The end of END

The end of END

Summer update by Early Novels Database Fellow Katy Frank ’17 It’s fitting that on the second-to-last day of work, we got a tour of the newly remodeled section of UPenn’s rare book space. The routine of my job involved cataloguing rare books in the mornings, and either working on projects or learning from guest lectures or correcting plain text versions of old books in the afternoons, and getting a tour was a special treat. I loved looking at the various collections – a collection of everything Gulliver’s Travels related, for example, as well as a fantastic comic collection – that added color to the burgundy, dark green, and navy blue nineteenth-century bindings (even if the books inside the bindings were from earlier centuries) that surrounded us. Our tour guide pointed at one of these latter books and said to us, “Now this binding screams robber baron trying to build his book collection,” and as we all nodded in assent, I thought happily about how much I have learned this summer in order to be able to agree with him so emphatically. I’ve learned how to recognize and roughly chronologically and geographically place bindings, marginalia, fonts, and other various physical aspects of a book; I’ve learned the HTML-esque library cataloguing computer language MarcXML; I’ve learned the particular method of cataloguing for the Early Novels Database; I’ve learned about contemporary debates and hot topics within the field of Digital Humanities; and I’ve learned a great deal about the history of the novel in the West, conventions of the eighteenth century epistolary novel, and random bits of the history of reading in...
My summer at END

My summer at END

Katy Frank, 6/29/2016 My summer at END, pt. I Digital humanities: Not just using digital means to represent the humanities – e.g. a PDF of your thesis – but also using the digital to explore the humanities – using digital tools to look at trends in prefaces across vast quantities of non-canonical books, for example. The digital humanities is a nascent and highly contested field, and I am extremely happy that I’ve gotten to learn more about what it is, exactly, at my summer job, thanks to the Hurford Center. This summer, I’m working at END, the Early Novels Database, in UPenn’s Van Pelt Library. In the mornings, we catalogue old books using a library computer language called Marc XML, which resembles HTML. We record extremely detailed metadata about the books paratexts, authorship, publication, and more. This summer we’ve mostly been cataloguing books from the 1780s, though we’ve seen books from throughout the 18th century. We mostly look at books from England, though there are a few from Ireland and the colonial U.S.A. We’ve seen some great titles, including: Love and Madness: a Story Too True, In a Series of Letters, Between Parties Whose Names Would Perhaps be Mentioned Were They Less Known or Less Lamented Discipline: a Novel. By the Author of Self-Control. The History of Jemmy and Jenny Jessamy Memoirs and Adventures of a Flea The School For Husbands A typical day at work looks like:     In the afternoons, we have a more varied schedule. We have Theory Thursdays, where we – you guessed it! – discuss theory re: both early novels and digital humanities. There...
WHAT IS Re:Humanities?

WHAT IS Re:Humanities?

If you have ever had a single question about Re:Humanities, from the most basic logistics to the most esoteric academic references, this is the blog post you’ve been waiting for. Katrina Obieta (BMC ’15), part of the Re:Hum working group, answers all. 1. What is Re:Humanities, logistically speaking? What/Who/Where/When? Re:Humanities ’15: Save, Share, Self-Destruct. will be held at Swarthmore College on April 9-10, 2015. 2. And: why? The symposium is a two-day conferences that showcases undergraduate research on digital humanities. Our goal in this symposium is to empower undergraduates with the unique opportunity to playfully engage in scholarly research, challenging them to produce and collaborate in a sphere traditionally reserved for graduates and professionals. The theme this year lies at the intersection of digital scholarship and the public realm. The tools of new media allow for innovative academic research and streamlined social contact, yet present significant trade-offs. Privacy breaches, personal digital trails, and the effects of technology in daily life remain prominent issues in public and academic circles. These concerns raise fundamental questions for both scholars and the community: What do we save? Why do we save it? What do we trade for access? How much data is too much? 3. How can students access and learn about the digital humanities in the Tri-Co beyond this conference? Re:Humanities is supported by both the Tri-Co Digital Humanities and Haverford College’s Hurford Center for the Arts and Humanities. They have many different programs and opportunities for students to learn more about digital scholarship. Learn more here: tdh.brynmawr.edu www.haverford.edu/HCAH/ 4) Feminist scholar Donna Haraway writes, “I seek my siblings in the nonarboreal, laterally communicating,...
Play with your Art (Crosslisted: CRYPTIC/CORRUPT)

Play with your Art (Crosslisted: CRYPTIC/CORRUPT)

For the most part, if you’re a college student now, you’re a generation that grew up post-arcade. There was one relatively near where I grew up that was a hotspot for birthday parties, but we never went just to hang out some afternoon. I’m told they used to be dark dens of teenage mischief-making—mazes of weird and inscrutable games, screens smudged with grease, air heavy with smoke… Obviously the arcade has changed—the one I remember is gone (replaced by laser tag, I think? Not all history is progress)—but this figure of the arcade sticks with us, a tangle of metaphorical cables, an unidentifiable stain on the wall-to-wall carpeting of our minds. I’m running a Student Seminar called Decoding Videogames, in which we attempt to critically analyze games through their outward-facing content and internal mechanics. For Crosslisted last Friday, we decided to display some of the games we’re looking at to the community, for their own investigation. We set up a plastic dining table and covered it in machines: mostly macbooks, a thinkpad, and a couple tablets. Briefly (from noon to one) the Cantor Fitzgerald Gallery Lounge played host to Cryptic/Corrupt, a collection of unusual videogames. There was also a box of pastries. Among the inedible delicacies available to passers-by were: Nidhogg I suspect Nidhogg drew the most eyes—its retro-styled graphics are chunky and colorful, and we had it up on a TV surrounded by leather couches. The one-on-one sword-fighting game can be controlled with just two buttons and a directional pad, but the game underneath has enough tactical “I know that you know that I know that you know…”...
Click here to begin

Click here to begin

  Now, with four days between myself and Carleton College’s HumLab, with time to process my work and to admire mine and my co-collaborators’ final products, I feel ready to assess! Although I am biased, I’m very happy with my own piece of our larger project.  (Which can be found here.)  I feel like the 50+ hours I put into my map show; creating it was truly a labor of love.  I’m also vicariously proud of everyone else’s products, as I understand how tedious and difficult using a world-mapping software can be for mapping mythological places. Having finished this project, I’m now contemplating how Neatline could be used in classroom settings.  Because the software is so, so specific, unless you’ve used Neatline before, the program requires several hours to learn.  Unless a professor has room in their syllabus to devote at least one class to learning the software’s nuts and bolts, I feel that Neatline needs to be relegated to the realm of final projects: if a professor enjoys assigning more creative finals, outside of papers or exams, making a Neatline map could serve as one option for students. Would I encourage the proponents of this summer’s HumLab to do another, maybe next summer?  Yes–I very much enjoyed my lab and being able to “take home” a “tangible” product.  Would I encourage students of Classics and other disciplines to attend the next HumLab?  Yes–especially humanities students, who don’t often get that “tangible” result from semester courses.  Usually, our products are reformed ideas, the takeaway of conversations between our peers and professors and between ourselves and texts, formalized in papers and exams.  Neatline...