Going Digital Opening Conference



For those of you have not visited Goldsmiths before, the building the conference is being held in looks like this!


14 thoughts on “Going Digital Opening Conference

  1. Great to see this blog going live. Looking forward to meeting everyone tomorrow.
    Pam Cox, Dean of the Graduate School, Essex University

  2. Great idea especially as you can get a WordPress app and blog during the conference! Might also be good to set up a twitter feed in the sidebar and create a hashtag for the day!

  3. Looking forward to welcoming everyone to Goldsmiths tomorrow. We’re hoping that not too many of you will have your journeys disrupted by the forecast snow. See you tomorrow.

    Les Back

  4. Thanks for getting the project off to a great start. Thinking about the opportunities and challenges of digital humanities was fruitful – not only crowdsourcing and data mining – but also the opportunities presented by for example, the multiplicity of manuscript digitalisation projects for impacting on provenancing of documents and scribal hands. Other digital humanities prijects we discussed were single book digitalisation projects, the setting up of incrwasingly detailed prosopography databases and widening the use of source materials in the databases to exploire mentalities and histories of emotions. This of course leads to challenges – how far is it possible to understand emotions from non ego documents? Although David D’Avray’s work on arenga and Rita Copeland’s on uses of rhetoric do demonstrate the possibilities. Other concerns voiced during the conference were focused on fears of plagiarism when one’s work is shared on the web, potentially devastating for an early career researcher. Also the general feelings of inadequate time and knowledge to take on a computer programing course to feel digitally competent. So the Chase project is a key step forward. I finish as I began by thanking the organisers, speakers and project leaders – glad the snow didn’t stop us getting to Goldsmiths, even if some of us had to leave early ….

  5. In our 10-minute discussion on opportunities and challenges, we two art historians felt we were neither phobic nor enchanted about digital technology. We can see its enormous potential in the humanities for access to sources, data gathering and analysis, presentation and publicity. We can see direct and immediate benefits to our own field, and we’re looking forward to gaining a greater acquaintance with the capacities of the different tools outlined at the opening conference. Nevertheless, our areas of interest and research are generated by unique physical artefacts. However sophisticated the digital environment, it cannot be a substitute for close acquaintance with the physical and material qualities of the real thing. We have a general concern about the development of digital technology to become an end in itself, driving and dictating the course of future research. We have reservations about the proliferation and prominence of unmediated digital broadcasting in which the quality and integrity of information is suspect and the opportunities for self-aggrandizement – not to mention time-wasting – are legion.

  6. Me (Ryan Burns) and Marina Fuser chatted about the opportunities and challenges of ‘Going Digital’.

    For me, the digital technologies that I study have the potential to generate data themselves. For example, I would previously have used fieldwork/observations to map how paper technologies are moved within a laboratory space. With digital technologies, I can use the GPS capability to get the devices to map themselves. The major downside I face at the moment is being able to judge which of these new types of techniques are a benefical addition or supplement to existing research methods – and which just look cool!

    Marina wants to have a better understanding of digital technologies because the filmmaker she studies is self-reflexive about the move from Kodak film to digital. The change in form is consciously critiqued in the content of the newer films, so an understanding of the impact of the digital on film is necessary. The main advantage of the digital is in the increased availability of texts, especially films. The challenge is having to learn new skills and gain knowledge which was until relatively recently totally outside the remit of film scholarship. Understanding digital film production adds another layer and type of expertise to the requirements of a film scholar.

  7. During the conference in smaller groups we shared ideas about the new landscape under the familiar headings: Opportunities and Challenges. I’ve got notes from the group of four I was part of and we recorded the conversation using a handset but from memory, here’s a summary:


    1) The possibility of other ways of presenting and capturing research (from researcher who’s PhD work looks at Television. – Discussion centered on the possibility of communicating academic research to wider audiences without dumbing down.

    2) How might creative writing (the researcher’s subject area) be impacted by the tools available now? – Some discussion around Form & Content.

    3) A researcher from Ghana referred to the situation there and the benefits he might bring returning equipped with new knowledge.

    4) I mentioned my interest in us being able to influence the new media and technology developers: CHASE maybe gives us weight to do so. For example if intuitive and easy annotation and note writing were possible via Kindle or similar devices then that would transform it as a study/research tool as well as a reading tool. This appears do-able and potentially is already available but not widespread. Probably our recommendations would be of value.


    1) The researcher from Africa spoke of the poor infrastructure there, the difficulty in accessing the network outside the more urban areas. – We discussed ‘uneven and combined development’, the tiger economy examples, and now defunct schemes like ‘Laptops for Africa’.

    2) The easy availability of much information undermines motivation to carry out deeper, more difficult, research.

    3) How does this really help with creative writing for example: the writing itself still needs to be done, regardless of what information is available or should writing change to facilitate that. Does interactivity and do contemporary expectations reduce the interest or likelihood of a patient reading or receiving of longer works for example.

    4) The rate of change complicates life, for researchers too, a deluge of information or possibilities exist and this can be overwhelming as well as useful.

    Above from memory, as I say, so can’t guarantee the accuracy or whether I’ve omitted something important, Will check the notes at some convenient point….

  8. Manuscripts and the digital world.
    – Accessibility

    – The materiality is lost but it is made ubiquitous
    – Can make it easier to read? or can’t it? (depends on each manuscript)

  9. At the opening conference, wiith my digital neighbour from Saudi Arabia, we found out we had a very different relationship to the digital in regards of the academic environment. Text mining turns out to be a crucial tool in the research of my colleague, as she is comparing academic papers and theses produced by native speakers and non-natives. In my case, I am going digital in a different manner: coming from a Literature department, I am growing aware of the possibilites of presentation and communication in general that the digital allows to promote my work.

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