Digital Humanities Spotlight: 7 Important Digitization Projects
By MARIA POPOVA - BRAIN PICKINGS
Added: Fri, 12 Aug 2011 15:37:01 UTC
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.
- 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.
Mat Honan - Wired Comments
Meet Mat Honan. He just had his digital life dissolved by hackers. Photo: Ariel Zambelich/Wired. Illustration: Ross Patton/Wired
The very four digits that Amazon considers unimportant enough to display in the clear on the Web are precisely the same ones that Apple considers secure enough to perform identity verification.
Sean Carroll - Cosmic Variance -... Comments
Launched on November 26, 2011, the mission is scheduled to land on Mars’s Gale Crater tonight/tomorrow morning: 5:31 UTC, which translates to 1:30 a.m. Eastern time or 10:20 p.m. Pacific.
- - ScienceDaily 20 Comments
Physicists Create Working Transistor
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Ion Torrent CEO and chairman Jonathan Rothberg
holds a semiconductor sequencing chip that will
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genome sequencing machine in Guilford,
Connecticut, January 5, 2012.
Credit: Reuters/Michelle McLoughlin
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