Word cloud of the first day of #dhlu realised by Frédéric Clavert with "many eyes"











My last week was entirely dedicated to Digital Humanities, first with the DHLU Symposium 2012 and than with the THATCamp Luxembourg/Trier. Impossible to resume the four days in this post so I will just highlight five points.

  • Thomas Lebarbé presented the Stendhal’s digital manuscript project. Coming from the IT-field he was easy to understand what is quite rare. He pleaded for a greater respect of the “technologists” by the “humanists”. If both fields want to work together, both fields have to find their interest in it. As long as technologies are only considered as auxiliary tools there will be no real cooperation. I know why we should use digital tools but why should computer scientists be interested in humanities?
  • I discovered a lot of new tools during the four days. And at several moments we had a discussion on a minimal digital toolbox for the students:
    • Zotero as reference manager,
    • WordPress for blogging,
    • Google refine for data analysis,
    • Google Reader to follow journals, blogs…,
    • many eyes for visualisation,
    • Python for coding but do we need coding,
    • ? for web content grabbing,
    • ? for creating timelines,
    • If you have other ideas please feel free to put them into the comments.
  • In a session we discussed a class I am planning from next year on. Inspired by the work of Alwyn Collinson on WW2, we will tell the story of the Great War through daily tweets. The idea was to make students write the tweets. Mark Tebeau pleaded for a more interactive approach where we will ask followers of @realtimeww1 to send us material that will be checked for its accuracy by the students before being tweeted. During the Open Day of uni.lu, we experienced World War One goes Twitter for the events happening 96 years earlier, on 24 March 1918.
  • It was my first conference where Twitter really played a major role. For the Symposium 25 people produced more than 680 tweets. Most of the time, Twitter did accompany the presentations but at one point an independent discussion on the (un)necessary distinction between digital humanities and digital history took exclusively place on Twitter. 30 people covered THATCamp (more than 450 tweets) and this time a lot of references to projects, ideas, etc. came in through Twitter. Twenty years ago, conference proceedings published sometimes the discussions after the presentations. How tweets from a confernce will be saved and made accessible today?
  • The last point is related to the philosophy of Digital Humanities. For me, it was mainly using digital tools but a part of the participants had an other definition. When I was asking, on twitter, what I should teach my students in a DH-class Marin Dacos answered

And Mark Tebeau argued that when you are using closed tools, such as closed wikis, you are no longer doing Digital Humanities. The importance of openness and collaboration appeared as central for the definition of DH and a whole discussion “spinned off” on the question if the Humanities without the “D” have been/are open.

Peter Haber, one of the keynote speakers of the Symposium, has written this post on the conference.

Sean Takats from the Roy Rosenzweig Center for History and New Media is not amused by a phrase he heard quite often at the Symposium and which is the title of this post.

To read the resumes of the THATCamp sessions, click here.


Benoit Majerus

Since January 2011, I am working as Associate Professor at the University of Luxembourg. I have written my PhD on the occupation of Belgium during World War One and World Two. In 2013 I published a history of psychiatry in the 20th century from below. I am also co-editor of h-madness.

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