3.674 scope of Humanist; e-mail (126)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Tue, 31 Oct 89 18:06:44 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 674. Tuesday, 31 Oct 1989.

(1) Date: Mon, 30 Oct 89 22:52:54 EST (26 lines)
Subject: Re: 3.668 scope of Humanist (48)

(2) Date: Tue, 31 Oct 89 14:25:20 CST (14 lines)
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVME>
Subject: Re: 3.668 scope of Humanist (48)

(3) Date: Mon, 30 Oct 89 23:24:00 EST (13 lines)
Subject: E-Mail and the Old Days

(4) Date: 31 October 1989 (41 lines)
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Humanist is both

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 89 22:52:54 EST
Subject: Re: 3.668 scope of Humanist (48)

So far, I have refrained from making comments in the current discussion
about the proper function of HUMANIST. Although I am an historian who
has used computers for scholarly purposes for 16 years, reading the
comments of some people on the list, especially persons who appear to be
founders, convinced me that the function of the list was not to enable
humanists to write about the humanities or even how to share information
on how best to use both software and hardware in tackling "humanistic"
problems. Put another way, the list could easily be called "Ware
Problems--Soft and Hard."

That the list does focus on the engineering problems gives it value.
Many persons who do not work in the humanities do not understand the
kinds of problems humanists are likely to encounter nor are they
necessarily interested.

I have noticed that some contributors complain about the "technical"
approach. I use the term engineering for a reason. My reading suggests
that technical/technique/technological are not inherently based on

It is unfortunate that list members cannot be tolerant enough, yea,
interested enough, to want a list that includes both the engineering
issues and the humanist issues. It is a shame that some humanists are
not very interested in the full range of human activity.

"Professor, History, Mississippi State University
"Historians have a Richer Present"
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------23----
Date: Tue, 31 Oct 89 14:25:20 CST
From: "Michael S. Hart" <HART@UIUCVME>
Subject: Re: 3.668 scope of Humanist (48)

I am sure the humanists here at the University of Illinois would
appreciate some combination of technical and humanistic exchange
as there are very few of them actually logged on to any computer
networks here, and those usually are the ones for whom a friend?
(or an underling) has done all the "legwork" to get them on.

Once they get on, they will need some guidance and encouragement
to become worthwhile users of the systems and networks.

Michael S. Hart
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------20----
Date: Mon, 30 Oct 89 23:24:00 EST
Subject: E-Mail and the Old Days

I wonder if the joys of e-mail are something of a throw-back to the old
days in London. In the Chicago Tribune of Sunday, October 29 in the
book review section there was a review of a collection of the letters of
Leonard Woolf. The reviewer remarks that in London in Woolf's time
there were eight postal deliveries a day from 8:15 A.M. to 9:15 P.M.
The reviewer compares this to our phone calls and answering machines,
but it seems much more like this kind of mail. Alas, ours is more
ephemeral and the delete command always at hand. But perhaps I'm one
of the few who often downloads HUMANIST to print some of it.
(4) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: 31 October 1989
From: Willard McCarty <MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca>
Subject: Humanist is both

I hope that no one is under the heavy misapprehension that Humanist's
editor is attempting to force this seminar away from discussion of the
humanities entirely to a preoccupation with computing as such. In my
mind, for what it's worth, computing in the humanities as much involves
questions basic to the humanities as it does computing. Since
Humanist is an electronic seminar devoted to humanities computing, its
bailiwick encompasses both. What, then, is relevant to Humanist? To me
this is fairly obvious: topics that involve both.

My attempts to limit discussions here are motivated primarily by the
practical concern for the volume of mail. When we were small, we didn't
have to worry so much. Now, however, we must think hard about what
subset of things we want to deal with. Again, I think the choice is
clear -- computing in the humanities.

The Guide to Humanist (yes, ok, I wrote it) defines Humanist's concerns

"Its scope is broadly defined to include all matters of professional
concern to its members. Equally relevant are technical questions about
hardware and software, specific problems in humanistic scholarship, and
both the administrative difficulties and philosophical issues arising
from the application of computing to the humanities. Calls for papers,
bibliographies, and reports of lasting interest are also welcome."

We have been somewhat more strict with topics that have no apparent
connection to computing by assigning them to a separate issue, "Notes
and Queries", but this is no more a gulag than the regular issues of
queries and of announcements.

Does anyone wish to argue that the concerns of humanists have nothing to
do with computing? Not me!

Yours, Willard McCarty