3.925 support (110)

Willard McCarty (MCCARTY@vm.epas.utoronto.ca)
Thu, 11 Jan 90 21:40:45 EST

Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 3, No. 925. Thursday, 11 Jan 1990.

(1) Date: Thu, 11 Jan 90 09:48:19 CST (25 lines)
From: Norman Hinton <SSUBIT12@UIUCVMD>
Subject: supporting computers: supporting scholarship

(2) Date: Thu, 11 Jan 90 10:00:00 EST (45 lines)
Subject: 3.922 freebies, cont. (161)

(3) Date: Thu, 11 Jan 90 12:35:10 EST (17 lines)
From: cbf@faulhaber.Berkeley.EDU (Charles Faulhaber)
Subject: Re: 3.922 freebies, cont. (161)

(1) --------------------------------------------------------------------
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 90 09:48:19 CST
From: Norman Hinton <SSUBIT12@UIUCVMD>
Subject: supporting computers: supporting scholarship

My school seems to be backwards in various ways. I have a University
computer at home for my research, and our Department has its own PC,
which has never lacked for equipment and repair support. Our Dean
has set up a very good desk-top publishing room, available to anyone
on the faculty, with a 386 machine, a laser printer, and Ventura.

Sigh. However, I was asked to become the editor of the newsletter for
a well-established medieval organization. We have all the computer
equipment we need for it: the University would have to pay a few hundred
dollars for mailing the newsletter. At its previous school, the editor
was given released time (we call it Non-Instructional Assignments) to
do the job: I agreed not to ask for any such thing. BUT the University
Administration informed me that it did not regard such activities as
useful to the school and therefore could not allocate any funds for
folding/mailing/paper etc.

The only moral I can draw from this is that they will get you one way
or another: if it isn't the equipment, it's something else.

Heigh-ho: if University teaching didn't exist, it would be impossible
to invent it as it is.....
(2) --------------------------------------------------------------56----
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 90 10:00:00 EST
Subject: 3.922 freebies, cont. (161)

To all who responded to my tale of woe about my dead Mac, many thanks.
Kessler-at-UCLA is of course right when he points to the unequal
distribution of computing resources; that goes for my campus as well. I
should note that the wounded (temporarily dead) Mac in question was not
paid for with departmental funds, nor acquired for me by my department:
it was donated to the University by Apple, and awarded to me as the
result of a successful proposal in a competetive process; once I had
demonstrated sufficient progress on the project, the machine was
transferred to the Department inventory, with the understanding that the
Department would then assume responsibility for maintenance. However,
there were and are no funds in the Department budget or the College
budget for maintenance contracts, though I have been trying for three
years now to persuade someone, somewhere in the administration of this
august institution that it's damn stupid to have millions of dollars
worth of equipment and no provision for keeping it in working order...
Karen Ruhleder points out that in many departments computer maintenance,
etc. is paid for out of grant money-- again, that's true on my campus as
well. But there's very little such money around in the humanities: I'm
not aware of any department in the College of Liberal Arts here at UT
Austin that has secured such a grant, though of course there may be some
(in Psychology, perhaps, which has a very large computing facility) that
I don't know about. The Lab I run has a tech whiz who can fix many
things, provided he can get the necessary parts-- but we don't have, and
never have had, a budget specifically for parts, nor a budget for
routine maintenance, etc. Does anyone have information about funding
sources for such things? I will cheerfully write up a proposal if I can
find out who to send it to... I am convinced (to end on a less whiney
note) that much of what's going on here stems from more or elss
universal surprise at the computerization of humanities scholarship and
research. We've always been relatively cheap (though you wouldn't know
it to hear the legislators talk), requiring little more than office
space, some books, and maybe a typewriter and a ditto machine (yes, we
still use ditto machines), and of course salaries (which are as unevenly
distributed as computer equipment). No one expected us to need or want
computing equipment, nor did WE expect to need it or want it; and there's
no infrastructure to support it. As I said in a previous message,
that's one of the ways in which conferences like Humanist are so
valuable: they help all of us to get a clearer sense of what's needed in
the way of support services, and what common problems we face, and what
solutions various people have found. Thanks again to all.
John Slatin
(3) --------------------------------------------------------------28----
Date: Thu, 11 Jan 90 12:35:10 EST
From: cbf@faulhaber.Berkeley.EDU (Charles Faulhaber)
Subject: Re: 3.922 freebies, cont. (161)

I would ask Karen Ruhleder to check out the situation of computing in
the humanities departments at UC Irvine. I'll bet it's not nearly so
sanguine as in Computer Science. I know that it's not at Berkeley.
Departmental budgets are inadequate even for basic supplies and
expenses, and the College of Letters and Science has consistently
refused to provide support for computing at either the departmental or
college level. Nor does there exist a tradition of extramural research
funding in the humanities which can make up the difference.

Charles Faulhaber
UC Berkeley