Decoding Digital Humanities

DDH is back for the 2011-2012 Academic Year!

Come to the IUB chapter of Decoding Digital Humanities! All are welcome. Decoding Digital Humanities is an informal gathering for those who are interested in all things digital, providing an opportunity to mingle, share ideas, discuss readings and raise questions surrounding the field of digital humanities.  Decoding Digital Humanities chapters are active in the U.K. and Australia and provide opportunities to engage in international discussion forums.

The April meeting will take place on Friday, April 27th from 4-6pm at Wells Library E174. This meeting will focus on a screening of A Digital Renaissance: Illuminating the Iliad, a film documenting the digitization of the oldest complete copy of Homer's Iliad in Venice, in 2007. During the summer of 2007 researchers from the University of Kentucky, University of Houston, College of the Holy Cross, Furman University, and Brandeis University gathered in Venice, Italy at the Marciana Library to digitally preserve the Venetus A, the oldest existing complete text of the Homeric Iliad. Meticulously crafted in Byzantium, the Venetus A has been stored for 500 years in the Marciana Library. Its thousand-year-old pages contain handwritten notes recoding a tradition of scholarship going back to the Ptolemaic scholars of the second century BCE. In addition to digital photos, the text was also scanned in 3D with each page now fully preserved as a 3D model.

The film is one hour long and the screening will begin at 4pm, with discussion to follow. We'll have a few people who took part in the digitization project joining via Skype. Snacks will be provided! For more information and to view a trailer:

For more information about this meeting and other past meetings click the Read More tab below.  To read more about discussions at our past meetings visit the DDH Website.



Past Meetings


Decoding Digital Humanities, February 2012 Meeting

The theme for February was the alternative academic, or "alt-ac" movement. This movement is when academics, usually those with a PHD, decide to take positions that are not as tenure track teaching faculty. Instead, these academics find jobs in other areas of academia or perhaps even leave academia but still continue to research and publish. This is a movement that is affecting the humanities, as scholars take positions outside of the standard humanities teaching positions, but still influence what is going on within the academic community.

The discussion focused on two readings. The first, a blog post by Bethany Noviskie which started this trend andthe other is by William Pannapacker on alt-ac being the future of the academy. Feel free to check out resources or follow the #altac or #alt-ac hashtag on twitter to see what is going on currently with the movement.

Decoding Digital Humanities, September 2011 Meeting

For the meeting we discussed Melissa Terras'"Artefacts and Errors: Acknowledging Issues of Representation in the Digital Imaging of Ancient Texts."

The theme for September was,  "Issues of Representation in Digital Imaging." As digital images of primary sources become more accessible, many scholars tend to interact with images of sources rather than with the sources themselves. What are the scholarly implications of this move? Can we trust our digital surrogates, and if not how can we trust our readings of them? Although Terras' article focuses on sources used for study in the Classics, the issue will be of interest to any scholar who uses primary sources, no matter the discipline or time period.



April's theme was "GIS and the Spatial Humanities"

For the meeting, we discussed the following article:

David J. Bodenhamer's "The Potential of Spatial Humanities"

What possibilities can thinking about space, in qualitative and quantitative terms, afford us? What are the possibilities for GIS in humanities scholarship?

Please also visit the DDH Website


Decoding Digital Humanities, March 2011 Meeting

The theme for March is "Building Things."
For the meeting, please read the following articles:

* Stephen Ramsay's "Who's In and Who's Out" and "On Building"
* Matthew Kirschenbaum's "Hello Worlds: Why Humanities Students Should
Learn to Program"

One of the persistent tropes in defining DH is the idea that digital
humanists build things. Tools. Objects. Stuff. The degree to which they
_should be_ engaging in such differentiates scholars’ definitions of the
field. Whether, for example, humanists should learn to program (to, among
other things, facilitate building things) is currently being debated as
we struggle to define our field.

  • What is/should be our relationship to creating digital objects?
  • What roles do we/should we play in such? (Primary investigators? Cowboy coders?)
  • How are the things we see DH practitioners creating related to the kinds of things humanists have always created (books, articles, etc.)?

Come join us for friendly face-to-face conversation and beer.

RSVPs are not required but would be appreciated.


Grant Simpson
Department of English and School of Library and Information Science
Dot Porter
Associate Director for Digital Library Content and Services


The October DDH meeting took place on Thursday, October 21st, from 4-6 PM at the Irish Lion. October's theme was, "Open Access, or, You Cannot Get a Database from Interlibrary Loan."

The two articles discussed in the October 2010 were:

Peter Suber’s “Promoting Open Access In the Humanities” [1]

Sayeed Choudhury’s “Position Paper on Licensing/Legal Matters” from the Open Source Critical Editions Workshop [2]

A message from the organizers:  With digital technology comes new affordances, including, paradoxically, the ability to more effectively limit access through digital “rights management” (DRM) schemes. Without disabling such protections, DVDs cannot be copied, copy-protected files will not be authorized for play, and passages from a Kindle book cannot be cut and pasted into an article. It is this new world that DH practitioners must navigate in the use and creation of digital objects. But as both creators and users, we are in a ideal position to discuss the issues and ethics surrounding access and licensing.

Grant Simpson, Department of English
Dot Porter, Associate Director for Digital Library Content and Services


For a summary of the September 14th meeting go to

Upcoming Events

Advanced Visualization Lab Open House
April 30, 11 AM – 2 PM
IU Technology Complex
(located on the east side of campus at 10th and the bypass).

Come anytime between 11 AM and 2 PM to see the IQ-Wall, Science on a Sphere, Visualization & Collaboration Theater, and IQ-Tilt.  AVL staff will be on-hand to highlight each of these state-of-the-art visualization systems, and to answer questions relating to how you might use them.

The 24-tile IQ-Wall
(Cyberinfrastructure Building - CIB)
The IQ-Wall will be showcasing a variety of images and applications appropriate for its ultra-high resolution canvas.

The recently installed Science on a Sphere (SOS)
(Cyberinfrastructure Building - CIB)
The SOS features an array of earth-centric data on its 68" diameter globe.

The Visualization & Collaboration Theater (VCT)
(Innovation Center - IC)
The VCT, we will highlight some scientific visualization efforts currently being conducted by AVL staff and their collaborators.

The very first IQ-Tilt to be deployed on the IUB campus.
(Innovation Center - IC)
The IQ-Tilt is a large multi-touch enabled display that allows users to explore multimedia galleries on their own and with other users.

If you are interested in attending, please check-in with the receptionist on the first floor of the CIB (2709 E. Tenth St., Bloomington). After exploring the CIB systems, AVL staff will direct you to the adjacent IC building to continue your tour.
For more information, visit:

Upcoming Opportunities

Ten International Research Funders Announce Round Three of the Digging into Data Challenge

Deadline: May 15, 2013

This year ten international research funders representing Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, and the United States, are jointly announcing their participation in round three of the Digging into Data Challenge, a grant competition designed to spur computationally intensive research in the humanities and social sciences.

The Digging into Data Challenge aims to address how "big data" changes the research landscape for the humanities and social sciences. As the world becomes increasingly digital, new techniques will be needed to search, analyze, and understand these materials. Digging into Data challenges the research community to help create the new research infrastructure for 21st-century scholarship.

Applicants will form international teams from at least two of the participating countries. Winning teams will receive grants from two or more of the funding agencies and, two years later, will be invited to show off their work at a special conference sponsored by the ten funders.

Final applications will be due May 15, 2013. 

Further information about the competition and the application process can be found at:

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