A recent Newsweek article (http://www.newsweek.com/2010/08/09/take-this-blog-and-shove-it.html) about the decline of blogging has left me feeling melancholic about the sense of infinite possibility that has surrounded the World Wide Web since the mid-90s. Newsweek reports that fewer and fewer people are writing their own blogs, fewer and fewer people are contributing to Wikipedia, and that, increasingly, people are using the Internet to shop, tweet, and check their Facebook accounts. In the Literature and the World Wide Web class that I teach every summer, I expose my students to some of the earliest writers of digital fiction and poetry, and the ethos of these writers is, more or less, that you can do anything online: forms and genres no longer constrain, publishers and editors no longer guard the gates, and information and knowledge want to be free. Almost twenty years into the Internet, though, it seems like that sense of possibility is diminishing. Our experience with the ‘Net is increasingly limited to a number of highly formalized platforms (Google, Facebook, etc.), and the radical future we once imagined is failing to materialize. Maybe I’m being too pessimistic. Maybe I’ve just let the scare tactics of Newsweek get to me. I will admit to being nostalgic for the mid-90s and the sense of possibility that the Internet represented.
Check out the list of the newest NEH grantees in the digital humanities: http://www.neh.gov/ODH/ODHUpdate/tabid/108/EntryId/141/Awards-for-Digital-Humanities-Start-Up-Grants-August-2010.aspx
Disturbing news about the Google – Verizon pact: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/craig-aaron/google-verizon-pact-it-ge_b_676194.html
From a recent symposium at the Newberry, here’s Johns discussing the study of digitized rare books on his eBook reader. He draws some interesting parallels to the reading practices of early modern coffee houses. (The link to Johns’ piece is at 9:30 am on the schedule for the RLG Symposium: http://www.oclc.org/research/events/2010-06-11.htm)
The Text Encoding Initiative (TEI) has just launched a new digitization program, AccessTEI. This program allows member institutions to outsource the transcription and basic structural encoding of source material (whether in print or manuscript, in any language, any sized job), at bulk prices with Apex Covantage, a leader in digitization outsourcing. The program features an easy-to-use web-based portal (http://accesstei.apexcovantage.com/).
A current list of institutional members is at http://www.tei-c.org/Membership/current.xml. If your institution or project is not already a member, cost of membership varies from $100 to $5,000/year, depending on the size of the organization and the type of economy in which it is located. A membership application can be found at http://www.tei-c.org/Membership/teimembershipform. Pricing for AccessTEI services to TEI members can be found at http://accesstei.apexcovantage.com/Home/PriceMatrix.
This program, which was developed with funding from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation is only one of the benefits available to members of the TEI. Member institutions are also eligible for significant discounts on XML software and site licences, and savings (usually over 50%) on workshops and conferences hosted by the TEI.
Stanford, the land of “distant reading” is having students work with Google Books in the classroom: http://chronicle.com/article/The-Humanities-Go-Google/65713/?sid=wc&utm_source=wc&utm_medium=en
Here’s an announcement from Google that’s been getting a lot of attention from scholars in the digital humanities: http://googleblog.blogspot.com/2010/07/our-commitment-to-digital-humanities.html