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Welcome to Day of DH 2010. This is your first post. Edit or delete it, then start blogging!

Planning vs. Reality

I had planned on writing one long entry today to talk about DH at UNC-Charlotte, but I was recently in Berlin with students and some had things stolen out of their youth hostel, so I get to deal with police reports, etc. today. I will write more on DH later but for now, I’m still dealing with the aftermath of this episode.


Okay, I’m temporarily done dealing with police reports and stolen electronics. This has not been a particularly DH filled day and promises not to be. I’ll just give an update as to what initiatives we have taken and are taking at the Center for Humanities, Technology, and Science at UNC-Charlotte.

First, our Digging into Data proposal prepared in conjunction with colleagues at the University of Alberta and the New Jersey Institute of Technology wasn’t funded. We were proposing a mining and visualization project dealing with intimacy in epistolary instruments. We will definitely resubmit if the Digging into Data program comes up again in ‘10 or ‘11.

In the fall, we hosted “DH 101: Rethinking the Scholarly Enterprise” in Charlotte. The primary speakers to whom I owe a great deal of gratitude beyond the coffee mug they recieved were Kurt Fendt from MIT’s HyperStudio, Loretta Auvil from NCSA at Illinois, Stan Ruecker from University of Alberta, and Jason Rhody from NEH, who for obvious reasons got no mug because we all know that NEH people will do anything for you if you give them a mug. We had around 50 attendees from around North Carolina and South Carolina interested in learning about DH. I think in the future, I’ll make it less text oriented so it’s attractive to mappers, mashers and other visually oriented people.

A group in Charlotte, in conjunction with Anthony Beavers at the University of Evansville, has submitted a proposal for a DH Summer Institute on complex systems. I think in dealing with complex systems we can forge a real niche for ourselves at Charlotte given that we have my center and the budding North Carolina Complex Systems Institute. The director is very interested in truly interdisciplinary work and has convened a diverse group of scholars for bi-monthly brainstorming sessions. It seems like a very promising avenue for my center and for DH in Charlotte.

This leads to the only DH aspect of today and brings us around full circle to Berlin, police reports, and stolen items. We were to submit an DH start up grant proposal for the March Deadline, but is not going to happen given all I’m having to deal with now. I made that decision today unfortunately.  We look forward to submitting a proposal dealing with complex systems for the October deadline.

More later…

Complexity and DH

Back from a decidedly non-DH event – a father-daughter book group.  We read “The Book Thief” and I highly recommend it.   Anyway, I’m considering for my next project some kind of visualization of nanodiscourse as a complex system. A little theory – if a complex system is composed of agents actively connected through predominantly nonlinear relationships, then we can think of all of the fields that impact our understanding of nanotechnology – science, politics, commerce, art, literature, philosophy – as agents. The connections between these agents are active in that information, values, signs and symbols flow through the system and vitalize it. What complexity theory requires, however, is true interdisciplinarity. What it offers is an understanding of those influences as a self-organizing, quasi-stable pattern – identifiable but evolving, intelligible but not necessarily predictable – that promotes unique behaviors at each location within the system. Thus, an interdisciplinary interpretation of nanodiscourse must reach beyond separate influences to an appreciation of the overall behavioral pattern of the system. I’d like to assemble a team from each of the fields that compose nanodiscourse (business, economics, politics, philosophy, literature, art, the natural sciences, etc.) and map the system in a way that cleary shows how nanotechnology is a product of much more than science and that also attempts to show the development of nanodiscourse in the future.  This is my dream DH project.