of its publicity packets
call. In parting, and again for openers, consider the presence of
Macintoshes at Drexel Univ. (without a proper "humanities center"),
at Brown Univ. (IRIS and all that, at least at one level), and
at Harvard Classics (Perseus Project).

Later. Bob Kraft (CCAT)
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------33----
Date: 7-APR-1989 11:33:39 GMT
Subject: Computing Centres for Humanities

King's College, London has a Humanities Division within its
Computing Centre. We have recently set up a Humanities Computing
Room, with software we believe to be of use primarily for
humanities computing users. Since the Computing Centre as
a whole has standardised on IBM PS/2 and Mac computers,
and humanities users within the College generally reflect this mix, the
Humanities Computing Room has both types, with 3 Mac SEs, 1 Mac II,
3 IBM PS/2s, and 1 Opus which is connected to a desktop
Kurzweil (7320). A CD-Rom player is attached to the Mac II.
We also have an older Kurzweil 4000 which is
primarily used by humanities users. The choices of software
and hardware were made in the light of a number of factors,
including: hardware and software primarily used by the
Computing Centre and college, future plans within the college
for humanities computing terminal rooms, recommendations from
certain users members of the humanities division of the Computing
Centre (which at present has nine individuals). The funding of
the room was complicated, and subject to intense lobbying on the
part of some academics within the College. In my position
(as simply an adviser/analyst within the division) I don't know
much more of the ins and outs of the budgeting, but could
refer anyone interested to relevant people here.

Susan Kruse
King's College London, UK
(udaa270 @
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------21----
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 89 15:58:25 EDT
From: Chuck Bush <ECHUCK@BYUADMIN.bitnet>
Subject: shrouded colleague

Perhaps we do not meet all of "shrouded colleague"'s criteria, but we
would be willing to correspond with him/her and offer such help and
advice as we can. I am the one to talk to about Macintosh issues
(ECHUCK@BYUADMIN). Our director, Randy Jones, (JONES@BYUADMIN) is the
one that handles budget problems. I could forward questions to him,
but he may well volunteer to correspond directly as soon as he gets
back from a trip and caught up on HUMANIST.

Chuck Bush
(5) --------------------------------------------------------------51----
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 89 14:36:56 EDT
From: Charles Ess <DRU001D@SMSVMA.bitnet>
Subject: humanities computing centres

Regarding the inquiry for humanities computing centre -- similar to my
own (so far, unanswered) request -- I can recommend to your shrouded
humanist the following:

1) The new Watson Computing Center at Brown University (which also
works cooperatively with the Institute for Research in Information and
Scholarship [I.R.I.S.], the organization responsible for Intermedia)
uses Macintoshes -- though as the name might suggest to those familiar
with IBM history, not exclusively. If your shrouded humanist is not
already aware of IRIS, s/he may wish to contact: Julie L. Ryden, Area
Associate, I.R.I.S., Brown University, Box 1946, Providence, RI 02192
USA: tel. 401-863-2001. Julie (whom I know from my involvement with
the Continents of Knowledge project) also may be reached by e-mail at:

2) Robert Jones at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign, is
in charge of a hypermedia lab of some 15 Macintoshes. (He, too, is a
part of the Continents project). He's as knowledgable as anyone I know
about these sorts of things -- though he's also hard to get hold of. In
any case, his e-mail address is or rajones@uiucvmd.bit

Finally, it may be that your shrouded humanist is interested in much the sorts
of things I am facing as I attempt to build up an Honors computing lab, using
Macintoshes, for developing hypermedia tutorials by way of Intermedia. If so,
I would be happy to correspond. There is certainly much that I have to learn
about all this.

While the notions of being shrouded are not overly attractive -- please keep
this response shrouded.


Charles Ess
Philosophy and Religion Department
Drury College
900 N. Benton Ave.
Springfield, MO 65802 USA
(417) 865-8731
(6) --------------------------------------------------------------41----
Date: Fri, 7 Apr 89 16:59:23 EDT
From: bobh@phoenix (Robert Hollander)
Subject: Re: Chicago? musical scanning? centres? (68)

Centers? Marianne Gaunt (Rutgers) and I (Princeton) have been talking for
a year, first between ourselves and now with a small universe of the
interested and competent, about trying to develop a national (Canadians
*do* apply) center for machine-readable texts in the humanities. A group
of 18-20 people are gathering early in May to discuss the next steps. Our
hope is to be funded for a year of feasibility study. We are already
setting up a group of non-Rutgers/Princeton Humanities-computing people
to serve as an "external" board. We would hope to give this center a
physical home in New Jersey. It is too early to be sanguine about our
ability to bring all this into being. The principal tasks which we currently
envision for such a center are as follows:
1) Reinvigorate the project initially developed by Marianne: the inventory
of m-r texts.
2) Collect and disseminate m-r texts.
3) Produce when asked to do so m-r texts.
4) (eventually) Edit and make available materials which do not exist in
easily usable form (e.g., manuscripts).

This is a tall order. As we begin to learn about needs and possibilities,
we will attempt to keep interested parties informed, especially since we
will want to have as much information about what is really needed as we
can find.

Robert Hollander