Stephen Ramsay: Melbourne December 12

Title of lecture: Found: Data, Textuality, and the Digital Humanities: Please register for this Information Futures event here:

Time: Monday December 12 from 9.30 – 10.30 in the Wood Theatre, Arts West, University of Melbourne (Map: Building 148, Next to Old Arts and Baillieu Library)

(A video of a keynote talk given by Stephen Ramsay at “The Face of Text” — the third Canadian Symposium on Text Analysis (CaSTA) held at McMaster University in 2004.

In this presentation in Melbourne, Stephen Ramsay will discuss some of the latest research in the Digital Humanities. This includes applying methods to analyse the vast array of digital collections that have been developed over past decades. These methods provide additional layers of scholarly interpretation and thus uncover new insights.

“Computational processes generate lists: lists of numbers, lists of words, lists of coordinates, lists of properties.  We transform these lists into more exalted forms — visualisations, maps, information systems, software tools — but the list remains the fundamental data structure of computing, from which most other structures are derived.  Whenever we treat the world as data, we are nearly always creating lists.

But what sort of *texts* are these, and can we consider them the same way that we consider other texts within the humanities?  In this paper, I offer some meditations on the nature of lists, and suggest that it is the paucity of information they provide — and the ways in which that paucity licenses narrative and explanation — that allows us to imagine computational representations as texts that can play a fruitful role in the wider context of humanistic inquiry


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