This site is not maintained. Click here for the new website of Richard Dawkins.

Digital Humanities Spotlight: 7 Important Digitization Projects

From Darwin’s marginalia to Voltaire’s correspondence, or what Dalí’s controversial World’s Fair pavilion has to do with digital myopia.

Despite our remarkable technological progress in the past century and the growth of digital culture in the past decade, a large portion of humanity’s richest cultural heritage remains buried in analog archives. Bridging the disconnect is a fledgling discipline known as the Digital Humanities, bringing online historical materials and using technologies like infrared scans, geolocation mapping, and optical character recognition to enrich these resources with related information or make entirely new discoveries about them. As Europe’s digital libraries open up their APIs, techno-dystopian pundits lament that these efforts diminish “the mystery of history,” but such views are myopic and plagued by unnecessary nostalgia for a time when knowledge was confined to the privileged cultural elite. Instead, here are seven fantastic digitization projects that democratize access to and understanding of some of our civilization’s most valuable cultural assets.

  1. MAPPING THE REPUBLIC OF LETTERS

Long before there was Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn, there was the Republic of Letters — a vast and intricate network of intellectuals, linking the finest “philosophes” of the Enlightenment across national borders and language barriers. This self-defined community of writers, scholars, philosophers and other thinkers included greats like Voltaire, Leibniz, Rousseau, Linnaeus, Franklin, Newton, Diderot and many others we’ve come to see as linchpins of cultural history. Mapping the Republic of Letters, which we first looked at last year, is a fascinating project by a team of students and professors at Stanford, visualizing the famous intellectual correspondence of the Enlightenment, how they traveled, and how the network evolved over time, bridging humanitarian scholarship and computer science.

Read more

TAGGED: BOOKS, MEDIA, SOCIETY, TECHNOLOGY


RELATED CONTENT

Spanish artist faces prison over 'how...

Ben Child - Guardian 37 Comments

Javier Krahe prosecuted for 'offending religious feelings' after 1978 short film was broadcast on Spanish TV

No blood on the carpet. How...

Richard Dawkins - RichardDawkins.net 174 Comments

[Journalists] seem to feel let down when they discover that the real people aren't anything like the way they so relentlessly portray us; as if, since they've gone to the trouble of inventing extravagant caricatures of us, we should at least have the decency to live up to them in real life.
Also in Polish

Q&A: Pell vs Dawkins - April 9, Easter...

David Knox - TV tonight - Australia 141 Comments

On Easter Monday night Q & A will host a two-man debate between Catholic Archbishop of Sydney, Cardinal George Pell and outspoken, British atheist Richard Dawkins.

'Gay cure' group's London bus adverts...

- - BBC Comments

An advertising campaign backed by a Christian group which has been described as anti-gay has been pulled from London buses.

Why Richard Dawkins is still an atheist

Paula Kirby - Washington Post On Faith 108 Comments

[The God Delusion is] absolutely chock-full of things Richard Dawkins really does believe. Which is handy, because it saves everyone the trouble of making them up.

A brutal price still paid for daring to...

Amol Rajan - The Independent 39 Comments

Their assault illustrates the extent to which defenders of religion still dominate our press, the brutal retaliation exacted on clever opponents of faith and the incorrigible stupidity of Sayeeda Warsi's claim about "militant secularism" last week.

MORE

MORE BY MARIA POPOVA

What Is Science? From Feynman to Sagan...

Maria Popova - Brain Pickings 23 Comments

What Is Science? From Feynman to Sagan to Asimov to Curie, an Omnibus of Definitions

The Magic of Reality: Richard Dawkins...

Maria Popova - Brain Pickings 3 Comments

The Stanford Prison Experiment:...

Maria Popova - Brain Pickings 59 Comments

Insights on identity and the aberrations of authority from the most notorious psychology experiment of all time.

MORE

Comments

Comment RSS Feed

Please sign in or register to comment