Monday, 5 December 2011

Blogoshpere 28 November – 4 December

Last week I came across less Early Modern posts than earlier, but to compensate this loss, I am going to refer to more interesting material within the other two categories. Within the Early Modern set Shakespeare is the unrivalled champion: the first is about two books on his First Folio, while the next two posts are devoted to his works—one on Cymbeline and Boccaccio, and another on Helena’s uncannily ambiguous references to virginity. Within Digital Humanities four posts elucidate aspects of social media (blogging, realtime-streaming services, publishing), another ponders about the uses and limitations of Culturomics for historical studies, and three items by the very inspiring Cathy N. Davidson. The blog posts in the third, “Others” category are related to learning and research: one refers to free online university courses and the other to tools that come in handy for managing research findings.

Early Modern Studies:

Sylvia Morris’s post “Still harping on First Folios with Eric Rasmussen” is a fascinating and informative post on Eric Rasmussen’s two books about the copies of Shakespeare’s First Folios—the first is a catalogue of the copies that have come down to us and the other relates stories about these copies. The short review is embellished with references to audio recordings with Rasmussen and to other blog posts about the two books.

Liz Dollimore’s “Shakespeare’s sources – Cymbeline” is again a great post on Shakespeare’s sources. She mentions the two most obvious sources, Holinshed’s Chronicles, and Geoffrey Monmouth’s The History of the Kings of England. What is, however, missing from these and other possible English sources is the part when Iachomo gets into Imogen’s bedchamber to prove her husband that he slept with her. Dollimore makes a case for Boccaccio’s Decameron to be the source for this particular part.

Ewan Fernie’s blog post, “Shakespearience 3: Helena’s Fantasies (Part 1)” meditates about Helena’s strange, at times embarrassingly open and at the same time ambiguous remarks on virginity. The following sentence captures the perception of Helena’s remarks:  “Tentativeness, coyness and sexual avidity all come together here, bewilderingly for us and Helena.

Digital Humanities:

The post by j. stoever-ackerman “Sounding Out! Occupies the Internet, or Why I Blog” is about academic blogging. She claims that with this writing she intends to take the reader “behind the scenes of Sounding Out!, sharing some of the reasons why we decided to start a public conversation about sound studies on the Internet.”

Last week I referred to Priego’s post about academic blogging. Now I am happy to point to a reaction to Priego’s writing. Jason B. Jones at ProfHacker posted his take on the issue: “Blogging, Extinction, and Sustainability.” The reason why he finds academic blogging important is really convincing. He claims “I don’t think this is always because they’re doing other things–sometimes the research just grinds slowly, sometimes there’s a problem in conceptualizing the project in a publishable form, and so forth. In the past, all that effort would’ve been invisible to peers.”

Adeline Koh’s guest post, “What Is Publishing? A Report from THATCamp Publishing” at ProfHacker summarizes the fruits of the THATCamp Publishing unconference 2011 October, Baltimore. The unconference focused on the changing means of academic publishing, and also shares some exemplary initiatives in this field. She concludes her post with claiming: “THATCamp Publishing provided a valuable forum for academics, librarians, and publishers to interact. Together we discussed important questions about how digital forms of publishing are actively changing the way we conceive of publishing today. How all three will negotiate the changes to the industry is yet to be determined.”

George Veletsianos’s post, Open Access Educational Technology journals collects a nice list of OA edtech journals. The real advantage of this post is that the list can be accessed as a Google document and anyone can contribute to the list with further titles. I find this a really useful initiative.

David Berry’s most interesting post, “The Gigantic” brings Heidegger’s concept of  the “gigantic” and realtime-streaming technologies like Twitter and Facebook together. This is a must-read.

Joseph Yanielli in his “Darwin and the Digital Utopia” showcases the uses and the limitations of Google’s NgramViewer in historical studies. Yanelli’s attitude to Culturomics is sober and absolutely convincing.

This video features a talk with Cathy N. Davidson about topics related to her new book, Now You See It. Both the topics and Davidson are really inspiring here. Furthermore, Davidson’s blog post is a highlight of the last week: “Five Ways The Open Web Can Transform Higher Education” These five ways include Macroscopic learning/research, code as a constantly improving system, narratives of data, forking, creation of new tools for research. Although the second blog post seems to be only a longer abstract of a paper that Cathy N. Davidson is going to read at the HASTAC conference on "Digital Scholarly Communication," Dec 1-3, University of Michigan, it is still worth reading in this form especially by those who can’t go to the conference—like myself. The post is entitled “Faulty Scientific Logic and the Institutional Status Quo” and argues that the change of the cultural and technological context of education should change education as well.


A week before I referred to a free online course launched by Stanford. Now I came across a rather useful repository of free web educational programmes. The repository is Open Culture: The best free cultural & educational media on the web. The post published on 28th November lists all the Stanford free online courses, and at the bottom of the post there are links to the free online courses at other universities. The post is entitled “Stanford Launching 14 Free Online Courses in January/February: Enroll Today

Miriam Posner’s post is an invaluable writing about managing digital research: “Embarrassments of riches: Managing research assets.” This is a must-read for students and professors as well.

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