Digital humanities in the news
The past few weeks have been exciting for digital humanities and digital libraries projects, which are getting recognized and rewarded all over the place.
The Mellon Foundation has announced the recipients of its third annual Mellon Awards for Technology Collaboration (MATC). Among the recipients are UIUC’s brainchild Archon, archiving and publishing software for archivists and manuscript curators; George Mason University’s Omeka, another web-based publishing platform for collections; King’s College London’s Pliny Project, a scholarly annotation tool; and Villanova University’s VuFind, a library resource portal designed to replace a traditional online catalog.
Mellon isn’t the only source of recognition for digital humanities projects. A collaboration between the U.S. Department of Energy and the National Endowment for the Humanities has resulted in a fantastic opportunity for three major humanities projects, housed at UVA, UC San Diego and Tufts. Together, these projects will take advantage of 1 million hours of supercomputing time. This will allow humanities scholars to perform hugely computationally intensive research and processing of primary resources, be they Michelangelo’s David or linguistic corpora. Read UVA’s news release here.
Such tremendous recognition of these projects is notable not only in itself but also in conjunction with the upcoming nomination of Elena Kagan to the post of the United States Solicitor General. During her tenure as the Dean of Harvard Law School, Kagan supported the activities of the Berkman Center for Internet and Society, and most recently welcomed copyright law scholar Lawrence Lessig back to Harvard, to (among other things) direct the Safra Foundation Center for Ethics. Having Kagan as the country’s Solicitor General is reassuring in this time of uncertain copyright law – proponents of open access and Creative-Commons-like open licensing will have an advocate in Kagan, who will (as Lessig discusses) affect policymaking on a federal level.
And speaking of policies and copyright, looks like the recording industry is looking to abandon mass lawsuits in favor of “more effective ways to combat online music piracy.” (WSJ) It’s about time; those costly lawsuits have been both ineffective in accomplishing the RIAA’s anti-piracy goals and a PR disaster (see above-linked article).