November 7th Digital Dialogue: Vika Zafrin presents "The Virtual Humanities Lab and the Evolution of Remote Collaboration"

  • November 2nd, 2006
  • A MITH Digital Dialogue
  • Tuesday, November 7, 12:30-1:45
  • MITH Conference Room, McKeldin Library B0135
  • The Virtual Humanities Lab and the Evolution of Remote Collaboration"
  • by VIKA ZAFRIN (Brown University)
  • The Virtual Humanities Lab was a two-year project, generously
  • supported by the National Endowment for the Humanities for 2004-06.
  • VHL was housed in Italian Studies at Brown University; we have
  • collaborated with scholars at Brown, and throughout North America and
  • Europe. First, we employed humanities scholars previously unfamiliar
  • with semantic text encoding. The scholars were tasked with studying
  • two information-rich primary sources by encoding them using
  • idiosyncratic encoding structures. This required training and various
  • types of support, and was complicated by the scholars' disparate
  • geographical locations. We also made contact with a group in Mexico
  • that is studying one of our texts, Giovanni Boccaccio's _Expositions
  • on the Divine Comedy_. We've set up a discussion forum for them to do
  • their work using our encoded text. Finally, we collaborated amongst
  • ourselves across three continents on writing papers, designing the VHL
  • interface, and further textual analysis.
  • At MITH, I will talk about the results of these different types of
  • collaboration. I will relate what worked well (a strategic blend of
  • facetime and online communication) and what could have worked better
  • training humanists in the fundamentals of humanities computing). I
  • will stress and illustrate the importance that collaboration has begun
  • to play in the humanities, and propose to introduce collaboration more
  • substantively into humanities research, arguing for its benefits over
  • our usual solitary work.
  • VIKA ZAFRIN is a PhD candidate in Special Studies (Humanities
  • Computing) at Brown University, expecting graduation next spring. She
  • was Project Director for NEH-funded Virtual Humanities Lab in 2004-06,
  • and actively participated in the development of the Decameron Web at
  • Brown. Besides collaboration, Zafrin's interests include
  • intercultural transmission through art, idiosyncratic XML encoding of
  • cultural artifacts, web delivery technologies for semantically encoded
  • materials, the usage of internet resources for teaching, and science
  • fiction as a source of inspiration for humanities work.
  • Coming up @MITH Nov. 14: Stuart Moulthrop and Nancy Kaplan (School of
  • Information Arts, University of Baltimore), title TBA. View the

complete Fall 2006 schedule for Digital Dialogues here:

http://www.mith2.umd.edu/programs/mith_speakers_fall_2006.pdf