15.072 delight into humanities computing

From: by way of Willard McCarty (willard@lists.village.Virginia.EDU)
Date: Mon Jun 04 2001 - 04:18:33 EDT

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                    Humanist Discussion Group, Vol. 15, No. 72.
           Centre for Computing in the Humanities, King's College London

             Date: Mon, 04 Jun 2001 09:11:38 +0100
             From: lachance@chass.utoronto.ca (Francois Lachance)
             Subject: Vitruvius & Social Reproduction


    I've been bemused by the my-list-your-list (word-image debate) turn in
    the discussion about mounting graduate programs in humanities computing.
    Most human resource management plans now look towards assessing
    competencies when organisations are defining recruitment strategies. Few,
    if any, of the gradutes of current or proposed programs in humanities
    computing will be offered academic positions. It might be worth a peek
    at what management thinking is coming out of business schools. For a two

    1) to prepare students for life long learning

    2) to understand that life long learning opens up institutions and
    programs to students who may not choose full time attendence or a
    one-window source to meet their interests and needs

    Comptencies are exercised. It may well be worth thinking about students
    coming into programs, be they full time students or students taking
    courses are part of professional development, as bringing skills and
    knowledge to exchange with other students and with faculty. It is a
    pedagogical view that does not easily lend itself to the
    take-student-fill-'em-up school of pedagogy or the gene-pool image of
    knowledge transfers. It is a bit more humbling to think of the academic
    role as that of an enabler rather than that of the voice that always
    speaks ex cathedra. What to do with students who have their own shopping &
    laundry lists? Their own ways of further developing their competencies?

    I am reminded that humanist culture is not immured. Yuri Rubinsky and
    Murray Maloney in the preface to _SGML on the Web: Small Steps Beyond
    HTML_ (1997) wonderfully evoke the Vitruvian values of Firmness, Commodity
    and Delight in such a way that one could move the metaphor from
    architecture through document representation to the character of a
    humanist scolar. Firmness: the ability to resist inclemency; Commodity:
    the ability to move with ease; Delight: the ability to provide and take
    joy. Whether it is coding, scripting, digitalizing, programing, do we not
    scolars to be aware of the issues of longivity when they build
    environments and projects? Do we not want them to be able to have the time
    to master the offerings of existing envirnoments and projects to be become
    adept navigators (does it really matter if it's the Telnet interface to
    the Dartmouth Dante Database or the VRML worlds of an archeological
    reconstruction, words or pictures?) I know, that I always like the company
    of scholars who can provide delight. It is worth quoting Rubinsky and
    Maloney(**) quoting Douglas MacLeod, architect, addressing the 1989 North
    American SGML conference:

    Delight is what makes the building more than just a shelter. It may be an
    intellectual delight, a visual delight or even a delight to be in to
    listen to music, but it brings something more to the building than just

    I would suggest that one way of building delight into humanities
    computing programs is to enhance the opportunities for exchange between
    programs, projects and pockets at various institutions, take advantage of
    a wired world to find peers and to find translators.

    Yuri Rubinsky was instrumental in developing SGML markup for the visually

    Murray Maloney is a member of the International Committee for Accessible
    Document Design.

    Francois Lachance, Scholar-at-large
    20th : Machine Age :: 21st : Era of Reparation

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