Data Trouble: Why Humanists Have Problems with Datavis, and Why Anyone Should Care
|06:30pm||Doors open, socializing, food, drinks|
|08:00pm||Q&A and more socializing|
Data visualization would seem to have great potential for humanities research, except for one major problem: humanities scholars don't have data. Or they don't think they do. Mention "data" to a scholar of literature, history, or the arts and watch how quickly they tune you out. And yet humanists work with evidence. And they speak of proving their claims. So is this just a problem of terminology? I'll argue here that our data trouble is more substantial than that. The term "data" seems alien to the humanities not just because humanists aren't used to computers, but because it exposes some very real differences in the way humanists and scholars from other fields conceive of the work they do.
Miriam Posner is the Digital Humanities program coordinator and a member of the core DH faculty at the University of California, Los Angeles. As a digital humanist, she is particularly interested in the visualization of large bodies of data from cultural heritage institutions, and the application of digital methods to the analysis of images and video. A film, media, and visual culture scholar by training, she frequently writes on the history of science and technology. She is also a member of the executive council of the Association for Computers and the Humanities.