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Humanist Archives: May 10, 2019, 6 a.m. Humanist 33.12 - reliability, authority, archiving & sustainability

                  Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 12.
            Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
                   Hosted by King's Digital Lab
                Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org

    [1]    From: Patricia Galloway 
           Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.7: reliability? authority? (70)

    [2]    From: James Smithies 
           Subject: Archiving & Sustainability  (34)

        Date: 2019-05-09 13:24:48+00:00
        From: Patricia Galloway 
        Subject: Re: [Humanist] 33.7: reliability? authority?


I think archivists might have a bit to say on this subject when it comes
to digital creations--and the Software Preservation Network is gathering
information to motivate an effort to prepare emulation environments in
trustworthy repositories. At least preserving software and environments
may permit serious experimentation with reliability and authenticity.

Pat Galloway
School of Information
University of Texas at Austin

On 5/9/2019 12:10 AM, Humanist wrote:
>                    Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 33, No. 7.
>              Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London
>                     Hosted by King's Digital Lab
>                         www.dhhumanist.org
>                  Submit to: humanist@dhhumanist.org
>          Date: 2019-05-08 07:29:33+00:00
>          From: Willard McCarty 
>          Subject: reliability? authority?
> I've been asked to comment on two aspects of digital scholarship in the
> humanities and interpretative social sciences: reliability and
> authority. I'm inclined to answer as follows:
> (1) Reliability
> First, what do we want the machine reliably to do? I see a spectrum from
> the close-to-absolute reliability of a machine instructed to do exactly
> as told at the finest level of detail, to one given a set of initial
> conditions and liberty within loose constraints to run with them (as in
> a simulation).
> Second, how do we establish the reliability of results among skeptical
> colleagues? Consider the results that are co-produced, negotiated in
> Hutchins' sense: “the person-in-interaction-with-technology [that]
> exhibits expertise” (1995: 155). This, I'd think, involves persuading
> others as usual for any discipline plus getting them to take on board
> the perspective which the machine defines.
> (2) Modes of authority
> First, to whom or to what authority does the new discipline look for
> help? In the human sciences there is no Nature, no supreme authority,
> however elusive. Computer science, as a whole, has other concerns. Is
> not the authority in this sense the loose assembly of elder disciplines?
> Second, over what domain can digital inquiry claim to have authority?
> I'd think the domain of all artefacts as data and all methods of inquiry
> rendered into algorithmic form, focusing on (a) reasoning, sense-making
> with these data and algorithms, and (b) study of the effects on
> scholarly and social life.
> Comments?
> Yours,
> WM
> --
> Willard McCarty (www.mccarty.org.uk/),
> Professor emeritus, Department of Digital Humanities, King's College London;
> Adjunct Professor, Western Sydney University; Editor, Interdisciplinary
> Science Reviews (www.tandfonline.com/loi/yisr20) and Humanist
> (www.dhhumanist.org)

        Date: 2019-05-09 09:01:02+00:00
        From: James Smithies 
        Subject: Archiving & Sustainability 

Dear all,

The list might be interested in an article, currently in preview, we've
published in Digital Humanities Quarterly: 'Managing 100 Digital Humanities
Projects: Digital Scholarship & Archiving in King's Digital Lab'. It describes
our efforts to assess, sustain, and (where sensible) archive ~100 projects
inherited from decades of DH activity at King's College London. We don't claim
to have resolved all the issues, but have made real progress.

We will be joining colleagues from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New
Media (RRCHNM), Stanford University Press, and the Endings Project, University
of Victoria, in a panel discussion titled 'Clearing the Air for Maintenance and
Repair: Strategies, Experiences, Full Disclosure' at DH2019, Utrecht, to widen
the conversation. These projects manage over 350 DH projects between them. We
aim to be as open as possible, in the belief that this is the best way to
improve understanding of the complex issues in play, across both the DH and
policy communities.

The article is available here:
http://www.digitalhumanities.org/dhq/vol/13/1/000411/000411.html. I encourage
you to share it not only with colleagues, but also administrators who might

On a personal note I would like to thank the team at King's Digital Lab for
their care, attention, and advocacy for all our projects, and for the Faculty of
Arts & Humanities at King's for their generous commitments.

Best wishes,

Dr. James Smithies
Director, King's Digital Lab

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