3.619 curriculum? software? (92)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Sun, 22 Oct 89 18:54:19 EDT

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 619. Sunday, 22 Oct 1989.

(1) Date: Sat, 21 Oct 89 18:46:00 EDT (27 lines)
From: "DAVID STUEHLER" <stuehler@apollo.montclair.edu>
Subject: Help with Computing in Humanities course

(2) Date: Sat, 21 Oct 89 10:16 CDT (45 lines)
From: John Baima <D024JKB@UTARLG>
Subject: Software Humanists want

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 89 18:46:00 EDT
From: "DAVID STUEHLER" <stuehler@apollo.montclair.edu>
Subject: Help with Computing in Humanities course

Help! This Spring I am scheduled to teach a course in
Computing in the Humanities. Although I am only in the early
planning stage, the bookstore is clamoring for book orders. Can
anyone suggest a text or texts for this course?

So far, I would like to cover the following areas (probably
too much):

Basic computer literacy and wordprocessing (maybe some DP).
Communications--e-mail, file transfer, Humanist, etc.
Programming--perhaps combined with an intro to hypertext
using something like Knowledge Pro.
Literary analysis using scanned text and Word Cruncher
Data base and bibliography access

I will appreciate any advice on any aspect of this course,
but especially on a choice of texts.

Please reply to
Dave Stuehler
Bitnet: E989003@NJECNVM

(2) --------------------------------------------------------------49----
Date: Sat, 21 Oct 89 10:16 CDT
From: John Baima <D024JKB@UTARLG>
Subject: Software Humanists want

Since I develop software, it's one of the things I think
about every now and again :-). The main applications are:
word processing, graphics, spreadsheets, databases and
communications. Some have been wildly successful in providing
these applications to businesses. Consider WordPerfect. They
are shipping 128,000 units of WordPerfect per month. They
have a small army that handles over 10,000 support calls per
day (they figure that they get 2 calls per copy). Although
they have been very successful, they have been at it for 10

However, I doubt that the major commercial software really
meets the needs of Humanists. Some of the problems I see with
developing software for humanists are: (a) It is a small
market compared to the business market. No one is ever going
to ship 128,000 total units of software designed and marketed
to Humanists. For example, according to the July 1989 TLG
newsletter, there were 371 TLG CD-ROM disks in circulation as
of July 1. That includes sales to 23 countries. (b) The needs
and wants are tremendously varied.

Development of significant software is expensive. There are a
number of ways to fund software development. (1) Be
independently wealthy. (2) Get some benevolent organization
to give you the money. (3) Some academic institution can
sponsor the software. (Are academic organizations benevolent?
Do they belong under (2)?) (4) Collect user fees.

Without (1) there would be no Ibycus. Without (2) there would
be no TLG. Of course, combinations of these are often used.
And sometimes, non-benevolent organizations act in benevolent
ways (such as Apple providing money for the Perseus project).

Since I, like most people, find 1-3 unavailable, the
questions I have are: what specifically do humanist scholars
want, how many copies could be sold and how much are they
willing to pay for the software. I would very much like to
hear how others in this group would answer these questions.

John Baima