19.745 computer science, the humanities and humanities computing

From: Humanist Discussion Group (by way of Willard McCarty willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
Date: Tue, 2 May 2006 06:33:09 +0100

               Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 745.
       Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
                     Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu

         Date: Tue, 02 May 2006 06:30:47 +0100
         From: Charles Ess <cmess_at_drury.edu>
         Subject: Re: 19.731 computer science, the humanities and
humanities computing?

Hi Willard,

just briefly - we're headed into final exams, etc.

Always profit (enormously) from your postings like this, and I think
the literature you cite is very helpful indeed. And, of course, I'm
always happy to see you raise a philosophical question (smile). What
I think I would gently point out - in my view, one of the most
exciting and interesting intersections between the humanities and CS
is the emerging discussion regarding (a) not simply Information and
Computing Ethics - a discussion that expands as the ethics of
Information affects anyone who deals with information, starting with
librarians but then expanding to any human being who touches a
keyboard - hence, these are exciting times indeed as philosophical /
applied ethics dialogues with our colleagues in CS, but also library
science, etc. in collaborative efforts to develop, articulate, and
then teach ICE - primarily to CS students, but certainly to anyone
engaged with information.

(the bibliography in this domain is already huge - but a relatively
new area is the ethics of computer games: see (ahem)

But also
(b) as this dialogue becomes increasingly cross- and intercultural.

So I (ahem) recently edited a special issue of _Ethics and
Information Technology_ on "Lost in Translation"?: Intercultural
Dialogues on Privacy and Information Ethics (Introduction to Special
Issue on Privacy and Data Privacy Protection in Asia) Volume
7, Issue 1 (March 2005), Pages: 1 - 6. 2005 (see
D=74916460&CFTOKEN=49357291> for the full table of contents - i.e.,
contributions from Japan, China, Thailand, and "the West")

and I'm working on a co-edited volume with Soraj Hongladarom on
_Information Technology Ethics: Cultural Perspectives_. Idea Publishing, 2006.

As well, the Uehiro and Carnegie foundations sponsored a conference
last December in Oxford on "Information Ethics: Agents, Artifacts and
New Cultural Perspectives." A number of us - including the really
big guns: Deborah Johnson, James Moor, Terrell Ward Bynum, Luciano
Floridi, Rafael Capurro - along with our Japanese counterparts (and
yours truly) - were invited, and the resulting papers will appear in
a special issue of _Ethics and Information Technology_.

Finally, as you know, my work in Norway is focused on "bridging
cultures" - starting with the humanities and CS, and my project this
coming year will be to expand on initial collaborations with
colleagues in applied ethics and CS in building "ethics modules" for
insertion in CS courses.

A lot going on, and I'm sorry that my ethical focus seems to have cut
me off from a lot of other things going on in the digital humanities
- but, at least thanks to you and HUMANIST, I maintain some sort of
clue as to what is going on...

hope this is helpful - as always, comments and questions
welcome. g'luck in the meantime, and best wishes,

- charles

> Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 19, No. 731.
> Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London
> www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/humanist/
> www.princeton.edu/humanist/
> Submit to: humanist_at_princeton.edu
> Date: Wed, 26 Apr 2006 07:08:49 +0100
> From: Willard McCarty <willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk>
> >
> Since the early 1970s there have been a number of speculations about
> a relationship between computer science and the humanities, e.g. by
> Jean-Claude Gardin, Nancy Ide, Christian Koch, Robert Oakman, Tito
> Orlandi, Manfred Thaller and others. In the US, the National Research
> Council has sponsored two major reports that touch on the
> possibilities, Computing the Future (1992) and Beyond Productivity
> (2003), and a Roundtable Meeting (1997) which resulted in Computing
> and the Humanities (1998), published by the American Council of
> Learned Societies. The US National Initiative for a Networked
> Cultural Heritage (NINCH) held a Building Blocks Workshop in 2003,
> again to explore the relationship. In Europe the British Library has
> published Interpretation in the Humanities: Perspectives from
> Artificial Intelligence, ed. Richard Ennals and Jean-Claude Gardin
> (1990) and the Advanced Computing in the Humanities (ACO*HUM) project
> has produced the book Computing in Humanities Education: A European
> Perspective (1999) identifying the basis for what in several European
> languages is more easily called a humanities computing "science". My
> own book, Humanities Computing (Palgrave, 2005), has a chapter that
> explores computer science in order to clarify the relationship with
> humanities computing. This year, the US Commission on
> Cyberinfrastructure for the Humanities and Social Sciences is
> concluding its work -- a draft report is now in circulation; unlike
> the earlier US reports, its focus is on what the humanities can gain,
> a relationship with CS is mentioned (by my count, 5 times). Later
> this year, at the University of New Brunswick, the Canadian Symposium
> for Text Analysis (CaSTA -- not to be confused, as Google does, with
> supermodel Laetitia Casta) is holding a conference dedicated to the
> topic, with an unsurprising emphasis on textual computing: Breadth of
> Text: A Joint Computer Science and Humanities Computing Conference,
> at the University of New Brunswick.
> Significant, I think, is the fact that at the CaSTA conference this
> October, members of the concluding panel (which includes me) have
> been asked to make provocative statements as to our perceptions of
> how the two research areas can inform each other. Apparently a
> question-mark remains the most prominent aspect of the putative
> This note has two purposes. My first purpose is to ask you kindly to
> supply references to any discussions of this relationship that I have
> somehow overlooked. Indeed, if you think from looking at this list
> that I am asking the wrong question, please say so. My second purpose
> is to urge anyone involved in collaborations between computer
> scientists and humanists, including humanities computing
> practitioners, to write about what is happening or has recently
> happened, or to attract those who will analyze and theorize the
> collaborations, e.g. PhD students from the social sciences. If you
> are in possession of unpublished writings on the topic and are
> willing to send them to me, then I would be very grateful.
> In addition to the above, that is, I am in the process of cataloguing
> a number of untheorized but very interesting collaborations of
> computer scientists, scholars in the humanities and humanities
> computing practitioners, so that my own speculations will be better
> informed. The question I am asking is, I think, a bit different, more
> of a philosophical enquiry. It is, rather, that given the basic
> tendencies and inclinations both of computer science and of the
> humanities, what kinds of developments might actually be worth
> pursuing? Raiding parties from CS are to be expected but from my
> point of view not very interesting. I want to know about new ways of
> thinking and working that may be of long-term value to us.
> Thanks very much for any suggestions.
> Yours,
> WM
> Dr Willard McCarty | Reader in Humanities Computing | Centre for
> Computing in the Humanities | King's College London | Kay House, 7
> Arundel Street | London WC2R 3DX | U.K. | +44 (0)20 7848-2784 fax:
> -2980 || willard.mccarty_at_kcl.ac.uk www.kcl.ac.uk/humanities/cch/wlm/

Charles Ess

Distinguished Research Professor,
Interdisciplinary Studies <http://www.drury.edu/gp21>
Drury University
900 N. Benton Ave. Voice: 417-873-7230
Springfield, MO 65802 USA FAX: 417-873-7435
Home page: http://www.drury.edu/ess/ess.html

Co-chair, CATaC'06: http://www.catacconference.org
Co-chair, ECAP'06: http://www.eu-cap.org

Professor II, Globalization and Applied Ethics Programmes
Norwegian University of Science and Technology
NO-7491 Trondheim, Norway

Exemplary persons seek harmony, not sameness. -- Analects 13.23
Received on Tue May 02 2006 - 01:57:55 EDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Tue May 02 2006 - 01:58:03 EDT