Digital Humanities Café

One of the most painful lessons we learned from the practical application of approaches based on pure signal and systems theory is the Apollo 11 missing tapes disaster. Many researchers blame the lack the “human element” to be responsible for the loss of the raw data from the Apollo 11 mission.

Therefore we would like to strengthen the human factor and ask the participants to work collaboratively with each other in taking the discursive center stage in the afternoon of the first day of the first Vienna Summer School on Digital Humanities. By utilizing the atmosphere of equality and intellectual exchange that so often has served scholarly communities so well, we suggest that the participants cluster in three groups where they will alternately discuss central aspects of our still emerging field. Within those smaller discussion groups participants can then impart knowledge out of their own research to the others more cooperatively, friendly and purposefully than it would be possible by holding one individual presentation after each other.

The three main aspects we suggest for those discussion groups are:

A) Questions of data acquisition, data generation and possibilities for a sustainable flow of data from digital archives or repositories to Digital Humanities Research and back. What are the problems with data acquisition and generation? Are there general criteria to be considered or is this possibly also part of DH-Research? How sustainable are your own research results regarding to digital curation aspects? Can you rely on digital archiving standards in your research? What is your personal experience with already available digital infrastructure?

B) Questions of transformation, code and topologies. Are you coding yourself or do you rely on others for transforming your research data into usable information? How important are individually designed algorithms for your research? Can you rely on already available software designs or is it necessary to create new concepts specifically fitting your project/research? How important is it for your work to get close to the development process where the „real magic“ happens? Are there standard libraries, procedures, protocols or organizational concepts you already rely on and can recommend to others?

C) Questions of presentation, interface and knowledge transfer. How applicable will your research results be for others? Are you aiming for a ready made application or is it rather more important to publish a paper on just the most interesting aspects of your research? What is your target audience? How important is it for the future conduct of your research to produce “beautiful” results in the form of an App for example? Do “aesthetical” aspects influence your research or change the bias of your work? Are didactical concepts part of your DH-research?

The joint experts of the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for History and Society and the Electronic Commerce Group from the Institute of Software Technology and Interactive Systems at the Vienna University of Technology will moderate these discussions. They are going to help with instigating information interchange on a human level and also provide modes of sustainably securing the results.