Everyone’s history?! An inventory on writing contemporary history in the digital age

Frédéric Clavert, Serge Noiret (Editors), L’histoire contemporaine à l’ère numérique, Contemporary History in the Digital Age, Bruxelles, Bern, Berlin, Frankfurt, New York, Oxford, Wien, 2013. 381 p.

Review

The humanities are subject to a continuous, but recently accelerated change. In the meantime, this change has a powerful name: Digital Humanities. And this name is program – the humanities are to be made ​​ fit for the digital age. To this, in october 2009, a symposium took place, organized by the Centre virtuel de la connaissance sur l’Europe and the University of Luxembourg. The aim was to take into view the new sources, tools and methods of contemporary history. The contributions are now available in a rich anthology, edited by Frédéric Clavert and Serge Noiret, two protagonists of the Digital Humanities in Europe. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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Big Data

Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier, Big Data, A Revolution That Will Transform How We Live, Work and Think, London 2013

A short review for the Digital Humanites

The already vast amount of data doubles every two years. In Big Data Viktor Mayer-Schönberger and Kenneth Cukier describe the opportunities that lie in this abundance of hidden digital data that, so far, have been analyzed only to a small extent. Big Data is one of the most important current digital trends. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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Digital_Humanities: THE Book!

Anne Burdick, Johanna Drucker, Peter Lunenfeld, Todd Presner and Jeffrey Schnapp, Digital_Humanites, Cambridge 2012

A short cut and some remarks

“Two decades ago, working with digital documents was the exception. Today it is the norm” – Anne Burdick and her co-authors write; and: “If the humanities are to thrive and not just exist in niches of privilege, they will have to visibly demonstrate the contributions to knowledge and society they are making in the digital era”. This extremely interesting book from the MIT studies emerging methods and genres, cases as Geographical Information Systems (GIS), new textual corpuses and virtual reconstructions, deals with “the social life of the Digital Humanities”, confronts us with some “provocations” and ends with a short practical guide to the emerging Digital Humanities. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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Silent Revolution: The Algorithms and Hyper-modern Knowledge

Mercedes Bunz, Die stille Revolution, Wie Algorithmen Wissen, Arbeit, Öffentlichkeit und Politik verändern, ohne dabei viel Lärm zu machen, Berlin 2012

A short cut and some remarks

Mercedes Bunz, former chief editor of Tagesspiegel online, believes that the digital revolution could have “dramatic consequences” – dramatic as those of the industrial revolution in the 19th Century. In the information society, according to her thesis, algorithms change the professional lives of the middle class today, as the machines changed the lives of workers that time. This “silent revolution” is accentuated through the creation of a new, naturally digital organized, public. Here’s a short cut, and some comments on the general argumentation of Mercedes Bunz. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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Twitter in the Humanities

Microblogging more and more is an issue in the Humanities, too. ResearchGate, for instance, allows the exchange of short information in research and scienceBut better known is Twitter. Mareike König from the DHI in Paris has published an interesting and detailed guide to the use of Twitter in History (in German). Here an English short cut. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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Empirical turn in the Humanities? The Frankfurter Allgemeine on the results of the Hamburg conference

Digital tools and methods become more and more important in the Humanities. The Frankfurter Allgemeine, a leading journal in Germany, sees “the end of the hermeneutical individual research” coming. The computer based processing of huge data bases allows researchers totaly new approaches to and in their field of studies. But a prerequisite for this is the development and maintenance of – rather expensive – research infrastructures (digitization, data management, data archiving). In Germany, the politicians seem to be ready to take this new situation into account and to draw the (financial) consequences. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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La place dans les Humanités Digitales – Commentaire

Le billet “The place in the Digital Humanities” du 8 Juin 2012 (revue du livre Non-lieux de Marc Augé) me semble intéressant et je vous donnerai mon opinion, non pas exclusivement depuis la perspective des communautés des humanités numériques et de leurs lieux de vie et de travail mais depuis mon expérience générale des communautés numériques et physiques. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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The Book in the Digital Information Age

Michael Giesecke, Von den Mythen der Buchkultur zu den Visionen der Informationsgesellschaft, Frankfurt a.M., 2002

Review for the Digital Humanities

What happens to the book in the digital information era? If there is one to know, it is Michael Giesecke, Professor for Comparative Literary studies at the Erfurt University. The media theorist published a reference work on book printing in the Renaissance. Thereto he links his new book. He diagnoses the collapse of the “book culture” in the post-industrial society and postulates a remedy – a new orientation or direction – with the help of information-theoretical approaches. Both in this “Second Renaissance” is of interest for the Digital Humanities, of course. I will concentrate therefore on two of Giesecke’s many theses: on information as a production factor and on the new forms of collective collaboration in the information society. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht: The analog virtual Humanist

Hans Ulrich Gumbrecht, In 1926: Living at the Edge of Time, Harvard University Press, 1997

Review with respect to digital humanities (avant la lettre)

A key feature of Digital History are hypertexts (to that, see the post on Wolfgang Schmale about Digital History). The possibility to link informational objects (text, image, video, sound) in a text distinguishes a hypertext from a conventional text. For historians it is actually a long-cherished dream that comes true: they can now combine their text, the result of their research, with the sources, the raw material of their scientific work. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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Manuel Schramm, Digitale Landschaften, Stuttgart 2009

Review with respect to digital humanities

Historians have (re)discovered space as one of their issues. This has been manifested in the great response to the topic “borders” at the Swiss Congress of Historical Sciences 2010 in Basel or to the exhibition The Mastery of Space about the Swiss pioneer for US Surveying and Mapping, Rudolf Ferdinand Hassler, 2007 in Switzerland, for instance. The history of cartography is anything but an issue on the margins of history. This is also witnessed by the historical publication of Manuel Schramm, comparing the cartography in the United States and Germany in the second half of the 20th century (See my separate post to the The place in the Digital Humanities). Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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We think: Charles Leadbeater and the Digital Humanities

Charles Leadbeater, We-think, Mass innovation, not mass production: The Power of Mass Creativity, London, 2009 (Updated Version)

Review with respect to digital humanities

Charles Leadbeater is an authority on creativity in organizations in the English-speaking world. In particular he worked on knowledge-driven innovation strategies. Leadbeater is inter alia Member of the influential London think-tank Demos and the Oxford University’s Said Business School. He is considered an important supporter of the Pro-Am [ateur] revolution. The question arises as to the relevance of his ideas for the digital humanities. Continue reading

Guido Koller

Senior Historian, Swiss Federal Archives, CH-3003 Berne, Switzerland

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