Deep Map

A deep map as for instance the Swiss Storymap anchors historical objects – letters, photos, reports etc. – in time and space, thus allowing us to obtain layers of views on our cultural heritage. Such a  universal humanities GIS (Trevor Harris) would base on a geospatial Web in which participants are both producers and consumers of data. So, geography would situate us on a physical map, history in time. It is necessary to combine both, structure and activity, to cater the “dense contingency” of all social life, David J. Bodenhamer says (please see my review on his input at the Luxembourg Conference to this). He is an expert on the spatial turn in historical research and links it to the potential of Web 2.0.  So, at the end Geographical Information Systems (GIS) can reduce the distance between observer and observed, let the past appear as dynamic and contingent as the present.

In the time of World War One a well equipped patrol of the Swiss Army is making a break. Do you know where the photo has been taken? Locate it on Swiss Storymap.

Copyright photo: Swiss Federal Archives, E27#1000721#14094#2592.

Guido Koller

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

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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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The Philosophy of the Digital Humanities

David M. Berry, The Computing Turn, Thinking About the Digital Humanities, in: Culture Machine, Vol. 12, 2011

A short cut

Digital technologies mediate research. They also change underlying epistemologies and ontologies. David M. Berry, Associate Professor/Reader in Digital Media, has been thinking about this. Here a short cut of his interesting article: 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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Trust in Numbers

Theodore M. Porter, Trust in Numbers, The Pursuit of Objectivity in Science and Public Life, Princeton 1995

Review for the Digital Humanities

Preliminary remark: Numbers are an important element in the Digital Humanities. The Frankfurter Allgemeine even writes, in connection with the Digital Humanities Conference 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, of the empirical turn in the humanities. High time, then, to read the book of Theodore M. Porter on numbers as well as the book of Alain Desrosières on statistics (please see my separate post) again. Continue reading

Guido Koller

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

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Statistics: The Politics of large Numbers

Alain Desrosières, La Politique des Grands Nombres, Histoire de la raison statistique, Paris 1993, 2000

Review with respect to the Digital Humanities

Numbers and statistics are an extremely important element in the Digital Humanities. The Frankfurter Allgemeine writes, after the Digital Humanities Conference 2012 in Hamburg, Germany, of the empirical turn in the humanities. High time, then, to read the classic book of Alain Desrosières again (this is also true for Theodore M. Porter’s Trust in Numbers, of course). It is about the social world as a construct, about calculating probabilities, mean values, the law of large numbers, nominalism and taxonomy, the history of the statistics in different countries (France, United Kingdom, Germany, United States), (sample) surveys, econometrics and about the prediction of a victory of the Republicans that was wrong because the survey has been made by telephone. Continue reading

Guido Koller

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

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