Around DH in 80 Days is a multi-institutional, interdisciplinary Digital Humanities collaboration that seeks to introduce new and veteran audiences to the global field of DH scholarly practice by bringing together current DH projects from around the world.
Upon the initial live launch of Around DH, a different DH project from around the globe was featured on our site each day for 80 days, offering audiences a unique opportunity to meaningfully engage the international, interdisciplinary, multimodal work being done by the digital humanities community, broadly conceived.
On Reading Around DH in 80 Days
Around DH is intended as a first step toward discovering current and developing DH projects across the globe. That is, where we hope that you will see Around DH as a valuable resource for encountering the broader, global field of DH and its diverse practices, we also hope this project will invite you to seek out the critical work of DH beyond the familiar by continuing to engage with these and other projects beyond our platform.
Each project on Around DH is provided with a brief description of the project. In many cases we copied the language by which the project describes itself. In some cases, and depending on the editor, we provided editorial descriptions. In other cases, we asked someone involved in the highlighted project to provide us with copy. These choices are indicated in the “Text by” category. In all cases we recommend you follow the link at the bottom of each entry to learn more about the actual projects. The map represents both production site and subject whenever appropriate.
The choices for inclusion were made by several editors working in collaboration with the chief editor. We hope that you do not see absences as indications that we do not value your project. At some point our friend Barbara Bordalejo quipped that we should have instead the “1,001 nights of digital humanities,” and she is right. We hope that you take these selections only as an opening gesture, while we gather the army of collaborators that it would take to do 1,001 of these.
What is Digital Humanities?
What do you think?
The Story Behind Around DH in 80 Days
In the Fall of 2012, Alex Gil started sending out daily emails to his colleagues at the Humanities and History Division of the Columbia University Libraries with a different digital humanities project and a brief blurb. After a few days, some colleagues from outside the division asked if they could be included in the email. At this point, the emails stopped and the idea for Around DH was born.
To launch the project, Alex formed a working group on Global Outlook::Digital Humanities, created a GoogleDoc spreadsheet and asked for volunteers on social media to suggest projects from around the world by region. This became the “master list” from which editors picked most of the final highlighted projects. Needless to say, the master list became a valuable resource in its own right and it receives contributions to this day. (Hint: You can still contribute).
In the Spring of 2013, Alex proposed the Around DH in 80 Days as a collaboration project to a group of World History and English Literature graduate students enrolled in Ryan Cordell’s (Northeastern University, NU Lab for Texts, Maps, and Networks) graduate studies seminar, “Doing Digital Humanities,” an introductory course to the Digital Humanities at Northeastern U. New to the field of Digital Humanities and excited by the vision to advance a global perspective to Digital Humanities scholarship, these graduate students decided to take on the initial research and design of Around DH as a semester group project. Through the guidance of Profs. Gil and Cordell, and the many contributions made by other DH scholars in the field, they spent the next three months developing a preliminary list of projects from the master list, and working with the Scalar platform, began drafting interactive project narratives for the Around DH site. Their vision for the project was far richer than what we present today, featuring full pages of information for each project. Their three choices and brief introductions, though, are still preserved here.
In the Fall of 2013, Alex began gathering a team of editors from around the world to choose the other 76 projects. In the Spring of 2014, development began on the new platform, which you see before you today.
The three first choices belong to the collective wisdom of Ryan Cordell’s “Doing Digital Humanities” course. A few associate editors have already volunteered to become part of the project and make preliminary choices for several regions (South Asia, Latin America and Australasia). The chief editor asked associate editors to make preliminary choices based on four categories, Scholarship, Humanities Technology, Pedagogy, and Design and Usability using tables drawn from the master list. In the process of doing so, we realized these categories tend to skew the results in favor of projects with large budgets, and we hope to correct for that in our final choices using our best judgement. Because we want to show the diversity and richness of digital humanities across regions and disciplines, the final choices by region, and as a whole, must also reflect that diversity. In cases where an associate editor is part of a chosen project elsewhere on the tour, or where an editor could not be secured, the chief editor takes sole responsibility for those selections. To be clear, while associate editors were active in the selection process and worked on copy, the ultimate responsibility for all decisions belongs to the chief editor, Alex Gil, on whom should fall all internet anger.
Designing with a Global Outlook
This is a Jekyll site. Jekyll is a “simple, blog-aware, static site generator.” That basically means this site can download faster in regions of the world with low bandwidth. The choice comes from our thinking on minimal computing and owes an enormous debt to conversations with the GO::DH membership on and offline on questions of language and accessibility. The map you see on the front page, for example, is generated with embedded SVG, which is ultimately just text. If you would like to see how the platform was built, please visit our github page. (Sorry cheaters, no actual data until the end!)
A Note on Translation
You are more than welcome to translate and mirror this site. The data is stored in one single YAML file, and the posts are simple HTML pages, which means you can translate it easily. We could do the translation two ways. The first, an ideal way, would be for you to fork the project and build in multilingual capacity; the second, and perhaps easiest, would be for you to copy the site and translate a separate instance on a different domain. If you would like to do any of these two please contact Alex Gil.