Weekly Create: Evaluate a DH Database

Weekly Create: Evaluate a DH Database
Digital Humanities
October 2014

Attempting to find an online scholarly journal with some sort of digital archives for academic research is akin to finding a proverbial gigabyte needle in a terabyte haystack. Good luck with that search.

Such was the case when I ventured out to look for one – I thought a simple Google phrase and viola! Not was the case: the examples noted by our professor on Dickinson (http://archive.emilydickinson.org/) and Uncle Tom’s Cabin (http://utc.iath.virginia.edu/uncletom/erahp.html) did not leave much in the way of content, analysis, and utilizing the tools of the internet to manipulate and “change” the text; I attempted an authorial search with such luminaries and Fitzgerald (http://www.fscottfitzgeraldsociety.org/biography/) and Woolf (http://www.virginiawoolfsociety.co.uk/vw_res.biography.htm), and the pickings were scant and slim at best, with more information on joining their societies and conferences than tangible information about who these crafters were, and how they continue to be interpreted today (I wanted to stay away from Shakespeare, since he is one literary populist giant who I know has legions of digital denizens who have probably coded his blood type and created an online (and print, of course) journal based on it: The Blood of the Bard) – although I ran across a cool article If Shakespeare wrote in JavaScript, here’s what it would look like (http://qz.com/283268/if-shakespeare-wrote-in-javascript-heres-what-it-would-look-like/)

So, I then turned to something drier – composition studies – and despite finding the Conference on College Composition and Communication’s (CCCC) website (http://www.ncte.org/cccc), it wasn’t much on content for academics. So then the obvious came to me – how about something related to computers and composition?

Sure enough, I quickly found Computers and Composition Online (http://www2.bgsu.edu/departments/english/cconline/index.htm).

Yeah, the mastiff is pretty much no-frills, as is the layout of the site. But the nuggets are in the thing, which provides some good information.

By providing serious, academic discussions of issues related to computers and compositions ( a snapshot of the Spring 2014 edition under the heading Theory Into Practice provides articles such as From Screen to Text: Video Composing in the Writing Classroom, Three Frameworks and a Pedagogical Approach: Teaching Video Arguments in First-Year Composition, and Digital Architectonics: A Case Study of Educator Designed Multimodal Texts ) the site contributes to topical issues around computers and composition today.

The online version of this journal has a few advantages over its print counterpart – a blog that announces conferences and “keeps people in the know”, and posts the latest online issues for free, which keeps the conversation current (although I did not see much in the way in terms of videos or other modalities).

It clearly states it’s goal: “Our goal is to be a significant online resource for scholar-teachers interested in the impact of new and emerging media upon the teaching of language and literacy in both virtual and face-to-face forums. As part of this goal, we wish to foster a sense of community and collegial sharing of ideas by providing an online space where select features, announcements, and community resources work together to promote a virtual exchange for the latest and best work in the field.”, and the sharing of ideas part is quite clear, with separate navigational links for theory, virtual classrooms, and professional development.

This makes it a good source for advanced research; for those of us with a techno-rhetorical bend, web articles such as Confessions of a Technorhetorician provide good fodder to see what scholars are writing about digital composition. The site is not hard on the eyes – sections are laid out clearly, although the search function is non-existent.

Since this is a establishment site sponsored by Elsevier, Kristine Blair as Editor-in-Chief, Lanette Cadle and Joe Erickson as Senior Editors, and Megan Adams as Design Editor oversee the site; it is fair to say that it is collaborative – there are probably unnamed employees of Elsevier who do some of the grunt work in formatting the articles.

This is fine with the people who venture to the site – it is geared for academics (and budding academics) without showy or simplified content, providing detailed and sourced analysis. Overall it provides access to academic conversations about this thing called computer composition, although making it less traditional-text heavy in utilizing different modalities would provide alternative ways of “seeing” some content in action.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s