humanities computing centres and programmes, cont. (133)

Thu, 13 Apr 89 19:14:00 EDT

Humanist Mailing List, Vol. 2, No. 836. Thursday, 13 Apr 1989.

(1) Date: Wed, 12 Apr 89 23:00:26 EDT (52 lines)
From: Ian Lancashire <>
Subject: Humanities computing centres

(2) Date: Thu, 13 Apr 89 05:17:07 EDT (49 lines)
From: David.A.Bantz@mac.Dartmouth.EDU
Subject: Re: Humanities Computing

(3) Date: Thu, 13 Apr 89 09:23 EDT (7 lines)
Subject: Humanities Computing 3 lines

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Wed, 12 Apr 89 23:00:26 EDT
From: Ian Lancashire <>
Subject: Humanities computing centres

Daniel Uchitelle and Martin Ryle miss my point, which is to
help faculty members obtain funds to create a new
humanities computing centre, not to advocate that universities
become technical vocational schools.

Faculty will choose, as I said before, different models for their
humanities computing centres. One group may decide to assist
editors of scholarly editions, a second computational linguists,
a third those who might favour computer-assisted composition labs.
**Whatever that model is**, it better prepares humanities undergraduate
students for a career in an information-processing society. You
needn't give up reading poetry to students to introduce them
to natural language computing.

I did not suggest that humanists become programmers, only that
the existing pool of graduates suited for professional careers
in technology is too narrow. Our undergraduates, by virtue of their
skills in reading, thinking, and writing, can have a formidable
impact in business and government if they had the confidence to
apply for jobs which, until recently, programmers could fill
and leave no room for liberal arts students. Humanities computing
centres help give humanities students that confidence. Such centres do
not undermine what our departments teach. They apply technology in
service of traditional humanities goals and **in the process of
doing so** serve the students who must afterwards leave universities
to earn a living, as well as serve a society that looks to universities
for the workers who can help it survive and, if possible, thrive.

This argument is one I believe anyone will listen to.

If we humanists want funds never before available to us to build
laboratories, to finance text archives, databases, and software
development, we must persuade society that we deserve the **extra**
support. We may well be doing a good job now in convincing society
that humanities faculty are good to have around, but we will have
to resort to new arguments to obtain expensive equipment. This is so
because any resources we may get will be at the expense of
some scientific or engineering project.

This `wise' opinion doesn't make me `sad'. On the contrary, I am
glad at the prospect of seeing what we already teach valued more
highly in society.

If I recall correctly, "Brave new world" is a quotation from
Shakespeare's Tempest. Miranda, the innocent daughter who has seen
little of men, says this without irony as she views her future husband
Ferdinand. The union of these two virtuous youngsters ends a long
period of war and gives real hope for the future.
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------62----
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 89 05:17:07 EDT
From: David.A.Bantz@mac.Dartmouth.EDU
Subject: Re: Humanities Computing

One more contribution to the postings describing humanities computing centers:

Humanities Computing at Dartmouth is administered through the Academic
(faculty) side of the institution rather than the computer center. The
Director of Computing in the Humanities reports to the Dean, and meets with
the teaching department chairs in the Humanities Council. Humanities
Computing was instituted by the Humanities faculty to provide broad support
for computing activities by and for humanist teachers and scholars.
Humanities Computing has conterparts in the Social Sciences and in
Math/Computer Science Department. All three Directors are PhD's with
experience in their disciplines and occasionally teach in their Divisions.

Humanities Computing serves 13 Departments in languages (including English and
Classics), Art History, Philosophy, Religion, and three fine arts departments.
We also administer the Langauge Resource Center which includes traditional
(audio) language lab and newer video and computer facilities. We aim to be
the first point of contact for faculty with either problems or ideas for
projects involving computing (or interactive video, ...). We have Macs, laser
printer, scanner and some other tools available for faculty, and we run the
Kurzweil Data Entry Machine. We have approximately a dozen software
development projects underway, with much of the coding done by part-time
undergarduates; we share with the other Directors in the Arts and Sciences two
full time project manangers who coordinate projects, and ensure a certain
level of quality control.

An important component of our work is providing a voice for the needs of the
humanities at the campus level; we work with the computer center and other
administrative bodies to help shape campus computer planning and policies, and
secure resources for the humanities. Lately we have spent an awful lot of
time demonstrating some of the software developed at Dartmouth or running
workshops in HyperCard at other institutions.

Much of the software development is supported by "soft" funds from a variety
of foundation grants.

Dartmouth relies largely on the Macintosh for micro-computing and we have come
to be advocates of the sort of graphics based, consistent model of interaction
embodied in the best Macintosh applications. The fact the Mac was designed
from the lowest levels to be cognizant of different fonts, scripts, and
languages has been enormously helpful to us and to our faculty. In Humanities
Compouting and the Language Resource Center we have 14 Macintoshes of various
stripes and one IBM PC (also one NeXT computer); we occasionally have all our
Mac's in use, but never have had a backlog on the PC.

We would be glad to host visits by readers of Humanist.
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------12----
Date: Thu, 13 Apr 89 09:23 EDT
Subject: Humanities Computing 3 lines

Are any schools offering degree programs in something like humanities
computing? If so please post info here or write .