Salve, munde!

(Portions of this post can be found at http://dixit.hypotheses.org)

My name is Merisa Ariel Martinez and I am the Early Stage Researcher (ESR 8) working at the University of Borås with Mats Dahlström and Mikael Gunnarsson. I am originally from Seattle, Washington.

For the next three years, I will be carrying out research in the Digital Humanities in a program funded by the Marie Curie 7th Framework Actions.  This will coincide with a doctorate completed at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science in Borås, Sweden.

A picture of me looking normal(ish).

My educational background is in the humanities:  I hold a Bachelor’s degree from Western Washington University in Modern European History and French Literature, as well as an MSc in Modern British and Irish History from the University of Edinburgh. After graduating in 2012, I moved to Eugene, Oregon where I worked concurrently at a web design start-up and at the University of Oregon, creating an in-house digital platform for university staff to market and disseminate academic work to the public. I started my work at the Swedish School of Library and Information Science in April and have since been developing a plan for my doctoral project.

The purpose of this blog will be to outline these plans, as well as to keep track of bibliographies, literary reviews, interesting articles, quotes, and visuals about the Digital Humanities. More specifically, I am interested in research on genetic criticism, critical digitization, digital scholarly editing, textual criticism, and information science theory.  While I am very new to this field, my hope is that by outlining my thoughts here, I can begin to work out some of the parallel and at times overlapping theories and methodologies within the Digital Humanities. To an outsider (and at this point I would still label myself as such), this looks to be a daunting, though ultimately rewarding task.

For my portion of the ambitious and multi-faceted DiXiT program, I will look at mass digitization and digital scholarly editing as two types of critical transmission activities. To carry out this study, I will focus on three main aspects in ALM digitization projects:

  1. The presence or absence of textual criticism skills in the different stages (source/material selection, OCR software selection, prototyping, metadata capture) of digitization projects;For my portion of the ambitious and multi-faceted DiXiT program, I will look at mass digitization and digital scholarly editing as two types of critical transmission activities. To carry out this study, I will focus on three main aspects in ALM digitization projects:
  2.  The work practices of digitization vs. scholarly editing projects (in particular those which define their materials/projects as having ‘significant cultural importance’);
  3. The possible import of resources and skill sets (in a broad sense) from digitization projects into editing projects – that is, the reusability aspect of digitization projects and their materials.

One of the larger themes I am interested in is the relationship between memory and identity: how do memory institutions create and maintain a ‘digital identity’ by selecting specific material to be digitized?  What exactly is the criteria for deciding that a text is a ‘treasure‘ and therefore worthy of the expense, time, and considerable effort taken to digitize and, in the case of DSEs, critique it? Are materials deemed as ‘cultural assets‘ treated with more care in the digitization process, and therefore more transmutable/reusable than other materials? As the digitization of cultural heritage continues to be a significant financial and academic factor for the projects in which memory institutions engage, how does one determine the scale of cultural importance? These are all considerations I will be thinking about this summer as I continue to hone my project plan and decide on possible avenues of empirical data test-beds.

During the next three years, I will fulfill a secondment at Editura in Berlin, where I will be working in a professional digitization environment.  I believe this will be an excellent opportunity to analyze best practices and to identify any work-flow inefficiencies.  I will also be posted at La Sapienza (Università di Roma 1) working at the DigiLab with Domenico Fiormonte.  As yet, the nature of this secondment has not been confirmed, though I do expect to work on some of Domenico’s projects, particularly Digital Variants.

In terms of overall questions and research aims, there is some crossover between ESR1ESR7, and my project.  I see this as an opportunity to exchange ideas; perhaps Richard Hadden, Misha Broughton and I will be able to collaborate on an article at some point during our research.

As my questions and ideas take shape, I will be sharing my thoughts here, as well as the aforementioned DiXiT blog.  If you have any questions or suggestions, please contact me by leaving a comment below or by emailing me at merisa (dot) martinez (at) gmail (dot) com.  You can also find me on Twitter: @merisamartinez.

 

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