January 2013 Archives

Digital Humanities at the MLA

There were 795 sessions at this year's MLA convention in Boston, of which 66 significantly engaged the Digital Humanities. I attended several of them. (I also organized one.) Some attracted large audiences, and thoughtful commentary. For example:


Golden draws special attention to the launch of MLA Commons, a new social-media site intended to improve communication and collaboration among MLA members. I signed on before the official launch, but by the time I stopped by the MLA Commons booth to pick up my free T-shirt, they were all gone. (I did get one of the two remaining stickers.) The web interface is still being refined, but the result should prove useful for many people. The first substantial text published at MLA Commons is Literary Studies in the Digital Age: An Evolving Anthology, ed. Kenneth M. Price and Ray Siemens.

Another well-received launch was the Open Access edition of Debates in the Digital Humanties, ed. Matthew K. Gold (University of Minnesota Press), one year after its appearance in print. New chapters will be added online later this year.

During the final session of the conference, Sunday afternoon, I attended a session on "Literature and Digital Pedagogies" while Doug Armato, director of the University Minnesota Press, presented a paper in a different session about the interface between online blog publication and book publication, "Considering Serial Scholarship and the Future of Scholarly Publishing."

The session that I organized for the MLA Discussion Group on Lexicography, "Digital Dictionaries," was reported or commented on via Twitter by more than a dozen people, some of whom were not even in the room (one was in the UK). Ben Zimmer, one of the speakers, later organized the program listing and the 79 tweets in a legible format at http://storify.com/visualthesaurus/digital-dictionaries-panel-mla-2013. Yesterday another member of the audience, Colleen Ross, posted a more detailed reflection on the presentations at her blog, "Word of Mouth." Vox audita perit, littera scripta manet.

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