Waiting for THATCamp

Perusing the Journal of Digital Humanities as I wait for THATCampNY to begin at Fordham University, I’m struck by the possibilities opened up visualizations, graphs, maps, and trees: it is not just that these illustrate extant research but that they also reveal new questions, show us other kinds of questions we could be asking, unearth hidden networks. In my own work, I’m trying to create a digital archive of French panoramic literature, not just from the 1840s, but up to the end of the Nineteenth Century. It’s an arduous process, and while I’m extremely grateful for the existence of Gallica, I’m having to spend an inordinate amount of time manually correcting the OCR. (I suspect my enthusiasm stems from the fact that time spent doing this is time spent meditating around rather than writing my dissertation, but I’ll leave such introspection for another day.) I’ve been working at this thinking that mining the text of these short taxonomies might reveal a growing focus on speed, travel, mobility; now, though, I’m wondering if what will eventually be revealed will completely turn my expectations on their head. Exciting–and absolutely terrifying.

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